Monday, July 15, 2019

Green Beret Sergeant Major KIA in Afghanistan

Sgt. Maj. James G. “Ryan” Sartor, 40, a Special Forces company sergeant major, died Saturday during combat operations in Faryab province, Afghanistan, the Army announced Sunday. Sartor was assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He died from injuries from enemy small arms fire, according to a Defense Department release. He joined the Army in June 2001 and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division as an infantryman. After he completed the Special Forces Qualification Course, Sartor was assigned to 10th SFG (A) in 2005.

Sartor had deployed numerous times, according to a release from U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He first deployed to Iraq as an infantryman in 2002. As a Green Beret, he was deployed in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 with 2nd Battalion, 10th Group. He also deployed with the 10th to Afghanistan in 2017 and 2019. “We’re incredibly saddened to learn of Sgt. Maj. James ‘Ryan’ Sartor’s passing in Afghanistan. Ryan was a beloved warrior who epitomized the quiet professional," said Col. Brian R. Rauen, commander of 10th Group. “He led his soldiers from the front and his presence will be terribly missed.”

Sartor’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Award, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Unit Citation with one oak leaf cluster and National Defense Service Medal, among others. He has been posthumously awarded the Purple Heart medal and Bronze Star medal. Sartor also earned the Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge and Special Operations Diver Badge.

RIP Warrior! Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Article from the Army Times 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Green Berets train Polish, Latvian resistance units in West Virginia

U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers completed the first irregular and unconventional warfare training iteration for members of the Polish Territorial Defense Forces and Latvian Zemmessardze as a part of the Ridge Runner program in West Virginia, according to service officials. The Green Berets, who are with 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group and the West Virginia Army National Guard, use the Ridge Runner exercise to offer U.S. troops and NATO allied forces training in asymmetrical warfare.

This summer, Latvia and Poland traveled to West Virginia for the program. Both nations have newly invigorated homeland defense forces capable of pushing back against an invading force and opposing a potential occupation. The units are trained to provide response during the early stages of a hybrid conflict. Their tasks could include slowing the advancing units of an aggressor nation by destroying key transportation infrastructure such as bridges, attacking enemy forces at choke points and potentially serving as forward observers for NATO aircraft responding with airstrikes.

Polish Territorial Defense Forces, for instance, typically have a role similar to that of the U.S. National Guard, supporting local communities and acting as a reserve base for conventional forces. “Here at Ridge Runner, we developed skills beyond that,” said Marek Zaluski, a public information officer for the Polish troops, in an Army news release. "We’ve learned how to work with Special Forces, serve as liaisons, how to speak the same language, have the interoperability and cooperation.”

U.S. special operations forces have been training more with allies from the Baltic states and other Eastern European nations in the wake of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014. A low-level conflict continues to simmer in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region between Russian-backed separatists and government forces to this day. The conflict spurred the Baltics into action, as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia embraced the concepts of total defense and unconventional warfare, combining active-duty, national guard and reserve-styled forces to each take on different missions to resist Russian aggression and even occupation. Poland similarly established its Territorial Defense Forces in 2017 to address homeland integrity concerns and tensions with Russia.

To solidify those gains, the U.S. military should provide more advanced equipment, help to develop resistance plans, build fusion centers for intelligence collection and counter Russian disinformation and cyber warfare, according to Stephen J. Flanagan, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation who co-authored a study on deterring Russian aggression for the Pentagon. “Our general assessment is we don’t believe, and many of the Baltic leaders don’t believe, that the Russians would make a land grab and sue for peace,” Flanagan told Army Times in April. “But they are opportunistic. If they think they can cause a crisis in NATO and make NATO look feckless or unable to respond quickly, that may be something they would risk.”

Interoperability between U.S. troops and European forces would be critical in the event of an attack on a NATO ally. Troops would need to share tactics, use similar terms and phrases over the radio waves and understand the flow of calling in close-air support in order to cooperate on the battlefield. Even when partner forces can speak English exceptionally well, they may not be familiar with American military jargon until they train with U.S. troops and bring those terms back to their home units.

“The soldiers who came with us for this exercise were specifically handpicked from a larger group because they represent the skills needed to operate with the Special Forces community as liaisons, pathfinders, and as people who are the points of contact in case of an unconventional warfare situation," Zaluski said in the release. The Ridge Runner program taps into roughly 500,000 acres of public and private land in West Virginia.

The training incorporates local government, law enforcement, emergency services and has utilized fixed wing and rotary aircraft in past exercises. “The conclusion of this Ridge Runner training is an exceptionally important milestone for both West Virginia and our allies in Poland and Latvia, who we have a longstanding relationship within our state through the State Partnership Programs with the Illinois and Michigan National Guards,” said West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, in the release.

The State Partnership Program is administered by the National Guard Bureau with the Defense Department and State Department’s policy goals in mind. The initiative links state Guard units with partner countries for various training opportunities in the continental United States and overseas. The Illinois National Guard, for instance, is partnered with Poland, while the Michigan National Guard is partnered with Latvia. “West Virginia is the perfect venue for our highly trained special forces to help these two nations’ military forces develop the skills vital to their mission at home, which is extraordinarily important in this era of geo-political uncertainty," Hoyer added.

Article from the Army Times

Thursday, June 27, 2019

First living Iraq War MOH recipient

In the most harrowing days of the Iraq War, one Army noncommissioned officer distinguished himself when he rescued an infantry squad pinned down by machine gun fire as they went door-to-door clearing insurgent strongholds. That battle, on Nov. 10, 2004, made former Staff Sgt. David Bellavia the Iraq War’s first living recipient of the military’s highest award for valor, bestowed by President Trump on Tuesday at a White House ceremony.

“America’s blessed with the heroes and great people, like Staff Sgt. Bellavia, whose intrepid spirit and unwavering resolve defeats our enemies, protects our freedoms and defends our great American flag," Trump said. "David, today we honor your extraordinary courage, we salute your selfless service and we thank you for carrying on the legacy of American valor that has always made our blessed nation the strongest and mightiest anywhere in the world ? and we’re doing better today than we have ever done.”

