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 USSOCOMinducts5thclassintotheCommandoHallofHonor.aspxUSSOCOM inducts 5th class into the Commando Hall of Honor4/18/2014
On the 27th Birthday of U.S. Special Operations Command, six new members were inducted into the Commando Hall of Honor during a ceremony April 16 inside the Donovan room at the USSOCOM headquarters.
ApprovedOn the 27th Birthday of U.S. Special Operations Command, six new members were inducted into the Commando Hall of Honor during a ceremony April 16 inside the Donovan room at the USSOCOM headquarters.

“It is fitting that this ceremony is occurring on the 27th anniversary of the activation of USSOCOM,” said Adm. William H. McRaven, commander USSOCOM. “Three of the inductees are connected with Operation Eagle Claw or Desert One, the subsequent Holloway Commission, and the debates and discussions leading to the establishment of USSOCOM.”

The Commando Hall of Honor was created by former USSOCOM commander Adm. Eric T. Olson in 2010 to recognize individuals who have served with distinction within the Special Operations Community. The inductees embody the skills, values, spirit and courage of a Special Operations Forces Warrior and their impact must be extraordinary and enduring.

“All of these incredible men are being recognized for their lifetime of service to the Special Operations community,” said McRaven.

Army Sgt. Maj. Joseph E. Brauch, Air Force Col. Philip G. Cochran, Mr. Richard T. Lunger, Air Force Lt. Gen. Leroy J. Manor, Air Force Col. Kenneth H. Poole and Army Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow will take their place alongside the 35 current members of the Commando Hall of Honor.

Brauch served with both 7th and 10th Special Forces Groups for more than seven years before making the move to Joint Special Operations Command to serve with a Special Mission Unit.  There he served for 16 years, holding numerous key positions while helping develop tactics, techniques, procedures and equipment for operations when dealing with weapons of mass destruction.
 RidgeRunnertrainingprogramoffersmeaningful,challengingtrainingopportunitiesforSOF.aspxRidge Runner training program offers meaningful, challenging training opportunities for SOF4/1/2014
The global security posture remains dynamic and unpredictable. Accordingly, Special Operations Forces must maintain the highest levels of readiness to support the Geographic Combatant Commander.  The West Virginia National Guard's Ridge Runner Irregular Warfare Training Activity provides realistic and challenging scenarios simulating today's operational landscape.
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The global security posture remains dynamic and unpredictable. Accordingly, Special Operations Forces must maintain the highest levels of readiness to support the Geographic Combatant Commander.  The West Virginia National Guard's Ridge Runner Irregular Warfare Training Activity provides realistic and challenging scenarios simulating today's operational landscape.

Recently, a company from 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) traveled from Fort Carson, Co. to Camp Dawson, W.Va. to utilize the Ridge Runner program to prepare for employment within the European theater of operations.

“This training enhanced our company’s preparation for forthcoming operations in the EUCOM AOR, as well as increased our tactical and technical proficiency in our core mission set – unconventional warfare,” said Maj. Michael Lueckeman, the company’s commander.

Just as the propensity of SOF operations have transitioned from a kinetic nature to a more mutually supporting role with emphasis on the human dimension, the methodology for conducting Special Operations is also under continuous refinement.

The Ridge Runner program is a cost effective way for SOF to be able to train on varying aspects of irregular warfare in scenarios that are realistic and tailored to the participating unit’s upcoming mission.  The 3-10 SFG(A) staff and Ridge Runner personnel worked together to leverage existing West Virginia resources to add both realism and depth to a specific, requirements-driven scenario.

 SOFWoundedWarriorsTrainatMacDill.aspxSOF Wounded Warriors Train at MacDill3/7/2014
The U.S. Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition hosted 54 wounded, ill, and injured Special Operations Forces service members on MacDill AFB through the Wounded Warrior Athletic Reconditioning Program (WWARP) for a USSOCOM All-Sports Training Camp March 3 – 7.
ApprovedThe U.S. Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition hosted 54 wounded, ill, and injured Special Operations Forces service members on MacDill AFB through the Wounded Warrior Athletic Reconditioning Program (WWARP) for a USSOCOM All-Sports Training Camp March 3 – 7.

The weeklong event consisted of six different sports – shooting, archery, track and field, volleyball, swimming, and cycling, and Warrior Games trials with coaches on hand to provide instruction. The wounded warriors also had the opportunity to challenge USSOCOM’s command staff, led by the SOCOM Commander Admiral William H. McRaven, and the University of South Florida varsity women’s volleyball team to a few exhibition matches of seated volleyball.

“The purpose of this event is to introduce our wounded, injured, and ill SOF service members to new sports, activities, and equipment that are specially adapted to accommodate their injuries and limitations,” said Army Major Tony Gonzalez, USSOCOM adaptive sports program manager.

The WWARP’s mission is to assist in both the physical and mental recovery processes and works to improve the overall health and welfare of wounded, ill, or injured Special Operations Forces, through exposure to adaptive team sports and recreation. WWARP supports both active duty and retired members of the Special Operations community.

“Our program affords them the opportunities to get back into their sport(s) of choice and receive world-class training from some of the best coaches in the world,” Gonzalez said. “The program seeks to help its athletes adapt and adjust to their injuries and do so in a peer-based environment.” 

 

SOF Wounded Warriors Train at MacDill
 StrengtheningPartnershipsat1,500feet.aspxStrengthening Partnerships at 1,500 feet2/28/2014
ApprovedThe German liaison officer to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquarters served as jumpmaster to 72 jumpers from USSOCOM and Special Operations Command-Central Feb. 28 during a foreign wing exchange at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

As a liaison officer, Lt. Col. Wolfgang “Wolly” Beyer works with his U.S. counterparts at USSOCOM to build bilateral and multilateral cooperation, collaborative partnerships, and trust.

Creating a common experience between U.S. and international Special Operations Forces (SOF) partners through events such as this exemplify the importance of partner engagement and help strengthen existing networks of trust. This training evolution added to Beyer’s already impressive record of more than 5,600 jumps.

“I’m more than proud to be part of the awesome team that is the Airborne family here at SOCOM,” said Beyer, a German special operations officer who has been working at USSOCOM for the past year.

Along with representatives from 10 other nations who work at USSOCOM, Beyer serves as a conduit between his country’s national interests and SOF activities with the United States, as well as other partner nations.

USSOCOM is also expanding its liaison representation abroad, as well as welcoming more key partner nations to send officers to its headquarters. These liaisons have become a critical node of the global SOF network, providing a unique opportunity to strengthen global SOF partnerships by encouraging engagement, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing.

“It is important that we maximize these types of opportunities with our international partners,” said Army Lt. Col. Brian Howard, planner on the Global Campaign Planning team in the International SOF Coordination Center. “Opportunities like this help to build camaraderie, trust, and also demonstrate our partner's competencies.” 

It is special anytime an airborne qualified individual gets awarded jump wings from another nation, but it’s also a unique experience for the foreign jumpmaster as well.

“Today was my longest jumpmaster job without a break, but I was happy to put a smile onto the faces of the jumpers,” said Beyer.

For Howard, it was an especially rewarding day because waiting on the drop zone for a promotion ceremony was his family and guests. Col. Dan Hodne promoted Howard following his 1,500-foot descent and safe landing.

