Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Why, from the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

For those who know, no explanation is needed.


Friday, April 30, 2021

US Border Patrol Expo and Night at the Border Patrol Museum

Each year the US Border Patrol Special Operations Group Morale, Welfare and Recreation (SOG MWR) Association hosts a Law Enforcement Equipment and Technology Expo. SOG MWR partners with Special Forces Chapter IX to provide event support both for the display day and the range demonstration day. This year the SOG MWR Equipment and Technology Expo will be held 5-6 May 2021. With Day One (the vendor display day) scheduled at the Centennial CLub on Biggs Army Airfield-East Fort Bliss and Day Two (the range demonstration day) at the Fort Bliss Rod and Gun Club.

This event 17 years ago as the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) Force Modernization Conference, this event now called the 'Expo" attracts a hundred or more vendors, ranging from clothing to firearms, from radios to cameras, from medical gear to specialized vehicles and accesories - and everything in between. And it still is the only unit driven trade and technology show in the country.

Each year Chapter IX and VFW 812 hosts a dinner and get together for vendors at VFW 812 on the night before the Expo begins. This year that will be on 4 May 2021.

What is different about this year's event, besides the gratitude of everyone at geting their COVID restricted freedoms back, is that the Border Patrol Foundation (BPF) is partnering with the Border Patrol National Museum, located on Trans Mountain Road, to host a joint BPF - Border Patrol Museum event on the night of 5 May 2021 - which is Cinco de Mayo by the way - called the 'Night at the Border Patrol Museum' where presentations by the BPF will be made and food - drinks available as will prerusing the museum displays. This is a fundraising deal for the BPF and Museum so tickets will have to purchased - available on line at the BPF Website, or at the SOG Expo or at the door of the Museum the night of the event.

This is a worthy event to support as he Border Patrol Foundation is a first class organization that provides support to disabled or injured Border Patrol agents and to the families of fallen agents - virtually any Border Patrol family in need.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Desert One - Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission Ends in Failure

41 years ago today on 24 April 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.

With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight service members and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.

On November 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation and agreed to release non-U.S. captives and female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the U.S. government. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months.

President Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and the April 1980 hostage attempt ended in disaster. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November, Carter lost the presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan, and soon after, with the assistance of Algerian intermediaries, successful negotiations began between the United States and Iran. On the day of Reagan’s inauguration, January 20, 1981, the United States freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, and the 52 hostages were released after 444 days.

Article from History.com

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Al Hobbs - Celebration of Life, 14 May 2021

A celebration of the life of Al Hobbs will take place at the VFW Post 812 at McKelligon Canyon, in El Paso on May 14th at 2pm. The family suggests an early arrival to the VFW to get settled before the service begins. The service taking place at Fort Bliss National Cemetery will be livestreamed to the VFW for all of his loved ones to watch in real time before the immediate family joins everyone at the VFW to continue the program together, celebrating the amazing life Al Hobbs lived and all the lives he touched.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

April 11th, 1945 - Buchenwald Concentration Camp Liberated

On April 11, 1945, the American Third Army liberates the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany, a camp that will be judged second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposed on its prisoners. Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp established on Ettersberg hill near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937. It was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps within Germany's 1937 borders. Many actual or suspected communists were among the first internees.

As American forces closed in on the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Gestapo headquarters at Weimar telephoned the camp administration to announce that it was sending explosives to blow up any evidence of the camp–including its inmates. What the Gestapo did not know was that the camp administrators had already fled in fear of the Allies. A prisoner answered the phone and informed headquarters that explosives would not be needed, as the camp had already been blown up, which, of course, was not true.

The camp held thousands of prisoners, mostly slave laborers. There were no gas chambers, but hundreds, sometimes thousands, died monthly from disease, malnutrition, beatings and executions. The insufficient food and poor conditions, as well as deliberate executions, led to 56,545 deaths at Buchenwald of the 280,000 prisoners who passed through the camp and its satellite camps.

Doctors performed medical experiments on inmates, testing the effects of viral infections and vaccines. Among the camp’s most gruesome characters was Ilse Koch, wife of the camp commandant, who was infamous for her sadism. She often beat prisoners with a riding crop, and collected lampshades, book covers and gloves made from the skin of camp victims.