Bellavia’s A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, was in the midst of the weeks-long Operation Phantom Fury, also known as the second Battle of Fallujah. “The first thing you’re thinking about is, I mean, you’re scared,” he told reporters Monday. “Your life is on the line. The second thing you’re thinking about is, you’re angry. How dare anyone try to hurt us? How dare you try to step up against the United States military?”

On Nov. 9, his battalion’s top enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Faulkenburg, died in a direct-fire attack. “But the other thing is, you have people that they day before, risked their life to save you,” Bellavia said. “You have people the following two days would risk their lives to save you. And you have people within 24 hours who are killed in direct fire attacks that are your senior leadership.”

On Nov. 13, company commander Capt. Sean Sims was killed by small-arms fire during another mission to clear buildings. Their families joined Bellavia’s at the ceremony Tuesday, along with three others killed during the operation. All of that pushed him to step up in the moment, he said, when he had the choice to either wait outside the building for back-up, or go in again and take on the half-dozen insurgents he knew were inside. “What he did, going back into that nightmare, saved all those men’s lives,” journalist Michael Ware, who was embedded with the unit while writing for Time Magazine, told reporters.

Bellavia credited Ware, whom he previously considered a nuisance, with giving him the confidence to take on the house alone. “Peer pressure might make you smoke cigarettes when you’re 13, but peer pressure might also make you do things you wouldn’t do,” he said. “It’s who your peers are.”

Bellavia was nominated for the Medal of Honor in early 2005, his former company commander told reporters, but it was downgraded to a Silver Star. Then, seven months ago, Trump called him to let him know an upgrade had come through ? the result of a Defense Department-mandated review of Global War on Terror valor awards.

“For 15 years, people that heard about Fallujah or heard about Baqubah…now, they look into this unit, they look into what happened, what we did,” he said. “This is a snapshot of our year. And now they look back and say, wow, there were examples every single day of what people are sacrificing for this way of life.”

Reflecting on the recent 75th anniversary of D Day, he made a plug for his own peer group. “This is an all-volunteer force…college debt repayment, a dental plan, a paycheck? There’s no reason that a rational person is paying off college to clear a road with IEDs. We are not kicking down doors because we want to make sure we get paid on the first and the 15th,” he said. “That is what has kept this country free and it’s why we’re going to be safe for generations to come. "I think of that generation and the Iraq War and I’m mighty proud to be part of it.”

Article from the Army Times

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

This day in History, June 25th, 1876

The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and also commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which resulted in the defeat of U.S. forces, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place on June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory.

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull. The U.S. 7th Cavalry, a force of 700 men, suffered a major defeat while under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Custer was mistakenly referred to as "General" as he had attained that rank as a Brevet (temporary) in the Civil War. Five of the 7th Cavalry's twelve companies were annihilated and Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew and a brother-in-law. The total U.S. casualty count included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their wounds), including four Crow Indian scouts and at least two Arikara Indian scouts. I thought readers may enjoy watching the below video on what otherwise is a dismal day on American Army history.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Unconventional Warfare Revisited

This article was published on Small Wars Journal, authored by George Schwartz, a Combat Arms officer, veteran of small wars, and a student of Unconventional Warfare. He has served in the Army in various roles for 12 years.

Unconventional Warfare: Think Outside the G-Base

The Green Berets are in danger of self-inflicted irrelevancy because of shortcomings in their training. Most current Unconventional Warfare (UW) training events take the Unconventional Warfare template from Robin Sage and simply impose it on other environments and threat situations. This trend has persisted despite the lack of modern UW examples that resemble Robin Sage. Green Berets should be considering other models of UW that may be more relevant today.

Special Forces doctrine depicts resistance partner forces as having three elements: a rural-based full-time paramilitary guerrilla force, an urban-based underground, and an auxiliary that serves as the link between the two. The ODA partners with the guerrilla force and teaches them US-style small unit tactics. That is what every Green Beret did in Robin Sage. It is the common understanding of UW shared by all SF Soldiers. Virtually every UW exercise I have taken part in (Cobra Gold, Foal Eagle, Jade Helm, home station UW mission profiles) mirrors this model. That is what I mean by the “Robin Sage” model.

Our doctrine, as depicted by the Robin Sage model, reflects what some UW missions have looked like in the past. But our doctrine is just that: our doctrine. It does not describe every resistance movement or UW operation. Not all resistance movements conform to it. Resistance movements and UW exist all over the world, carried out by various powers, and very few of those resistance/UW models resemble our doctrine. The Iraqi insurgency, Ukrainian Orange Revolution in 2014, and the subsequent Russian-sponsored UW in the Crimea do not. Neither does Hezbollah. We conducted UW against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and that did not look much like Robin Sage. Rather than re-fight Robin Sage, we should look at current insurgencies (or try to envision future insurgencies), think of how we would partner with them, and let that guide our training.

Recent UW models seem to fall into two broad categories: 1) the resistance force is already capable of taking and holding terrain against the opposing regime/occupying force, 2) the resistance force is underground. For examples of Category 1 resistance forces, we have the Northern Alliance in 2001, the Peshmerga in northern Iraq in 2003, the Crimean separatists today, or the anti-ISIS forces we worked with in Iraq, Jordan, and Syria. UW partnership with such a force often looks a lot like a JCET or a CNT, where we train our partner force in a secure location, then send them forward or accompany them to fight against our common enemies. Preparing for such a mission would be very similar to JCET prep: identify the skills the partner force needs, prepare ourselves to train those skills, provide the training, and continually evaluate to make sure we are having the desired effect. Conducting regular JCETs and CNTs has made Special Forces adequately trained, equipped, and experienced to conduct this type of operation.