“My family enjoyed being a part of what we as service members in this community do on a somewhat routine basis,” said Howard. “They were excited, especially my youngest son, and it also gave them some insight into that part of my life.”

The event came to a conclusion with Beyer presenting each jumper with an official set of German jump wings.

“It was an honor to receive my German wings, but more importantly it was great to see Lt. Col. Beyer pin wings on all of those who participated in the jump,” Howard said. “There is a certain level of risk associated with airborne operations, and the jumpmaster position is extremely important…Lt. Col. Beyer is a true professional with a tremendous amount of airborne experience; he was able to demonstrate his capabilities to the service members participating in the operation.”
 JSOUbreaksgroundfornewcampus.aspxJSOU breaks ground for new campus2/27/2014
Leadership from throughout U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base and the local community gathered here today to break ground for a state of the art education facility that will take Special Operations Forces academic training into the future.
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Leadership from throughout U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base and the local community gathered here today to break ground for a state of the art education facility that will take Special Operations Forces academic training into the future.

The first shovels full of dirt were thrown for the construction of the Joint Special Operations University Feb. 27 at the facilities new site across the street from the USSOCOM headquarters building.  Participating in the ground-breaking was Dr. Brian Maher, JSOU president; Army Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, USSOCOM deputy commander; Retired Army Gen. Doug Brown, former USSOCOM commander and chairman of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Command Sgt. Maj. David Betz, JSOU senior enlisted advisor; Bob Buckhorn, mayor of Tampa; Retired Vice Adm. Joe Maguire, former commander of Naval Special Warfare Command and president of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation; Air Force Col. Andre Briere, 6th Air Mobility Wing vice commander; and Army Lt. Col. Thomas Nelson, Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District deputy commander

During his opening remarks, Maher credited three previous USSOCOM commanders with making JSOU what it is today: retired Army Gen. Pete Schoomaker, who envisioned JSOU and launched it at Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Brown, who ensured JSOU grew; and retired Adm. Eric Olson, who kept the vision alive.  Maher said it was Brown who was mostly responsible for the current state of the academic institute.

 

 AdmiralMcRavenspeakstoClassof2015at500thNight.aspxAdmiral McRaven speaks to Class of 2015 at 500th Night2/22/2014
The Class of 2015 celebrated a milestone with a banquet inside Washington Hall Jan 18 as the cadets reached the 500th Night until graduation.
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The Class of 2015 celebrated a milestone with a banquet inside Washington Hall Jan 18 as the cadets reached the 500th Night until graduation.

It’s a tradition commenced by their 50-year affiliation class—the Class of 1965—to first recognize this particular night in the 47-month West Point experience. Class of 2015 Cadet William Goodwin said when those cadets gathered for the first 500th Night in 1964 the nation was still grieving over the death of President John F. Kennedy, and so too were the Corps of Cadets over its commander in chief.

“…The class decided it was time for a celebration and they petitioned the superintendent for a chance to come together and look ahead to the future. And 500th Night was born,” Goodwin said.

Too easy, Goodwin said, is it for cadets to get caught up in the day-to-day routines at the academy and lose perspective on what’s ahead. It’s even easier to dwell on the past and second guess choices made.

 

“Tonight we’re here to celebrate looking ahead to our shared future,” Goodwin said. “Both over the next 500 days at West Point and upon graduation when we open a new chapter as second lieutenants in our nation’s Army.”

Admiral McRaven speaks to Class of 2015 at 500th Night
 USDAPartnersWithUnitedStatesSpecialOperationsCommandtoSupport.aspxUSDA Partners With United States Special Operations Command to Support2/21/2014
Today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta
Harden and Admiral William H. McRaven signed a Memo of Understanding between
the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Special Operations Command
(USSOCOM) to increase support services for military families. The MOU allows
the USDA supported Cooperative Extension System and Land Grant Universities
ApprovedToday, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and Admiral William H. McRaven signed a Memo of Understanding betweenthe U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to increase support services for military families. The MOU allows the USDA supported Cooperative Extension System and Land Grant Universities to work directly with USSOCOM to conduct research and develop programs for military families of Special Operations Units on issues such as personal financial management, health and nutrition, child care and youth empowerment.

"The USDA and the Department of Defense have a longstanding relationship in support of service members and their families" said Deputy Secretary Harden. "This agreement allows us to extend similar support to Special Operations

Forces by developing programs and services that help improve the quality of life for military family members. From offering workshops and classes about financial management for families, to creating positive youth development environments for military kids, to promoting healthy lifestyles, the USDA stands at the ready to serve."

"We are very grateful for USDA's support to our special operations warriors and their families," said Admiral McRaven. "One of the fundamentals of special operations is that people are more important than hardware. This partnership exemplifies that truth. By facilitating access to a magnitude of valuable and credible family support programs and research through land grant universities, USDA will play a vital role in strengthening our force's resiliency and mission readiness."

This MOU builds on a current MOU between USDA and the Department of Defense to strengthen child, youth and family programs for military personnel and their families. That agreement was signed by Dr. Roger N. Beachy, former Director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, for Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) in 2010.

USDA Partners With United States Special Operations Command to Support
 SpecialOperations.aspxSpecial Ops Forces in Transition, Pentagon Officials Say2/12/2014
Like the rest of the Defense Department, the special operations community is in transition, and officials are working on how best to shape the force for the future, a senior Pentagon official said here yesterday.
ApprovedLike the rest of the Defense Department, the special operations community is in transition, and officials are working on how best to shape the force for the future, a senior Pentagon official said here yesterday.

Michael D. Lumpkin spoke at the National Defense Industrial Association’s 25th annual Special Operations/Low-intensity Conflict Symposium. He is the assistant secretary of defense for special operation and low-intensity conflict, performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense for policy.

The end of the war in Iraq and the scaling down of the conflict in Afghanistan has opened a new chapter for the Defense Department, Lumpkin said. “We must adapt to a changing world in which global security threats are taking new forms and arising more swiftly and unpredictably than ever before,” he added.

Defense officials and industry partners must rethink the roles, missions and purpose of the entire military. “But this time of transition is especially important for the special operations community,” the retired Navy SEAL said.

Lumpkin said special operators will have an appreciably different and more active role for the future, noting that while the wars concentrated efforts in the U.S. Central Command area, the mission going forward will be more global. “The business of [special operations forces] will not be business as usual,” he said.

The period of post-9/11 combat operations is coming to an end, Lumpkin said. “Nearly every al-Qaida member involved in [the 9/11] attacks is either dead or in jail,” he told the conference audience. “The core al-Qaida leadership in Afghanistan or Pakistan has been decimated.”

But the terror group has metastasized to areas with security vacuums, he acknowledged. “The threat of terrorism and attacks is one we take very seriously,” he said. “Al-Qaida’s most capable affiliate – al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula – poses a major threat to the U.S. and its allies. We work closely with our Yemeni partners to disrupt and defeat their plots.”

Other affiliates – such as the al-Nusra Front in Syria, al-Qaida in the Islamic Mahgreb and Al-Shabaab in Somalia – are currently regional or local threats, but their violent attacks have great potential to harm or kill Americans, Lumpkin said. He pointed to the attack on an oil refinery in Algeria last year as an example of this threat.

