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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Museum Becomes Army Special Operations Forces Museum

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — With the arrival of a new year, part of a new command vision will soon take place in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) footprint.

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command initiated a plan to reinvigorate the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum. As a result, the museum is temporarily closed to the public while a complete historical inventory is conducted to identify and catalogue items. This will ensure a better understanding of the state of artifacts available to students and Soldiers, and to identify gaps in the history of Special Forces (SF), Civil Affairs (CA) and Psychological Operations (PSYOP).

Upon reopening, tentatively at the end of February, the former U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum will be renamed as the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) Museum. It will still provide support to the Special Warfare Center and Schools as well as all of the subordinate commands and units under the USASOC umbrella.

“The former SWCS Museum, now the ARSOF Museum, has been reorganized under USASOC to fully represent all of USASOC’s equities,” said Dr. Michael Krivdo, U.S. Special Army Operations Command Historian.

The idea of the reorganization is to take ownership of ARSOF’s proud history and to get artifacts into the hands of Soldiers by intellectually engaging students and Soldiers in areas where they congregate. It is intended to keep artifacts on display engaging, relevant, and fresh.

“Where the ‘old’ museum construct focused only on artifacts and displays at one fixed location, and only featured SF, CA, and PSYOP, the ‘new’ reorganized museum provides museum support for all the subordinate units which fall within the whole ARSOF enterprise,” Krivdo added.

“The ARSOF Museum will expand to include artifacts and exhibits of the Ranger Regiment and the Army Special Operations Aviation Command, which were previously not included in the current museum as it was tied to the regiments that are assessed, trained and educated at SWCS; these are the Green Berets, PSYOP and CA Soldiers,” said Janice Burton, a spokesperson for the Special Warfare Center and School.

Staff Sgt. Keren Solano, a spokesperson for the Special Warfare Center and School said, “It also serves to illustrate the unique and specialized part played by all aspects of the Army Special Operations community both in conflict and during crucial roles in peacetime. The museum has also proven itself to be a valuable recruiting catalyst.”

The updated look and feel of the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Museum will leverage technology by making displays hands-on and ideally, three dimensional. Active duty students and Soldiers are the ‘center of the bullseye’ as the target audience. The content will focus on informing and educating them about the dynamic history of Army Special Operations.

“This would not only include students, Soldiers assigned to operational units, and support units, but their families and retirees as well,” she added.

With the museum set to have a new name and broader scope of information, U.S. Army Special Operations Command is setting the stage for the implementation of a vision of immersing Soldiers and students in the organizational heritage and history.

By SGT Larry Barnhill, USASOC Public Affairs Office

SCUBAPRO Sunday Lionel “Buster” Crabbe

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

I have showed this before, but January 26th is Busters birthday, so I thought I would show it again. Buster is the father of combat diving in the UK. Happy Birthday Buster. The below link is his story and the one below that is the movie The Silent Enemy.



Air Cop Combatives

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

From the 1964 pamphlet “Air Police Combat Preparedness Personal Protection”

The History of: The US Army CCU (Close Combat Uniform) | Uniform History

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

This video on the history of the Close Combat Uniform by Uniform History is pretty cool.

Mystery Ranch at 20

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

I recently had the pleasure to write a 20th anniversary monograph on Mystery Ranch. Below is a little taste. If you want to see the whole thing, go here.

The MYSTERY RANCH we know today is the distillation of time and space. It has taken more than 20 years of trial and error to get where it is today, and it couldn’t exist anywhere but Bozeman, Montana. But if you remove the location, the product, and even the people, you are left with a state of mind. Known lovingly as the “Ranch,” it’s developed from beyond just a brand, into a culture forged by shared experiences, bringing together individuals from all over to create something more than just great packs.

As businesses grow, things must change. It’s often hard, but necessary to maintain a functioning company. There’s a general consensus that although change happens, it’s for the best, and new processes and procedures are implemented in a way that everyone can live with.

“We are fucking freaks for Manufacturing.” -Dana Gleason

With a name inspired by a long-forgotten black and white television show, MYSTERY RANCH is nothing without its people. Ultimately, the Ranchers and their disparate backgrounds have come together to embrace the unique culture of MYSTERY RANCH, making it the worldwide success it is today.

