Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘SOF’ Category

Son Tay Raiders Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Operation, Release New Book, Film Documentary

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

Today is the 50th anniversary of Operation Ivory Coast, the famous joint service raid deep into North Vietnam to rescue American POWs held by the communists in a camp near Son Tay.

Principally, the assaulters were members of Army Special Forces recruited for a secret mission from units in Fort Bragg and the Aircrews who were responsible for getting them there were Air Force.

The Raiders flew to the target from an Intermediate Staging Base in Thailand on HH-3s and were refueled by HC-130s. An MC-130 served as pathfinder, leading the mission. There was also armed overwatch via AC-130 gunship and A-1E Skyraider. A myriad of other aircraft provided support from afar for the assault element, including command and control, intelligence overwatch and suppression of enemy air defense.

The Navy also played a vital, although unwitting role by flying MIG Combat Air Patrols and conducting deception operations to keep the North’s air defense system busy. Thanks to their efforts, the North Vietnamese didn’t get one aircraft off the ground that night. Ironically, none of the Navy crews knew what they were doing until was all over.

But to get the ball rolling, the task force was assembled at Eglin Air Force in Florida where it trained for the mission in isolation and secrecy. So careful were planners that rehearsals were conducted only when Soviet satellites weren’t overhead so as not to alert the communist bloc of an impending operation. They even went so far as to disassemble the target camp in between rehearsals. Planners also had access to ‘Barbara’, the code name for a scale model of the compound.

Elements and aircraft were assigned code names. All of this secrecy led to the infamous commemorative patch created by the Air Force crews featuring a mushroom with the letters KITD FOHS for Kept In The Dark, Fed Only Horse Shit.

The actual raid was called Operation Kingpin and was initiated when an HH-3, call sign Banana-1, purposefully killed the engine and autorotated into the POW camp, Raiders running out of the stricken aircraft once it came to rest. In all, the ground force consisted of three teams: an assault group, a support group, and a command and security group.

Although the task force succeeded in breaching the compound, it turned out to be a dry hole, the POWs having been moved days earlier. The ground force having spent 28 minutes in the ground.

Despite this tactical loss, the operations proved a strategic victory. The North Vietnamese moved American POWs together and improved their conditions which greatly raised morale.

As you can see, Operation Ivory Coast was a major operation, serving as the template for multiple deep enemy ration raids for decades.

Unfortunately, United Special Special Operations Command had to cancel their event due to COVID-19 restrictions so the Silent Warrior Foundation stepped in and out a great weekend together. It is an amazing event and Silent Warrior Foundation even worked with a Hollywood prop house to recreate the clothing and equipment each man wore on the raid.

Seen above are Neal Westbrook, Colonel USAF, Ret. Son Tay Raider (Lime 2), Terry Buckler, Sergeant, USA Son Tay Raider (Red Wine), Vladimir “Jake” Jakovenko, Sergeant Major, USA Ret. Son Tay Raider (Green Leaf) John Gargus, Colonel, USAF, Ret. Son Tay Raider (Cherry 2) Tyrone Adderly, Sergeant Major, USA Ret. Son Tay Raider (Red Wine)

There’s not enough room on SSD to tell the whole tale and numerous books have been written about the operation like “The Son Tay Raid” by air planner and pilot Col. John Gargus.

However, a new book has just been released, “Who Will Go” by Terry Buckler. It is the first time the tale has been told by a Raider with actual boots on the ground. He was assisted in his effort by CI-author Cliff Westbrook. Author Terry Buckler was there as the RTO for the Redwine element. Even better, he was the “baby” of the group and had not served in combat in SE Asia prior to the assault.

For those of you interested, you can get a copy of “Who Will Go” signed by the Raiders on hand for the event by visiting silentwarriorfoundation.com/collections/gear-accessories/products/signed-book-who-will-go.

During the event, a documentary is also being produced. “Operation Kingpin” can use your support to finish their work.

27 SOCS Tests New Equipment, Supports Special Tactics Training

Saturday, November 21st, 2020


The 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron utilized new equipment to provide over 60 special tactics Airmen assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, with network access to ensure that the teams could have full access to the necessary resources to ensure proper training while at Cannon.

