Special Operations News Update 20170810

Spooky 43 AC-130U Crew recognized for most meritorious flight of the year by Air Force (AFSOC, Aug 7, 2017
Spooky 43 AC-130U Crew recognized for most meritorious flight of the year by Air Force (AFSOC, Aug 7, 2017)

SOF News Update 20170810 – U.S. troops in Eastern Europe, “Spooky 43” crew (AC-130U) awarded for valor, Turkey and Syrian Kurdish fighters, fight for the districts in Afghanistan, Boba Fett SOF helmet, USMC Recon and JPADS, former Navy SEAL nominated for Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, 1st SFGA’s “Enabler Integration Program”, more Marines for Task Force Southwest, and more.

“Spooky 43” Crew Recognized. An AC-130U Gunship crew has been recognized for their contributions to an engagement with Taliban fighters near Kunduz, Afghanistan in November 2016. The gunship responded to an ambush of a U.S. Special Forces team and their Afghan counterparts. Read “Portraits in Courage: Spooky 43”Air Force Special Operations Command, August 7, 2017.

U.S. Troops in Eastern Europe. The Cold War is back again. With an old adversary. In the past it was the Soviet bloc nations – the Soviet Union with other communist nations as opponents. Now it is just Russia; but a very aggressive Russia threatening eastern and northern European nations with its version of hybrid warfare. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – including the United States – is responding with increased defense expenditures, stepped up program of exercises in eastern and northern Europe, and other activities. Read up on how U.S. troops are being employed in that region – “U.S. Troops Train in Eastern Europe to Echoes of the Cold War”The New York Times, August 6, 2017.

1st SFGA’s EIP. The Enabler Integration Program at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA prepares young Soldiers for operating in the unique SOF environment. Read more in a press release by DVIDS, August 9, 2017.

Fight for the Districts in Afghanistan. The current stalemate in Afghanistan sees the Taliban capturing a district center (there are about 400 districts), holding it for a few days or weeks, and then Afghan Commandos retaking the district. Then the Taliban regroups, concentrates its forces, and captures another district in the region. Repeat. Read more about the fight for district control in “Seesaw Conflict With Taliban Takes Toll in Fallen Afghan District”The New York Times, August 7, 2017. Learn about how Resolute Support HQs defines district control.

More Marines for Task Force Southwest. 100 more Marines will be sent to Helmand province in an effort to increase the advisory activities in that troubled province. The Marines will augment the 300-man Task Force Southwest currently in place. Read “Pentagon Moves More Marines to Afghanistan to Support Advisory Mission” DoD Buzz, August 8, 2017.

Navy SEAL Nominated for Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. A retired Navy Admiral has been nominated to work in the DoD. Read “Who is Joseph D. Kernan?”AllGov, August 9, 2017.

USMC Recon and JPADS. Force Recon Company, III MEF has been training up on HAHO parachute jumps combined with JPADS. Read more in an article by Marines.mil, August 9, 2017.

Media Craze on Boba Fett SOF Helmet. A futuristic looking helmet has been in the news lately. While it hasn’t been adopted or even tested by USSOCOM it is getting lots of attention. Read “Here’s The Real Story Behind That Much-Hyped ‘Boba Fett’ Special Ops Helmet”Task and Purpose,  August 9, 2017.

NSC Advisor Under Fire from Alt-Right. General McMaster is taking fire from the allies of White House advisor Steve Bannon. A quick look at the Twitter world will show you he is under attack. Read more in “McMaster and the Commander”The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2017.

Syria, Kurds, . . . and Turkey. The best allies of the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria has been the Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) formed up mostly with units of the Kurdish YPG. However, a NATO member and (allegedly) U.S. ally in the region may attack the SDF. Read more in “After Military shake-up, Erdogan says Turkey to tackle Kurds in Syria”Reuters, August 7, 2017.