It’s been a great 20 years. Here’s to 20 more.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Australian Z and M Special Units WWII

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

I wanted to something for our brother in Australia, they are the only country that has supported the U.S. in every war we have been in since WWI. When I was growing up, “Attack Force Z” was and still is, one of my favorite movies. I have always wanted to be inserted by Klepper kayaks and blow up ships in harbor or an old bridge. 

SOE-Australia (SOA) was a WWII Special Forces and covert operations organization operating in the Pacific theater behind Japanese lines. It was made up of men and women from Australian, British, New Zealand, Canadian, South African, Indonesian, Timorese and Malay. SOA fought a secret, undercover war against the Japanese occupying force on the islands north of Australia. With the success of the British SOE unit in the European theater, Winston Churchill ordered that a similar unit be formed in the pacific. SOA was made up from many different units like the Royal Australian Navy’s  Coastwatcher’s, a propaganda unit the Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO), the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/SIA), a Dutch East Indies intelligence unit (NEFIS), the United States’ Philippine Regional Section (PRS, operating in the southern Philippines) and an Australian/British Special Operations group, which was to carry out missions behind enemy lines. The SOA took part in hundreds of covert operations against the Japanese and were directly responsible for eliminating thousands of enemy troops and sinking tons of ships and supplies, they paid a high price with more than eighty SOA commandos losing their lives. To maintain security, the SOA was given a cover name – Inter-Allied Services Department (IASD, mostly referred to as the ISD). It had British SOE agents that had escaped Singapore and the Dutch East Indies before it fell to the Japanese. That helped get it up and running.

SOA operators could operate in parties as small as two men, ISD Operatives faced overwhelming odds against a barbaric and increasingly desperate enemy. They conducted similar operations as many other SF groups in WWII. From Jedburgh’s type of missions (training indigenous guerrilla forces) to conduct direct action missions and raiding targets of opportunity. They also performed special reconnaissance missions close to enemy forces behind the lines.

The ISD men kept quiet about their exploits for over 50 years, and even today, the full story has never really been made public. The whole story of ISD operations during WWII is one that has been largely overlooked and misunderstood for the past 75 years. One of the main reasons for this is the misunderstanding that ISD was named Z or M Special Unit. The Z and M just referred to their administrative arm of the units. Z Special Unit was also used for requisitioning stores and transport through Australian Army channels. There are cases where Colonels were removed from transport aircraft to make room for ISD Corporals. Such was the administrative power of the Z Special Unit. So, this is how it was broken down, for Australian Army personnel and civilians assigned to ISD, and later to SRD, and as such, Z Special Unit appears on the service records of every Australian soldier who was assigned to either of those organizations. Another reason for some of the confusion is that in early 1943 the SOA was giving a new code name the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD), and the term SOA was only to be used at the highest level. Z Special Unit does not appear on the service records of RAAF, RAN or British, NZ, Canadian, or South African personnel assigned to ISD or SRD since they weren’t enlisted in the Australian Army. However, Z Special Unit or Z Force became a common term in the post-war years, even among SRD Veterans. Although it is historically inaccurate to refer to the Special Operations as Z Special Unit. So, where do M Special units fit in? During the war an Allied Special Forces Reconnaissance Team under the command of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD.) It was the successor of the Coastwatcher’s unit. Raised in Queensland, Australia, in 1943, the unit operated behind enemy lines for long periods in the Pacific theatre, collecting intelligence such as enemy troop movements and shipping details. It was disbanded at the end of the war in 1945.  

Unlike its sister unit, M Special Unit wasn’t as well known for direct action missions. Z Special Unit was comprised of about 81 members and generally inserted via small boat, submarine, or airplane and conducted quick hit and run missions. They would also conduct intelligence-gathering operations. M Special Unit, on the other hand, operated behind enemy lines for extended periods and did long-range intelligence collection; as such, they tried to go undetected and, as such rarely engage the enemy.  

Also, all personal assigned to ISD were still listed as attached to the parent unit they came from. The reason for this was to help maintain secrecy. It was also used as a way to hide the funding for the ISD. As one of the best ways to keep something secret is never to show that money is going to them. The units never had an official insignia. You will often see a Z of M with a dagger through it. This was not made until 1970 and unfortunately, is mistaken for the units WWII symbol. 

One of ISD/SRD’s most famous Operations was called Jaywick. They used a 68-ton wooden ship. British authorities had seized the Kofuku Maru in Singapore following Japan’s entry into the war. In 1943 she was renamed Krait and assigned to the SRD. The objective of Operation Jaywick was for SRD members to attack Japanese shipping in Singapore. SRD commandos paddled into Singapore harbor in kayaks and attached limpet mines to Japanese enemy shipping. The stealthy raiders sank seven ships and about 39,000 tons of supplies and equipment before escaping home to Australia. By the time they returned nearly seven weeks later, the crew of 14 had carried out one of the most successful clandestine raids in Australian history. Throughout the war, the 70-foot wooden-hulled boat involved in the Jaywick raid, MV Krait, sank more shipping than any other ship in the Australian navy.  

In a subsequent mission to Jaywick called Operation Rimau, the raiding party was detected by the enemy, hunted down and executed. Seventeen of SRD members lie in graves at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore. In Operation Copper, eight men landed on an island off New Guinea to disable enemy guns before the Allied landing. Discovered by the Japanese, three commandos were captured, tortured, and executed. Four others escaped and fled out to sea, but only one made it home.

No matter what their name was or what they are called now, the units of WWII are the forefathers of today’s Special Forces in Australian and New Zealand and helped end the war.


Admiral Inman’s Rules

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Bobby Ray Inman is a retired Navy Admiral. An Officer Candidate School graduate and the first Naval Intelligence Officer to earn four stars as a Flag Officer. During the 1970s and into the early 80s, ADM Inman served as Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. Interestingly, he held these last two posts simultaneously for a period, pushing the two agencies to work more closely. He did this by sending memos back and forth to himself, approving them as he went along.

In response to the Beirut bombings of the US Embassy and Marine Barracks, ADM Inman chaired a commission on improving security at U.S. foreign installations.

Some SSD readers may know him for sitting in the Board of Directors of Academi, a corporation formerly known as Blackwater.

His list of rules are well known within the Intelligence Community and may seem at first glance only suited for senior officers working in Washington. While some are specific to that unique arena, many should be implemented immediately upon starting a career and consistently throughout.

1. Conservation of enemies.

2. When you are explaining you are losing.

3. Something too good to believe probably is just that, untrue.

4. Go to the Hill alone.

5. Wisdom in Washington is having much to say and knowing when not to say it.

6. Never sign for anything.

7. The only one looking out for you is you.

8. If you think your enemy is stupid, think again.

9. Never try to fool yourself.

10. Never go into a meeting without knowing what the outcome is going to be.

11. Don’t change what got you to where you are just to get to the next place.

12. Intelligence is knowing what the enemy doesn’t want you to know.

13. Nothing changes faster than yesterday’s vision of the future.

14. Intelligence users are looking for what is going to happen, not what has already occurred.

15. It is much harder to convince someone they are wrong than it is to convince them they are right.

16. For Intelligence Officers in particular there is no substitute for the truth.

17. By the time intelligence gets back to a user with the answer the question usually has changed.

18. Always know your blind spots, get help to cover them.

19. The first report is usually wrong, act but understand more is to come and it will be different.

20. You can never know too much about the enemy.

21. Tell what you know, tell what you don’t know, tell what it means.

22. Tell them what you are going to say, tell them, then tell them what you told them, they might remember something.

23. Never have more than three points.

24. Never follow lunch or an animal act.

25. Believe is correct, intelligence officers never feel.

26. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

27. Boredom is the enemy, not the time to any briefing.

28. If you can’t summarize it on one page, your can’t sell it to anyone.

29. Always allow time to consider what the enemy wants me to think, is he succeeding or am I?

30. If you can’t add value, get out of the way.

Vintage Training Film – Special Forces Foreign Weapons Demonstration

Sunday, January 5th, 2020