The tactical local access network is a piece of mobile tactical equipment that provides the ability for more online services in an isolated area. It is utilized by pairing with a satellite dish network, which normally provides support for five to ten computers, and moves the workload off of the SDN to the TACLAN, which provides access for 75 computers.

“The TACLAN gives us the same capabilities as the base’s network system,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Jara, 27 SOCS non-commissioned officer in charge of the TACLAN team. “Printers, shared drives, we can control everything the base would on the TACLAN. As of right now, Cannon is the only base in the Air Force Special Operations Command and United States Special Operations Command utilizing this model.”

This is the first time that the current TACLAN model has been mobilized to provide mission support. While the team was able to properly operate the system for the 22 STS’s training operations, the TACLAN team is currently planning to receive more training on how to better utilize the equipment.

“We are deployable with this capability, but I want to be better,” Jara said. “While we are able to fix any issues that arise while working the system, I want more people to learn the system so it becomes commonplace.”

While the team maintained the system so it was fully operational, Maj. Emily Short 27 SOCS commander, came by to receive a brief overview on what they were working on.

“The TACLAN team is phenomenal,” Short said. “This training gives them an opportunity to learn more, allow younger Airmen to grow alongside them, and this operation has given us the opportunity to link up with other organizations for cross-utilization which can only lead to further growth for our efforts.”

While the satellite currently used with the TACLAN system allows up to 75 users, the 27 SOCS has access to equipment that would allow over 300 users on the system.

“I think the system absolutely bolsters our capabilities,” Short said. “It helps our users, people like mission planners and members of the 22 STS during this training operation. Speeding up their network gives them better planning control and speeds up the planning process. It all leads to increased lethality in the end.”

By Senior Airman Vernon R. Walter III, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Green Faces

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Green Faces is owned by a former frogman friend of mine who wanted to create cool momentos for his fellow SEALS and raise money for charity while doing it.

Their flagship is a life size frogman tribute to the statue of “Gilly,” which resides on the BUD/S grinder. Scaled versions are also available.

Additionally, 50% of ALL profits will be donated in one of two ways.

• Remembrance Art Pieces for the Naval Special Warfare Gold Star Kids, Wives, and Parents.

• Artwork for Naval Special Warfare Charity Events.


Green Berets Conduct a 500-Mile Movement Using GMV 1.1

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Reminds me of B-500 at Ft Bliss and the early DMVs back in the 80s.

Air Force’s Special Warfare Training Builds Physical, Intellectual Leaders Ready To Handle Threats Worldwide

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020


Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, saw firsthand how Air Education and Training Command officials ensure joint forces are well equipped with ready and lethal special operations Airmen during a visit to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Oct. 16.

“This visit shined a spotlight on how AETC recruits and trains all enlisted Air Force special warfare operators,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command. “The next generation of Airmen must be lethal and ready to compete, deter and win in an increasingly complex environment, and it starts here in the First Command.”

The visit traced the initial skills training path of special operators from recruiting and accessions through basic and technical training.

“The realism and intensity of this training is vital because when these Airmen finish their training, they’ll need to address challenges we may not be able to predict,” Clarke said. “AETC is training leaders who will be asked to address an ever-changing landscape where the fight we’ve engaged in since 9/11 may not resemble the threat our adversaries will present in the coming years. The physical toughness, intellectual capacity and ethical core these Airmen are developing during their training will help the Joint Force address the worldwide range of challenges each geographic combatant commander faces.”

“Having the agility of mind to understand mission-type orders, to understand commander’s intent and be able to move out are essential elements of AETC and the training we provide special warfare Airmen,” Webb added.

The path of a special operator starts with Air Force Recruiting Service. To help find the right candidates who can excel through an intense training pipeline, AFRS established the 330th Recruiting Squadron, a specialty squadron whose mission is to effectively scout, develop and guide future special warfare Airmen to their combat calling.

“Our special warfare careers are some of the most challenging career fields we have to fill,” said Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas, AFRS commander. “Candidates must meet exceptionally high physical standards and must have the grit and determination to push further and harder.”

Enlisted special warfare career fields include combat controllers, pararescue, special reconnaissance, and tactical air control party. In 2019, the 330th RCS successfully increased recruitment 20% compared to their inaugural year in 2018.

Once trainees are recruited, Second Air Force takes the lead, beginning with basic military training at JB San Antonio-Lackland, under the responsibility of the 37th Training Wing.

