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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

SCUBAPRO SUNDAY – OPERATION Gunnerside

Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Only a few months after the discovery of nuclear fission on December 17, 1938, the military potential of nuclear power became apparent, and the race to develop an atomic bomb began.

Germany began its nuclear-weapons development program in April 1939. During their research for a nuclear reactor, the scientists discovered that deuterium oxide, also known as “heavy water” because it has a higher molecular weight than regular water, performed well as a moderator, allowing them to have greater control over the fission process than they had previously thought.

There was only one area on the planet capable of creating heavy water on an industrial scale: Norsk Hydro’s Vemork hydroelectric power plant in southern Norway, which was built in the 1960s. Heavy water was produced as a byproduct of the plant’s primary function, which was to manufacture ammonia for use in nitrogen fertilizer.

As early as January 1940, German officials inquired about the possibility of purchasing the whole Norsk Hydro heavy water storage and increasing the plant’s monthly output by a factor of ten to fulfill German demand.

This defeat only temporarily hampered the Nazis. Germany attacked Norway precisely one month later and seized the country by the beginning of June. Vemork, now under German control, raised its heavy-water output BY 50%.

In collaboration with the Norwegian Resistance, the Special Operations Executive (SOE) devised a plan for two squads to be dropped into Norway simultaneously.

The first, codenamed Operation Grouse, was composed of four Norwegian commandos. They were to parachute into Norway, conduct reconnaissance, and secure a landing zone for a 34-man team of British commandos, codenamed Operation Freshman, who would land in two gliders and then assault the plant, destroying the 18 electrolysis cells that produced heavy water.

The launch of Grouse took place on October 18, 1942. During the next three weeks, the group trekked to Freshman’s intended landing place, which they finally reached on November 9. Operation Freshman was officially initiated on November 19. An aircraft carrying a glider crashed after experiencing mechanical issues and poor weather, killing the flying crew and several commandos on board. When the bomber towing the second glider decided to cancel the operation, the cable attached to it snapped, leading it to crash as well.

In response to Hitler’s Commando Order, survivors from both gliders were apprehended and executed by the Germans. The loss of 41 soldiers resulted in enhanced security at Vemork, including land mines on the surrounding mountains, and the Grouse crew was trapped and forced to fend for itself.

Norway’s Operation Gunnerside was planned to drop a team of six Norwegian commandos into Norway to hook up with members of the Grouse squad. They would be dressed as British soldiers, so the Germans would not retaliate against the locals if captured.

The unit parachuted into Norway on February 16, 1943; it would take them five days trekking thru waist-deep snow to join up with the Grouse team on February 22. On February 27, nine members of both teams embarked on their journey to Vemork, with one member remaining behind to connect with their counterparts in Great Britain.

On reaching the plant’s perimeter, they discovered that the bridge, which served as the only direct entry point into the complex, was now heavenly guarded because of the failed British raid. Currently, the only way in was to follow the railway (the only place not mined) and to reach the railway gate, and the team had to drop 350 feet into a riverine and then climb an almost 500-foot rock face to gain access to the complex’s rear entrance through a fenced railway gate. As soon as they arrived, the guards changed shifts, and they could cut their way through the barrier just after midnight.

Once inside, the group was divided into two sections. During the attack, five commandos took up positions outside the barracks, the bridge, and the main gate, while the remaining four entered the factory. In the building, they came across only one Norwegian employee, who didn’t put up any resistance or raise the alarm.

The target chamber, which was in the basement, was rigged with explosives. The members of the team were evacuated and were waiting for the blast. It was possible to escape because the room was so far underground, and the walls were so thick because there was little noise when the bombs went off, allowing the entire team to flee before the Germans discovered what had happened. As they rushed through the barracks, they could hear the muffled crump of the explosion ahead of them. At the factory, sirens began to blare shortly after. When German soldiers raced out of the barracks and workers scattered in confusion, the saboteurs had vanished out of the picture. A hunt involving 2,800 soldiers was conducted throughout the area. However, by the time the sun rose, the saboteurs had already embarked on a 280-mile journey across forests and mountains to neutral Sweden.

