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Sunday, April 30, 2017

U.S. Army Special Forces Groups








The 1st Special Forces Group is a U.S. Army Special Forces unit subordinate to the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) and the Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC). The group was activated on 24 June 1957 at Camp Drake, Japan. It was among the first groups of the Special Forces to be officially formed. The group is responsible for operations in the Pacific. Currently, the First Battalion is stationed at Okinawa while the 2d, 3d, and 4th Battalions are stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington with a 4th Battalion standing up in the summer of 2009. 1st Special Forces Group holds the distinction of having the first, Captain Harry Cramer killed 21 October 1957, and last, SGT Fred Mick killed 12 October 1972, Special Forces men killed in Vietnam, as well as the first man, SFC Nathan Chapman killed 4 January 2002, in Afghanistan. Captain Cramer's name was left off the Vietnam Memorial when it was opened in 1982 due to the secretive nature of his mission and that the extent of America's involvement in Southeast Asia was not known in 1957. However, his son appealed to the National Parks Service and in 1983 Captain Cramer's name was added to the Memorial.
Throughout 2003–2004, the 1st SFG (A) deployed many soldiers in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan. By November 2004 the unit deployed an entire battalion to Afghanistan as part of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A).
Today, 1st SFG (A) continues to support the Global War on Terrorism with operations in the Philippines, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as maintaining US security relationships with partner nations throughout the Pacific.



The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) – abbreviated 3rd SFG(A) and often called simply "3rd Group" – is a U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) unit active in the Vietnam Era (1963–69) and reactivated in 1990. It is subordinate of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and the United States Special Operations Command Central (USSOCCENT or SOCCENT). Its area of operations (AO) is now Sub-Saharan Africa. 3rd Group was first activated on 5 December 1963 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The four colors of the quadrants of 3rd Group's distinctive unit flash derive from the flashes of the pre-existing SF units from which members were initially drawn. These colors are (clockwise from upper left): yellow (1st SFG (A)), red (7th SFG (A)), black (5th SFG (A)), and white (Special Forces Training Group (A)).
3rd Group had a Mideast and Africa orientation during the 1960s. It also supported 5th Group operations in Vietnam, losing the 403rd Army Security Agency Special Operations Detachment and the 19th PSYOP Company to 5th Group in 1966. With the "vietnamization" of the conflict in Southeast Asia, 3rd Group was deactivated in 1969 and members transferred back to various other SF groups. 3rd Group was reactivated in 1990 and, until the mid '90s, was given responsibility for the Caribbean as well as the western part of Africa. At the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War (August 1990), 3rd Group had only one functioning battalion (1st BN). This battalion deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for three months, during which time it sent detachments forward into denied areas of Iraq and Kuwait for reconnaissance and sabotage missions. Ultimately, in late February 1991, it was given the mission of securing and occupying the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City. The 2nd BN and 3rd BN of 3rd Group were reactivated in 1991 and 1992, respectively. 3rd Group took part in the restoration of democracy in Haiti in 1994. Since the mid 2000s 3rd Group's area of responsibility has primarily been Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia.



The 5th Special Forces Group is a United States Army Special Forces unit that was activated on 21 September 1961 during the Cold War. It is subordinate to USCENTCOM and SOCCENT. The 5th SFG was first deployed as a battlefield advisory group for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). By February 1965, it was deployed as a mainstay battle force once the war was in full swing.
The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) added to its combat history during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In August 1990 the Group was called upon to conduct operations in Southwest Asia in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During this crisis the Army's First Special Operations Task Force, (ARSOTF), consisting of elements of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) comprising 106 special operations teams performing missions of  support to coalition warfare; conducting foreign internal defense missions with the Saudi Arabian Army, performing special reconnaissance, border surveillance, direct action, combat search and rescue missions; and advising and assisting a pan-Arab equivalent force larger than six U.S. divisions, as well as conducting civil-military operations training and liaison with the Kuwaitis. By 13 September 2001, the 5th Special Forces Group was ordered to stand up a forward headquarters to conduct operations in Afghanistan. On 19 October, Operational Detachment Alpha 555, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was the first of several 5th Group teams to infiltrate into Afghanistan, and work with the Northern Alliance to bring down the Taliban government. During Operation Iraqi Freedom 5th SFG(A) assisted in the capture of Saddam Hussein, and were deployed throughout Iraq as part of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula (CJSOTF-AP). They were responsible for the capture of many terrorist leaders in Iraq. The Tom Clancy's "Ghost Recon" series features U.S. Special Forces Group 5, 1st Battalion, Delta Company, known in the games as "The Ghosts."



