Showing posts with label Special Operations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special Operations. Show all posts

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Retired General McChrystal Reminds POTUS of Responsibility

Gen. McChrystal and former Navy SEAL on Afghanistan and leadership
June 15, 2017

The Trump administration may increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. This week, Defense Secretary James Mattis was granted authority to set those troop levels.
Asked about Mattis' new authority, retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who commanded American and international forces in Afghanistan in 2009-2010, said it's "a good thing to empower subordinates who are closest to the problem to make decisions."

"But you don't abrogate responsibility," McChrystal said Thursday on "CBS This Morning." "So the president of the United States still has responsibility for those decisions, and the American people ultimately still have ownership of those decisions. … They may not agree going in, but when the policy is set, we all have the resolve to follow through."

McChrystal also said "it's hard to say" what the appropriate number of troops should be in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has once again been gaining ground.

"I'd certainly defer to what Jim Mattis and [Gen.] Mick Nicholson on the ground are recommending," McChrystal said. "But the question I think we need to ask ourselves is, if we send more troops and that doesn't solve the problem or make the change we hope, what will we do then? And that's a question that the nation needs to ask itself about its long-term aims and objectives in Afghanistan and what we're willing to devote to achieve it."

McChrystal served as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command and was tasked with re-imagining the battlefields of the Middle East. McChrystal outlined how he did it in his 2015 bestseller, "Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World."
read more here

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Special Operations 1 KIA and 3 Wounded in Yemen

U.S. service member killed in Yemen raid marks first combat death of Trump administration
The Washington Post
By Missy Ryan, Sudarsan Raghavan and Thomas Gibbons-Neff
January 29

A U.S. Special Operations service member died of injuries suffered during a weekend raid against al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, the military said Sunday.

Three other American troops, members of a Navy SEAL unit, were wounded in the operation on Saturday against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The militant organization has remained a potent threat amid an extended civil war in Yemen.
read more here

Monday, January 23, 2017

Special Ops Veteran Brings Back "Ghost" From War Zone

Special ops veteran risks life to recover pets from bases in war zone
By Cristina Corbin
Published January 23, 2017
The recovery operation was costly and dangerous, requiring the special operations soldier to enter hostile territory in full body armor and make his way to a U.S. military base.

The purpose of his mission, however, did not include bringing back an American soldier. It was to pick up a 45-pound white Canaan dog named "Ghost" and reunite him with his human companion back home.

It's the kind of mission this soldier, who declined to give his name for security reasons, says he conducts in war zones around the world.

"It's the best feeling to reunite these pets with their soldiers," he told Fox News. "I was wounded in Iraq, myself, and I owe my life to my dog. There is a bond there that could never be broken."

For American soldiers serving abroad, pets are not considered military property – and are often left to die in the war zones where they bonded with their handlers. But this special operations soldier, with the help of a New York animal rescue group, has made it his mission to fly into countries in the Middle East and bring the pets back to the U.S. to live with their companions and their families.
read more here

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc Opens Up About His Own Battle With PTSD

A General’s New Mission: Leading a Charge Against PTSD
New York Times
The Saturday Profile
OCT. 7, 2016
“The powerful thing is that I can use myself as an example. And thank goodness not everybody can do that. But I’m able to do it, so that has some sort of different type of credibility to it.”
Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc
Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, commander of American Special
Operations Forces in Africa, tells soldiers that it is all
right to get help for brain injuries and mental health problems.
Credit Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
STUTTGART, Germany — It might have been the 2,000-pound bomb that dropped near him in Afghanistan, killing several comrades. Or maybe it was the helicopter crash he managed to survive. It could have been the battlefield explosions that detonated all around him over eight combat tours.

Whatever the cause, the symptoms were clear. Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc suffered frequent headaches. He was moody. He could not sleep. He was out of sorts; even his balance was off. He realized it every time he walked down the street holding hands with his wife, Sharon, leaning into her just a little too close.

Despite all the signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, it took 12 years from his first battlefield trauma for him to seek care. After all, he thought, he was a Green Beret in the Army’s Special Forces. He needed to be tough.

General Bolduc learned that not only did he suffer from PTSD, but he also had a bullet-size spot on his brain, an injury probably dating to his helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005.
Other high-ranking officers have come forward to talk about their struggles with post-combat stress and brain injuries. And in recent years, Special Operations commanders have become more open about urging their soldiers to get treatment.
read more here

He is not alone in talking about having PTSD. Other Generals came out as well so that they could actually care for the men and women they commanded.

Brig. General Gary S. Patton and Gen. Carter Ham have both sought counseling for the emotional trauma of their time in the Iraq war.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ret Adm. William McRaven "No one is immune to war's toll"

Former Special Operations commander: Military medicine needs compassion, collaboration
Stars and Stripes
By Dianna Cahn
Published: December 22, 2015
No one – not the top warrior nor the highest star admiral - is immune to war’s toll.

“Ever since I’ve come back it’s been like that,” McRaven said later, during a brief interview. “I’ve told one story a dozen times and I still can’t get through it.”
Chancellor of University of Texas Adm. William McRaven (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and longtime Navy SEAL, gives an address in San Antonio on Dec. 1 during a federal health conference. McRaven currently serves as chancellor of the University of Texas Systems.
SAN ANTONIO — The former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command got personal during a conference of federal medical professionals.

For most at the conference, it was an opportunity to share advances in science and medicine and the latest tools in treating the prevalent or the confounding wounds of war.

Adm. William McRaven offered up a story. He took his audience to a day in 2010 when he was at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and got word that two of his SEALs had been shot in a close fight.

McRaven ran across the road to the combat hospital and watched as the doctor struggled in vain to save each of his men. Unable to do so, the young doctor slid to the blood-soaked floor and simply wept.

A year later, McRaven met the widow of one of the SEALs and shared the details of that day. It gave her closure, she told him, to know that people who cared were present when her husband died.

The story was emotional, one told in order to drive home to his audience of medical professionals the power of compassion in medicine – even when it can’t save a patient’s life.

But in its telling, McRaven was forced to stop in his tracks and take a long pause before he could complete his story. For 10 seconds, the audience sat in silence as he struggled through his own emotions to find his voice. It drove home yet another lesson: No one – not the top warrior nor the highest star admiral - is immune to war’s toll.
read more here

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Crew Suspended After Hospital Attacked

U.S. suspends military personnel over airstrike in Afghanistan
Tampa Bay Times
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
"The investigation found that some of the U.S. individuals involved did not follow the rules of engagement," said Gen. Wilson Shoffner, the top U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan.
KABUL — The crew of an American gunship that attacked a hospital in Kunduz last month, killing 30, misidentified the target, had suffered a loss of electronic communications, had not been carrying a "no-strike" list though one existed and was beset by "fatigue and a high operational tempo," a U.S. military investigation has concluded.
Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander for Afghanistan, describes the errors that led to the errant airstrike on a hospital. New York Times

"This was a tragic and avoidable accident caused primarily by human error," Gen. John Campbell, the top U.S. commander for Afghanistan, said at a news conference in Kabul on Wednesday. But that human error, he said, was "compounded by systems and procedural failures."

Several American personnel, most likely pilots and special operations forces who made the decision that led to one of the deadliest incidents of civilian casualties of the war, have been suspended and could face further disciplinary action.
read more here

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Special Operations Soldier Killed Saving 70 Hostages in Iraq

Soldier Killed in Iraq Raid Belonged to Delta Force
ABC News
Oct 23, 2015

The U.S. Army soldier killed in the raid that freed 70 hostages from an ISIS prison in northern Iraq was a highly-decorated, veteran member of the elite Delta Force, U.S. military sources told ABC News.

Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler is the first American combat death in Iraq since American troops returned in mid-2014 to train, advise and assist the Iraqi military to fight ISIS, military officials said.

Wheeler, 39, of Roland, Oklahoma, "died Oct. 22, in Kirkuk Province, Iraq, from wounds received by enemy small-arms fire during an operation," the Defense Department said in a statement, which also noted that he was assigned to "Headquarters U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina." He is survived by his wife and four sons, the Army said.

Two military officials have told ABC News that Wheeler was a team leader for the elite Army special operations unit commonly known as "Delta Force," which is based at that command at Fort Bragg.
read more here
22 minutes ago
US Special Ops servicemember killed in rescue operation in Iraq
Stars and Stripes
By Tara Copp
Published: October 22, 2015

WASHINGTON — A U.S. special operations servicemember was killed Thursday during a raid to free captives from an Islamic State-controlled prison in northern Iraq, the Pentagon confirmed.

The rescue took place near the town of Hawijah, after U.S. and Iraqi officials received "information that the hostages faced imminent mass execution,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

The operation freed 70 hostages, 22 of whom were members of the Iraqi Security Forces, and a number of Islamic State fighters were killed, he said.

The operation on Thursday marks the first American killed in combat in Iraq since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011. It also raised questions about whether the U.S. forces were operating beyond the "train, advise, assist" mission that President Barack Obama authorized when the United States began attacks against the Islamic State last year.
Based on information provided by DOD as of Oct. 22, there have been no other U.S. servicemember deaths in Iraq as a result of hostile action. There have been nine non-combat related deaths, and five servicemembers have been wounded since U.S. forces returned last year to Iraq for Operation Inherent Resolve.
read more here

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Marines Resurrect Historic Name "Raiders"

Green Berets, SEALs, Now Raiders: Marines Resurrect Historic Name
Jun 19, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Army has the Green Berets, while the Navy is known for the SEALs. Now, an elite branch of the U.S. Marine Corps will officially be known as Raiders.

The Marines will rename several special operations units as Marine Raiders at a ceremony Friday, resurrecting a moniker made famous by World War II units that carried out risky amphibious and guerrilla operations.

The exploits of the original Marine Raiders — who pioneered tactics used by present-day special forces — were captured in books and movies including "Gung Ho!" in 1943 and "Marine Raiders" in 1944.

The name will give a unique identity to the Marines' branch of U.S. Special Operations Command, which includes special forces from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The Marines' Special Operations Command, known as MARSOC, was formed more than a decade ago as part of the global fight against terrorism.
read more here

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Special Operations Sister Soldiers

The sister soldiers who assisted Special Ops in Afghanistan 
PBS News Hour
April 22, 2015


JUDY WOODRUFF: Next: the newest addition to the NewsHour bookshelf, women in war. They were an elite band of sister soldiers deployed on insurgent-targeting night raids with one of the toughest special operations units in Afghanistan, the Army Rangers.

Their story is recounted in “Ashley’s War,” a new book by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Margaret Warner recently talked with Lemmon at Busboys and Poets, a bookstore in the Washington area. 

MARGARET WARNER: Gayle Lemmon, welcome. You profile some remarkable women in this book, but first explain what the theory was behind creating these all-female teams that went out on some of the riskiest missions in the Afghan war.

GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, Author, “Ashley’s War”: They were the cultural support teams, which were created to fill a security breach, which is that American soldiers could not go into quarters that were inhabited by women. Right?

So, to have a sense of what was happening in the women’s rooms and among women and children, you really needed female soldiers. And so, in 2010, Admiral Olson, who was then the head of Special Operations Command, had this idea.

A little bit later, Admiral McRaven, then running Joint Special Operations Command, actually says, we need these female out there with the Ranger regiment and the other special operations teams.

 read more here

RELATED LINKS ‘Women, War and Peace’ Highlights Changing Females’ Roles in Global Conflicts Military to Lift Ban on Women in Combat Roles
Majority of U.S. army women say they do not want combat roles

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yet Again Congress Puts Lives in Danger

Bureaucrats Block Special Ops Intel Requests 
Associated Press
by Ken Dilanian
March 26, 3015
Email messages and other military records obtained by The Associated Press show that Army and special operations command bureaucrats have been pressing troops to use an in-house system built and maintained by traditional defense contractors. The Distributed Common Ground System, or DCGS, has consistently failed independent tests and earned the ire of soldiers in the field for its poor performance.
WASHINGTON— Military bureaucrats have been trying to force an unpopular government-built intelligence system on special operations units deploying to war zones while blocking soldiers from using the commercial alternative they say they need, according to government records and interviews.

Over the last four months, six Army special operations units about to be deployed into Afghanistan, Iraq and other hostile environments have requested software made by Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that has synthesized data for the CIA, the Navy SEALs and the country's largest banks, among other government and private entities. But the Army has approved just two of the requests after members of Congress intervened with senior military leaders.

Four requests pending with U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida-based Special Operations Command have not been granted.
read more here

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Special Operations Suicides Prompts General to Share

High Suicide Rate Prompts Spec Ops Leader to Go Public
By Jennifer G. Hickey
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015
Special Operations Command's Gen. Joseph Votel.
(TSgt Angelita Lawrence - USSOCOM)

Despite a decline in the number of suicides among members of the military's special operations community, the rate remains among the highest in the military, which prompted the leader of Special Operations Command to publicly disclose he and his family had sought counseling, reports The Daily Beast.

"I have, with my family, sought counseling and assistance. I did it an earlier time in my career, but it's been since 9/11, and I encourage everybody to do that," Special Operations Command's Gen. Joseph Votel admitted during a recent conference.

According to figures provided to The Daily Beast, the number of suicides fell from a high of 23 in 2012, to 18 last year.
read more here

The reports were in the news last year.

U.S. special forces struggle with record suicides

U.S. special forces struggle with record suicides even after all these years of the DOD saying they were taking care of the men and women serving this country. Even after suicides and attempted suicides went up. Even after even the "toughest" of the tough suffered. Anyone know what is going to change? How to change it? Who is accountable for it?

Special Forces: commandos are committing suicide at a record pace this year
Consider this. If the DOD and the Pentagon "efforts" to prevent suicides did not even prevent them in Special Forces, why did they keep doing it? Why did they keep saying that "most had not been deployed" when they were all trained with Comprehensive Solider Fitness? Why did they say the numbers were down when in fact the number of enlisted also went down leaving less to count?

The original news report is still up and running.
Suicide Rise in Special Ops Spurs Call for Review

Concerned with the increase in commandos taking their own lives, a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee is calling for the Pentagon to review Department of Defense efforts regarding suicide prevention among members of the Special Operations Forces and their dependents.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Defense Department Releases Women in Service Review Implementation Plans

Defense Department Releases Women in Service Review Implementation Plans

Today, the Defense Department released the U.S. military services’ and U.S. Special Operations Command’s plans for implementing women into previously closed positions.

These plans, which were reviewed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, outline how the services and U.S. Special Operations Command will manage the incremental opening of these previously closed positions.

The successful integration of women into currently closed positions requires the department to be thoughtful and deliberate in determining the next steps. The department will proceed in a measured and responsible way to open positions to women. In all cases, notification to Congress is required prior to opening these positions. Full implementation by the services should occur by Jan. 1, 2016.

The secretary’s memo

The U.S. Army’s plan

The U.S. Navy’s plan

The U.S. Air Force’s plan

The U.S. Marine Corps’ plan

The U.S. Special Operations Command’s plan

The decision to rescind the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women was originally announced Jan. 24, 2013, by former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Dempsey.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Marine officer receives Bronze Star

Marine officer receives Bronze Star for leading attacks in Afghanistan
August 29, 2009 8:28 am

A Marine officer at Camp Pendleton has received the Bronze Star for bravery for leading multiple assaults on Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Maj. James W. Eagan III was a platoon commander with the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion in southern Afghanistan in 2007. While other Marines were assigned to help tutor Afghan security forces, the Special Operations forces were assigned to seek out and confront the Taliban.

read more here

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Staff Sgt. Zachary Rhyner may get Medal of Honor after all

Pope Airman to get second-highest medal for valor
Associated Press Writer

Posted: Today at 4:16 p.m.
Updated: Today at 5:58 p.m.

POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — From flat on his back, Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Rhyner could see just enough of the valley to guide the F-15s flying thousands of feet above him in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Machine gun rounds smashed into rocks nearby and showered him with debris, and a bullet gorged a chunk of his thigh. Yet he calmly radioed pilots his "nine-line" - the formatted message needed to call in the strike. His artery wasn't hit. He would be fine, he thought, as long as insurgents didn't overrun his team trapped atop a 60 foot cliff.

For the next six hours, after the fighter jets couldn't push back insurgents, Rhyner stayed with an Army Special Forces team and a few dozen Afghan commandos to fight hundreds of insurgents in Shok Valley, considered a sanctuary for the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin terrorist group.
click link for more

Air Commando saves lives in Afghanistan
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
by Capt. Laura Ropelis
Posted 3/6/2009

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- An Air Force Special Operations Command Air Commando saved lives in Afghanistan April 6 during a lengthy battle by calling in air strikes to protect his team.

Staff Sgt. Zachary J. Rhyner, a special tactics combat controller assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., was deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom as the primary joint terminal attack controller while attached to a special forces team.

Then a Senior Airman, Sergeant Rhyner was part of a 100+-man combined assault force whose mission was to enter Shok Valley and capture a high-value target who was funding the insurgency. Sergeant Rhyner is credited with saving the10-man team from being overrun twice in a six-and-a-half-hour battle.

Air Force Capt. Stewart Parker, special forces commander at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, was the command-and-control link to the JTACs on the ground as they went into Shok Valley.

"This was the first time U.S. special operations forces entered the territory," said Captain Parker. "These were extraordinary conditions and the situation was dynamic."
read more here