“With regard to these and other terror attacks across the Middle East and North Africa, let me say this: We will never make the mistake of letting up in pursuit of terrorist groups that threaten our nation, wherever they may be,” the assistant secretary said.

The winding down of two long wars gives the United States the chance to act in its interests as a truly global power. “It is time to widen our scope and to deploy our forces and our energy in a manner more consistent with the deeper economic and geopolitical realities of our age,” he said

This is the logic underlying the military’s rebalance toward the Pacific. The Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean area is a rising region. The United States does about $1.4 trillion worth of two-way trade with Asia every year, and half of the world’s shipping by tonnage passes through the South China Sea. The region is home to more than half the world’s population. Seven of the 10 largest standing militaries in the world are in the region as is five of the world’s declared nuclear nations.

“It is in our clear economic and strategic interest to move our focus to the Pacific,” Lumpkin said. “This geographic shift hints at something even more fundamental: a fundamental shift in how we use and think of special operations forces in a post-9/11 era.”

The United States has been the bulwark of security in the region and is working to perpetuate the relative peace and stability, Lumpkin said. The United States accomplished this by building and maintaining a series of bilateral relationships and addressing potential sources of conflict before they create larger problems, he added.

This work centers on security cooperation, building partner capacity and building awareness of local conditions, he explained, and leans heavily on special operations capabilities. “The ability of [special operations forces] to operate in a low-visibility way will only become more important in the future of a globally dispersed and irregular threats,” he said.

He cited the Philippines as a good example. “With a task force of about 500 operators and general-purpose force enablers, we helped that nation degrade what was once considered a grave internal threat,” he said. “Just think what the cost would have been in dollars, and perhaps lives as well, if violent extremists had succeeded in establishing a sanctuary in a place like the Philippines, so centrally located along the shipping routes of the South China Sea.”

The timely and effective deployment of special operations forces and their supporting personnel made this possible, he said.

The Philippine example can be used as a model for the rest of the world, Lumpkin said, a model that would rely less on direct action and more on indirect efforts.

Colombia is another nation where this has been successful, the assistant secretary said. “We provided significant military aid, counterinsurgency training and humanitarian assistance in a broad-based initiative to prevent narcotics traffickers from establishing sanctuaries in that country,” he said. “‘Plan Colombia’ was a sustained commitment to building the capacity of a vitally important nation.

“This was no third-grade soccer team where everybody ran to the ball,” he continued. “It was patient, it was painstaking, and it worked on several problems at once.”

Special operators were just one part of the overall plan, Lumpkin said. They helped Colombia build a professional and capable military giving the nation the ability to solve its own security challenges, and to take ownership of the long process of eliminating terrorist and insurgent sanctuaries within its borders.

“But Plan Colombia also involved an interagency effort to assist the Colombians in eradicating narcotics and building stronger financial institutions,” he added. “The work paid off. Colombia is not only a far more secure and prosperous nation now, it has emerged as an exporter of regional security.”

The United States is moving from perpetual war to perpetual engagement, Lumpkin said, and the special operations forces community is going to be busy because of unpredictable threats and uncertain budgets.

“We in the SOF world have long known that when it comes to national security and global stability, an ounce of prevention is not worth a pound of cure, but a ton of cure,” he said.

The response to rising threats will grow shorter, Lumpkin said. “In the past, the traditional Iron Triangle of Congress, the Defense Department and industry were always able to assemble the resources in time to meet various challenges to our national security,” he said. This was because the threats of the past usually arose from nation states with their own political and industrial bureaucracies, he explained.

A major factor in this change is the rise of the Internet in general and social media in particular, “which has transformed the local into the global and the tactical into the strategic,” he said. “As a result, the traditional players don’t have the same power to shape events that they have had in the past.”

The increasing connectivity of people around the world can challenge traditional hierarchal struggles, Lumpkin noted. “When an idiosyncratic pastor in Florida issues statements that set off riots in Pakistan, you know something has changed,” he said.

“On a more significant scale, we saw in the Arab Spring how populations can rally in only minutes because of social media, with little warning from traditional analysis,” Lumpkin said.

Over the long run, Lumpkin said, flattening of communications works to benefit the United States and favors the spread of democratic values worldwide. “But the process will not be linear, and it will not be smooth, as we have seen increased connectivity present security threats as well as opportunities,” he added.

Network threats present new challenges and require new ways of planning, the assistant secretary told the audience, and cyber operations come to mind first. “As we continue to work our doctrine for response in the cyber realm,” he said, “it is entirely possible that SOF units, or even individuals, would be called upon to act online or offline to address these threats.”

Beyond cyber, Lumpkin said, the special operations community is concentrating on understanding the human domain – the totality of physical, cultural, political and social environments within a conflicted region.

 McRavenPeople,Technology,PartnersareSocomPriorities.aspxMcRaven: People, Technology, Partners are Socom Priorities2/12/2014
At U.S. Special Operations Command, taking care of special operators and their families, using technology to increase the safety of exacting special ops, and expanding partnerships of all kinds worldwide are priorities, the Socom commander said here yesterday.
ApprovedAt U.S. Special Operations Command, taking care of special operators and their families, using technology to increase the safety of exacting special ops, and expanding partnerships of all kinds worldwide are priorities, the Socom commander said here yesterday.

In his morning keynote address at the National Defense Industrial Association’s 25th Annual Special Operations/Low-intensity Conflict Symposium, Navy Adm. William H. McRaven described recent efforts on behalf of what he called “the finest special operations forces in the world.”

At Socom, he said, “we have spent the last year knitting together this incredible expanse of [special operations forces] talent into the global SOF network. We instituted a disciplined battle rhythm, [and] video teleconferences that allow me as the commander … to talk to senior leaders and [noncommissioned officers] around the world every week to ensure they are getting what they need to do the mission.”

McRaven said Socom is bringing more allies into headquarters, expanding its U.S. liaison efforts overseas, realigning special operations talent to Theater Special Operations Command and redistributing manpower from the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan.

“Most importantly,” the commander added, “we continue to work with the geographic combatant commanders to ensure Socom is providing the best trained and equipped SOF operators to meet the needs of the region.”

Socom’s No. 1 warfighting priority is and will remain Afghanistan, McRaven said, noting that he sees progress each time he returns to the country thanks to the work of U.S. service members, the International Security Assistance Force and partnership with the Afghan security forces.

“Afghan security forces are good, and thanks to our SOF investment, they are getting better,” he added.

Afghan soldiers and police now protect their fellow Afghans, and local police are the first layer of defense against the insurgency, especially in rural and remote areas, McRaven said.

“No matter the size of our presence there next year,” he added, “our future [military-to-military] engagements with the Afghans will remain vital in the region.”

Because of lessons learned in Afghanistan, some of them learned the hard way, the commander said, Socom established a program called the Tactical Assault Light Operator-Shooter, or TALOS, program, sometimes called “the Iron Man suit.”

The TALOS program is a collaboration of efforts, he said, involving 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities and 10 national laboratories. The goal is to give operators lighter, more efficient full-body ballistics protection and beyond-human strength. Embedded antennas and computers will provide user-friendly, real-time battlefield information.