Category 2 is where the Robin Sage model of the rural-based full-time guerrilla force breaks down. Surveillance technology is so advanced and readily available that a semi-permanent G-base could easily be detected by a flying Cessna or Huey and a spotter with a commercially available thermal scope. Virtually all state actors can (and do) field that level of ISR. Also, most rural terrain (with the exception of triple-canopy jungle and similarly dense forest) still favors, on balance, large conventional force maneuver. These two facts combined mean the Robin Sage model is not viable in very many rural areas. A state actor with rudimentary commercially available surveillance tech would be able to find a large group of guerrillas and SF troops if they have air superiority, or even if the air space is contested. If the state actor retains freedom of maneuver and has the capacity to field a company of infantry or mass indirect fires, that G-band could easily be cut off and destroyed, together with its advisors. So the Robin Sage model is not practical unless the US already has air superiority and the enemy cannot field large conventional forces anymore. In other words, it is only useful after it is unnecessary.

Furthermore, our doctrine does not provide an all-encompassing picture of resistance forces. There may not be a clear distinction between underground, auxiliary, and guerrillas. The resistance force may look like a guerrilla force with auxiliary-like capabilities or an underground with guerrilla-like capabilities, much like insurgent cells in Iraq. Or it might not have any paramilitary component at all, like the Orange Revolution in 2014. The paradigm of teaching small unit tactics may not be relevant to partnering with a resistance force. Teaching US-style small unit tactics just makes the resistance force more symmetrical with their conventional opponent. And if there is no G-Force, as is the case in many resistance groups, small unit tactics are irrelevant. It is essential to recognize that SF doctrine does not describe resistance organization accurately and completely.

It is still possible to operate in rural terrain and to partner with resistance forces that do not conform to our doctrine, but it does require thinking outside of the Robin Sage-style static G-base. In rural terrain, Special Forces should use mobile G-bases, much as the FARC has done. In this model, the guerrillas and their ODA advisors would move whenever they can while avoiding detection. Properly executed, frequent movement can decrease the UW force’s profile and mitigate the threat of surveillance. Training for mobile G-bases is a lot harder because it requires a large training area and it is more physically demanding. However, it is more survivable. Emphasizing land navigation, tactical movements by day and night, as well as patrol base/RON site occupation and rural camouflage (particularly how to evade thermals) can support UW tactics of this kind.

Alternatively, the resistance force may choose to operate in urban terrain simply because urban terrain on balance strongly favors small units and guerrilla tactics over large conventional forces. Case in point- the Iraqi insurgents used urban terrain very effectively as long as they avoided decisive engagement. Another advantage to urban terrain is that it provides natural camouflage for communication systems. It is not impossible for an ODA to do UW in urban terrain: the Iranian Quds force did just that to us in Iraq. But urban UW comes with its own set of requirements. The UW force would need a network of safe houses and a mobility system to avoid getting pinned down. In this model, the urban guerrillas would go about their day jobs, then meet up with the ODA at predetermined places and times to receive training on how to take on specific objectives and exchange intelligence with the ODA. For skills that would enable this type of UW, SF should conduct urban evasion training, urban land navigation, and urban tactical movement.

Another possibility is an urban-rural hybrid. It is not necessary for the ODA and the resistance force to be co-located. The guerrilla force could be urban-based while the ODA that stays mobile in rural areas. In this case, the ODA would not be dependent on resistance safe houses, and the rural areas can furnish lots of space to train their resistance force. The ODA would need to have adequate infrastructure to support its mobility (patrol base sites, routes, training sites, communication sites, etc). The resistance force would maintain its daily life while the ODA maintained its tactical posture, then they would conduct linkup for training or operations. They could remain dispersed to maintain a low profile until they mass at the decisive moment. It may not even be necessary for the UW force to physically enter the operational area. ISIS used a decentralized form of UW to recruit, train, and employ terrorists through cyberspace.

In all of these possibilities, the resistance force may not resemble our doctrine at all. In time of invasion or rebellion, social structures that existed before conflict may still exist after the conflict, but take on a different character. For instance, the Bowling League is still the Bowling League, and its members still have their day jobs, but on the weekend they get together to destroy an enemy checkpoint or ambush a police patrol. That is very different from the doctrinal vision of the full-time G-force, but it is no less plausible.

Alternatively there may not be a need for G-force at all. In such a case, the ODA should not necessarily attempt to stand one up: the Green Beret’s job is not to get the resistance force to comply with our doctrine. Rather, one of the best capabilities an ODA can provide is a link to the outside world and the international community. Advice in how to stage demonstrations and protests and how to produce and broadcast propaganda can be more important than having an element capable of carrying out paramilitary operations and executing small unit tactics. Training in Information Operations and video editing could be the most useful skills in this situation, especially if the ODA cannot get any PsyOps enablers, or if those PsyOps enablers are inadequate.

Instead of teaching US small unit tactics and making the resistance for more symmetric to its enemy, the ODA should instead emphasize training that accomplishes US goals while increasing the asymmetric advantages of its resistance partner force. If the US goal is simply to disrupt the enemy regime or occupying power, the ODA could accomplish this by sabotaging enemy personnel and equipment. In that case, the ODA may need to teach its resistance partners how to conduct simple sabotage- how to destroy a vehicle with materials at hand, how to build and employ a Molotov cocktail, how to neutralize a power relay or a communications tower. Instead of co-locating with the G-band long-term, the ODA could linkup with the G-band only when necessary and give them the training the need to execute their next target. So rather than practicing Battle Drill 1A, the UW force would spend time rehearsing actions on objective and training on the skills needed to take that objective down.

Currently, the Green Berets are undoubtedly capable of conducting UW from secure bases in semi-permissive areas with air superiority. They did that effectively against ISIS, and they practice how to do that with every JCET, CNT, and UW exercise. Whether they are capable of conducting UW outside those conditions is questionable. The Robin Sage model that they are practicing is probably not survivable in a denied environment, let alone against a peer adversary. The resistance organizations they are training to partner with do not resemble current resistance movements. Current Special Forces team leadership should be asking: if your team had to partner with the Orange Revolution, or with an organization like Jaish al-Mahdi, would it even be capable of doing so? If so, what skills make that possible? If not, how has your training failed you, and what needs to happen to make it possible? Guerrilla bases like the ones we all saw in Robin Sage are increasingly rare in modern resistance movements. If that is all we know how to do, we will march into irrelevance. It is time to think outside the G-base and train to partner with modern resistance movements.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

75th Anniversary of D-Day - The Invasion of Normandy

The older this Republic grows the less people will remember something they should never forget, the Allied Invasion of Europe, called Operation Overload on 6 June 1944, which began to mark the end of Hitler's Nazi dynasty and end up with the liberation of Europe.

