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.
“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.
Cochran is most well-known for his service as the commander of the 1st Air Commando Group in the China-India-Burma Theater during World War II. His unit secured and built an airfield 165 miles behind Japanese lines in 1944. The unit had many firsts: first air unit designed to support a ground unit, first composite air unit, first air unit employed with total autonomy, first nighttime glider assault landing, and first use of helicopters in combat.
Lunger was a former Special Forces officer and a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee. He played a key role in the creation of USSOCOM, and it’s often said the command wouldn’t exist without his support and perseverance.
Manor was the commander of the Air Force Special Operations Forces and was in charge of the Joint Task Force responsible for the daring Son Tay prison compound raid in North Vietnam in 1970. Though the raid wasn’t successful since prisoners had been moved, it impacted future treatment and morale of prisoners of war. Manor also served on the investigate panel of the failed Iranian hostage prisoner rescue attempt, Eagle Claw, in 1980, whose findings and recommendations led to the forming of USSOCOM.
Poole served in the Air Force for 30 years, 25 of which were in Special Operations, in assignments ranging from basic combat aircrew to the Headquarters Air Combat Command Chief Navigator. He was on the ground at Desert One during Eagle Claw, the failed Iranian hostage rescue attempt, and later developed, designed and implemented various procedures, tactics, techniques and command and control still used today.
Shachnow survived incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp before coming to the United States where he enlisted in the Army in 1950. He served for more than 30 years in billets ranging from an Operational Detachment Commander in Vietnam in 1963 to Commanding General of the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Throughout his service, he made significant contributions to the shaping, training, doctrine and force structure of Special Forces.
Each new inductee, family member or representative received a Commando Hall of Honor Medal and a crystal Commemorative Induction Plaque, but the day was about something greater than tangible items.
“Today is about much more than medals and crystal mementos, it is about honoring these men and their service to the Special Operations community,” said McRaven.
McRaven went on to state before the citations were read that they were mere snapshots of their selfless service to this nation.
“Think about it for just a minute,” McRaven said. “ Joe Brauch, Phil Cochran, Ted Lunger, Roy Manor, Ken Poole and Sid Shachnow…we would not be celebrating this 27th Anniversary of SOCOM were it not for the contributions of these men.”
“We would not enjoy the respect we have today, if not for their legacy that inspired my generation and the generations that followed,” said McRaven. “We would not be the same nation we are today were it not for the courage, the sacrifice, and the commitment of these six men.”
As the ceremony came to an end, the six newest members of the Command Hall of Honor received a standing ovation from the packed room.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to add their names to the list of men who have changed the face of Special Operations for the better,” said McRaven.