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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

MARSOC Takes Certification Exercise To The Next Level

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Marine Forces Special Operations Command recently concluded a series of exercises in the Gulf Coast region aimed at streamlining integration of forces at various command levels. The three-10-day exercises were a collaborative effort between MARSOC, governmental agencies and other stakeholders to evaluate Marine Special Operations units deploying in support of Theater Special Operations Commands and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces across the globe.

RAVEN Unit Readiness Exercise serves as the certification exercise for a soon-to-be deploying Marine Special Operations Company. It has evolved into a multilevel venue to integrate the various command structures and capabilities deployed by MARSOC. Each level of command, down to the team, is challenged in planning and executing, and command and controlling activities in urban environments. Through RAVEN, the MARSOC commander ensures operational readiness and capability of Marine Special Operations Forces to conduct special operations missions across a range of military operations and domains. It tests Marine Raiders’ individual and collective abilities to synchronize operations, activities, and actions in the information environment with those in the physical environment to affect decision making and mission planning.

Since its inception in 2012, the unit readiness exercise has become increasingly complex. What was originally done at Fort Irwin, Calif., has expanded to several locations throughout Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Teams were spread across a 100-mile area, with the exercise operations center at the National Guard Base in Gulfport, Miss. The decentralized approach is intended to mimic the challenges in communication, planning and logistics when evaluating considerations for mission execution.

“RAVEN’s scenario design incorporates current and future dynamics the joint force may encounter to present exercise participants challenges across the range of military operations,” according to a former company commander, now the special operations officer in charge of the entirety of training execution. “Within this, participants must account for the implications of tactical actions across operational and strategic levels. The great thing about RAVEN is that it lets a unit execute full spectrum operations in a realistic military training environment without any requirements to support the exercise.”

It is also an opportunity to enhance collaboration and strengthen our operational relationships between members of the SOF community, conventional Marine Corps units and other partners with whom Marine Raiders work closely, ensuring MARSOC provides the nation with an agile, adaptive force to meet the complex demands of the future operating environment.

“RAVEN incorporates lessons learned from academia, the joint force, and redeploying MARSOC units to maintain a realistic and current exercise. The [Exercises, Training and Education Branch] consistently seeks incorporation of experimental and new technology, equipment, and TTPs into the exercise providing exposure to the force, and testing and evaluation feedback under simulated real-world conditions,” said the OIC. “This enables the exercise the ability to immediately implement the Commander’s initiatives while quickly adapting to emerging indicators of the future operating environment.”

The exercise also capitalizes on the opportunity to further streamline the integration of other SOF and conventional forces.

“SOF are inherently reliant on support from joint forces across conventional and SOF formations. Conventional forces gain the exposure and experience of working aside SOF units and the joint force improves interoperability with both SOF and conventional forces. As Marines, [Raiders] are intimately familiar with the task organized Marine Air-Ground Task Force concept. Our understanding of the MAGTF, and both USMC and SOCOM concept allow us to improve institutional and operational cooperation through interdependence, interoperability and integration with conventional forces,” said the former company commander.

For this particular exercise, MARSOF integrated with conventional Marine Corps assets from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion from 2nd Marine Division and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion from 1st Marine Division. There was also integration of Air Force Special Operations Command assets from the 73rd and 319th Special Operations Squadrons, and the 178th Attack Squadron; and Army Special Operations Task Force. These units were able to come together and execute missions beginning at the target development phase all the way through mission execution.

“This is the kind of stuff you envision when you join the Marine Corps,” said one of the platoon commanders from 3rd AABN. “You can see the added excitement and engagement from my Marines who are getting the added exposure to infantry skills that may have some carry over for when we have to operate with infantry Marines in the future,” he added. His team of 15 Marines conducted weapons familiarization, close quarters battle drills and planned and executed a raid with the MSOT they were attached to.

For the MAGTF Marines, the training conducted at RAVEN provides exposure to small unit tactics they might not otherwise receive, particularly units like 3rd AABN, whose day-to-day responsibilities are focused on amphibious assault vehicle readiness, basic formations and water ops, and terrain driving.

At the MARSOC company level, RAVEN is the last in a series of training evolutions within the 180-day training cycle an MSOC will execute in preparation for deployment. At this point, units are refining and streamlining processes. Considerations for mobility, sustainment, and logistics all require additional planning and coordination, according to a critical skills operator and team chief evaluated during this RAVEN series.

Having first participated in RAVEN as a sergeant, the gunnery sergeant has seen the exercise grow in scale and complexity, providing units the ability to execute the full range of special operations core tasks, special insertion skills, and missions against an opposing force.

“The command has invested quite a bit of time and money into making the training challenging and realistic,” he said. While there are still role players, the scenario is much more developed, requiring in-depth analysis in developing possible targets.”

According to this team chief, another aspect that has improved is the extent of the integration of mentor-evaluators and Exercise Control Group into the training.

“It is an opportunity for the team to cross-pollinate [tactics, techniques and procedures] from units across MARSOC. We all have the same baseline, but it comes to identifying gaps and refining efficiencies, down to things as simple as naming conventions,” he said. “Having been a mentor-evaluator and seeing teams go through the stress of the exercise, it is eye-opening to have that outsider’s perspective. It can be time-consuming, but it spreads the learning across the entirety of the exercise.”

MARSOC conducts the RAVEN series several times a year, alternating locations from the Gulf Coast Region and the Kentucky-Tennessee border two to three times per year, with the next one being conducted in April, 2020.

Story and Photos by Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney , Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Additional Photos by Photo by Lance Cpl. Elias Pimentel. Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

SOFWERX – Family of Special Operations Vehicles Autonomous and Automated Mobility Capability Collaboration Event

Friday, December 6th, 2019

The SOFWERX Family of Special Operations Vehicles Autonomous and Automated Mobility Capability Collaboration Event will be held 19-20 February 2020. Request to Attend NLT 10 January 2020.