The commandos demolished the electrolysis cells and more than 500 kg of heavy water in the process. They could flee without firing a single shot or inflicting any fatalities on the other side. By May, the Germans had repaired the damage, but successive Allied air raids had prevented the company from ramping up production. Eventually, the Germans halted all heavy water production and attempted to divert the remaining supplies to the country’s borders.

First In-Air Refueling Conducted Between KC-46 and Air Force Special Operations Command CV-22

Sunday, June 19th, 2022

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. —  

One of the most renowned aircraft in the Air Force’s fleet, the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft combines the vertical flight qualities of a helicopter with the fuel efficiency and speed of a fixed wing plane. This combination makes it the ideal aircraft for conducting infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces across long distances.

Now, thanks to pathfinding efforts from the 20th Special Operations Squadron and the 349th Air Refueling Squadron, assigned to the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, CV-22 aircrews across Air Force Special Operations Command can ensure their aircraft’s extended range by calling on Air Force Mobility Command’s newest tanker.

The 20 SOS & 349 ARS brought a CV-22 and KC-46 Pegasus tanker together for  in-air refueling training over Cannon, June 1, 2022. The flight was the first time a KC-46 refueled an AFSOC CV-22.

“This being the first time we operationally refueled with a KC-46, we were able to get some good video for training and development,” said Maj. Anthony Belviso, the CV-22 aircraft commander. “We were also able to get some understanding of what it feels like to fly behind the jet, and work on some different refueling techniques and practices”

One of the new capabilities the KC-46 brings to the table is a hose and drogue system in the same centerline position as it’s refueling boom pipe for fixed-wing aircraft.

“This capability allows the KC-46 to the refuel the Osprey and other drogue compatible receiver aircraft without any modification,” said Maj. Benjamin Chase, the KC-46 aircraft commander. “This is important because it enables flexibility in mission planning and limits the amount of maintenance it takes to prepare for air refueling, especially compared to most aircraft in the legacy tanker fleet.”

The KC-46 is not the only aircraft the CV-22 can receive fuel from while flying. However, its advanced refueling, communications and defensive systems, range and large fuel storage capabilities make it an ideal system for getting CV-22s the fuel they need, even in or near contested environments.

“The CV-22 is specifically designed for long range missions, and when you add on top of that an aerial refueling capability you can extend that distance to the point where you’re only limited by how long the crew is able to fly,” said Belviso. “The KC-46 can get enough fuel to get multiple CV-22s that much further both into and out of combat.”

“The 22 ARW has showcased the capability of the KC-46 to operate out of austere locations in recent exercises,” said Chase. “This is unique among tanker aircraft,  and replicates the types of environments the KC-46 to operate out of when refueling the Osprey in real-world missions.”

Another advantage of CV-22s being able to refuel from KC-46s is that it allows for faster refueling during real-world missions.

“Normally, an MC-130J aircraft would have to go up to a tanker to get fuel, then fly to us and give us that fuel, and would have to repeat that process several times,” said Belviso. “Because KC-46s can refuel us directly, we can go straight to them and get everything done much more quickly.”

With the successful training mission, both Chase and Belviso said it would provide the data and real-world experience the Air Force’s KC-46 and CV-22 fleets need to ensure the two airframes could work well together for a long time to come.

“The refueling of the CV-22 marks another success in the program,” said Chase. “It really paves the way for support of the Osprey and other aircraft in the future.”

“I’m glad we were able to get the mission done for the CV-22 community,” said Belviso. “I think this new capability will be tremendous for us going forward, so I’m very happy about that.”

