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Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

Naval Special Warfare Celebrates 60th Anniversary of SEAL Teams

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

SAN DIEGO, Calif. and NORFOLK, Va. (Jan. 7, 2022) – Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) rang in the New Year with a celebration of their own as this month marks sixty years since the establishment of the first SEAL teams.

Recognizing the need for an increase in special forces and unconventional warfare during the Vietnam War, President Kennedy directed the Secretary of Defense to increase and reorient U.S. special forces and unconventional warfare units in a speech to Congress, May 25, 1961.

“Our nation’s Naval commandos celebrate the 60th anniversary of the SEAL teams this week with President John F. Kennedy’s order to establish SEAL Team 1 and 2 in January 1962,” said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander, NSWC. “We’re reminded of the legacy that set our standard and the heroes whose shoulders we stand upon today.”

Within eight months, preexisting Underwater Demolition Teams provided the manpower required to establish the first SEAL teams at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado, California, and NAB Little Creek, Virginia, Jan. 1, 1962. Their mission was to conduct unconventional warfare, counter-guerrilla warfare and clandestine operations.

“As we urgently adapt and innovate to meet new threats and missions of greater complexity and risk, we honor the stewardship, integrity, grit and gallantry that the founding members of our community demonstrated in their service,” said Howard. “In marking this milestone, Naval Special Warfare also celebrates our authentic and timeless team – a team anchored on earned trust, candor, creativity and resilience – a humble team with an ironclad commitment to the nation and all we serve.”

The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community’s history pre-dates the establishment of the SEAL teams by twenty years. In August 1942, the Amphibious Scouts and Raiders (Joint) and the Special Mission Naval Demolition Unit were established at Amphibious Training Base Little Creek, Virginia, to perform specific missions during Operation Torch – the allied invasion of North Africa – in November 1942.

“Our community is built upon the shoulders of the warriors who came before us,” said Capt. David Abernathy, commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 1. “The high standards, unique capabilities, strength and diversity found across the NSW community today is a direct reflection of those first SEALs who paved the way.”

Capt. Donald G. Wetherbee, commodore, Naval Special Warfare Group 2, said that throughout the community’s 80-year history, naval commandos engaged in operations from the beaches of North Africa and Normandy, the islands of the Pacific, Korea and Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, to countless other areas of the world – on land and under the sea.

“Today’s SEAL teams, along with other components of Naval Special Warfare, represent a unique ability to access denied environments, providing scalable kinetic and non-kinetic effects that set the conditions to undermine adversary confidence and provide diplomatic leverage in competition, and higher end options in crisis and conflict,” said Wetherbee. “At the same time, the incredible leadership, cognitive attributes and character of our people remain the same as they did from day one of our community’s birth. I’m truly humbled to have the privilege of working with the men and women of Naval Special Warfare every day.”

From Scouts and Raiders, Naval Combat Demolition Units, Operational Swimmers, Underwater Demolition Teams, and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons of World War II to now SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and special development groups, Naval Special Warfare is a complex and humble community who is proud of its warfighting heritage.

NSW commands will celebrate this milestone all year long by hosting events and ceremonies, as well as releasing stories and social media posts that highlight the rich history of SEAL operators to honor NSW’s proud warfighting heritage, give insight into how special operators integrate with the fleet for distributed maritime operations, and highlight the capabilities NSW assets bring to the strategic competition.

Since 1962, Naval Special Warfare has been the nation’s premier maritime special operations force – a highly reliable and lethal force – always ready to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, in support of national objectives, and uniquely positioned to extend the Fleet’s reach, delivering all-domain options for Naval and joint force commanders.

For more news from Naval Special Warfare Command, visit www.facebook.com/NavalSpecialWarfare or www.nsw.navy.mil.

Courtesy Story by Naval Special Warfare Command

The 1983 Death Valley Run

Sunday, January 9th, 2022

I had never heard the story of the 1983 Death Valley Run and it all revolves around this extraordinary man named Lionel “Choo Choo” Pinn. Now, I was familiar with 1SG Pinn as a kid in the 80s because I used to read up on the Vietnam war a lot so I knew he was a triple CIB awardee for combat in WW II, Korea and Vietnam. I had also learned that this Special Forces Veteran was nicknamed “Choo Choo” because he was always smoking cigars, even while running, so the smoke he trailed reminded everyone of a train, a “Lionel” Train.

He was a Native American with parents hailing from the Osage, Douge (Doeg), and Mi’kmaq tribes. 1SG Pinn was also a second generation Soldier. It’s guys like this that inspired me to join the Army. There’s a whole lot of his story here and it’s worth your time to read. It’s quite inspirational.

His whole carerr is amazing, but then after retiring from the military, he and some other former paratroopers cooked up a scheme to parachute in Death Valley and run 15 miles a day until they made it 100 miles, in honor of their fellow Vietnam Vets. Here’s an intro from a local TV station.

A documentary was made of their trek and it’s offered in two parts. Narrated by Martin Sheen.

Part 1

Part 2

7th SFG(A) Engineer Support Section Completes Advanced Construction Skills Training Course

Sunday, January 9th, 2022

Members of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Engineer Support Section (ESS) completed the Advanced Construction Skills Training Course at the Fayetteville Technical Community College at Fort Bragg, N.C., directly enhancing their capability to solve complex engineering problems encountered throughout the SOUTHCOM AOR. The course of instruction included use of electrical systems such as water heater systems, maintaining and repairing residential electrical wiring, and installation of and assessments of HVAC components. These skills go beyond their Advanced Individual Training enabling range and depth of engineering expertise in support of 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) operations.