After liberation came Soviet occupation and from August 1945 to March 1950, the camp was used by the Soviet NKVD as a prison that housed 28,455 prisoners which a reported 7,113 died, likely from physical abuse, malnutiriton and lack of medical care.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

New Commanding General of 1st Special Forces Command

The Army announced on March 25, 2021, that Maj. Gen. Richard E. Angle will be the next commander of the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is currently serving as the deputy commander of Joint Special Operations Command at FBNC. He was posted to JSOC in November 2019. Prior to that he served as the Deputy Commanding General (Operations) of the United States Army Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

His military career began at the United States Military Academy at West Point – where he graduated in 1991 and became an infantry officer. His first assignment was at the platoon level with the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany.

After graduating from the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and the Special Forces Qualification Course, Angle was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), where he commanded a Special Forces Operational Detachment and served as the battalion assistant operations officer. He later commanded 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), in Okinawa, Japan.

Angle graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and was assigned to the United States Army Office of Military Support in Washington, D.C. While assigned to this unit, he served as a troop commander, squadron operations officer, unit operations officer, squadron commander, and unit commander.

His staff assignments include tours as military assistant to the Secretary of the Army; as Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Special Operations Command; and as Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Forces Command. He has participated in contingency and combat operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines.

Angle has earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from West Point, a master’s in business administration from Webster University, and a master’s in national resource strategy from the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (one bronze oak leaf cluster); the Bronze Star Medal; the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (one bronze oak leaf cluster); the Meritorious Service Medal (one bronze oak leaf cluster); the Joint Service Commendation Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Army Achievement Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge; the Expert Infantryman Badge; the Master Parachutist Badge; the Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge; the Ranger Tab; the Special Forces Tab; the Pathfinder Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

On this day, 27 March 1836 - Mexican army executes 417 Texans at Goliad

In November 1835, Texan leaders proclaimed their resistance to Santa Anna’s dictatorship, though they stopped short of calling for independence. The next month, December 1835, the Texans managed to defeat 800 Mexican soldiers and drive them out of San Antonio, infuriating Mexican General and despot Santa Ana. However, the Texan leaders were divided over what to do next, wasting valuable time and making them vulnerable to Santa Anna’s plans to punish the Texans for their actions.




While the Texas rebels squabbled, Santa Anna moved decisively. In early February 1836 a massive Mexican army crossed the Rio Grande, and after a 13-day siege of the Alamo, even thought sustaining heavy causalities, the Texans were anniliated and Mexican General Urrea, moved his army towards the town of Goliad.

James W. Fannin had just more than 300 Texans to protect Goliad, a position the Texans needed to protect and maintain vital supply routes to the Gulf Coast. As General Urrea’s much larger 1,400-man army approached, Fannin forces attempted to fall back from the approaching Mexican army, but his retreat order came too late allowing the much larger Mexican force to encircle the Texans on 19 March 1836. Rather than see his force annihilated, Fannin surrendered.

Some of the Texans who surrendered believed they would be treated as prisoners of war, despite Santa Anna's early promise that all Texan rebels would be given no quarter. In obedience to Santa Anna’s orders, on 27 March 1836 General Urrea ordered his men to open fire on Fannin and his soldiers, along with about 100 other captured Texans. More than 400 men were executed that day at Goliad.

Despite the Mexican goal to crush the Texan rebels, the Alamo defeat and Goliad Massacre galvanized and motivated Texans, yelling “Remember Goliad!” and “Remember the Alamo!” One month later, General Sam Houston and his Texan forces defeated the Mexican Army and capturing General Santa in the Battle of San Jacinto, and Texas won its independence.

Monday, March 22, 2021

MACV-SOG - Created in Vietnam still influences Special Forces today

As the US's involvement in Vietnam steadily grew with more conventional troops, so did it's secret war. To counter the Viet Cong's guerrilla campaign, supported by the North Vietnamese army (NVA), raging inside South Vietnam, the Pentagon established a highly secretive special operations organization in 1964.

The Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) was tasked with taking the fight to the enemy regardless of where they were. Cross-border operations in Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam—where US troops weren't supposed to be—became SOG's specialty.

Composed of Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Recon Marines, Air Commandos, and their indigenous allies, SOG primarily conducted reconnaissance and direct action operations, such as ambushes, in South Vietnam and across the border.


Cross-border recon missions often led to epic gunfights, as the small SOG teams would be compromised and hunted down by devastatingly superior enemy forces. It was more common than not for a recon team to be extracted under fire and with their perimeter minutes, if not seconds, away from being overrun. "SOG operations hurt the NVA [and] impeded the shipment of supplies/soldiers south on the Ho Chi Minh Trail," John Stryker Meyer, a legendary SOG operator, told Insider. "There were also major intel coups. For example, Operation Tailwind, which saved the CIA in Thailand, produced troves of key NVA intel. 



There was also Bargewell, who found valuable intel on an NVA base camp despite having been shot in the chest," Meyer added, referring to Eldon Bargewell, who went on to be a renowned general and commander in the Army's Delta Force.

Just one day with SOG could produce a lifetime of stories. For Meyer, a veteran of two SOG deployments who has written about his hair-raising experiences, it was hard to pick the most notable moment. Despite a late-night and personal encounter with an NVA soldier in the field, Meyer's most memorable operation was when his recon team went against three NVA divisions — 30,000 men — Thanksgiving Day.

In the end, the US lost the war despite the herculean efforts of SOG and its contribution to the fight. "There were contributions that we never learned about. For example, we pulled off a few wiretaps [in the Ho Chi Minh Trail], but we never heard back from the CIA on results," Meyer said. "Getting honest answers from the Communists about SOG's impact is impossible, but you take a case like October 5, 1968, when Recon Team Alabama and its air assets were responsible for 9,000 enemy troops KIA or WIA—that had an impact on troops moving south."

As direct US involvement in the war shrank, SOG became less needed, and in 1972, it was deactivated. "Like anything else, politics interfered. Our command structure often had to fight to keep close air support units assigned to support SOG, such as the A-1 Skyraider support," Meyer said of why SOG wasn't kept after Vietnam.

But SOG alumni continued to serve, which would prove key for the future of US special-operations forces. Eight years after MACV-SOG was deactivated, the Pentagon was forced to create a similar organization. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was born after the failure to rescue the American hostages from Iran during Operation Eagle Claw.

Col. Charlie Beckwith, the founder of Delta Force and ground force commander during the mission, argued for a joint command that would bring together America's special operators. Beckwith had served in SOG and thus already had an idea of what such a command could look like, despite the enemy now being terrorists and not the NVA.

As a result, the Pentagon created US Special Operations Command, its subordinate service commands, and JSOC. JSOC contains the military's tier-one units and is considered a national strategic asset. Initially, Delta Force and SEAL Team 6, which were JSOC's counterterrorism direct-action units, were predominately manned with Vietnam veterans, several of whom had served in SOG.

Although the conditions under which JSOC was created were completely different from those in which SOG worked, they share lots of similarities. Both organizations are joint, meaning that their units came from across the military and not just from one service. Additionally, they focus on both covert and clandestine operations. They also share a close relationship with the intelligence community, often working directly for it, like on the Osama bin Laden raid, during which the SEAL Team 6 operators were nominally under CIA control.

There are divergences as well. A significant difference between the two organizations—and between the times in which they fought—is their relationship with risk. SOG leaders and operators didn't hesitate to take an extreme risk in their fight against the North Vietnamese. Indeed, several SOG operations could be considered suicidal.

Whether it was when a SOG team went after three NVA divisions or when a reinforced SOG company went deep into Laos to help the CIA, SOG operations were characterized by their high-risk level. That was reflected in SOG's 100% casualty rate, meaning every operator was either wounded, often multiple times, or killed.

Conversely, today there is a risk-averse culture, even in the most elite special-operations organizations. "You can't even enter the room if you carry a CONOP [concept of operations] similar to SOG's," a former Delta Force operator told Insider. "There is no way anyone would approve that today." "The SAR window plays a big part in that," the Delta operator said, referring to the military's requirement that troops — commandos or not — be within range of a search-and-rescue asset in case their mission goes south.