By SSgt Max J. Daigle, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Highly Decorated EOD Technician Retires from Elite Unit after Recovering from Paralysis

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The most highly decorated explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, technician in the history of an elite U.S. Army airborne EOD company recently retired after recovering from a combat-related gunshot wound that paralyzed him from the chest down.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery M. Dawson completed his legendary career with the 28th Ordnance Company (EOD), the Army’s only Special Operations-focused EOD company with handpicked and highly trained EOD Soldiers who support direct action missions around the world.

The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 28th EOD Company (Airborne) is part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards formation.

In an Army EOD community first, 75th Ranger Regiment Commander Col. Jim “JD” Kiersey and Command Sgt. Maj. Curt D. Donaldson attended his ceremony and upgraded Dawson’s status from an “honorary member” to a “distinguished member” of the Ranger Regiment.

Part of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the 75th Ranger Regiment is the U.S. Army’s premier direct action light infantry force. The regiment can deploy one Ranger Battalion to hotspots around the world within 18 hours of notification.

A seasoned combat veteran who is originally from Coalville, Utah, Dawson deployed to Iraq with the 722nd EOD Company before being selected for the 28th EOD Company. During his six years with the 28th EOD Company, Dawson deployed to Afghanistan seven times.

Dawson said EOD technicians safeguarded forces and enabled operations during the Global War on Terror by confronting and defeating the enemy’s preferred weapon — the improvised explosive device. EOD forces have rendered safe more than 100,000 improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006 and have trained thousands of host nation forces.

“During the Global War on Terror, IEDs and other complex explosive devices were at an all-time high. Many maneuver elements relied heavily on the skill and competency of EOD technicians. Not just from the Army but all services. Often times, the elements would embed EOD as an organic asset,” said Dawson. “I often overheard many members of the elements we’ve supported say that they would never go outside of the wire without EOD on the manifest. That’s what makes EOD techs so important to the military.”

During his career, Dawson defeated hundreds of explosive devices and earned the Purple Heart for combat injuries twice.

“As an EOD tech, the most memorable missions stand out because they were either really good or really bad,” said Dawson. “Working with special operations forces, you often find yourself in situations where the outcome can sway in either direction in a moment’s notice.”

The missions that stand out the most for Dawson are the one where he earned the nation’s second highest military medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the mission that nearly ended his life and left him paralyzed from the chest down.

In Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2013, Dawson participated in a mission to capture or kill a high value Taliban leader who was planning terror attacks.

“The IED threat was low and it was supposed to be a quick easy target,” Dawson said. “Upon infiltration everything changed in minutes.”

A fleeing insurgent detonated an explosive and killed a team member and the team’s multi-purpose canine, Jani.

Dawson soon realized that his team was surrounded by pressure plate IEDs. He halted the mission, located the improvised explosive devices and aided in the evacuation of dead and wounded Soldiers. Four U.S. Soldiers were killed by explosive devices during the mission.

Although seriously injured during two different explosions, Dawson worked in limited visibility to locate three confirmed pressure plate IEDs and six additional suspected devices. He then cleared a path to evacuate the fallen and wounded Soldiers.

On Feb. 17, 2015, then-Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn presented the Distinguished Service Cross to Dawson during a ceremony on Fort Benning, Georgia. Sgt. Bryan C. Anderson, the Ranger Platoon medic on the same mission, also received the Distinguished Service Cross during the ceremony. The 75th Ranger Regiment submitted them for the award.

On another mission in Afghanistan in July 2019, Dawson was shot and seriously wounded.

“When I was shot, it came in my right arm and came to rest upon impacting and fracturing my left shoulder blade, collapsing both lungs and exposing my spinal cord in the process,” said Dawson. “I’m thankful for the expertise of the medic that performed life-saving treatment which allowed me the opportunity to live despite all odds.”

The medic saved Dawson by using a chest tube to inflate his collapsing lungs.

Dawson was medically evacuated to Germany for surgery and then to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He moved next to James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, a facility that specializes in spinal injuries.