The amphibious landings, preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment, yet landing under intense German fire, and an unprecedented airborne assault — the landing of 24,000 US, British, and Canadian airborne troops. The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history, with nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating. Almost 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day, with another 710,000 continuing to come through June 1944. Allied casualties on the first day alone were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. The Germans, fighting mainly from fixed defensive positions, lost 1,000 men. The following, posted on Small Wars Journal, was written by Keith Nightingale (COL, USA, Ret) who served two tours in Vietnam with Airborne and Ranger (American and Vietnamese) units. He commanded airborne battalions in both the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 82nd Airborne Division. He later commanded both the 1/75th Rangers and the 1st Ranger Training Brigade.

The beach today is broad, clean and filled with the life that Liberty bestowed 75 years ago. As I walk, I reflect on what I read and what I heard from those that were here on that day of days. An obscure and unremarkable beach stretches in a long light umber crescent. It is bisected by several draws that allow penetration up the steep cliffside-now occupied by vacation homes and gardens. Regardless, the sheer physical aspects of what was the scene then are easy to image now despite the dust of time.

As I walk the sand and dim my eyes, weaving into the filing cabinets of my mind, some images emerge that meld the past events with the present place.

Today is a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men are sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men are floating in the water, but they didn’t know that as they are beyond introspection or enjoyment.

Gulls dip and swirl and the sun sparkles off the receding foam. Only an occasional craft passes across the scene and it is clear to the horizon. But my mind sees the two thousand plus bodies and the hundreds of wrecked craft piled together along the shore-still too soon for the niceties of the Graves Registration and Naval salvage units to take effect. And much too soon for my mind’s eye.

The wreckage is vast and startling. Both the material and human waste of war is a common denominator of conflict. But, here, in the compressed spaces of sea and cliff, those words-Waste and Junk- are most pronounced and supremely evident. This one great human endeavor proves that in such catastrophic and important human events, that everything is expendable in the pursuit of a larger objective. They are just people and things and the price we pay for what we undertake. Here on Omaha, that is a distilled and obvious fact.

Hidden by the cold dark bay, lies continuing evidence of both the waste and price of war. Scores of craft, some ships and more than 30 duplex drive tanks rest in the same repose they affected on 6 June 1944. Salvers occasionally dredge one up to decorate a museum or to turn into scrap, but on the whole, they remain in original repose. A bill well paid for a greater cause.

The bones of their crews have long since been recycled into the sea, but their names reside forever in cemeteries and minds throughout our land. The sea obscures the facts, but the memories remain.

Erasing the vestiges of time, we see trucks tipped half over and swamped. Partly sunken barges, and the angled-up corners of jeeps, and small landing craft appearing half submerged. As the tide recedes, the vast array of tetrahedrons, Belgian gates, concertina and Teller mine log barriers become visible-at least if one closes their eyes and allows the mind to conjure what history relates.v Where I walk, on dry firm sand, there are all kinds of wrecked vehicles. Tanks that had only just made the beach before their demise-victims of a great imaginative thought but lost in execution. Jeeps are burned to a dull gray, their tireless rims resting half buried in the sand. Bulldozers, cranes and flatbed trucks are askew across the scene as in some huge modernistic sculpture garden.

Scattered amongst this are wrecked halftracks and deuce and a halves, still shedding the purpose of their owners. Aid bags, type writers, ordnance tools, bedding, stacks of weapons, telephones, switchboards and cases of grenades lie strewn around them and visible through gaping shell holes. Maps and papers flutter and dive with the wind. When the light hits at a specific angle, viscera, body parts and a reflective shine of iron red ochre shows. Battle is decidedly untidy and this is a supremely untidy place.

Everywhere are discarded life belts, gas mask containers, telephone wire, helmets and weapons. They all lay on the sand and roll with the whims of the tide. Interspersed are the parts and pieces of the previous occupants, an orange, a photograph, ration boxes, a half rent shirt, a letter soaked beyond comprehension. Between them all are spent field dressings, the occasional bandanna and parts and pieces of fatigues, the detritus of the effort.

Between exposed obstacles, bodies and parts emerge. Some skeletonized by a sudden blast of flame. Others separated into many parts. A gaitered leg rolls and swims with the tide, its attachment parts no longer extant. Only the living have had the ability to depart this place where order and process are yet to be introduced.

This place, if resurrected, could arm a reasonable nation. Yet, we spend it without question as a trivial part of the bill to buy what we are and what we hoped others would be. The people are forever lost but their spirit and purpose remains-they were and are Us and what we are all about.

A few hundred yards back of the beach is a near continuous high bluff. Against its face, grass grows in thick clumps, interspersed with climbing white roses wending their way to the top. These trace the white tape of trail markings though the minefields bought at a great cost in limbs and lives driven by the necessity to get off this beach and onto the high ground. The remnants of the initial surge lay in repose-some pointing the way for those more mobile and some beyond effort. The roses trace the tale.

Above, where the roses now end, on the first flat ground obtained, are a myriad of tent hospitals, filled to capacity. Nearby are hasty prisoner of war compounds, casually guarded in the near instant of the moment before organized law and order arrives. The occupants are the dazed, dumbfounded and scared remnants of their lost cause. From here, you can see the vast panoply of the effort, lost to most in the mass of the effort.

Still further inland but still close, are a patchwork of hasty airfields. Light spotter planes, fighters and the occasional Dakota medevac continuously enter and exit, providing a symphonic counterpoint to the constantly rumbling artillery, both friends and unfriendly. This a crowded and confused place, but it has a sinew of purpose that glues the greater effort. It is the first sense of organization and structure welded to a purpose, something we do very well.