Integrated heaters and coolers will regulate the suit’s temperature and embedded sensors will monitor the operator’s core body temperature, skin temperature, heart rate, body position and hydration levels.

If an operator is wounded, the suit’s final version may be able to administer the first oxygen or hemorrhage controls.

“The TALOS project is leveraging the expertise of leading minds throughout the country to redefine the state of the art in survivability and operator capability,” McRaven explained. “We're already seeing astounding results.”

Three prototype suits are being assembled, and in June will be delivered to Socom. They will be rigorously evaluated to produce a deployable combat suit in August 2018.

The TALOS team also will host a Monster Garage-type event to pair the creativity and ingenuity of local garage tinkerers with the expertise of professional engineers, designers and craftsmen to build components for the suit, potentially even a complete suit, in a collaborative environment, the admiral added.

“This unique collaboration effort is the future of how we should do business,” McRaven said. “If we do TALOS right, it will be a huge comparative advantage over our enemies and give warriors the protection they need in a very demanding environment.”

Because he sees education as a critical factor in producing the nation’s finest special operations warrior, McRaven said, in the past year he approved a plan for the Joint Special Operations University to become what he called “the internationally recognized, regionally accredited, degree-producing SOF university that our special operations forces deserve.”

Much of the advanced education will help operators become regional experts, he said.

“If we want to be value-added to the regional combatant commanders, SOF operators require the ability to think, assess and rapidly respond at the tactical level while always considering the strategic implications,” McRaven said. Such operators need more language training and an understanding of the historical, political, sociological, economic and geographic underpinnings of the region, he added.

And because the forces rely heavily on noncommissioned officers, Socom is developing a world-class NCO education program. The Joint SOF Senior Enlisted Academy has been online for two years, with a resident and nonresident professional military education program for senior NCOs, McRaven noted.

“Ultimately, however, the future of SOF lies in how well we take care of our men and women and their families who have shouldered the burden of 13 years of sustained combat,” the commander said.

On Feb. 21, McRaven said he will sign a memorandum of agreement with the Agriculture Department that will enable Socom to access more than 100 land-grant universities to conduct research and implement programs to support and promote the well-being and resilience of U.S. Socom service members and their families.

“The recent passing of the 2014 [National Defense Authorization Act] gives the Socom commander authority to use SOF funds to support family programs,” the commander said.

The three-year pilot program authorizes Socom to use up to $5 million a year to supplement service-provided programs or develop innovative programs that meet family needs, he said, adding that the focus will be on building and maintaining resilient, fully functioning families.

Socom also is working to increase the predictability of its deployments and standardize the time a service member is deployed, he said.

For special ops warriors who are wounded, injured or ill, McRaven called the Socom Care Coalition a gold standard in nonmedical care. The program supports the entire family, and the advocacy is for life, according to the coalition’s website.

“The Socom Care Coalition serves a multitude of roles,” McRaven said, “acting as advocates and liaisons, connecting service members and families with charitable organizations and or federal entities to fill gaps the government traditionally does not fill.”

Socom’s future is full of challenges and opportunities, the admiral said, and the world is a difficult place where a handful of men and women of talent, character and commitment can make a huge difference.

“On any given day in the special operations community, over 10,000 of America's finest soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and DOD civilians are engaged in more than 70 countries around the globe, supporting the geographic combatant commanders and the chiefs of mission,” McRaven said.

“If we continue to carefully select our warriors, train them to the highest standard, equip them with the finest tools and demand the best from them,” he added, “then wherever they go they will be a tremendous resource for our policymakers, our diplomats, our geographic combatant commanders and our nation.”

 CareCoalitionhighlightedatrecentGasparillaparade.aspxCare Coalition highlighted at recent Gasparilla parade1/25/2014
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Care Coalition of U.S. Special Operations Command that tends to the needs of wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and their families was recently highlighted during an annual parade that celebrates the pirate way of life here.
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The Care Coalition of U.S. Special Operations Command that tends to the needs of wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and their families was recently highlighted during an annual parade that celebrates the pirate way of life here.

Air Force Master Sgt. Christian “Mack” MacKenzie was chosen to represent USSOCOM’s Care Coalition and serve as the Grand Marshal of the Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest Parade of Pirates Jan. 25. MacKenzie has most recently served as a hospital liaison officer with the Care Coalition and superintendent of their community outreach department, but is currently in their Transition Internship Program as he is being evaluated by a medical board.  He was injured in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade struck the MH-53 helicopter he helped crew, causing facial trauma, shrapnel wounds to his upper body, the loss of his left eye and hearing damage.

While MacKenzie’s prior missions were flying Special Operations missions, his goal during the parade was to throw out as many strands of plastic, colored beads to the spectators lining the 3-mile route.

“This is a lot of work … my arm’s getting tired,” MacKenzie said during the parade.

His arm wasn’t just worn out from tossing all the beads – he had waves of costumed “pirates” coming up to the convertible he was riding in, shaking his hand and thanking him for his service.  “You’re welcome” and “thank you” were always MacKenzie’s response.

Care Coalition highlighted at recent Gasparilla parade
 SailingtoRecovery.aspxSailing to Recovery11/15/2013
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – As 15 knot winds with gusts up to 20 filled the sails of the numerous boats on the water, propelling them quietly on Tampa Bay Nov. 7, 18 service members and veterans serving as crewmembers were getting much more than a joyride , they were getting therapy.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – As 15 knot winds with gusts up to 20 filled the sails of the numerous boats on the water, propelling them quietly on Tampa Bay Nov. 7, 18 service members and veterans serving as crewmembers were getting much more than a joyride , they were getting therapy.

The injured service members were taking part in the inaugural U.S. Sailing Military Sailboat Racing Camp, which was organized through St. Petersburg Yacht Club, U.S. Sailing and U.S. Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition.  The driving force of the program is Jen French who is the 2012 Paralympic Games’ silver medalist in sailing.  After returning from the 2012 games, she was determined to reach out to disabled veterans and wanted to host a training camp that was more than just taking veterans on a sailboat ride, but teaching them the skills and techniques of sailing.

“I think this is a way to give back to those who have served us so well.” said French, who was paralyzed from the waist down from a snowboarding accident 15 years ago.  “This is a great life skill that we can give to them. The benefits of this boot camp (for the participants) are not only leadership and teamwork, but they are learning how to be self-reliant.”

 USSOCOMmarks20thanniversaryofthe‘MogadishuMile’.aspxUSSOCOM marks 20th anniversary of the ‘Mogadishu Mile’10/4/2013
Sixty-eight members of the U. S. Special Operations Command participated in a Mogadishu Mile event on MacDill AFB Oct. 4 in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the events in Mogadishu, Somalia that inspired the book and movie Black Hawk Down.
ApprovedSixty-eight members of the U.S. Special Operations Command participated in a Mogadishu Mile event on MacDill AFB Oct. 4 in remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the events in Mogadishu, Somalia that inspired the book and movie Black Hawk Down.

The battle of Mogadishu resulted in the downing of two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters that were part of the mission to capture the lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid. Task Force Ranger was sent to secure the crash sites and ended up engaged in a firefight lasting through the night of Oct. 3 into the morning hours of Oct. 4.