Working with physical therapists and using the tough and tenacious “never quit” approach that made him successful on the battlefield, Dawson stood again and then he walked again.

Less than a year after being severely wounded, Dawson took on 5K and walked 3.1 miles unassisted. Since then, he has completed a 6.2-mile walk and a triathlon with a quarter-mile swim, 11-mile bike ride and 3.1 mile walk without assistive devices.

“The key to my recovery was mostly mental,” said Dawson. “I lost control of everything from the chest down, with that I lost any physical conditioning prior to my injury. I essentially had to start over as a newborn in a 33-year-old man’s body.

“Since I am still trying to relearn everything, I have to keep a positive mental attitude so I can continue to progress,” said Dawson.

After returning home to North Carolina, Dawson has taken time to focus on healing the visible and invisible scars from multiple combat missions. “I still remain active as much as I can,” said Dawson. “I enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities that get my heart pumping. In the future, I would like to complete a mud run.”

He has enrolled in college and he is looking for opportunities to help other veterans.

Dawson said the highlight of his career was being recognized by the 75th Ranger Regiment for actions on the battlefield.

“I was surrounded by people who wanted to be there,” said Dawson. “It has been an honor working with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Their expertise and professionalism set the standard for others to look up to.

“What makes the 28th a great company is that it is filled with specially selected and well trained Soldiers who will never accept defeat and never fail to complete the mission. Soldiers who have the willingness to shoulder more than their share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some,” said Dawson. “To be successful in the 28th, you need to be in shape, comfortable working autonomously, intelligent, and most importantly, you must be trainable.”

Maj. Stephen M. Knudsen, the commanding officer of the 28th EOD Company, said his company has always relied on the expertise, grit and determination of noncommissioned officers like Dawson to support Special Forces units at the tip of the spear around the world.

“The 28th is a one-of-a-kind formation with forward elements continuously deployed throughout the entirety of its 13-year history,” said Knudsen. “It provides a painfully light and disproportionally lethal airborne EOD capability to the 75th Ranger Regiment and Special Operations Command during crisis response, raid and joint forcible entry operations.”

Knudsen, a 14-year veteran from Sutter Creek, California, has deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan three times. The 28th EOD Company commander said Dawson had never let his heroic deeds and storied service in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community go to his head.

“The thing that stands out about Sgt. 1st Class Dawson is how approachable and down to earth he is,” said Knudsen. “He’s a legend in the career field, yet he’s such a light hearted, funny and genuine person. If there was anyone who has earned the right to be super arrogant or macho, it’s him, but instead you’re greeted by a humble guy with a warm grin wearing a cat shirt.”

By Walter T. Ham IV

Using VR Through VALOR to Improve Combat Casualty Care

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. —  

The 24th Special Operations Wing Surgeon General’s office has implemented the use of virtual reality training devices, in partnership with SimX, throughout special tactics to maintain the critical pararescueman’s skill in an ever-changing operational environment.
“The operational mission is going to continue to grow in complexity in the future fight,” said U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorsch, 24th SOW Surgeon General. “The PJs must be prepared to treat both injury and illness in austere environments for longer periods of time with limited reach-back.”


When looking at what the future operational environment may look like, the 24th SOW SG team must consider the implications to operational medicine. Scenarios PJs face could be in low-visibility areas where they have to keep patients alive for longer periods under possible chemical, biological, radiation or nuclear conditions.


“Preparing PJs medically for the future fight will require an advanced interoperable standard, optimized initial and sustainment training, deliberate tech development and integration, and enhanced performance tracking and feedback,” said Dorsch.
The virtual reality program objectives are to improve realism, increase flexibility and reduce cost. Through more than $10 million in Department of Defense Research and Development Funding and the Air Force Small Business Research Innovation Research program, SimX and the 24th SOW have been able to create more than 80 training scenarios including canine treatment and care, blast injuries, severe gas exposure, and more.
These training devices provide intricate and realistic training scenarios that other methods, such as medical dummies, cannot, and improves the effectiveness of the training.
“By using a flexible piece of equipment, we are able to deliberately and efficiently target specific desired learning objectives based on evolving mission requirements,” said Dorsch. “We now have the time and bandwidth to provide trainees with enhanced real-time feedback from the through the program, which grades the trainee on a point system through data analysis and a performance tracking system.”