USSOCOM is looking for Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) to help explore, define and prioritize future desirements for cutting-edge autonomous and automated vehicles in tactical environments.

Interested SMEs are encouraged to request to join us on 19-20 February, as we collaborate on the art-of-the possible to:

• Explore tactical SOF Autonomy and Automation Mobility within 0-5 year gaps

• Analyze and define future concepts 

• Prioritize operational use cases to develop future SOF requirements 

This event will be a compelling opportunity for the leading minds in autonomous and automated vehicles to better understand and influence the future needs of SOF Autonomous and Automated Mobility operations.

For more information, visit www.sofwerx.org/fosov.

75th Anniversary of Menton Day

Friday, December 6th, 2019

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina – Seventy-five years ago, on December 5, 1944, the combined U.S.-Canadian First Special Service Force (FSSF) paraded one final time at their Villeneuve-Loubet camp, near the town of Menton, in southeastern France.

The FSSF was an elite commando unit activated in July 1942 to attack hydroelectric plants in Nazi-occupied Norway. Consisting of a headquarters, three combat regiments, and a service battalion, the unit prepared for combat with a rigorous program of physical fitness, close combat fighting, airborne, demolition, mountaineering, amphibious, and winter warfare training.

Commanded by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Robert T. Frederick from July 1942 to June 1944, the FSSF earned the nickname the ‘Devils Brigade’ by the German Army for their aggressive night patrols defending a section of the Anzio beachhead in Italy.

Despite its effectiveness, a manpower crisis in the Canadian Army led to the unit’s inactivation. Having become a ‘band of brothers’ during combat operations in Kiska, Italy, and Southern France, the FSSF soldiers assembled at 1400 hours for a somber farewell. The order announcing the Canadian’s departure was read, followed by remarks from the commander, Col. Edwin A. Walker, the roll of the fallen, prayers, and a playing of taps. After the FSSF colors were sheathed, the order was given: “All Canadians fall out!” The 620 Canadian soldiers paraded, and received a salute from the Americans.

A Canadian sergeant from the 2nd Regiment remarked years later, that “It was the saddest day of my life, I think…Canadians were falling out that I thought were Americans and Americans were standing still who I thought were Canadians…There was no nationality in that bloody unit.”

The next day the Canadians boarded trucks taking them to ships bound for Italy. The FSSF Canadian veterans were reassigned to their parent unit, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, or sent home based on overseas time served. Most American veterans volunteered for an airborne division, or were assigned to the 474th Infantry Regiment (Separate).

Commemoration of Menton Day on December 5, began thirty-five years ago when Army Special Forces honored its lineal connection to the FSSF. Over the years, various headquarters and units have observed Menton Day. Since September 11, 2001, some unit activities have grown to a week. Now, the 1st Special Forces Group, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, has a memorial wreath laying, physical fitness competition, range day, a U.S.-Canadian parachute jump, and formal ball with a noted guest speaker.

Since 2006, Canadian Army Special Operations Forces (CANSOF) in their distinctive uniforms, tan berets, and badges incorporating a FSSF V-42 fighting knife, are seen at Menton ceremonies in the U.S. These ceremonies keep soldiers of both nations connected to their history and serve as a reminder of a tremendous legacy. The 1st Special Forces Regiment and all U.S. Army SF groups trace their official lineage to the FSSF.

-USASOC-

By Robert Seals, USASOC History Office

Now Available For Pre-Order – “NATO Special Forces”

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

From K-ISOM, the same people who brought you “Special Operations & Special Missions Aircraft” comes “NATO Special Forces” a current look at a military force that has taken 70 years to create. The book is 206 pages and packed with high quality photographs.

TacJobs – Army Offering Additional Bonuses For Option 40 Enlistees

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

The Army is offering additional bonuses, on top of standard enlistment bonuses for Initial Entry Soldiers who want to attend the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program.

If you’re an initial entry Soldier without an Option 40 contract, the above amounts are what you could be receiving in addition to your current enlistment bonus.

If you’re interested, contact 75recruit@socom.mil and they will get you in contact with the appropriate individuals. ?

USSOCOM Technical Experimentation for Night Vision Electro Optics

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

On 03-06 February 2020, USSOCOM will host a Technical Experimentation (TE) event at Avon Park Air Force Range in Avon Park, Florida. The goal is to explore emerging technologies, technical applications and their potential to provide solutions for future SOF Night Vision Electro Optics (NVEO).

USSOCOM is in search of candidates from Industry, Academia and Government Labs to submit nomination package(s). Government will review and downselect for technologies to be demonstrated at the TE event.

Submit your technology related to the focus areas below for the opportunity to participate.

Technology Focus Areas
True Color Night Vision and Fused Imagery Sensors
True Color Night Vision for the Tactical Video System (TVS) /
Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition (RSTA)
Technical Surveillance Equipment (TSE) and RSTA

Submit NLT 2 December 2019 11:59 PM EST

Visit SAMS and begin with attachment 1.

At The Height Of The 60s Green Beret Craze

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

From the back of a comic book.

Search Ongoing for Special Tactics Airman After Training Jump

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, a search remains underway for an Airman who exited a C-130 aircraft November 5, 2019 over the Gulf of Mexico approximately 4 miles south of Hurlburt Field. The incident is ongoing and under investigation.

Search and recovery crews were immediately called to aid in locating the Airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Units participating in the efforts include:

– 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base

– 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base

– Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew

– Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew

– Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew

– Two Coast Guard Station Destin 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crews

– 96th Test Wing, Eglin Air Force Base

– U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group, Duke Field

– Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office

– Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

24th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs