Trojan Footprint 19 – SOF in Black Sea Region

A U.S. Army Green Beret assigned to 19th Special Forces Group lands during a military freefall operation near Cincu, Romania while participating in Trojan Footprint 19. (SOCEUR, June 2019).

In June 2019 the U.S Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) conducted Trojan Footprint 19. In 2018 Trojan Footprint took place in the Baltic states – exercise the rapid deployment of an unconventional warfare capability of U.S. special operations forces. This year, Trojan Footprint took place in several countries in the Black Sea region – with an emphasis on exercising multi-domain mission command across several nations.

Trojan Footprint used to run every year in the Baltic region. It is now an annual exercise – alternating between the the Baltics and the Black Sea region.

“Making Trojan Footprint an annual exercise, with rotating focus between the Baltic and Black Sea regions, provides several opportunities for our command and our partners.”

Colonel George Thiebes, U.S. Army, SOCEUR Deputy Commander

Approximately 1,400 military personnel from 10 nations took part in Trojan Footprint 19 during the month of June. Participating nations included the host nations of Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria; as well as the U.S., UK, Ukraine, Slovenia, Slovakia, Republic of North Macedonia, and Croatia.

Photo: Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman from Naval Special Warfare conduct maritime operations June 20, 2019 on the Black Sea as part of Trojan Footprint 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jayme Pastoric).

The event was designed to exercise SOF units at the operational level and below – incorporating air, land, and sea components.

“This exercise is about taking those individual capabilities respective countries possess, and merging them in a combined, joint mission command structure to demonstrate and exercise capacity at the operational level of war.”

MG Kirk Smith, SOCEUR Commander

The U.S. deployed a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) for the Trojan Footprint 19 exercise. Other nations provided special operations units that lent a full-spectrum SOF environment to the exercise.

Photo: Bulgarian Special Forces and U.S. Army Green Berets assigned to the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) provide security during a combined air assault operation June 18, 2019, as part of Exercise Trojan Footprint 19 near Yambol, Bulgaria. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe Public Affairs).

In addition to the SOCEUR’s C2 staff organization (CJSOTF) were tactical U.S. SOF units to include Special Warfare Combatant-Craft crews of Naval Special Warfare (NSW), helicopters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), CV-22 Osprey’s of the 352nd Special Operations Wing, and elements of the 19th and 20th Special Forces Groups.

A component of the Trojan Footprint 19 exercise included the Black Swan exercise. This is an annual Hungarian SOF exercise. * The newly established (Feb 2019) Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC) was incorporated into the Black Swan exercise. The R-SOCC is a regional initiative involving the countries of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Photo: A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 352nd Special Operations Wing transports Hungarian Special Operations Forces in Szolnok, Hungary, June 14, 2019 as part of Trojan Footprint 19. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Young).

The recent Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and the takeover of Crimea has prompted European nations and NATO to pay more attention to the Baltic and Black Sea regions. The Trojan Footprint 19 exercise will likely remain an important exercise for several more years.

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Videos about Trojan Footprint 19

Trojan Footprint 2019. A 40-second video by SOCEUR, July 26, 2019.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnJR6wJBDtY

Trojan Footprint 2019 NSWG2. NSW personnel employ their PUMA unmanned aircraft system in Bulgaria. SOCEUR, August 9, 2019, 15 secs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqabEGZoqYM

Trojan Footprint Merges With Saber Guardian 2019. 20th Special Forces Group HALO parachutists secure a drop zone. SOCEUR, August 9, 2019.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKU9m6j4xlA

Trojan Footprint 2019 Bulgaria. Green Berets from the 20th Special Forces Group work with NSWG2 and Bularian and Ukrainian SOF. SOCEUR, August 9, 2019, 30 secs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF0ThC7RyMY

Trojan Footprint 2019 Hungary. Green Berets from the 19th Special Forces Group conduct night operations. SOCEUR, August 9, 2019, 30 secs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBnbL14GGuU

Coffee or Die: Trojan Footprint Teaser. A 3-min video by Coffee or die Magazineexplaining TF 19. July 8, 2019.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXWuKEQsRd0

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Top Photo: A U.S. Army Green Beret assigned to 19th Special Forces Group lands during a military freefall operation near Cincu, Romania while participating in Trojan Footprint 19. (SOCEUR, June 2019)

Editorial note: An earlier posting of this article (and newsletter) stated that Black Swan was a Romanian exercise.


About John Friberg 126 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.