Currently, there are 14 sites online using the PJ Tactical Combat Casualty Care curriculum, including Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command. In the future, they plan to expand access to the existing medical training portfolio across all SOF TCCC responder tiers, broaden capabilities and integrate partner force training.
“The VALOR program has increased the availability of efficient and effective medical training and has allowed us to develop complex decision-making, which will improve survival rates in U.S., coalition and partner force combat casualties in the future fight,” said Dorsch. “VR training is critical for ensuring that the highest level of combat trauma and austere medical care are provided by our special operations ground forces. We have only scratched the surface of its incredible potential.”

Story by Capt Savannah Stephens, 24 SOW Public Affairs

Photos by TSgt Carly Kavish

AFSOC Incorporates Weapon Systems Cyber Defense in Emerald Warrior 22.1

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) —  

Air Force Special Operations Command recently incorporated defensive cyberspace operations actions, for the first time, into the overall training objectives during Emerald Warrior 22.1.

The exercise fused cyber effects into aircraft operations and employed two mission defense teams, with the cyber defense correlation cell and demonstrated how AFSOC will deploy MDTs to defend weapon systems from cyber-attacks.

The communications and information element within AFSOC developed a realistic scenario to maximize training and awareness of cyberspace threats to aircraft avionics. The identified scenario and events allowed maintainers, cyberspace and aircraft operators, and intelligence and battle-staff members the opportunity to see the impacts of cyber threats to weapon systems, firsthand.

During the exercise, AFSOC staff and MDTs worked with Shift5, a commercial cyber security company, to test and validate a real-time cyber intrusion detection system on an aircraft, and a cyber-incident response software tool within the Cyberspace Vulnerability Assessment/Hunter to assist MDTs in executing cyberspace defense operations.

Shift5’s technology enabled MDTs with the 1st Special Operations Communication Squadron and 27th SOCS, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, to test their training, and raised awareness of cyber threats to the operational community.

The MDT with the 1st SOCS included three personnel with the 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida, and two instructors with the 39th Information Operations Squadron. Additionally, the MDT with the 27th SOCS was augmented by three personnel with the 193rd SOCS at Harrisburg Air National Guard Base, Pennsylvania.

The Defense Enterprise Cyber Range Environment for Command, Control and Information Systems provided a realistic training environment which challenged the participating MDT’s technical, analysis and mission-planning skills, while being actively attacked and challenged by a cyber-red team with the U.S. Army’s threat system management office.

Members with the 318th Cyberspace Operations Group, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, provided a secure data transport between all players and teams on a closed-looped network.

The scenario involved a flying aircraft experiencing a critical event of unknown origins that exercised numerous operational processes, leading to the discovery of a cyber-threat. During the exercise a sortie reported mission computers failures and performed actions enabling the aircraft to “limp home.” When the plane touched down, maintainers with the 901st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron executed a cybersecurity checklist and MDTs began to work.

The MDT’s actions saved the maintainers from replacing the mission computers, as well as saving the U.S. Air Force $750,000 for each mission computer that would need to be replaced.

With the realistic training incorporated into Emerald Warrior 22.1, impacts of cyber threats to aircraft, and how those threats affect operations and readiness, ensured aircraft maintainers, MDTs and operators remain ready and relevant to cyber-attacks.

Air Force Special Operations Command Communications and Information

DEVCOM, Army Special Forces Collaborate with International Partner to Test Additive Manufacturing Technology

Monday, May 30th, 2022

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — On a battlefield in the future, Soldiers deployed to remote areas around the world will use sophisticated additive manufacturing printers to ‘print’ virtually everything they need, from food to shelter to weapons. The Army has made additive manufacturing a priority and Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM, is supporting the effort with Project Prime, a collaboration with U.S. Army Special Forces and an international industry partner.

