SOF News Update 20181207 – SASC hearing for SOCOM nominee, job hunting for SF NCOs, ISIS in Iraq, ISIS in Syria, Yemen update, dirty bombs in SE Asia, radicalization in Central Asia, ‘remote warfare’, discontent grows in Chap, perils of ‘remote warfare’, attack on FOB 4, and more.
Advise for the Advisor
“Win and keep the confidence of your leader. Strengthen his prestige at your expense before others when you can. Never refuse or quash schemes he may put forward; but ensure they are put forward in the first instance, privately, to you. Always approve them, and after praise modify them sensibly, causing the suggestions to come from him, until they are in accord with your own opinion. When you attain this point, hold him to it, keep a tight grip of his ideas, and push them forward as firmly as possible, but secretly, so no one but [him] (and he not too clearly) is aware of your pressure.” T.E. Lawrence, August 1917
MWD “Maiko” Dies in Afghanistan. A military working dog named Maiko died during a firefight in Nimroz province, Afghanistan in the last part of November. Maiko was part of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and was on his seventh deployment. A U.S. Army Ranger, SGT Leandro Jasso, was killed in the same mission. (Stars and Stripes, Dec 4, 2018).
Post Career Job Hunting – SF NCOs. Herb Thompson provides some insight into the search for work by Special Forces NCOs once their military career is complete. (Medium.com, Dec 3, 2018).
New GBF Board Member. The Green Beret Foundation has announced the appointment of Charles Donabedian to its Board of Directors. (GBF, Dec 5, 2018).
SASC Hearing and SOF. Katie Bo Williams, the senior national security correspondent for Defense One provides a report on the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for the nomination of LTG McKenzie for CENTCOM and LTG Clarke for SOCOM. Read “Lawmakers Probe Role of Special Operations in Great Power Competition”, Defense One, December 4, 2018.
SASC Hearing and ‘Posturing’. An interesting aspect of watching Congressional hearings on cable news network or government webcasts is that many of the Senators and Representatives already know the answers to the questions they ask before the camera. For instance, the latest hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee was when LTG Richard Clarke was testifying for his job at USSOCOM. Prior to the hearing Clarke was provided with and answered many of the same questions asked of him before the cameras. So the hearing in many respects is a choreographed event for public consumption – and provides a ‘podium’ for the elected officials of Congress to get a little bit of news coverage. Read a 27-page document with the “Advance Policy Questions” presented (and answered) by LTG Clarke.
SFC Emond Mourned. Eric Emond was instrumental in the formation of Mass Fallen Heroes – a charity to benefit the families of fallen warriors. SFC Emond of 3rd SFGA died in an IED attack in November 2018. Now he is being honored and mourned by that organization. Read “Warrior Gentleman is mourned in his adopted hometown”, DOT News, December 5, 2018.
26th STS Airman Remembered. Colleagues, family, and friends gathered to commemorate a fallen teammate, son, fiance, and warrior during a memorial service on December 6, 2018, in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. USAF Staff Sergeant Dylan Elchin was killed on November 27, 2018 in Ghazni, Province. (24th SOW PA, Dec 6, 2018).
Former Green Beret (and amputee) to Run Marathon. Staff Sergeant (retired) John Wayne Walding will run in the BMW Dallas Marathon (Dec 9th). This is a huge achievement considering he will doing it with a prosthetic leg. Walding lost his leg in combat during the Battle of Shok Valley in Afghanistan. He was a member of 3rd Special Forces Group at the time. Read more in an article about John Walding. (Sports Day Dallas, Dec 4, 2018).
MoH Enshrined at 7th SFGA HQs. The Medal of Honor presented to Colonel (R) Roger Donlon for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War has been given to the 7th Special Forces Group during a ceremony at Eglin AFB on Wednesday, December 5, 2018. (NWF Daily News, Dec 5, 2018).
Remembering the Attack on FOB 4. The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observation Group , or MACV-SOG, had the highest loss rate of any U.S. Army unit since the Civil War. 16 men of Special Forces lost their lives in one battle in August 1968. The fierce battle would result in 66 Purple Hearts. The survivors and family members of the fallen gathered in Las Vegas in October 2018 at the Special Operations Association convention to share memories. Read “A Proper Farewell”, Stars and Stripes, 2018.
CANSOF Advising Iraqi SOF. Canadian special operations forces are still in Iraq. Their mission has changed a bit now that the Islamic State has lost over 98% of the territory that they once held. CANSOF is advising the Iraqis on intelligence-driven counter-terrorism missions. Read “Canadian special ops helping Iraqis roll up remaining ISIS opposition”, CBC.CA, December 6, 2018.
Life of a SOF Spouse. Gwendolyn Slife has been on the road almost all of her adult life. She has moved 15 times in 27 years. Long stays have been made in Florida, New Mexico, D.C., Korea, England, and other locations. Sometimes going to those locations two or three times. All this is courtesy of her marriage to Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, the Vice Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Read “There’s no place like home”, The Moulton Advertiser, December 6, 2018.
Mueller Sends Message – Using Flynn. Retired LTG Mike Flynn had a solid and storied career as an intelligence officer. He was a senior officer in JSOC as an MI colonel, served as the DCSINT at ISAF, and then as head of the DIA. However, things fell apart shortly after he became the National Security Advisor for President Trump. He now faces sentencing for violating certain federal laws and lying to the FBI. He could face jail time but it seems that Mueller (Special Counsel) is asking for leniency; rewarding cooperation with a lighter sentence. Meuller is sending a message it seems – “Mueller’s Sentencing Memo for Flynn Doubles as a Warning to Manafort”, The Atlantic, December 4, 2018. See also “The Mystery of Mike Flynn’s Fall from Grace”, CNN, December 5, 2018.
New Home for former 7th SFGA Soldier. Bobby Dove lost most of his right leg and right arm to an IED in Afghanistan six years ago. One Wednesday, December 5th he and his family were in a new home presented to him by the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. program. See “A New Home for the Doves”, NWF Daily News, December 6, 2018.
AFSOC Airman Dies. An airman assigned to the 1st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida was found dead in his quarters on Monday, December 3, 2018. (Air Force Times, Dec 5, 2018).
7th SFGA Soldiers Redeploy Early. A USASOC spokesman has confirmed that Gen Miller of Resolute Support has redeployed some U.S. Soldiers to the United States. Although not confirmed by any officials it is thought that a 7th SFGA detachment was involved (to what extent is unknown) in the death of a Afghan Commando. The Commando was apprehended by Afghan security forces after he killed a Czech SOF operator. See “Some 7th Group Soldiers reportedly sent home from Afghanistan”, NWF Daily News, December 6, 2018.
Pentagon Reviewing SOF Due to Scandals. The U.S. special operations community has been in the news a lot lately – but sometimes in a bad way. The list of misdeeds allegedly performed by U.S. SOF seems to be growing: Marine Raiders and SEALs charged with killing a Green Beret in Mali, a Green Beret under investigation for the death of a Taliban bomber, a SEAL charged with killing a captive Iraqi insurgent, drug smuggling by a 7th SFGA team sergeant, and more. So DoD, in accordance with the latest National Defense Authorization Act (see page 7 of a CRS report to Congress, 29 Oct 2018), will be providing an official report to Congress this coming spring. Read “The Pentagon is reviewing the special operations community after a series of high-profile scandals”, Military Times, December 5, 2018.
Afghan SOF. Michael Philllips, a reporter with The Wall Street Journal,“U.S. Troops, Raiding Afghan Villages, Fight With Little Hope for Military Victory” writes about Afghan special operations forces on the battlefield in , WSJ, December 5, 2018. (subscription needed).
Photo: Credit to USASOC.