"But, to be fair, it's a very different environment. We aren't engaged in a major war like Vietnam, and our organizations are different. We're the national mission force. We can't afford the casualty rate these guys had." SOG operators agree with that view. "Every spec-ops operator I've met in recent years from today's conflicts all agree that many of the missions we ran would never be allowed today due to threat levels," Meyer added. In the end, policy limitations notwithstanding, JSOC is continuing SOG's special-operations legacy.

Article from The Business Insider

Friday, March 12, 2021

Jerry P Rainey Memorial Scholarship


The Special Forces Association Chapter IX, the Isaac Camacho Chapter is announcing that the Jerry P. Rainey Memorial Scholarship is open each year with the application window from 15 May through June 15.  In previous years, the Chapter posted new dates every year.  So the change in 2020, and going forward, is that the aforementioned dates will be consistent each year.  The application window is when the Scholarship committee will be postured to receive applications, again, is not before 15 May nor after 15 June.    

Three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each will be awarded in person, usually on the 3rd Saturday in August at VFW Post 812 in McKelligon Canyon. For the 2021 presentations, that date is 21 August 2021.

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.

The Scholarship packet request window opens 1 April of each year.  Interested applicants may request a scholarship application packet through e-mail by a request to rgrbrown583@gmail.com or bradleyguile@sbcglobal.net or through the form below.

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:

Friday, March 5, 2021

March 05 1966 - Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler hits #1 with “Ballad of the Green Berets”

Near the very height of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, on March 5, 1966, American popular-music fans made a #1 hit out of a song called “The Ballad Of The Green Berets” by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler.

Sadler was exactly what his name and uniform implied he was: a real-life, active-duty member of the United States Army Special Forces—the elite unit popularly known as the Green Berets. In early 1965, Sadler suffered a severe punji stick injury that brought a premature end to his tour of duty as a combat medic in Vietnam. During his long hospitalization back in the United States, Sadler, an aspiring musician prior to the war, wrote and submitted to music publishers an epic ballad that eventually made its way in printed form to Robin Moore, author of the then-current nonfiction book called The Green Berets. Moore worked with Sadler to whittle his 12-verse original down to a pop-radio-friendly length, and Sadler recorded the song himself in late 1965, first for distribution only within the military, and later for RCA when the original took off as an underground hit. Within two weeks of its major-label release, The Ballad of the Green Berets had sold more than a million copies, going on to become Billboard magazine’s #1 single for all of 1966.

Article from the History Page

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Son Tay Raid commander Leroy Manor dies at 100

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Leroy Joseph Manor, known for commanding the special operations raid on the Son Tay prison compound in Vietnam, died Thursday, just four days after his 100th birthday. In his nearly 35-year military career, Manor distinguished himself through service in World War II, the Vietnam era and beyond.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff appointed Manor as task force commander for a mission dubbed Operation Ivory Coast in 1970. The force was charged with the responsibility of rescuing an estimated 61 prisoners of war from torture and neglect at the hands of the North Vietnamese. The mission ended when operators discovered during the raid that the Vietnamese had previously moved the POWs, but the Son Tay Raid has continued to be recognized and studied for its exemplary planning and execution.

As the first joint military operation ever to be directly overseen by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, there was pressure on the team of 219 servicemembers to succeed, according to retired colonel John Gargus in his book, “The Son Tay Raid.” Task force members trained for months at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where Manor headed up Air Force Special Operations Force, a group that would one day evolve into Air Force Special Operations Command.

“Those SF guys revered him, which says a lot for an Air Force fighter pilot,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas Trask, who served as vice commander of SOCOM and met Manor at a Son Tay reunion and symposium. “He let them build and test the plan, and protected them along the way and ensured they had what they needed. Son Tay became a model for how we did business for decades after and was the impetus to build a real Air Force special operations command.”

Gargus, a planner for the raid and lead navigator for the assault force, fondly recalls Manor’s leadership ability throughout the operation and encouragement after the raid failed to result in rescues. That admiration is something those who were close to Manor share. “General Manor was a leader of special operations, a quiet professional, and he led by example. I would follow him to hell and back,” said former Air Force captain Norm Bild.

Born in Morrisonville, New York on Feb. 21, 1921, Manor commissioned into the Air Force as a P-47 pilot in 1943. Over the course of World War II, he flew 72 combat missions in Europe with the 358th Fighter Group, according to his Air Force biography.

One of Manor’s combat missions was providing air support for the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach, Bild told Military Times. While attempting to take out bridges to prevent the arrival of enemy armor, Manor’s plane was hit by enemy anti-aircraft weapons. His arm and leg were injured and his plane damaged, but Manor still managed to make the flight back to England to land.

Manor also served as a test pilot and a NATO operations officer in his more than 34 years of service. After commanding the Son Tay Raid, he would go on to work in the office of the Joint Chiefs and as chief of staff for PACOM.

According to his Air Force biography, Manor logged more than 6,500 flying hours and received numerous awards including a Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, a Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, and a Distinguished Service Medal for his planning of the Son Tay Raid.

For his excellence in special operations, the lieutenant general was also awarded the Bull Simons Award, inducted into the Commando Hall of Honor, and granted a commander’s award from Adm. William McRaven. The lessons of Son Tay would later influence McRaven’s planning for the raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. Manor retired from the Air Force on Jun. 1, 1978.

Following his military service, he continued to be involved in the special operations community, serving as a military advisor for Operation Eagle Claw, the 1980 attempt to rescue Americans in the Iran hostage crisis.

The lieutenant general passed away at his home in Shalimar, Florida, Bild said. Manor had been on hospice care and struggling with his health for months leading up to this death. He is survived by his daughter and two sons. “He was an incredible person. They say good things come in small packages. Physically, he was small and very soft-spoken, but the brainpower and the leadership that he possessed were phenomenal,” said Bild.

article from the Air Force Times

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Captain James Ahn Memorial Scholarship

Captain James Ahn, a graduate of UC Riverside and the Claremont McKenna College Army ROTC program, died in 2015 during a parachute training operation while participating with his unit, the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Washington State.

For all of us who knew and loved James, he will never be forgotten. He was the consummate person and professional who was respected by everyone he came in contact with. In James’ honor, the University of California Riverside is sponsoring an annual scholarship of $1,000 to a Special Forces Veteran who is working towards the completion of a higher education degree.

Requirements:

  • Former Special Forces Service Member 
  • Full time student pursuing degree/certification completion at an accredited post secondary institution including graduate school, university, college, community college, or vocational/technical institution. 
  • Applicants must complete the application in full by June 1, 2021 
The Scholarship information and online application can be accessed here: Captain James Ahn Memorial Scholarship

 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Harlem Hellfighters: The Incredible Story Behind the Most Decorated US Regiment in WWI

No matter what you think about America entering World War I, and no matter what color your skin, you can celebrate the heroic Harlem Hellfighters. They were among the best. n his Commencement Address at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University in June 1924, almost six years after World War I ended, President Calvin Coolidge paid tribute to African Americans who had fought in it: "The colored people have repeatedly proved their devotion to the high ideals of our country. They gave their services in the war with the same patriotism and readiness that other citizens did. The records of the selective draft show that somewhat more than 2,250,000 colored men were registered. The records further prove that, far from seeking to avoid participation in the national defense, they showed that they wished to enlist before the selective service act was put into operation, and they did not attempt to evade that act afterwards."

American involvement in that European calamity remains controversial to this day. Personally, I regard it as one of the two greatest foreign policy blunders since the dawn of the 20th Century (the other being the Iraq War of 2003). However, one can oppose the decisions of politicians and still admire the battlefield valor of those who carried them out.

When Woodrow Wilson and the Congress committed America to the war in April 1917, the country’s black citizens could rightfully ask (and some did), “What’s in it for us?” Wilson said America must “make the world safe for democracy” but right here at home, democracy was all too often denied to blacks. Wilson himself regarded them as second-class citizens. He promoted segregation throughout the federal government and turned a blind eye to discrimination by state and local governments.

Nonetheless, African Americans went to war, many of them hoping they might defeat both Germans abroad and racism at home if they proved themselves in battle. Coolidge’s high praise was richly earned, and no contingent of African Americans deserved it more than the US Army’s 369th Infantry, a volunteer regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters.

Where did their nickname come from? Harlem (in New York City) was home to many of the enlistees. No one seems sure, but it was either the French or the Germans who first referred to them as Hellfighters because of the fierceness with which they fought. And none fought more ferociously than Henry Johnson. On one night in the Argonne Forest, Johnson endured 21 wounds as he killed four Germans in hand-to-hand combat and rescued a fellow American—all in a matter of minutes. An entire platoon of 28 German soldiers scattered and fled at the sight of Johnson’s prowess.



Formed from a New York National Guard unit, the men of the 369th learned basic military practices at Camp Whitman, New York, before being sent to Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for combat training. They were not welcomed by many of the locals there, and some were subjected to discrimination and vile epithets for no more reason than their color. In December 1917, they were shipped to France where they expected to see action on the front lines.

Their high spirits were quickly dashed when it became apparent the Army did not want to deploy them for anything other than manual labor, far from the fighting. Even the rifles they brought with them were confiscated by US Army officials.

The commander of the American Expeditionary Force, General John J. Pershing, was reluctant to commit any US troops to the front until he felt he had assembled them in sufficient numbers to ensure victory. The French, meanwhile, were desperate for manpower. Finally bowing to French pressure, Pershing gave them the 369th. While some regarded black troops as expendable, they ultimately proved themselves indispensable.

Consider this amazing record of the Harlem Hellfighters: No American unit experienced more time in combat than they did—no less than 191 days under fire. They never lost an inch of ground. The enemy never captured a single of their number. They suffered the highest casualty rate of any US regiment. None deserted. The grateful French bestowed their highest military honor, the Croix de Guerre, upon the entire regiment. Many individuals of the regiment received the US Army’s second-highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross. Posthumously, Henry Johnson received America’s Medal of Honor in 2015. The 369th ended up as the most decorated US regiment of the war.

Another distinguishing feature of the Harlem Hellfighters was their band, the largest and best-known of any regiment. Its leader was James Reese Europe, whose enlistment in 1917 proved to be a boon for recruitment. He was one of America’s best-known black musicians and others like Noble Sissle, who became Europe’s lieutenant and lead vocalist, were eager to serve with him.

Europe’s band was extremely popular with the French, even when Europe introduced his own arrangement of La Marseillaise, France’s national anthem. The Hellfighters’ band brought both jazz and ragtime music to France, where nobody had heard either before.

James Reese Europe was tragically murdered in May 1919 by a disgruntled band member. Sissle went on to great fame in music and stage. He formed a life-long partnership with black musician Eubie Blake. The musical that the two of them produced in 1921, Shuffle Along, ran for more than 500 performances on Broadway and is credited with igniting the magnificent flowering of culture we know as the Harlem Renaissance.

No story of the Harlem Hellfighters, which I encourage readers to explore through the links provided below, would be complete without a mention of a white man, Col. William Hayward, a native of Nebraska. Hayward served as the regiment’s commander from its inception. He was a champion of black soldiers and loved by his men, in whom Hayward never lost faith. He was an unwavering defender of equal rights for all colors. When the 369th returned to New York in 1919, it was Hayward (not Wilson or Pershing) who ensured there would be a massive parade to welcome them. That reception by cheering throngs in the streets of New York was a glorious moment of racial harmony.

No matter what you think about America entering World War I, and no matter what color your skin, you can celebrate the heroic Harlem Hellfighters. They were among the best.



article from Foundation for Economic Education

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Slain Green Beret receives Silver Star four years after attack in Jordan

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends ~ John 15:13

Army Staff Sgt. James Moriarty shouted in Arabic for the gate guard at the entrance to Jordan’s King Faisal Air Base to stop firing at him and a fellow Green Beret. But the gunman, armed with an M-16 rifle, ignored the pleas and charged the two Americans anyway. Moriarty, crouched near a barricade, leaned forward and was shot twice as he fired his own pistol directly at the Jordanian, who, unlike the Americans, was wearing body armor. Moriarty’s final actions on Nov. 4, 2016, captured by surveillance footage, allowed the other Green Beret to dart around, fire a complete magazine from his Glock 19 and severely wound the assailant. That ended a five-minute attack that still lacks a clear motive but resulted in the deaths of three Green Berets, all of whom were in Jordan training Syrian fighters on behalf of the CIA. Photo at top right shows SSG James Moriarty during Combat Diver training wearing a close circuit underwater breathing apparatus.

“When that asshole comes around the back of that truck with the M-16 blazing, my son stands up in full view and takes him on,” said Moriarty’s father, Jim Moriarty, during a telephone call. “He was one of the most extraordinary human beings I’ve ever known, and I mourn him every day.” “I will tell you that I think Miller was responsible for this (the award),” said Jim Moriarty, adding that he only learned his son would receive the Silver Star about two weeks ago. Before then, “we were stopped dead in our tracks.”

The medal was awarded to the family Wednesday during a ceremony in Houston, which coincided with Moriarty’s birthday. Four years after the attack, a Silver Star medal was finally approved for Moriarty, largely thanks to his former commander, now-Brig. Gen. Kevin Leahy, and actions taken over the past few months by recently departed acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, according to Moriarty’s father.

Miller, a retired Green Beret colonel, served in 5th Special Forces Group, the unit to which Moriarty and the other two fallen soldiers — Staff Sgt. Matthew Lewellen and Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe — were assigned. The Pentagon did not respond to queries about why it took four years to approve the valor award for a soldier whose actions were caught on film and specifically credited by a U.S. Special Operations Command investigation with helping to save the life of another U.S. soldier. “This award is long overdue and I don’t care what their excuse was for not granting it. It should have been awarded three years ago,” said Moriarty’s father, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War.

Moriarty grew up in the Houston area and majored in economics at the University of Texas at Austin before he enlisted in 2011. Joining the military was a surprise to his father, but Moriarty was the kind of person who often defied expectations, like when it came to running. He was “built like a beer can,” his father said. “But he was a beer can that could run like a gazelle.” “He got up off the sofa after being out drinking all night and ran his first half marathon in an hour and 28 minutes,” the elder Moriarty recalled. “He wanted, above all, to be Special Forces, and he did brilliantly going through the Q Course, all of that training. But he had no ego.”

Family members of the three slain Green Berets have been engaged in legal battles with the Kingdom of Jordan and written to members of Congress in an attempt to secure the extradition of the Jordanian gate guard, Sgt. Ma’arik al-Tawayha, who was sentenced in 2017 by a Jordanian court to life in prison for the killings. "Part of why I’m demanding his extradition is because I want him interviewed again about what happened. And maybe this time we’ll get the full story,” the elder Moriarty previously told Army Times.

In the months following the attack, Jordan — a country that receives billions of dollars in defense aid from the United States — issued a series of shifting explanations. Jordanians alleged the Americans did not follow proper protocol when entering the base, that they had been drinking and that a loud noise instigated the gate guard’s lethal action.

All of those explanations were dismissed by the SOCOM investigation, but no clear motive for the shooting has been identified publicly. A criminal investigation report requested by Army Times through the Freedom of Information Act was withheld by the FBI on the grounds that releasing it could interfere with ongoing criminal proceedings.

The FBI was similarly guarded with the surveillance video, which proved that the Jordanians’ original explanations for the attack were false, according to Jim Moriarty. “You cannot imagine what it’s like to see the last few moments of your beloved son’s life. But I had to fight to get that video released, because the FBI agreed not to release the video with the Jordanians,” said the elder Moriarty, who is also an attorney in the Houston area.

Jordanian officials ruled out terrorism in the case, and al-Tawayha pleaded not guilty at trial. He maintained that he felt no animosity toward the Americans and opened fire because he believed the base was coming under attack. The five-minute encounter began when a group of American soldiers returned to King Faisal Air Base from mortar training. The surveillance footage shows multiple attempts by the Americans to de-escalate the situation by shouting their friendly intentions in Arabic and waving their hands.