The Project Prime team consists of the U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), or 7th SFG (A); DEVCOM’s International Technology Center — United Kingdom, or ITC-UK; DEVCOM’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Combat systems, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center, or C5ISR; and Defend3D, a company based in the United Kingdom that enables secure transmission of remote 3D printing.

Special Forces Soldiers tested the technology by repeatedly adding and printing additive manufacturing files using Defend3D’s Virtual Inventory Communication Interface, or VICI. VICI provides a server application that manages the virtual inventory, assigns rights to remote manufacturers and provides the product in a ‘one-click-print’ format with minimal training for the end-user to securely stream.

“Despite a network connection categorized commercially as having low to no connection, VICI facilitated speedy, secure and accurate printing. Based on expectations set at the beginning of the project, VICI did everything we needed it to do, and 7th SFG (A) was satisfied with the system performance and endorsed the capability for further development and implementation,” said Dr. Patrick Fowler, DEVCOM Global Technology advisor at ITC-UK.

Each DEVCOM ITC has a Global Technology advisor who scouts technology in their area of operation. Project Prime began when a DEVCOM global technology advisor was scouting additive manufacturing technology in the Atlantic region, which includes London, United Kingdom; Paris, France; Frankfurt, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel. The ITCs, which are part of DEVCOM’s global enterprise, serve as the forward-deployed ‘eyes and ears’ of the Army Science and Technology Enterprise. Other DEVCOM ITCs include: North America; South America; Northern Europe; Southern Europe; Northeast Asia; Southeast Asia and the Southern Hemisphere.

VICI ensures end-to-end encryption by enabling organizations to store their designs locally and use the virtual inventory to manufacture parts in remote locations. For example, a deployed Soldier communicates a need, such as a spare part or a modification to an existing part, to the computer-aided design, or CAD, element at 7th SFG (A). The CAD element either designs the part from scratch or selects from a database of commonly used parts. This is then streamed to the Soldier in the field, who prints the part. Because the file is never sent, VICI prevents adversaries from accessing the information and identifying vulnerabilities in equipment and capabilities.

“We made it a priority to pursue avenues that will allow us to operate in environments that are not conducive to regular resupply efforts. For detachments to stay in the fight in these environments, we explored systems that operate outside the conventional supply chains. Project Prime’s deployable 3D printer and VICI software enables secure transmission and an easy-to-use interface,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jesse Peters, Innovation Cell, 7th SFG (A).

Other benefits of the technology include:

The 3D printer operator does not need to be an expert in 3D printing to print the required files.

The interface prevents overloading the network since forward-deployed Soldiers only see objects they have requested for their mission.

It securely stores files in a sharable repository, including files created by the Department of Defense and coalition networks.

“Imagine this scenario — a clever Green Beret on a remote base develops a novel attachment for an existing Unmanned Aircraft System, which is stored in VICI. Then, a clever Airman across the world at a remote airfield sees it and adds his/her twist. Next, a British Soldier prints it and starts using it in his/her own operations,” Fowler said.

During the training event, feedback was gathered in real-time as the deployed Soldiers communicated with the 7th SFG (A) Innovation Cell. Other information was collected after the training, including the pros and cons of the system, software interface, training requirements and long-term durability.

7th SFG (A) plans to train more of their Soldiers on the technology to support a U.S. Army Southern Command deployment. Once the deployment is completed, ITC-UK will document all of the activities and achievements of Project Prime and make it available to the broader Department of Defense community. The information will benefit other DEVCOM centers and research laboratory, particularly the C5ISR Center, which focuses on securing communications to the tactical edge. The technology may also fill gaps with other Army units.

