"..in 2009, perhaps it is time for Congress to review their handiwork. Of course many outside the military establishment are enamored with the myth and romanticism of Special Operations. There are so many “groupies” among staffers and in academia that it is hard to see Special Operations for what it really is and what it has become. And within the military, Special Operations has been “hijacked” by a group of hyper-conventional Ranger types and other supporting elements that Special Operations and most important, its heart and soul – Special Forces – has lost its way. There are so many in and out of the military who claim ties to Special Operations that it is unlikely that there will ever be a critical look at USSOCOM and what it has become." SWJ
One of our brethren here sent me this article.
We have delved into this subject before. I think my views are well known I have had the flu for the last few days and am more grouchy than usual. My wife says that is arguable.
The amount of hostility between the two main groups shows through in the comments to the SWJ article. At the dawn of history when I was in Army SF that was also there, but, in those days the UW people were so firmly in control that there was no contest for emphasis in what we were doing. I think these two groups need to be "shorthanded" for title and I propose "Jedburghs" on the one hand and "Rangers" on the other. pl
I sent this to an SF friend, and his comment was Amen. He also added that it was time for the SF to be reminded they are part of the Army.
Is this quote (off the SWJ comments thread) accurate in that the USAF got rid of 40,000 personnel?”The USAF is broke and getting broker. The aircraft are too old. They got rid of 40,000 airmen two years ago to save funding for F-22s (I know, I couldn’t believe it either, one of the bigger WTF? moments of my career).”
Had my first “short” of Islay Single Malt in a Jedburgh pub (pronounced Jed-Bura) as recommended by a local. Never liked Scotch before that. Changed my mind
Most interesting article.
A late friend of mine from Boston worked at Baker Street back when. One key area he handled related to sabotage ops in France in advance of D-Day. He impressed on me the necessity and utility of sabotage.
I would point out the special operations of Vichy under Cols. Rivet and Paillolle have not received the historical attention they should. Paillolle’s memoirs are instructive.
My Llewellin setter is named “Gray Ghost.”
Jedburgs and Rangers… what an appropriate dichotomy. I have also commented on this whenever Colonel Lang has brought up the subject of Special Forces and the true meaning of unconventional warfare. I am glad to be in agreement with our host on this matter… especially if he is more grouchy than usual.
My ODA studied and admired the work of the Jedburgh teams. We sought to incorporate some of their methods into our training and SOPs. (We even wanted a Joan-Eleanor type radio system.) We took our language training and cultural studies seriously. We kept as up to date as possible on dissident personalities in our UWOA. We became the unofficial Group experts in what we called guerrilla operations in urbanized terrain. Our methodologies were very successful in exercises. Thank God the Third Shock Army never crossed the Fulda Gap and we were never committed to our UWOA. We probably would have all been killed… but not without a fight.
Colonel Dick Potter took command of 10th SFGA in 1982. He was a good commander with high standards, but coming straight from Delta, he pushed the Group away from UW and towards stategic intelligence collection and target acquisition (SICTA). This entailed avoiding all contact with locals, digging a hole and living in it, and reporting back what we saw cross in front of our hole. I though it was a terrible waste of SF skills.
Dear Col. Lang,
Have you read Col. James Kyle’s book “The Guts to Try” about the Desert One mission. It has been some time since I read it, but it seemed to describe an interesting phase in the development of SF and covert operations following the ramp down from Vietnam capabilities.
Is that past history relevant to today?