Beyond the horizon, the huge industrial juggernaut of fixed purpose and production begins to wend its way through the docks and airfields of England, soon to place more than a million men and their material at the disposal of General Eisenhower. At home and at the places of production, workers stop, listen to the radios and church bells and bend harder to their tasks. War is a highly wasteful thing and replacements are constantly demanded-both human and material.

The prisoners, leaning on the hasty wire enclosure, look out to the largest single purpose armada ever assembled. This vestige that was for so long empty is now so occupied. They look and wonder-Once it was “When will they come?” Now they have and each reflects inwardly-“How could we have thought what we did?”

Perhaps if their superiors had the ability to conjure what they now see, the beach would have been unrented and our pool of humanity markedly increased. But, it was not so then and not so now.

The walk concludes with the sun and surf disappearing from view. But the memories and purpose do not fade. This place is a sandy sepulcher of the noblest aspects of the human spirit. Its memory hopefully insures that its images may never again have to be repeated.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Gary Beikirch MOH Vietnam

On April 1, 1970, Army Sgt. Gary Beikirch was serving as a Special Forces medic in Vietnam when his camp was overrun by the enemy. "I was shot three times pretty quickly, early in the battle," he said. Despite shrapnel and bullet wounds, the Green Beret rescued and treated injured soldiers and civilians with help from his teenage assistant. "Dao, my Montagnard bodyguard, was carrying me. And when he couldn't carry me anymore because he had been shot, he dragged me," Beikirch said. The 15-year-old shielded Beikirch from an explosion and was killed.

Beikirch was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. "The battle that was really the toughest I ever fought was a few days later when I woke up in a hospital bed and I was dying," he said.

Gary Beikirch recovered from his physical wounds and returned to the U.S. from Vietnam, he was filled with rage and racked by guilt and worried he’d kill the next college kid who spat on him. The former Green Beret medic let his mustache droop, and his hair reach his shoulders. He bought snow shoes and a thick down jacket and, in 1973, went to live in a cave in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He laid his sleeping bag and camping mat on a bed of leaves and pine needles. He hoped he’d find in the woods the peace and contentment he’d lost in the jungle.

In 1973, President Nixon presented Beikirch with the Medal of Honor. But he suffered from survivor’s guilt and postwar trauma. "I took the medal off and put it in my duffel bag," he said. "I never took it out again for seven years because I just didn't feel worthy."

His Christian faith and his wife’s love helped him overcome those feelings and recover from the invisible wounds of war. "I learned how to heal by forgiving myself," he said. That’s when Beikirch changed his outlook on the Medal of Honor. He no longer looked at is as a badge of courage, but rather a symbol for all who serve. "It's something that represents something greater than one person. Greater than one day. Greater than one act," he said.

Biekirch worked as a middle school guidance counselor for 33 years, helping teenagers because of the teenager who helped him. “Here was a young boy who loved me enough to give himself for me,” he said. He lives in Rochester, New York, and travels the country talking about the Medal of Honor, his struggles and his faith in God. "I wear it for His honor because if it wasn't for His grace I wouldn't have survived Vietnam," he said.

Beikirch has wrapped up a speaking tour on Oahu. Ohana Baptist Church is offering copies of a pamphlet he wrote that details his story. To get a copy, email Pastor Wayne Surface at

Article from Hawaii News Now

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Memorial Day order 5 May 1868


I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us. Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of JOHN A. LOGAN,

Commander-in-Chief N.P. CHIPMAN,

Adjutant General Official: WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Air Force Veteran Walks Across America for Veterans

William Shuttleworth, a Massachusetts Air Force veteran, plans to make like Forrest Gump, crossing the entire continental U.S. on a trek he began Wednesday. The difference between Shuttleworth’s plan and Tom Hanks’ fictional coast-to-coast jog: the 71-year-old retired educator’s trip to California is for a cause.

Shuttleworth is raising money, which will go to the Disabled American Veterans Association, according to the website for his walk, Vets Don’t Forget Vets. He said he plans to cover about 25 miles per day. For context: A marathon is a bit more than 26 miles. For further context: Penn Station is about 26 miles from the Connecticut border.

Shuttleworth said he came up with the idea about six months ago while talking to homeless veterans during a visit to California. “As I’ve been talking to other veterans, they get the short end of the stick all the time,” Shuttleworth said over the phone as he walked Thursday morning. “They have PTSD, the high suicide rate, lack of appropriate medical care, opioid and alcoholism that’s untreated. And instead of complaining about it, I said: Why don’t I do something about it? And I think if I walk across the country, engage people, it becomes a momentum that has its own force.”

As Shuttleworth makes his 3,000-mile odyssey, he plans to stop and chat to every veteran he can — at homes, VA Centers, American Legions and everywhere in between. The former school superintendent set off about 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday from Newburyport, his hometown. He brought a tent he plans to sleep in.

Shuttleworth logged 25 miles on his first day, and he said he had already tromped over about 15 miles before noon on Thursday. But he said he thinks he will probably typically max out around the 25-mile mark due to the volume of people who want to stop and chat; he estimated he met 30 people on the first day. “They honked the horn, they pulled over, they want to buy me coffee, they want to chat, they have a story about their own family members” Shuttleworth said.

He charted his approximate course for the trip on his website, which will wind through 13 states and culminate at Vandenberg Air Force Base in October. Shuttleworth will blog along the way on his website. A serious walker, he said he already covered about 20 miles per day. Now he’s just bumping it up a bit. “Why not walk a straight line across the country?” Shuttleworth said through heavy breaths Thursday morning. “To engage people to make a difference.”

Article from the New York Daily News

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

World War II vet Bob Maxwell, the oldest MOH recipient, dies at 98

World War II veteran Bob Maxwell, the nation’s oldest Medal of Honor recipient, has died in Oregon more than seven decades after grabbing a blanket and throwing himself on a German hand grenade in France to save his squad mates. He was 98. Maxwell died Saturday in Bend, The Bulletin newspaper of Bend reported.