Combat Aviation Advisors Participate in Airdrop Competition

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

DUKE FIELD, Fla. —  

The luxury of readily available gear and resources is not always a reality for Combat Aviation Advisors working with partner nations in remote locations. These unique situations have led CAAs to find innovative ways to help partner nations accomplish their missions with resources and budgets that are realistic for them.

One way CAAs have been innovating is by using improvised parachute bundles for aerial delivery. While trained riggers normally build bundles with specific materials, improvised bundles can be made from locally sourced items on a smaller budget.

“We have built bundles using water bottles for crush materials where that was the only available material we could find,” said Master Sgt. Christian Becker, a 711th Special Operations Squadron CAA. “Basically, this whole process is using what you have to maximize the benefit for the mission.”

In order to hone these improvised parachute bundle building skills, the 711th SOS aircrew flight equipment team hosted a bundle building course during the December unit training assembly. Some active-duty CAAs and Army riggers also joined the training that included an extra element of competition for creating the best bundle.

“We have done training like this in the past, just more compartmentalized,” said Master Sgt. Juan Acevedo, the 711th SOS NCO in charge of training. “This was the first time we actually built and dropped the bundles that people made that same day.”

During the class, instructors demonstrated the bundle building process and then divided the students into teams to practice what they learned previously. Each team received a kit of limited supplies to build a bundle that included an egg and three soda cans. The competition aspect provided extra incentive to see who could best protect their bundle contents during the aerial drop.

 “I love that we are having a competition using skills outside of our normal careers,” said Maj. Daniel Saunders, a 711th SOS CAA participating in the training. “When we deploy as a small team, each of us has our expertise, but we want to learn from our teammates.”

After the CAAs finalized their improvised bundles, they loaded them on a C-145A Combat Coyote for aerial delivery and headed to the drop zone for the final portion of their training. While at the drop zone, they called in the air drops and watched how each bundle fared in protecting its fragile cargo.

“The training was excellent because it not only allowed us to introduce tactics, techniques and procedures to members of the squadron, it also gave us a chance to practice our advising,” said Becker. “Everyone loved it and mentioned how great it was. We are going to move forward doing more events like this.”

Only two of the eight eggs broke from impact and though some cans faced structural damage, none broke open. All eight bundles landed in their intended zone and the instructors said the training was a success.

“Now we all have a better idea on how to assist our riggers in airdrop operations,” said Saunders. “Exercises like this allow us to resolve team dynamics and help cement how we operate in a deployed environment.”

Story by Nicole King, 919th Special Operations Wing

Photo by Michelle Gigante

90s-Era 5th Group Mod Demo Video – Run Through The Jungle

Monday, January 3rd, 2022

One of the banes of existence in SOF is the requirement to conduct periodic Mod Demos and static displays for visiting dignitaries.

5th SFG(A) created several videos to assist them in this endeavor. This is one of those videos entitled: “Run Through The Jungle” which depicts a Foreign Internal Defense mission, training indigenous forces in infantry tactics for their Counter Narcotics role.

SOFWERX Wants to Help You Understand the Small Business Innovation Research Process

Monday, December 27th, 2021

SOFWERX in conjunction with Dcode is presenting Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 101 on 19 January 2022.

Dcode’s procurement experts and USSOCOM leaders will walk you through how SBIRs and STTRs are being leveraged and the value this funding can provide as your company looks to grow.

RSVP NLT 18 January 2022 11:59 PM ET.

Visit events.sofwerx.org/dcode.

GAO Report – Special Operations Forces: Additional Actions Needed to Effectively Manage the Preservation of the Force and Family Program

Friday, December 24th, 2021

The GAO has released a new report on USSOCOM’s Preservation of the Force and Family Program which boasts a budget of about $80 million in FY 2021.

The program offers a holistic system of care that targets physical, psychological, spiritual, and other areas of well-being. However, key program terms aren’t well defined, making it unclear how subordinate commands will carry the program out and achieve its goals.

What GAO found is that although SOCOM has established minimum requirements for its Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) program to improve the readiness and resilience of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their families, it has not clearly defined a key term—integrated and holistic system of care—to guide implementation of its efforts across the five POTFF domains (see figure). SOCOM officials interpret this key term differently and SOCOM guidance does not provide clarity on how subordinate commands should implement activities to achieve it. Without defining an integrated and holistic system of care or how to achieve it, SOCOM leaves interpretation of the term to subordinate commands and is unable to establish a standard for POTFF’s essential coordination functions or activities against which it can assess efforts to help SOF and their families.

GAO is making five recommendations, including that SOCOM update its guidance to define its objective to coordinate POTFF programs, establish an allocation model that uses program data, develop a deployment strategy that aligns with its updated allocation model, and develop guidance for POTFF data that aligns with SOCOM’s strategy for managing data. DOD concurred with all five of these recommendations.

Read the report here:

www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-104486

SOFWERX – Hyper-Enabled Awareness Kit (HEAK) Assessment Event

Monday, December 20th, 2021

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM PEO SOF Warrior (PEO-SW), will host an Assessment Event (AE) 22-24 February 2022 to identify solutions for a situational awareness and messaging capability through a Hyper-Enabled Awareness Kit (HEAK).

Technology Focus Areas

• Blue Force Picture

• Basic Messaging

• Check-in Messaging

• Quick Reference Navigation

• Mission Payload

• Workflow Configurator

• Mission Planner

• Wired and Wireless Capability

Submit NLT 24 January 2022 11:59 PM ET, with details at events.sofwerx.org/heak.