The 6th Special Forces Group (Airborne) or 6th SFG (ABN)(also 6SFGA) has been active from 1963 to 1971. It was based at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and assigned to Southwest Asia (Iraq, Iran, etc.) and Southeast Asia. Many of the 103 original Son Tay raider volunteers were from 6SFGA.



The 7th Special Forces Group, an operational unit of the United States Army Special Forces, was activated on 20 May 1960. It traces its lineage to the 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Service Force. It is subordinate to USSOUTHCOM and SOCSOUTH. Its main mission is to conduct guerrilla operations and train friendly governments' armed forces in Central and South America. 7th Special Forces Group participated in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in 1983, as well as in Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. Since early 2002, the 7th SFG has deployed almost nonstop in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 7th SFG along with the 3rd Special Forces Group are the two SFGs responsible for conducting operations in Afghanistan. The Group has also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom numerous times, but not as often as Afghanistan. The 7th SFG has lost more SF soldiers in the Global War on Terrorism than any other SFG.



The 8th Special Forces Group of the United States Army was established in 1963 at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone. The primary mission of the 8th Special Forces Group (Airborne) [(SFG(A)] was counter-insurgency training for the armies of Latin America. Some training was performed under the sponsorship of the School of the Americas, also located at Fort Gulick.
In May 1962, the advance party from Company D, 7th SFG(A) departed from Ft. Bragg, NC to Fort Gulick, Panama, at that time in the Panama Canal Zone, to establish the 8th SFG(A). Three months later, in August 1962, Major Melvin J. Sowards, Commander of Company D, 7th SFG(A) moved the main body of the company to the Canal Zone. They would be followed by augmentation detachments. Upon their arrival, the basic organization of the Special Action Force (SAF) was completed and Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer assumed command. The legendary Lieutenant Colonel Arthur D. Simons, aka "Bull", then took command of Company D, 7th SFG(A) 18 January 1963 and LTC Sawyer became the Executive Officer. On 12 April 1963, under the command of LTC Simons, the SAF elements of the 7th SFG(A) were officially redesignated, as authorized by the Department of the Army and the 8th SFG(A) was activated.
The 8th's full designation was 8th Special Forces Group (ABN), Special Action Force (SAF), Latin America. The 8th was the US Army's only full SAF. In addition to the two line Special Forces companies, the SAF included a Military Intelligence detachment, a Medical detachment, a Military Police detachment, an Engineer detachment, an Army Security Agency detachment, and a Psychological Operations battalion.
Special Forces at this time didn't use designators like "battalion". A Special Forces company (which later became a battalion) was commanded by a Lt. Colonel and was designated as a "C" team. The 8th had 2 "C" teams. Each "C" team had 3 "B" teams and each "B" team had 5 "A" teams. The 8th SAF also operated the NCO Academy, Airborne School and Underwater Operations School for the US Army Southern Command (USARSO). They also provided support for the Jungle Warfare School at Fort Sherman, later renamed the Jungle Operations Training Center to be politically correct.



The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (10th SFG(A) or 10th Group) is an active duty United States Army Special Forces (SF) Group. The 10th Group is responsible for operations within the EUCOM area of responsibility, as part of the Special Operations Command, Europe (SOCEUR). 10th Group has also been involved in parts of Africa and the Middle East. In 2009, as part of a new SOCOM directive, the group is now also responsible for operations within the AFRICOM area of responsibility.
10th SFG(A) was formed on 19 June 1952, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, under the command of Colonel Aaron Bank. The group was split in 1953, with one half being sent to Germany, while the other half remained at Fort Bragg to form the core of the 77th Special Forces Group. In 1968, the majority of the unit transferred to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, with the exception of 1st Battalion, which remained in Germany. Between 1994 and 1995, 10th SFG(A) moved to Fort Carson, Colorado, which remains its current home.
10th Group began training with unconventional warfare groups from friendly countries in the 1960s, beginning with NATO allies. The group has also trained various components of the militaries of several Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Iran, as well as Kurdish tribesmen. Units of the 10th SFG(A) have participated in humanitarian missions to the Congo, Somalia, and Rwanda. 10th SFG(A) was deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1991 during the First Persian Gulf War. The 10th SFG has been heavily involved in the War on Terrorism, deploying to Georgia, North Africa, Afghanistan, and consistently to Iraq.



The 11th Special Forces Group (Airborne), US Army Reserve was attached to the 97th Army Reserve Command at Fort Meade, Maryland. For a number of years in the late 1960's, Miller Field, Staten Island, New York was home to the headquarters of the Army's 11th Special Forces Group.
In November 1990, the Department of Defense developed budget guidance that directed the inactivation of 3 Army National Guard and 3 Army Reserve Special Forces battalions. The Department of Defense subsequently rescinded the inactivation plans for the 3 Army Reserve battalions pending the results of the Command's joint mission analysis. Conferees for the 1993 Department of Defense Appropriations Act included in their report the expectation that the Army Special Operations Command would maintain existing Army National Guard Special Operations units through Fiscal Year 1993 and rejected any plan or initiative to expand the active component special operations forces to replace these National Guard units. The conferees further noted that in the Fiscal Year 1992 Defense Appropriations Act, Congress had limited any conversion of National Guard missions to the active components. The Command's analysis validated the need to inactivate the 6 battalions, in the 11th Special Forces Group (US Army Reserve) and 19th Special Forces Group (Utah Army National Guard). Instead, the 11th and 12th Special Forces Group (Airborne), both US Army Reserve units, were inactivated on 15 September 1995.



12th Special Forces Group was a US Army Reserve unit. In 1981 Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, jumped into Fort McCoy from 3 US Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft. The 85 active-duty Green Berets were there to advise, assist and evaluate the reservists from 12th Special Forces Group.
In November 1990, the Department of Defense developed budget guidance that directed the inactivation of 3 Army National Guard and 3 Army Reserve Special Forces battalions. The Department of Defense subsequently rescinded the inactivation plans for the 3 Army Reserve battalions pending the results of the Command's joint mission analysis. Conferees for the 1993 Department of Defense Appropriations Act included in their report the expectation that the Army Special Operations Command would maintain existing Army National Guard Special Operations units through Fiscal Year 1993 and rejected any plan or initiative to expand the active component special operations forces to replace these National Guard units. The conferees further noted that in the Fiscal Year 1992 Defense Appropriations Act, Congress had limited any conversion of National Guard missions to the active components. The Command's analysis validated the need to inactivate the 6 battalions, in the 11th Special Forces Group (US Army Reserve) and 19th Special Forces Group (Utah Army National Guard). Instead, the 11th and 12th Special Forces Group (Airborne), both US Army Reserve units, were inactivated on 15 September 1995.



The 19th Special Forces Group is one of two National Guard groups of the United States Army Special Forces. Headquartered in Draper, Utah, with detachments in Washington, West Virginia, Ohio, Rhode Island, Colorado, California and Texas, the 19th SFG shares responsibility over Southwest Asia with the 5th Special Forces Group, and the Pacific with the 1st Special Forces Group. It is subordinate to USCENTCOM and SOCCENT. In April 2007, the 5th Battalion of 19th SFG and troops from the 2nd Battalion were called to Operation Iraqi Freedom. On September 2008, several units of the 19ths SFG were called to active duty (Operation Enduring Freedom XIII).



The 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) or 20th SFG (ABN) is one of two Army National Guard groups for the United States Army Special Forces. It is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama (and is thus part of the Alabama Army National Guard) and as part of the United States Southern Command has an area of responsibility covering 32 countries, including Latin America south of Mexico, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The area is shared with the Eglin Air Force Base-based 7th Special Forces Group, which is the active Special Forces group responsible for the same region.
The 20th Special Forces Group has battalions from Alabama (1st Battalion), Mississippi (2nd Battalion), and Florida (3rd Battalion), with detachments in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Glen Arm, Maryland; and Chicopee, Massachusetts. There is also a MI company located in Louisville, Kentucky.

Following the start of the Global War on Terror the 20th has been actively deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.


The above information provided in part by Wikipedia, The Institute of Heraldry, Global Security, and the official websites of the corresponding units and formations.

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