The death was confirmed Monday by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, who said Maxwell represented the "best of what Oregon and America have to offer." Maxwell earned the nation's highest military honor while fighting in Besancon, France, on Sept. 7, 1944, the newspaper reported. The bomb severely injured him, but the blanket saved his life by absorbing some of the impact. He was also awarded two Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and two French combat awards — the French Croix de Guerre and the Legion d'Honneur — for his service in World War II.

Maxwell had been the oldest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, which is bestowed for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty."

Born on Oct. 26, 1920, in Boise, Idaho, Maxwell was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. Though he was a Quaker, he declined conscientious objector status and entered the service in Colorado. Trained to string heavy wire for telephone lines at the battlefront, he served in Italy and then France, becoming a technician fifth grade and wearing two stripes — the equivalent of a corporal.

Prior to throwing himself on the grenade, Maxwell sustained a leg injury in Italy in January 1944 while maintaining telephone wires under intense artillery fire. He spent several months in a hospital in Naples, returned to his unit and was sent to France.

After the war, Maxwell became a car mechanic and taught classes on auto repair and service at a Bend high school and two community colleges. In 2000, at 79, he received his high school diploma. He also served as director of the Bend Heroes Foundation and helped efforts to build veterans' memorials throughout Oregon.

A bridge in Bend is named after Maxwell and he was present last year to watch as an Oregon Medal of Honor Highway sign was unveiled on U.S. Highway 20 near Bend.

Article from the Army Times

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Military and Religious Liberty

1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The Founders put this as the First Amendment because the right to voice an opinion and to worship God as you choose, or even not to worship God, was foundational to establishing a country based on individual liberty. And the fact that the people who immigrated to the Colonies, what would become the United States, did so in search of a place far from the European mandated specific versions of religion. A place where they could use their individual talents and ethics to make a better place for themselves and their families, acquire property, with freedom, but above all - worship as they saw fit.

The Founders intent, backed up by their pre and post Constitutional writings, intended to prohibit the establishment of any specific religion. Everyone in that day knew what the Founders meant as most of the new American citizens had lived under governments with established churches and the harsh penalties of not supporting that dictated religion. There is no phrase "separation of church and state" in the First Amendment. That phrase is used constantly by those who want to drive God out of our culture. These people want to drive God out of our culture so their is no morale norms, as they would typically fall short time and time again. People who believe in a higher power, be it called God, the Creator, or Jehovah and had an instinctive knowledge of what exactly was being prohibited by the First Amendment, and what was being protected.

In this day and age, lawsuit after lawsuit trying to drive every reference of Christianity from prayer to crosses, are rampant. Crosses on memorials honoring those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom are common targets. The anti-Christian and anti Western religion movements have yet to attack the individual makers at National cemeteries, but make no mistake - that is part of their plan to wipe out not religions but Christianity. Remember in 2014 when then President Obama and his wife sent out a joint statement to Muslims in America for the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, thanking them for their contributions in “building the fabric” of the country. And another quote from our former Commander-in Chief sustaining the call to diminish or even bury Christianity,.....“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation”.......

Then today's headlines - Lawsuit filed over Bible display at New Hampshire VA hospital - reminds us of the continuing onslaught. The article states - The Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of an Air Force veteran against Alfred Montoya, the director of the Manchester VA Medical Center, seeking the removal of a Bible on display at a POW/MIA table within the hospital. The display violates the First Amendment’s establishment of religion clause, according to the lawsuit. “The Christian Bible clearly doesn’t represent all of the myriad religious faiths and non-faith traditions of the U.S. armed forces veterans using the Medical Center and to presume that it does is quite blatantly unconstitutional, unethical and illicit" said Michael L. “Mikey" Weinstein, MRFF’s founder and president, in a statement.

“The Christian Bible clearly doesn’t represent all of the myriad religious faiths and non-faith traditions of the U.S. armed forces veterans using the Medical Center and to presume that it does is quite blatantly unconstitutional, unethical and illicit" said Michael L. “Mikey" Weinstein, MRFF’s founder and president, in a statement. The lawsuit filed in Concord by Air Force veteran James Chamberlain says the Bible’s inclusion is in violation of the Constitution. The First Amendment stipulates “that the government may not establish any religion. Nor can the government give favoritism to one religious belief at the expense of others,” according to the suit.

I'm sorry, but I did not see the phrase "Nor can the government give favoritism to one religious belief at the expense of others.” And to make the lie worse, this Weinstein character states that “That sectarian Christian Bible bolted down to that POW/MIA table at the Manchester NH VAMC is a grotesque gang sign of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism, exceptionalism and supremacy, indeed a middle finger of unconstitutional repugnance to the plurality and separation of church and state guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.”

However, be it such a disgusting attack on relgious beliefs that Weinstein and fellow losers have committed, there is always bright spots. The latest one being a parachute drop on Sicily drop Zone at Fort Bragg where 380 paratroopers of the famed 82nd Airborne Division conducted their annual Saint Michael's Jump in honor of Saint Michael the patron saint of paratroopers. Division Chaplain Col. Eddie Cook said it best,......“Saint Michael was God’s primary angel, the archangel, the high angel that fights against Satan, fights against evil ....that’s what the airborne does. We are called to fight evil.”

For all the religious haters out there,....if you don't want me to carry a bible or wear a cross or even pray before a mission, then pick up a weapon and follow me,'ll soon know the old adage "there are no atheists in foxholes".  

Thursday, May 2, 2019

RIP General Eldon Bargewell

We lost a good one on 29 April 2019 when Major General Eldon Baregwell crossed over. Bargewell born 13 August 1947 enlisted in the Army in 1967 and attended the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1968. Deployed to Vietnam Bargewell was accepted into MACV-SOG where he served in CCN (Command and Control North) at Da Nang and served as the Team Leader (one zero) for Recon Team (RT) Viper.