Finally, the task force was reinforced at the crash sites by armored vehicles and extracted, but due to space limitations in the convoy, a group of operators were unable to be transported in the vehicles, and were forced to move on foot, fighting their way back to the rally point at the Mogadishu soccer stadium.  This event is known today as the “Mogadishu Mile.”

Today, members of the SOF community gathered at the Special Operations Forces memorial to honor the memories of Task Force Ranger in the battle of Mogadishu, in which 16 Special Operators and two additional U.S. service members on the convoy made the ultimate sacrifice, with an additional 80 wounded, and 1 aviator captured. It is estimated that Task Force Ranger inflicted 1,500 casualties on the enemy during this one engagement.
 GuidanceforShutdownFurlough.aspxGuidance for Shutdown Furlough9/27/2013
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has prepared human resources guidance for agencies and employees on shutdown furloughs (also called emergency furloughs). A shutdown furlough occurs when there is a lapse in annual appropriations.
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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has prepared human resources guidance for agencies and employees on shutdown furloughs (also called emergency furloughs).

 

A shutdown furlough occurs when there is a lapse in annual appropriations. Shutdown furloughs can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed.

 

Click the link to see entire document: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/guidance-for-shutdown-furloughs.pdf

 

Click to view DoD Shutdown Guidance: http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2013/0913_govtshutdown/

 SOCOMSoldierhonoredasDistinguishedMemberof75thRangerRegiment.aspxSOCOM Soldier honored as Distinguished Member of 75th Ranger Regiment9/20/2013
An active-duty member of U.S. Special Operations Command’s logistics directorate was recently honored by his previous command by naming him to an elite group of members who have helped carve the unit’s prestigious history.
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An active-duty member of U.S. Special Operations Command’s logistics directorate was recently honored by his previous command by naming him to an elite group of members who have helped carve the unit’s prestigious history.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Billy Frazier Jr., the USSOCOM Property Management Officer, was named a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment during a July 23 ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., which was part of the Ranger Rendezvous.  Soldiers are named as distinguished members of the 75th Ranger Regiment for their outstanding accomplishments while assigned to the unit.

Frazier first served with the Regiment in 1994 as a company supply sergeant with Bravo Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, after completing initial Ranger training.  While there, he deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of operation Uphold Democracy.  Frazier stayed in the regiment, serving with headquarters, headquarters company, as the company supply sergeant from 1996 to 1997, until his selection to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School.

Fast forward to 2008, and Frazier was back on his old stomping grounds with the regiment, this time serving as the regimental property book officer as a chief warrant officer 4.  He served there until February 2013, and it was during that time he played a key role in shaping the logistics future of the unit, earning him the distinguished member honors.

Frazier and his team changed the way supply kept the logistics train moving, ensuring the warfighters of the regiment had the proper equipment and were always ready for the next mission.

“We looked at a lot of things from an operational perspective – made sure logistics tied into the operational picture,” Frazier said.  “Back in the day we were more in a training environment, where now we are in an operational environment.  We have to make sure the systems are able to support that, but are just as flexible and efficient so when we get guys back, we get them through the reset process, training process, op-alert and then back into the fight.”

Frazier said one way they did that was by building three Ranger Issue Facilities (RIFs)  – supply warehouses designed for Rangers and stocked with all the gear needed for their training and deployments.  The facilities replaced an old way of doing business – issuing gear out of shipping containers in the elements, whether raining or cold.  The new facilities keep the Rangers from the elements, and give them a comfortable place to receive gear, which can often take hours.

“What we found is that we needed to build a facility Rangers could go to and be comfortable, because there’s a long wait time, but more importantly make sure they know that facility is there for them,” said Frazier, a Soldier of 25 years.  “It’s not a [Central Issue Facility], it’s shaped in particular for them and their mission, not only in garrison but also forward.

“The RIFs are a collaborative effort among all the logisticians in the regiment,” Frazier added.  “I see that facility as one of the fundamental pieces of the regiment because it’s a cornerstone … because it actually ensures that the individual Ranger, when he gets in that aircraft, he has all the necessary kit he needs to do his mission set.”

In addition to building the facilities, Frazier and his fellow logisticians took a look at the property books and ensured they were updated to reflect the gear Rangers currently need and use.  He said that by doing so, it took pressure off of the company commanders who sign for the gear.

"
We needed to figure out if we’re being efficient, if we were providing relief of pressure on the force,” Frazier said. “If you have a company commander coming off deployment that’s spending all his reset time doing inventories – are we really efficient?  Is he counting widgets just to count widgets, or is he counting widgets that he actually needs?”

The solution Frazier and his staff came up with was taking items off the inventory that weren’t being used operationally.  This took the responsibility of accounting for gear that wasn’t being used downrange off of commanders, whose property books now only included the gear they actually needed, as well as helping to mitigate losses.  Frazier said this helped align P-11 assets – Special Operations Forces Equipment – and made authorizations visible in the service system, allowing commanders to see all the gear they are authorized to have.

By reducing the table of organization and equipment, Frazier and his staff were able to take approximately 300 pieces of “rolling stock” off the books within a two-year period.

“Now company commanders, supply sergeants, platoon sergeants aren’t out there inventorying Humvees that they’ll never use in combat, just for the sake of inventorying,” Frazier said.  “We shrunk the books down to the right size.”

While Frazier was honored by the recognition, he’s also very humble, and repeatedly said this recognition wasn’t about him.

“I only did my job as a Ranger, but more importantly our logistical success over the past four-and-a-half years is due to the 75th Ranger Regiment's leadership throughout, from the team leaders and above,” he said.  “It was the support of the regimental commander, regimental [command sergeant major], the regimental staff, battalion leadership, logisticians, and Rangers at all levels … as well as our exceptional civilian counterparts within the team.  Success also is directly tied to the superb support from higher such as the USASOC Headquarters, as well as the USSOCOM staff.

“It was an honor and a privilege to be part of the regiment, because every day I was able to go to work and look my heroes directly in the face. Those guys are doing a tremendous amount of work in the [area of responsibility], and they are modern-day heroes … guys that have written our history in a lot of ways.  Just to be a part of that was an honor and privilege.”

And while Frazier was honored to work with his heroes, he was even more honored for the respect shown to him when he was honored in his job as a logistician.

“Just to be on stage with [the fellow honorees at this year’s ceremony] was eye-watering to me because you have proven combat veterans that haven’t just done it once, twice or three times, they’ve done it 10, 11 or 12 times,” Frazier said.  “So to be acknowledged in that forum and be part of that family … it was very overwhelming.”

 

 USSOCOMSeeksIdeasforAdvancedAssaultSuitDevelopment.aspxUSSOCOM Seeks Ideas for Advanced Assault Suit Development9/20/2013
Tampa, Fla.--U.S. Special Operations Command issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for proposals and research in support of the development of Tactical Light Operator Suit (TALOS)  TALOS is a USSOCOM effort to provide special operation forces (SOF) with enhanced mobility and protection technologies in a fully integrated assault suit.
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Tampa, Fla.--U.S. Special Operations Command issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for proposals and research in support of the development of Tactical Light Operator Suit (TALOS)  TALOS is a USSOCOM effort to provide special operation forces (SOF) with enhanced mobility and protection technologies in a fully integrated assault suit.

 

Some of the potential technologies planned for TALOS research and development include advanced armor, command and control computers, power generators, and enhanced mobility exoskeletons.

“USSOCOM is interested in receiving white papers from a wide variety of sources, not just traditional military industry but also from academia, entrepreneurs, and laboratories capable of providing the design, construction, and testing of TALOS related technologies,” said Jim Geurts, USOCOM acquisition executive.  “The intent is to accelerate the delivery of innovative TALOS capabilities to the SOF operator.”

The BAA goal is to foster collaboration with government, academia, and industry representatives on the TALOS effort. Prior studies and analysis have determined a number of technical challenges exist for the SOF equipment that require improvements for missions into the future. Those challenges include trade space between weight, protection, power, and mobility, cost, and system component integration.

BAA will remain open until September 3, 2014.  For more information on the TALOS BAA, go to https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=2d62002ee85aa7bb758d01e0ddbd32c4&tab=core&_cview=0 .

 
A video about the TALOS effort can be found here: Www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePl9TC2ySUY

 
Contact LCDR Cohen at 813.826.1350 for further information.

 TheDoubleEdgedSword–AnEmpoweredNCOCorps.aspxThe Double Edged Sword – An Empowered NCO Corps8/19/2013
As we move toward the end of
combat operations in Afghanistan it is
fitting to examine the effects of nearly
12 years of combat on our
noncommissioned officer corps. I
submit that the greatest single effect is
that at no time in our military’s history
has the NCO Corps ever been more
empowered.
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As we move toward the end of combat operations in Afghanistan it is fitting to examine the effects of nearly 12 years
of combat on our noncommissioned officer corps. I submit that the greatest single effect is that at no time in our
military’s history has the NCO Corps ever been more empowered.

The wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan were and are counter insurgency fights. COIN is characterized by decentralized
command and control and small unit tactics. For these two reasons, NCOs were given more responsibility and
authority. You only have to watch the documentary “Restrepo” to see this empowerment in action. The reasons for
NCO empowerment become even more obvious when you add the complexity of joint and coalition forces.

If we reflect on the successes of the last decade on the battlefield it is due in large part to our NCOs. They have
been magnificent at executing commander’s guidance and intent in a complex operational environment. Deployment
after deployment our NCOs have led troops in offensive action, stability operations, facilitation of governance,
security force assistance, civil-military operations and a myriad of other missions. They have been truly remarkable
at integrating joint-force and inter-agency capabilities.

The Double Edged Sword – An Empowered NCO Corps
 EagleClawveteran,SpecialOpsAviatorreceives2013BullSimonsAward.aspxEagle Claw veteran, Special Ops Aviator receives 2013 Bull Simons Award5/22/2013
Special Ops guys come in all shapes and sizes.
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Special Ops guys come in all shapes and sizes.

 

When you look at Fred Arooji, you think you are looking at a kindly grandfather. Standing about five feet six inches, weighing maybe a 160 pounds and sporting gray hair that has long resided on his scalp.

 

Arooji is all that, but he is also a guy who entered Iran ahead of an American hostage rescue attempt in April 1980, survived on his own for two weeks after the mission was aborted, escaping only by his wits.  A guy, who would become a Special Ops pilot, help pioneer night vision goggles technology, and fly hundreds of Special Operations missions during his more than 30 years in Special Operations.

 

The hostage rescue mission in Iran became known as Operation Eagle Claw and the mission planners would have to bring in unique talent from throughout the Department of Defense. One skill they were looking for was Farsi language speakers.

 

 

 2013WarriorGamescelebratesanindomitablespirit.aspx2013 Warrior Games celebrates an indomitable spirit5/20/2013
In a remarkable celebration of perseverance and resiliency more than 200 wounded military athletes competed in the 2013 Warrior Games. The games held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 11 -16 had seven events: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball.
Draft

In a remarkable celebration of perseverance and resiliency more than 200 wounded military athletes competed in the 2013 Warrior Games. The games held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 11 -16 had seven events: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball.

Opening ceremonies were held at the Olympic Training Center May 11 and included special guest of honor, Britain’s Prince Harry, who joined U.S. Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder and Olympic swimming champion Missy Franklin in lighting the Olympic flame.

The Warrior Games was created to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for troops with permanent physical disabilities such as amputations, as well as traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other serious injuries.

In his first cycling race ever, Master Sgt. Mark Vomund won the silver medal in the 30 kilometer Men’s Bicycle Open. A Green Beret and 24-year Army veteran with 10 deployments under his belt, Vomund was severely injured in an IED blast in 2010. A year later and in the midst of traumatic mental and physical recovery, he took up cycling.

“For me, it’s not about winning medals, it’s about doing something that I haven’t done before – and becoming a more complete person in the process,” said Vomund. “Cycling has given me back a part of what I was, which also has given me self-worth and self-pride.”

This year marks the fourth year for the Games, an Olympic-style event open to Armed Forces servicemembers who were injured while serving on active duty. The USSOCOM team had more than 30 Special Operations athletes from across the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The team competed against athletes from all service branches including members of the United Kingdom's Armed Forces.

 

 USSOCOMWarriorGamesAthletesKickOffCompetitionwithMedalWins.aspxUSSOCOM Warrior Games Athletes Kick Off Competition with Medal Wins5/12/2013
The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Warrior Games team joined more than 250 other wounded warriors from around the country and the United Kingdom for the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., this week.
ApprovedThe U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Warrior Games team joined more than 250 other wounded warriors from around the country and the United Kingdom for the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., this week.

This year marks the fourth year for the Games, an Olympic-style event open to Armed Forces servicemembers who were injured while serving on active duty. The USSOCOM team is comprised of over 30 Special Operations athletes from across the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The team is competing against athletes from all service branches including members of the United Kingdom's Armed Forces.

Opening ceremonies were held at the Olympic Training Center May 11 and included special guest of honor, Britain’s Prince Harry, who joined U.S. Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder and Olympic swimming champion Missy Franklin in lighting the Olympic flame.

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alfredo De Los Santos served as torch bearer for the USSOCOM team.

Athletic competitions kicked off May 12 with cycling, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball matches. Members of the USSOCOM team secured an unprecedented four medals in cycling events.

USSOCOM team member and retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Justin Gaertner brought home the Bronze medal in the men’s 10 kilometer handcycling event.  U.S. Army Master Sgt. Mark Vomund secured the Silver medal in the 30 kilometer men’s open cycling event. Retired Sgt. Maj. Chris Self claimed the Gold medal in the 30 kilometer men’s disability cycling category, while U.S. Army Maj. Ivan Castro and Army Capt. Richard Kirby also won Gold in the mixed tandem cycling race.


 
 USSpecialOperationsTeamChargesToward2013WarriorGames.aspxU.S. Special Operations Team Charges Toward 2013 Warrior Games5/9/2013
The joint U.S. Special Operations Command Warrior Games team will join more than 200 other wounded warriors to kickoff the 2013 Warrior Games May 11.
ApprovedThe joint U.S. Special Operations Command Warrior Games team will join more than 200 other wounded warriors to kickoff the 2013 Warrior Games May 11.

In its fourth year, the Warrior Games is an Olympic-style event open to armed service members who were injured while serving on active duty. The USSOCOM team is comprised of more than 30 Special Operations athletes from across the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The team will compete against athletes from other service branches including the United Kingdom's Armed Forces.

Throughout the week, Warrior Games athletes will compete in wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, swimming, track and field, shooting and cycling. Each team will also compete for the Chairman’s Cup, awarded to the top overall performing team.

In preparation for the games, SOF Wounded Warrior athletes from around the nation have trained with professional coaches and athletes as part of the Wounded Warrior Athlete Reconditioning Program (WWARP).

“Wounded SOF service men and women have overcome significant challenges through participation in adaptive sports and recreation. The WWARP program is geared to helping them achieve rehabilitation and athletic goals, and to improve their overall quality of life,” said U.S. Army 2nd  Lt. JodiAnn Gregory, USSOCOM Care Coalition and WWARP Lead Action Officer.
 
“Programs like WWARP and Warrior Games have significant benefits for our service members, whether it’s simple peer to peer mentorship, positive influence on the measures of independence or overall inspiration and motivation,” she said.

The Warrior Games were created in 2010 as an introduction to Paralympic sports for injured service members and veterans. Disabilities range from traumatic brain injury to amputation and severe burn injuries. Events conclude with awards and a celebration May 16.
 MedalofHonorRecipientsInductedintoUSSOCOMHallofHonor.aspxMedal of Honor Recipients Inducted into USSOCOM Hall of Honor3/29/2013
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A crowd of several hundred onlookers watched as the names of two Special Operators who earned the Nation’s highest military award were unveiled on the black granite walls of the Special Operations Memorial here March 27.
ApprovedMACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – A crowd of several hundred onlookers watched as the names of two Special Operators who earned the Nation’s highest military award were unveiled on the black granite walls of the Special Operations Memorial here March 27.

The ceremony was to honor Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry and Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller and induct them into U.S. Special Operations Command’s Hall of Honor, as well as reveal their names at the memorial.  Miller, who died as a result of the wounds he received on the mission when he performed his heroic actions, was represented by his parents, Phil and Maureen Miller, along with two of his siblings.  Petry and his wife, Ashley, were also on hand to pull off the black veils covering the names at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Admiral Bill McRaven, commander of USSOCOM, presided over the ceremony and talked about how Americans take great pride in the military and are “in awe” of those who earn the Medal of Honor.

“This is about honoring the people and stories that breathe life into the granite walls that surround us,” McRaven said.  “The black stone preserves and promotes our heritage … A heritage and legacy that these two Medal of Honor recipients exemplified during their service to this Nation.”

Petry, who is currently serving as a USSOCOM Care Coalition liaison with 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment,  received his Medal of Honor for his actions while serving with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, in Paktya province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008.  During an engagement with the enemy, he was wounded in both legs before picking up an enemy grenade that landed nearby, which detonated just after leaving his hand as he attempted to throw it clear of his fellow Rangers. Despite the blast severing his right hand, Petry stayed in the fight and called in support for his unit after applying a tourniquet to his wrist.

Miller received his Medal of Honor for his actions while serving with Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3312, Special Operations Task Force-33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, in Konar province, Afghanistan, on January 25, 2008.  While conducting a battle damage assessment after an engagement with the enemy, Miller and his team were caught exposed by a large insurgent force.  Miller, the point man, called for his men to fall back and take cover, and then charged the enemy to provide protective fire.  Despite being shot in the upper torso, Miller continued to engage the enemy to draw fire from more than 100 insurgents.  Through his actions, Miller killed at least 10 insurgents and wounded dozens more, allowing his team to safely reach cover, before he was mortally wounded.

Technical Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, currently with the Oregon Air National Guard’s 125th Special Tactics Squadron, was the guest speaker for the event.  He served with Miller’s team as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), and was there the night Miller earned his Medal of Honor when he sacrificed his life.

Gutierrez recalled his first encounter with Miller after being assigned to the team.  He said he put his gear in his room, grabbed his rifle and headed out side where Miller and a fellow team member were.  Gutierrez said his first encounter with Miller was a good ribbing with a question of, “What are you doing with that rifle, Air Force?”

Gutierrez explained how they became instant friends and would often enter into service rivalry discussions – Gutierrez saying his ammunition was bigger (bombs) and never missed, and Miller always replying with, “But I’m a Green Beret!”
Throughout their time together, Gutierrez said he and Miller shared experiences – Gutierrez taught Miller how to call in close air support using Air Force jargon, and Miller taught Gutierrez the intricacies of working with the local population.  The friendship resulted in the two working closely together every day, even the night when Miller was killed as he helped Gutierrez identify and call in targets to pilots above.

After the strikes were called in and Miller took the point to assess the damage, Gutierrez said he felt a little anxiety, like being separated from his brother.  After Miller was wounded, Gutierrez and a fellow team member went to pull him back to safety, but Miller was still pointing out targets.

“The thing that mattered the most was, A – we were trying to get to him and help him, and B – a dying man still points out, on his back, and says, ‘They’re right there,’” recalled Gutierrez, who earned an Air Force Cross on a subsequent deployment.  “Me, as a JTAC, being able to see it and do my job because of him, there’s nothing I could do or say to ever repay what he did.”

A total of 45 names grace the Medal of Honor/Victoria Cross wall at the Special Operations Memorial. The memorial lists the names and pays tribute to all Special Operations personnel who have died in service to the Nation.
 STANDBY!GO!.aspxSTAND BY!..GO!3/21/2013
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Military parachutists received a rare opportunity recently when an aircraft that normally isn’t found here travelled to the base to drop them from the skies above.
ApprovedMACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Military parachutists received a rare opportunity recently when an aircraft that normally isn’t found here travelled to the base to drop them from the skies above. 

Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment, a Florida Army National Guard unit out of Jacksonville, Fla., who recently returned from an OEF Deployment, were on station March 2, 2013, in their CH-47D helicopter to drop 60 jumpers in 2 lifts.  Those participating in the training were from various airborne units on MacDill AFB.

Although the 1-111th Aviation Regiment frequently supports 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne)  and on occasion Special Operations Command Central’s Special Operations Detachment-Central, the opportunity to simultaneously support jumpers from the units that participated does not occur as often.

Training events such as this not only allow servicemembers to brush up on skills and stay current in training, it also allows active and reserve units to build relationships and train together, according to Army Master Sgt.  Kevin Allen, SOD-C, who was the driving force in coordinating the training opportunity. 

“It is always a great opportunity when the Florida National Guard and its units can come together and support training with our active duty counterparts here at MacDill,” Allen said.  “I enjoy taking the lead and bringing together the pieces to make a jump with non-standard aircraft, such as the CH-47. The CH-47 is such a great platform for airborne operations."

This training opportunity also displayed the close relationship between USSOCOM and the various Theater Special Operations Command elements.  Army Master Sgt. Stephen Jones, who is stationed at SOCCENT, served as the drop zone safety officer (DZSO) and the jumpmaster for the final drop of the day.  He said the training illustrated the unique aspect of how Army aircraft approach the base’s drop zone compared to the computer generated approach by the Air Force.

"The use of Army Rotary Aircraft for the operation requires some mathematical calculation by the DZSO using table calculations with a weather balloon and compass on the drop zone, prior to the operation, that will determine [the] approach used by the aircraft versus a predetermined computed approach the Air Force uses on board in flight, referred to as Computed Air Release Point,” Jones said.  “It gives the DZSO more flexibility when using Army aircraft, because the DZSO stays in contact with the aircraft and can make adjustments for each pass based on changes in wind and observed drift of the jumpers.  Essentially, the DZSO is managing the landing of the jumpers within the surveyed drop zone for the operation in real time.”
 SOCOMCommandertohostvirtualtownhall.aspxSOCOM Commander to host virtual town hall2/22/2013
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Adm. William H. McRaven, commander U.S. Special Operations Command, will host a virtual town hall, March 7, 2013, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Adm. McRaven, along with his wife Georgeann, will address questions concerning Preservation of the Force and Families. The town hall is designed to be interactive, allowing participants to ask real time questions concerning Special Operations Forces and their families using social media.
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MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Adm. William H. McRaven, commander U.S. Special Operations Command, will host a virtual town hall today, March 7, 2013, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Adm. McRaven, along with his wife Georgeann, will address questions concerning Preservation of the Force and Families. The town hall is designed to be interactive, allowing participants to ask real time questions concerning Special Operations Forces and their families using social media.

“Every person in our SOF family is vitally important and as your commander, there is no responsibility I take greater pride in than leading and caring for you – the greatest Special Operations Force our world has ever known,” Adm. McRaven said in a 2012 memo.

Additional details on the town hall will be posted on the USSOCOM Facebook page or on Google Plus.

 

 NSWoperatorsassistHonduranmilitarytoestablishelitemaritimeunit.aspxNSW operators assist Honduran military to establish elite maritime unit1/25/2013
With a rate of 86 people killed for every 100,000 habitants, Honduras is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world according to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report in 2011.
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With a rate of 86 people killed for every 100,000 inhabitants, Honduras is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world according to statistics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report in 2011.
  
With a murder rate four times higher than Mexico, these alarming numbers depict a nation where violence is part of everyday life. Many of these casualties are linked to narcotics trafficking, where Honduras and other Central American nations are used as a transit point from South America into Mexico and the U.S.; the preponderance of these illicit activities enter the region by maritime.

During a recent six-month deployment, members of Naval Special Warfare Task Element-Alpha, a deployed maneuver element attached to Naval Special Warfare Unit-FOUR in support of Special Operations Command South, partnered with their Honduran counterparts to train and increase the military capacity of the newly established Honduran Fuerza Especiales Naval or FEN. The FEN is a maritime unit of Special Operators capable of combating transnational organized crime in and around their waterways.

NSWU4, stationed in Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek, Va., and in support of SOCSOUTH, designed and implemented a comprehensive training and maintenance plan to build the FEN into a strong counter-narcotic force. This same training plan has been used before during the creation of the FEN in Guatemala.

Ten operators from SEAL Team 18, attached to NSWU-4, spent six months training and observing the FEN in a multi-disciplinary approach, resulting in 45 highly qualified Honduran Special Operators by the end of the training.

 

More than 110 Honduran sailors attended the two, eight-week Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/s) style selection courses, designed by the members of NSWU-4, which challenged the mental and physical capabilities of each individual. The training was modeled after the BUD/s selection course done by the U.S. Navy SEALs in Coronado, Calif.
 
The selection course in Honduras included rigorous physical conditioning assessments, team-building evolutions, and basic special operations skill sets.

Some of the conditioning assessments included an eight-mile log physical training event, and a six-nautical mile ocean swim across the Bahia de Trujillo that was completed by both NSW personnel and the Honduran FEN. After completing these physical and mental hardships to become a member of the FEN, the 45 qualified individuals continued through more rigorous and operationally-focused skills training, which completed their transformation into a disciplined and dedicated team capable of providing the Honduran Fuerza Naval a capable maritime branch of special operations.

To compliment the efforts of the Navy SEALs, members from Naval Special Warfare Special Boat Team 22 also spent a month with counterparts from NSWTE-A training the FEN in basic watercraft maintenance skills and procedures, nautical chart familiarization, boat vectoring and intercepting techniques, small boat handling tactics, and long-range navigation exercises.

“The combination of SEALs and Special Boat Operators provided the FEN with arguably the best maritime training available within USSOF”, said the NSWTE-A officer in charge.

Outside of the physical and technical training that is associated with a special operator, NSWTE-A focused on creating a team of communication specialists within the FEN to become experts in Harris radio technologies, a skill set that is lacking in most Central American units due to the lack of expertise.

“In my whole military career, I can only remember three times when radios were used successfully on a mission,” said the FEN’s commanding officer. He added that the skills learned during this training should improve the success rate of radios during military movements.

NSWTE-A also focused its efforts on partner nation self-sustainment strategies when seven FEN members were selected as future instructors, shadowing NSW counterparts during all training evolutions. This mentorship provided each Honduran instructor with the competence and confidence to conduct future selection courses and internal sustainment training unilaterally.

Organizational departments were also created to include assault, boats, communications, engineering and training with a senior officer and enlisted advisor assigned to each department.

“With the task organization of the FEN currently in place, they are now able to organize operations, training, and maintenance far more effectively which in turn has created a streamlined and capable maritime unit,” stated the NSWTE-A noncommissioned officer in charge.

This training conducted by NSWTE-A established the framework going forward for the Honduran FEN. The FEN is now task organized into assault, boat, communications, maintenance and training departments.

“The unique task organization, presentation of functional skill sets, and development of unit pride and esprit de corps has effectively paved the way for continued Honduran led training and operations in the future in order to keep their borders secure against transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking,” said the NSWTE-A officer in charge.

 MortonNamedUltraRunneroftheYear.aspxMorton Named Ultra Runner of the Year1/11/2013
Army Master Sgt. Mike Morton, U.S. Army Special Operations Command liaison officer, of Lithia, Fla., has been voted the 2012 UltraRunning magazine North American
ultramarathon runner of the year.
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U.S. Army Master Sgt. Mike Morton, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command liaison officer at U.S. Special Operations Command, has been voted the 2012 UltraRunning magazine North American ultramarathon runner of the year.

Morton, 41, won all five races he entered in 2012, including Badwater, a 135-mile race across Death Valley in July. He set course records at both the Umstead 100-Mile Race in North Carolina and the KEYS 100-Mile Race in the Florida Keys. His year culminated in winning the World 24-Hour Championships at Katowice, Poland, where set an American record with
172.457 miles.

Morton’s 24-hour record run in Poland was voted outstanding performance of the year
for men. He averaged 8:21 per mile for the entire 24 hours, breaking Scott Jurek’s 2010
record by nearly seven miles.

A panel of 24 race organizers from all regions of North America submitted ballots this
year. An ultramarathon is generally defined as any race longer than a 26.2-mile
marathon. Ultramarathon running is one of the fastest growing sports in the country,
with participation more than doubling over the past five years. There were 717
ultramarathon races held in North America in 2012.

Full voting statistics are available at
http://www.ultrarunning.com/ultra/features/news/morton-and-greenwood-name.shtml

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