“We’re looking for funding to further develop VICI to make it operable on a cell phone or a small device, including a Raspberry Pi, which is a very small computer that plugs into a computer monitor, TV, or similar small end-user devices. This will make the solution, which is currently used on a laptop, even more deployable,” Fowler said.

By Argie Sarantinos, DEVCOM HQ Public Affairs

SCUBAPRO Sunday – SEALs Birthday

Sunday, May 29th, 2022

On 25 May 1961, President John F. Kennedy, addressing a joint session of Congress, delivered a speech that most people remember as his challenge to the country to put an American on the moon before the end of the decade. The most important part of that speech you seldom hear about. But, it mandated that the military broaden its numbers and the use of Special Operation in all branches of service: “I am directing the secretary of defense to expand rapidly and substantially … the orientation of existing forces for the conduct of … unconventional wars. … In addition, our special forces and unconventional warfare units will be increased and reoriented. …

The East Coast and West coast teams have always joked about what team is older, Team One, or Team Two. Team Two says they are because of the 3-hour time difference, and the west coast says they are because they supposal received their message to commission first.  But this isn’t really about that. The SEAL Teams use 01 Jan 1962, the day the teams were commissioned as their birthday. But if you look through old messages, you can find about different dates that you could say should or could be the birthday of SEAL Teams. Before Kennedy gave his speech, the Navy and all the other branches had already started to plan for a new kind of warfare and a new group to fight it. The U.S. has just ended significant involvement in Korea and sent advisers to Vietnam around 1955, so we had an idea of what the next generation of warfare might look like.  

To augment present naval capabilities in restricted waters and rivers with particular reference to the conduct and support of paramilitary operations, it is desirable to establish Special Operations teams as a separate component within Underwater Demolition Units One and Two. An appropriate cover name for such units is “SEAL” being a contraction of SEA, AIR, LAND.

– Vice Adm. Wallace M. Beakley,
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, 05 Jun 1961

I love that the name “SEAL” started as a cover name, I am sure they never thought of what that name would come to mean. I say that in a good way and also a little wrong. I miss the days of being quiet professionals.

The Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Arleigh Burke, in a memo dated 11 Jul 1960, tasked Vice Adm Beakley with studying how the Navy could contribute to unconventional warfare. Beakley responded to that tasking in a memo dated 12 Aug 1960, saying, “Navy Underwater Demolition Teams and Marine reconnaissance units were the logical organizations for an expanded naval capability in unconventional warfare.” Beakley further recommended that a working group be formed to study how the Navy could “assist or participate” in covert operations. Then, on 13 Sept 1960, an Unconventional Activities Working Group was formed. Like the military now, the progress was slow, and on 10 Mar 1961, when the Navy’s Unconventional Activities Committee presented a mission statement for the new special operations unit and officially used for the first time the acronym “SEAL.”

Beakley sent another memo saying, “If you agree in the foregoing proposals, I will take action to establish a Special Operations Team on each coast.” Burke wasted no time in giving the green light. On 05 Jun 1961, the CNO issued a letter notifying the commanders in chief U.S. Atlantic, U.S. Pacific, and U.S. Naval Forces Europe about the Navy’s intentions regarding SEAL units. So, if you look at all the about dates, you can choose 25 May, 05 Jun, 13 Sept, 10 Mar or 01 Jan.  I do not really care about what date that it happened on; I am just glad that it did, and I think it is good to look back at the process that went from idea to a finished product.

Oh, and Team Two is the Oldest Team.

SOFWERX – Science and Technology Small Business Technology Transfer

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

The USSOCOM Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is now accepting submissions for the Capability Focus Areas (CFAs) below. The objective of this Open Call for Science and Technology (S&T) Innovation topic is to develop applied research toward an innovative capability within the CFAs.

Capability Focus Areas (CFAs)

1. Next Generation Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Situational Awareness
2. Next Generation Effects
3. Futures

Submit NLT 16 June 12:00 PM ET.

For full details, visit events.sofwerx.org/sttr22-d.