During duty in Vietnam with CCN, Bargewell was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) in September 1971 for his actions in combat his saving his team (read citation below). Bargewell received his officer's commission in 1973 then was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington where he served as rifle platoon leader and executive officer. Promoted to Captain, he was assigned as Rifle Company Commander with 2d Battalion, 47th Infantry.

In 1981 Bargewell volunteered for and completed a specialized selection course for assignment to SFOD-D (Delta Force) where he would serve as Operations Officer, Squadron Executive Officer, Troop commander, Squadron Commander (twice), Deputy Commander and Unit Commander from July 1996 to July 1998.

While serving in Delta Force Bargewell participated in Operation Acid Gambit during the invasion of Panama, including the rescue of American citizen Curt Muse from the Modelo prison and he commanded an SFOD-D Squadron during Operation Desert Storm in western Iraq. In 1998 Bargewell became Commanding General of Special Operations Command Europe (SOC-EUR) followed by assistant chief of staff for SFOR military operations in Sarajevo. Later he was assigned as Director of Operations, Plans, and Policies of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and lastly Bargwell later served as the Director of Strategic Operations at Multinational Force Iraq. He will be missed.

Distinguished Service Cross citation from Vietnam

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Staff Sergeant Eldon A. Bargewell, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Command and Control (North), Task Force 1, Studies and Observations Group, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, attached to U.S. Army Vietnam Training Advisory Group (TF1AE), U.S. Army Vietnam Training Support Headquarters. Staff Sergeant Bargewell distinguished himself on 27 September 1971 while serving as a member of a long range reconnaissance team operating deep in enemy territory. On that date, his team came under attack by an estimated 75 to 100 man enemy force. Staff Sergeant Bargewell suffered multiple fragmentation wounds from an exploding B-40 rocket in the initial assault, but despite the serious wounds, placed a deadly volume of machine gun fire on the enemy line. As the enemy advanced, he succeeded in breaking the assault and forced them to withdraw with numerous casualties. When the enemy regrouped, they resumed their assault on the beleaguered team, placing a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire on Staff Sergeant Bargewell's sector of the defensive perimeter. Again he exposed himself to the enemy fire in order to hold his position and prevent the enemy from overrunning the small team. After breaking the enemy assault, the team withdrew (to a area suitable for a helicopter landing zone). At the landing zone, Staff Sergeant Bargewell refused medical treatment in order to defend a sector of the perimeter, and insured the safe extraction of his team. Staff Sergeant Bargewell's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Monday, April 29, 2019

How Delta Force came up with the grueling final test to select its operators

COL Charlie Beckwith, pictured at right, the founder of the Army's Delta Force wanted men as tough or tougher than the members of Delta's inspiration, the British Special Air Service. That's how he came up with "the Long march," a superhuman ruck march at the end of weeks of grueling training.

When aspiring operators are being screened for selection into Delta Force, a collection of the most elite soldiers in the Army, they have to pass a series of rigorous and challenging tests, including a ruck march that they begin with no announced distance, no announced end time, and no encouragement. If they can complete this grueling ruck march, they will face a selection board and possibly join "The Unit." If they fall short, they go home.

Delta Force was pitched and built to be an American version of Britain's Special Air Service by men like Col. Charles A. Beckwith, a Special Forces leader who had previously served as an exchange officer to the 22 SAS. Originally stood up in 1977, Delta was always focused on counter-terrorism.

Unsurprisingly, Beckwith got the nod to lead the unit he had helped pitch. He looked to the SAS itself for methods to winnow out those who might not be resolute at a key moment in battle, and embraced their stress event: a superhuman ruck march. It wasn't an insane distance, just 74 kilometers — or 40 miles. That's certainly further than most soldiers will ever carry a ruck, but not an eye-watering number.

But SAS candidates conducted this training at the end of what were already-grueling weeks of training. And on the day of the final march, they were woken up early to start it. But the real mind game was not telling the candidates how far they had to go or how far they had already gone. They were just told to ruck march to a set point that could be miles distant. Then, a cadre member at that point would give them a new point, and this would continue until the candidate had marched the full distance.

Beckwith told his superiors that he needed two years to stand up Delta Force, partially because he felt it was necessary to incorporate this and other elements of SAS selection and training into the pipeline, meaning that he would need to recruit hundreds of candidates to get just a few dozen final operators. President Jimmy Carter wanted a new anti-terrorism unit, and senior Army brass were initially loathe to wait two years to give it to him.

According to his book "Delta Force: a memoir by the founder of the military's most secretive special operations," Beckwith had to fight tooth and nail to get enough candidates and time for training, but he still refused to relax the standards. Beckwith successfully argued that, to make a unit as capable or better than the SAS, the Army would have to fill it with men as tough or better.

This couldn't just be men great at shooting or land navigation or even ruck marching. It had to be those people who would keep pushing, even when it was clearly time to quit. To make his argument, he pointed to cases where capable men had failed to take appropriate action because, as Beckwith saw it, their resolve had failed. He pointed to the 1972 Olympics in Munich where great German marksmen failed to take out hostage takers early in the terror attack because they simply didn't pull the trigger.

Beckwith needed guys who could pull the trigger, he knew that the SAS process delivered that, and he didn't want to risk a change from the SAS mold that might leave Delta with people too reluctant to get the job done during a fight. And so, the "Long Walk" was born into Army parlance. This is that final ruck march of selection. It's 40 miles long, it's conducted on the last day of training when candidates are already physically and mentally completely exhausted, and the rucksacks weigh 70 pounds.

Oh, and there is an unpublished time limit of 20 hours. And candidates can't march together, each gets their own points and has to walk them alone. And, like in the SAS version, they don't actually ever know the full course, only their next point. Finally, while the first classes conducted the Long Walk at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, later iterations had to conduct the exercise in the mountains of West Virginia, adding to the pain and exhaustion.

Even men like future Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who came to the course after the existence and general distance of the Long Walk were known, talked about how mentally challenging the uncertainty would be. He lost 15 pounds in the tough training that led to the march, and then he struggled on the actual event.

