Sunday, June 24, 2018

3rd Special Forces Group welcomes new leader

For the first time in his career, there’s no chance that Col. Bradley D. Moses will return to the 3rd Special Forces Group. After becoming the group’s first “homegrown” commander two years ago, Moses helped welcome a new leader on Thursday during a Fort Bragg ceremony.

Col. Nathan J. Prussian, most recently a fellow at Duke University, is the new commander of the unit, which officials said is the most combat-deployed unit in the Special Forces regiment in recent years. Picture at right: COL Bradley D. Moses, right, relinquished command of the 3rd Special Forces Group to COL Nathan J, Prussian at Fort Bragg 21 June 2018.

Moses joined the 3rd Special Forces Group in March 2002, the same year the unit assumed responsibility for all special operations forces in Afghanistan. The group remained focused on the country for most of Moses’s career, but in recent years at turned its focus to a new challenge — combating terrorism in north and west Africa.

That mission hasn’t been easy, said Maj. Gen. Edwin J. Deedrick Jr., the commanding general of 1st Special Forces Command. Deedrick, who oversaw the change of command, noted the sacrifices the group has made in recent years.

The group lost soldiers in non-combat incidents in Kenya, Niger and Mali. Four of its soldiers were killed in an ambush near Tongo Tongo, Niger in October. And another was killed in Somalia earlier this month.

The losses are a testament to the difficult mission 3rd Special Forces Group soldiers have undertaken in Africa, Deedrick said. “The continent of Africa is huge,” he said. “It’s three times the size of North America. The threats that have taken root in Africa are also huge.”

Citing violent extremist organizations in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt and Somalia, Deedrick said threats in Africa threaten to spread into Europe and “our very homeland.” What the soldiers of 3rd Special Forces Group have done to stem those threats is important work, he said.

Moses, who had served in the 3rd Special Forces Group as a team leader, company commander and battalion commander before assuming command of the group, said the efforts have not been easy, but the group has emerged from the challenges stronger than is has ever been.

“The group has never been more of a family as it is right now,” he said. “This is a culture that has been developed on hard-earned combat deployments and a change in area of responsibility.” That change was not taken lightly, Moses said. And some in the Army had concerns about whether it was the best idea.

“The reality is you were best suited for it,” he said. “This is a purpose driven unit that focused all of its efforts into combating violent extremists, working by, with and through partners, surrogates and allies to degrade a global threat.”

Deedrick said there was no better leader to oversee the transition. “His understanding of this unit, its history, its lineage and its regional alignment could not have been better,” Deedrick said.

But most importantly, Moses led with “absolute distinction” and provided strength amid the group’s recent loses. And his wife, Stacy, provided countless hours in support of families of those lost and those injured.

“Brad does not quibble. He doesn’t obscure facts. He simply stands up for his unit, his formation and he tells it the way it really is,” Deedrick said. And Stacy has gone above and beyond what has been expected of her, he added.

Deedrick said there was no leader better suited to following Moses than Prussian, whom served with Deedrick in the Philippines, Iraq and, more recently, Syria. While Moses served most of his career in 3rd Group, Prussian in a newcomer. Like Moses, he was commissioned in 1995. And both men began their careers in the 82nd Airborne Division before completing the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2002.

But Prussian served in the 1st Special Forces Group and has served as a policy advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and commanded a battalion in the 1st Special Warfare Training Group at Fort Bragg. Now, he inherits one of the most trained and ready units in the Army, Deedrick said.

And Moses will next serve as chief of staff of U.S. Army Special Operations Command. “Brad has taken the 3rd Special Forces Group to new heights,” Deedrick said. And now Prussian will be tasked with building on those efforts and improving the unit even more.

Moses said Prussian is the right man for that job and said he was proud of the group’s roughly 2,600 soldiers. “Thanks for allowing me to be a teammate,” he said.

Article from the Fayetteville Observer

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