The Jordanians waved the first of their four trucks through the gate, and a guard is seen on the video raising a gate. Al-Tawayh, who was in the guard shack, then opened fire on the second truck, containing two of the Green Berets. Numerous shots were fired at close range through that truck’s windshield, killing McEnroe and leaving Lewellen fatally incapacitated. The Jordanian guard who removed the roadblocks dove for cover. Though he did not participate in the attack, he appeared to do nothing to help the Americans stop it.

The video was not screened at al-Tawayha’s trial, and he did not receive the death penalty, as some of the slain Green Berets’ family members wanted. In Jordan, the death penalty is typically reserved for terrorism cases or for murders that are coupled with another crime, according to the Associated Press.

For Moriarty’s father, though, the video does more than exonerate the three slain Green Berets. It shows the man his son grew up to become. “In the last five minutes of that video, I see a young man who was smart, engaged, present, wary and protective of the surviving [Green Beret],” the father said. “He had a backbone of steel and was utterly unafraid of the challenge he took on.”

Article from Army Times

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Navy SEAL gets 10 years in strangulation death of Army Green Beret staff sergeant

A Navy SEAL who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the hazing death of a Green Beret staff sergeant while deployed to Africa has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, forfeiture of pay, reduction to E-1 and a dishonorable discharge. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Tony E. DeDolph was one of four men charged in the death of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar (see picture at right) in Bamako, Mali, on June 4, 2017. He pleaded guilty earlier this month rather than go to trial.

DeDolph is the third defendant to plead guilty in the death of Melgar, and all three have agreed to testify against the fourth defendent, a Marine Raider. Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 1. He faces felony murder charges along with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, assault, hazing and burglary. If convicted of the murder charge, he would face a life sentence. “While this was a guilty plea, to say we are disappointed about the sentence would be an understatement of epic proportions,” Phillip Stackhouse, DeDolph’s attorney, wrote in an email to Military Times.

Stackhouse noted that the jury deliberated on his client’s sentence for less time than it took the attorneys for both sides to argue their respective points. “… {I]t would have been virtually impossible for them to do more than a cursory review of the significant volume of evidence given to them just when they began,” he wrote. Since jury deliberations are confidential, however, what was reviewed and why the jury handed down the sentence it did will likely remain unknown, Stackhouse wrote.

DeDolph faced a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison on the manslaughter charge. Through their attorneys and testimony, the former chief and his co-defendants have maintained that Melgar’s death was unintentional and the entire episode was a hazing incident gone tragically wrong. Fellow SEAL Navy Chief SWO Adam C. Matthews and Marine Raider Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr., who had originally been charged with murder, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in 2019.

Matthews, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, obstruction of justice, unlawful entry and hazing, received one-year confinement and a bad conduct discharge. Maxwell pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, hazing and making false official statements and received four years in prison.

All four defendents and Melgar were deployed to Mali to support counterterrorism operations in coordination with the U.S. Embassy there. The men lived in offsite housing, where the incident occurred. DeDolph, Matthews and Maxwell all said that they, along with Madera-Rodriguez, planned ahead of time to break into Melgar’s room, duct tape him and video record him in a sexually embarrassing act.

The four planned their attack during an all-night bar-hopping and drinking session. At around 5 a.m., they used a sledgehammer to bust open Melgar’s door and surprise him as he slept. DeDolph, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, subdued Melgar, placing him in a choke hold.

The other men held down Melgar’s arms and legs and began to duct tape him, according to testimony. But seconds after being put in the choke hold, Melgar stopped breathing. The men later told investigators they immediately started lifesaving aid, but Melgar died a short time later at a medical facility.

The four men agreed to lie about what happened, with the two SEALs claiming they were doing “combatives” training with Melgar when he stopped breathing and not mentioning the Raiders’ involvement. The entire incident was in retaliation for a perceived slight and ongoing tension between Melgar and some of the other men. Melgar had told his wife in messages that he was fed up with juvenile behavior by some of the other team members, hated the deployment and wanted to come home.

Article from Army Times