In his book, "Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom," Boykin says that he was exhausted by the 8-hour mark. Having started before dawn, he would still have to walk deep into the night with his heavy ruck to be successful, praying that every point was his last. But the next point wasn't the last. Nor was the one after that, or the one after that. The cadre assigning the points cannot cheerlead for the candidate, nor can they tell the candidate if they're doing well or if they're marching too fast. Either the candidate pushes themself to extreme physical and mental limits and succeeds without help or encouragement, or they don't.

In Boykin's class of 109, only about 25 people even made it to the Long Walk, and plenty more washed out during that test. Freezing in the weather and exhausted from the weight, terrain, and distance, Boykin did make it to the end of the course. But, interestingly, even completing the prior training and the Long Walk does not guarantee a slot in Delta.

Instead, soldiers still have to pass a selection board, so some people train for months or years, are marched to exhaustion every day for a month during training, have to complete the Long Walk, and then they get turned away by the board, are not admitted, and don't become capital "O" Operators. Delta Force has undoubtedly made America more lethal and more flexible when it comes to missions, but there are strict standards that ensure that only the most fit soldiers can compete in this space. And the Long Walk forces everyone but the most tenacious out.

Article by Logan Nye, from We Are the Mighty

Monday, April 22, 2019

2019 Jerry P Rainey Scholarship - Update

Previously posted, but now technical difficulties have been resolved and the contact form to request a Scholarship Application Packet at the bottom of this article is working.  

The Special Forces Association Chapter IX, the Isaac Camacho Chapter is announcing that the Jerry P. Rainey Memorial Scholarship is open with the application window from May 10 through June 14, 2019.

Three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each will be awarded in person, on or before August 17, 2019. At least two of the three scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students unless there are less than two qualifying undergraduate students, at which point more than one scholarship can be awarded to a masters or doctoral student. The review process will be limited to the first 50 applications received. Additional scholarships may be awarded at the discretion of the scholarship review committee.

Interested applicants may request a scholarship application packet through e-mail by a request to or

The Jerry P. Rainey Scholarship Fund focuses on assisting qualifying students who display outstanding potential in their chosen major. Academic excellence, community involvement, and personal character are the primary considerations weighted for selecting a recipient. The fund was established in memory of Jerry P. Rainey, a U.S. Army Special Forces Medic. Mr. Rainey’s lifelong endeavor, driven by his infectious optimism, to assist those with which he came into contact inspired this fund. His belief that each individual possesses the ability to positively impact others is the basis for the intent of the fund. The intent is twofold; assist a student in obtaining his or her educational objectives and perpetuate the spirit of selfless giving to others, a standard which Mr. Rainey so admirably inspired those around him to follow.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants will meet the following requirements in order to be considered for the scholarship:

Must reside in the greater El Paso, Texas/Las Cruces, New Mexico area
Must be enrolled in an accredited university, college, or technical school
Must have completed at least 24 credit hours of college coursework
Must have maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
Must have contributed or are contributing to the local community
Must not have previously been awarded the Jerry P. Rainey Scholarship

In returning the application packet, the applicant will be required to:

Complete the Application Form
Provide proof of GPA through the spring 2019 semester
Provide proof of completion of at least 24 credit hours of college coursework
Submit a written or typed essay, 500 words or less, describing contributions to the community and life goals
Include reference letters recommending scholarship award from two members of the community other than family members

Jerry P. Rainey Biography

Jerry P. Rainey was born at Fort Benning, GA on January 25, 1932. As part of a military family, Jerry spent his childhood years in several locations. He graduated from Lanier High School in Macon, GA followed by one year at Clemson University before enlisting in the Navy at the start of the Korean War. One of his primary duties in Korea was rescuing downed pilots, often times behind enemy lines. After Korea, he spent the next nine years living in Athens, GA where he served as the head of the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Rainey joined the Army in 1962 and attended the yearlong Special Forces Medic Course during 1964 -1965. Jerry married the former Carol Thompson on August 21, 1963, two years after they met at a Shriners dance.

His first of two tours in Vietnam was from September 1965 to September 1966. The first nine months was as a medic with a Special Forces A-Team (Det A-415) in Tuyen Nhon. His last four months was as the Public Information Office NCOIC, 5th Special Forces Group in Nha Trang. As an editor of the Green Beret Magazine he traveled throughout all 4 CTZ's gathering information about Special Forces activities for publication in the magazine.

Jerry’s second tour in Vietnam was from July 1969 to June 1970 with 5th Special Forces Group. Assigned to Det C-4 (IV Corps) HQ medic, he traveled throughout the Delta region assisting where needed. He often provided coverage for "A" Detachments needing additional medical support or replaced medics who were WIA or KIA.

His military awards include the Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal w/ OLC, Good Conduct Medal (2nd award), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/palm, Combat Medical Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Expert Rifleman Badge.

Between tours in Vietnam Jerry and Carol were stationed with 8th Special Forces Group in Panama. He was part of the team that trained the Bolivian Army unit formed to track down and capture Che Guevera. During 1970 – 1971, he was a Medical Instructor at the Advanced Medical Training School, SF Training Group, Ft Bragg, NC. While stationed at Fort Bragg Jerry assisted in writing the U.S. Army Manual for Physician Assistants.

After Mr. Rainey departed the Army he and his family lived in several locations including, New Orleans, LA, Tyler, TX, and Beaumont, TX. He worked in media sales and participated in political campaigns. Jerry was selected for and attended the Graduate Congressional Campaign College in the late 1970s. During his time in Beaumont, he taught at Lamar University’s Small Business Center and provided motivational and time management speeches for the DuPont Corporation. Jerry and Carol settled in El Paso, TX in 1993 where he worked two years as the general manager of Power 102 radio station.

Mr. Rainey was a life member of the Special Forces Association and served as president of Chapter IX, the Isaac Camacho Chapter, in El Paso, TX. Jerry succumbed to Leukemia, a result of his time in Vietnam, in March 2007. He is survived by his wife Carol, daughter Tammy and her husband Gil, daughter Stacy and her husband Jerry, son John and his wife Julie, five grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

To request a Scholarship Application Packet, use the form below: