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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Patriot’s Day – Remembering The Opening Shots Of The American Revolution

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

While some may argue that the Boston Massacre marks the beginning of the Revolutionary War due to the deaths of the Colonists, the events of April 19th, 1775 mark the first shots from an American Army, on British troops, starting a war that would last for over eight years and see the ascendency of the American Eagle over this land we now call the United States.

This battle is also where we draw our concept of the iconic Minute Man from.

Each Patriot’s Day, I remember those men at Concord and consider what it must have been for them to stand there together, in the face of the world’s greatest army and take up arms in the defense of their colony from oppression.

This militia came together on that morning to protect their arms from seizure by an oppressive government. That is a fact. It’s not meant to be inflammatory or support an agenda, but it will upset some nevertheless.

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“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
-John Parker
Captain of Militia

As the initial volleys of fire were exchanged near daybreak on Lexington Green, colonial volunteers fell back in the face of over 500 occupying British troops. But as the battle moved on to Concord, the tide turned, and the redcoats were routed as more and more colonists joined the fray.

The British troops retreated through Concord where they were reinforced. Despite boasting a strength of 1700 men, they remained no match for the determined colonists who forced them to retreat to the safety of Charlestown in Boston. The militiamen continued their pursuit which transformed into the Siege of Boston.

Today, join me in remembering those American warriors who pledged their lives to give us our hard fought freedoms and this great land.

An Imprecise History of the USASASODS

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Organic to each of the US Army’s Special Forces Groups are small teams of Signal Intelligence specialists operating in teams called Special Operations Team – Alpha or SOT-A. These in turn are supported by fewer still SOT-Bs. I served on a SOT-A from 1990-96 in 2nd Bn, 3td SFG(A). The SOTs-A are the direct descendants of the United States Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachments (USASASODs). While other SOF components have just recently stood up SIGINT support elements, SF has had the capability since before the Vietnam War.


Photograph: The 403rd SOD courier run – Plei Ku to Kontum – 1968 (Photo: INSCOM)

What follows is an “imprecise” history of thier existence from an ASA veteran website.

AN IMPRECISE HISTORY OF THE USASASODS

In the history of mankind, there are fleeting moments of time where, by fate or good judgement on the part of someone, a group of people are brought together at the most appropriate time and place or places to form extraordinary military units.

One such fleeting moment of history, was the formation and life cycle of an extraordinary military unit called the United States Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment, more commonly referred to as the ASASOD.

One may ask why the ASASODs were called extraordinary and not elite. There are many elite military organizations such as the Roman Legions, Merrill’s Marauders, Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, etc., however, there are few extraordiary units such as the ASASODs.

Why were the SODs extraordinary? Certainly, the timing was there and so were the places. But, the thing that really made the SOD an extraordinary unit was the people… good Special Forces soldiers…good technicians…loyal, dedicated, brave men…but, most of all, trusted and true friends.

The first SOD was originally formed at Vint Hill Farms Station, VA and relocated to FT Bragg, NC during the summer of 1960 with the 5th and 7th SFG(A)s. Later in 1960, units were organized and located in Okinawa with the 1st SFG(A) and Bad Toelz, GE with the 10th SFG(A). These original SODs were then designated as the 1st (1st SF), 2d (10th SF), 3d (7th SF), and 4th (5th SF) Operational Detachments of the 80th USASA Special Operations Unit (80th USASASOU).

In 1962 these Operational Detachments of the 80th SOU were redesignated as USASA Radio Research Units (RRUs); the 10th RRU (400th SOD) 1st SFG(A), and the 11th RRU (401st SOD) 8th SFG(A) was created, 12th RRU (402d SOD) 10th SFG(A), and the 13th RRU (403d SOD) 5th SFG(A).

During 1963 the units were again redesignated to the final designations we know them as today; the 400th ASASOD, 1st SFG(A); 401st ASASOD, 8th SFG(A); 402d ASASOD, 10th SFG(A); 403d ASASOD, 5th SFG(A) until Jan 64, 7th SFG(A) until Jan 65, and then to the 3d SFG(A) until the 403d’s deployment to RVN with the 5th SFG(A) in 1966.

The SODs remained the same from 1966 until the post-Viet Nam stand down of Special Forces during the early 1970s. With the stand down of the 5th SFG(A) in Viet Nam, the 403d was deactivated and was never again reactivated. On deactivation of the 8th SFG(A) in Panama, the 401st was deactivated for a short while and later reactivated with the 7th SFG(A) at Ft Bragg, NC. In 1974, on deactivation of the 1st SFG(A), the 400th was redeployed from Okinawa to Ft Bragg with the 5th SFG(A). The 402d redeployed from Germany with the 10th SFG(A) to Ft Devens, MA.