“BMT sets the foundation for all of the Air Force’s enlisted Airmen,” said Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Second Air Force commander. “We are aligning foundational competencies to meet National Defense Strategy objectives so our Airmen immediately enhance mission execution when they join their first Air Force or joint team.”

While at BMT, enlisted special warfare trainees receive additional physical training and are aggregated in flights together so they can foster the camaraderie needed to prepare them for the next phase of training they enter in the Special Warfare Training Wing, also located at JB San Antonio-Lackland.

“We are training these newly-minted Airmen to meet the demands of the future battlefield,” said Col. Mason Dula, Special Warfare Training Wing commander. “We push the limits of human performance and technology to build a stronger, smarter, more lethal force capable of solving the nation’s most complex military problems.”

Training begins with the Special Warfare Preparatory Course before recruits are vectored into an Air Force specialty code. Depending on their AFSC, trainees move to other locations around the country for schools such as Air Force Combat Dive School, Airborne and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School. Each course is meant to push trainees’ mental and physical abilities to their limits.

“As a tactical air control party, I can attest that this training pushes our Airmen to their limits, but it also prepares them for the reality of the austere environments they will face as an operator,” said Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, Second Air Force command chief. “Going through all of the training associated with the TAC-P pipeline ensured I was trained, equipped and ready to deliver timely, accurate and lethal effects on the battlefield.”

There are several training pipelines, which, depending on the specialty, vary in length. Airmen who successfully complete training proceed to their operational units and join Air Force special tactics teams or joint forces at USSOCOM.

The tour also included a visit to the Career Enlisted Aircrew Center of Excellence. Here, members of the 37th Training Group have established an Air Force specialty code baseline and prepare candidates to complete follow-on flight training programs. The COE staff members prepare graduates for nine AFSC-awarding courses, including four that directly support special operations. After completing the Aircrew Fundamentals Course, students who complete the Basic Flight Engineer, Basic Loadmaster Course or Basic Special Missions Aviation Course attend initial qualification courses that prepare them to be Air Commandos.

“These enlisted Airmen take the training they gain here in the First Command and carry it with them through their operational careers,” said Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, AETC command chief. “It is imperative we provide them with the preparation they need to compete in every domain and win for the joint force and the nation.”

Story by Jennifer Gonzalez, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Photos by Johnny Saldivar

TacJobs – 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is the primary rotary-wing support to Department of Defense Special Operations Forces and offers opportunities for Officer, Warrant Officer, and Enlisted Army personnel in a wide variety of Military Occupational Specialities, not just CMF 15.

There is an application process to become a Nightstalker, with assessment, selection and training requirements.

Visit the 160th SOAR Recruiting Team for more info.

Task Force Dagger is Now Doing Business as Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

As of October 16, 2020, Task Force Dagger Foundation is doing business as Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation. The decision to update the name of the organization to include Special Operations was made to reinforce the commitment to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) community. Since 2009, Task Force Dagger Foundation has been a reliable resource for SOCOM and has provided more than $6.5 million in support to 3,600 families. The organization will continue to provide assistance to wounded, ill and injured SOF service members and their families through its three core programs: Immediate Needs, Rehabilitative Adaptive Events and the TFDSOF Health Initiatives. The rebranding includes an updated website and logo to reflect the new name. Visit the new website here www.taskforcedagger.org

This year has been a difficult year for many nonprofits, and Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation is no exception. As the need to support the SOF community continues, TFDSOF is seeking year-end contributions and recurring monthly donors so they may continue to assist SOF families as Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation.

To become a donor, contact TFDSOF Executive Director, Alan Williams at [email protected] or donate on their website www.taskforcedagger.org

USASOC To Establish Special Warfare Heritage Center

Sunday, October 18th, 2020

United States Army Special Operations School has announced the establishment of a Special Warfare heritage center in Colonel Aaron Bank Hall, Fort Bragg, N.C. According to the announcement, the heritage center will be a world class facility designed to educate future generations of Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations Soldiers on their rich history and legacy.

The heritage center will house the artifact collection formerly housed at the U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School Museum. The U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the heritage center.

The long-term goal of the heritage center will be to make the collection more easily accessible to the entire ARSOF community. We look forward to sharing our illustrious history with veterans and the public in the future.