The official end of the USASASODs as United States Army Security Agency units came with the deactivation of HQs, USASA and conversion to Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) organizations in December, 1976. However, even after the designation of USASA, the SODs continued to carry the ASASOD unit designations into the early 1980s when they were redesignated as Military Combat Intelligence Companies.

High Cut Helmet Designs Have Been Around For A Long Time

Monday, April 17th, 2017

What we currently refer to as high cut helmets were once commonplace. For instance, during the Roman era, many versions of the Galea or helmet featured cut outs for the ear.


(photo from Roman Hideout)

Even in the modern era, the US Army experimented with the concept during the Vietnam conflict.

This photo, taken in August, 1969 at Camp Pickett, VA, depicts a Soldier wearing a Lightweight Individual Clothing And Equipmen (LINCLOE) helmet prototype. Several versions were evaluated, made from nylon or titanium.

There’s So Much To Love Here

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

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Quantico Tactical Offering SEAL 50th Anniversary SIG MK25 Pistols

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

These highly customized Sig Sauer MK25 pistols commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the US Navy SEALs.

Features:
• Custom, High Luster Finished Sig MK25 Pistol
• Meticulously Cut Scroll Work
• Engraved with Gold Inlay:
o “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday” on Right Side of Slide
o “1962 – 50th Anniversary – 2012” on Left Side of Slide
• SEAL Emblem in Custom Hogue Grips
• Available Exclusively from Quantico Tactical while supplies last

Price: $975

These commemorative pistols are only available to active, reserve and retired SEALs and UDT Members who preceded the SEALs. Please note there is a eligibility verification process. Available via their website or in their stores.

Quantico Tactical manages the Commemorative Weapon Program for Sig Sauer and Smith and Wesson. Quantico is also the leading Military/LE Program weapon reseller for SIG, Smith & Wesson, FN, Beretta and IWI. To design a commemorative weapon or to organize a group buy for your unit, contact Quantico Tactical at www.quanticotactical.com/CommemorativeWeapons.

Jim Schatz – Caseless Ammunition Small Arms

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Late last week we lost Jim Schatz, a true expert in the small arms community. Jim was a presenter at many a NDIA Small Arms Conference and this briefing to the 2012 meeting on Caseless Ammunition Small Arms, is one of his best. Click on the image below to read the briefing slides. While Jim’s discussion is missing, he would always offer some great slides, packed with info. There’s a lot going on with Small Arms these days and we’re going to dip into some of it this week, so consider this a read ahead.

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www.dtic.mil/ndia/2012/armaments/Wednesday13614JimSchatz

PPTranger Puts The Modern Profession Of Arms Into Perspective 

Monday, March 13th, 2017

pptranger.blogspot.com

This Day In AFSOC History

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

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On this Day in 1991: The AC-130A Spectre “Azrael” was sent to the Al Jahra highway between Kuwait City and Basrah, Iraq, to intercept the convoys of tanks, trucks, buses and cars fleeing the battle. Facing numerous enemy batteries of SA-6 and SA-8 surface-to-air missiles, and 37mm and 57mm radar-guided anti-aircraft artillery, the crew attacked the enemy skillfully, inflicting significant damage on the convoys. Learn more here thanks to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Lowe Vector Catalog

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, Lowe Alpine Systems offered a military line of packs called Vector. I owned a Woodland LCS-85 pack which is similar to the LCS-84 seen here, but I had also used an OD LOCO at 3ID LRS. LOCOs are rarely found with the rappelling harness as those were used long after the packs were discarded. These are pages from their catalog from the mid-80s.

“In 1978 in response to their experience in the U.S. Special Forces, Greg and Mike Lowe began designing to the needs of the U.S. Army and Marines as well as search and rescue organizations. Today, based on wide ranging input from outdoorsmen, hunters, rescue groups, SWAT teams and the military, Vector has become the leader in backpack design and innovation.”


“Soviet And Mujahideen Uniforms, Clothing And Equipment Of The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989”

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Published in 2016, “Soviet And Mujahideen Uniforms, Clothing And Equipment Of The Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989” by Zammis Schein catalogs the author’s extensive collection of wartime artifacts.

The 500-page volume contains every conceivable variant of Soviet uniform, including armor crew, aircrew, infantry and spetznaz as well as women’s ensembles.

Mujahideen clothing has also been catalogued. Much of it will be quite familiar to those who have served in Afghanistan. In fact, that’s where the author began his collection, while working as an interpreter.

The collection is certainly impressive and includes inert models of the infamous PFM-1 “Butterfly” landmine.

Additionally, the author has included pocket litter such as ID cards, letters and other ephemera.

The book has value as a reference document but I wish it had also featured the historical images depicting the equipment in use which were used by the author to validate the items.

You can get your copy from www.amazon.com.