Military


10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces Regiment

The 10th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces Regiment is a brigade-sized unit at to Fort Carson, Colorado. It is assigned to the US Army's Special Forces Command, located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Group trains for and conducts combat, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, and foreign internal defense missions, focused mainly in the US European Command area of responsibility.

The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne, 1st Special Forces Regiment traces its lineage and honors to the constitution on 5 July 1942 in the Army of the United States as the 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, First Regiment, 1st Special Service Force, a combined Canadian-American organization. It was activated on 9 July 1942 at Fort William Henry Harrison, Montana. The unit served in 6 campaigns during the Second World War with the 1st Special Service Force: Aleutian Islands, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France (awarded a streamer with arrowhead indicating participation in the initial assault), and Rhineland. At the end of the Second World War, the unit was disbanded on 6 January 1945 in France.

The unit was reconstituted on 15 April 1960 in the Regular Army. It was concurrently consolidated with Company A, 2nd Infantry Battalion (first activated on 1 April 1943), and the consolidated unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces. The unit was again consolidated on 30 September 1960 with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Special Forces Group (first constituted 19 May 1952 in the Regular Army and activated on 11 June 1952 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina), and the consolidated unit was designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces. Its organic elements were concurrently constituted and activated on 20 March 1961.

The consolidated lineage and honors, new designation, and new insignia that came with the change had little effect on the Special Forces personnel who had been operating in Germany for the better part of a decade. The Group Commander and staff made visits to England, Turkey, France, Norway, Italy, Greece, Iran and Spain. As a result, the idea of conducting exchange training with foreign soldiers evolved and was received with great enthusiasm. Soon, A Detachments trained routinely with Western European and Middle Eastern armies. Men of the 10th Special Forces Group trained with airborne, commando, ranger, raider, militia, and clandestine organizations in England, France, Norway, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. A Detachments worked across cultural and linguistic borders, learning how to subsist on native food and establishing and maintaining rapport with the host nation forces.

In Africa, the 10th Special Forces served without fanfare, often wearing no identification patches, berets, or other insignia, sometimes even operating in civilian clothes. In the summer of 1960, the Commanding Officer of the 10th Special Forces Group, Colonel "Iron" Mike Paulick, received orders to support evacuation efforts in the Congo, which was experience a crisis as transitioned from Belgian colonial rule. Colonel Paulick called on Lieutenant Fontaine. Lieutenant Fontaine was a Belgian by birth and had worked for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II, parachuting behind enemy lines into France to organize partisans there. He later held a commission in the Belgian Army and had served with that Army in the Congo. Colonel Paulick ordered Lieutenant Fontaine to put together a team and get ready to go. Lieutenant Fontaine’s choices represented both the legacy of the Lodge Act and the formation of the original 10th Special Forces Group and included: Vladimir Sobiachevsky, a Russian; Georg Yosich, who had worked with partisans in Korea; Pop Grant; Charles "Snake" Hoskins, who later won the Medal of Honor posthumously; and Stefan Mazak, the tough Czech and ex-French Foreign Legionnaire.

US Ambassador Timberlake subsequently ordered a small unit to Leopoldville in the Congo to help save American and European lives. This team consisted of 3 helicopters, 3 light single engine airplanes, an Air Force radio expert, and the Special Forces element from Bad Tolz. A meeting with Ambassador Timberlake and Belgian paratroopers took place and the mission was defined. At the larger airfields, Belgian paratroopers would be in charge. The Special Forces team would control operations on the smaller airfields. The mission was to evacuate as many Europeans and Americans as possible and move them to Leopoldville for large scale evacuation. Despite enemy contact resulting in a few holes in their aircraft, the mission was accomplished. Nine days following their arrival, the Special Forces team evacuated 239 refugees without a single casualty.

As the 1960s continued, counter-insurgency, rather than unconventional warfare, became the primary mission for Special Forces. Although the 10th Special Forces Group remained focused on the European mission and was not directly involved in Southeast Asia, many of the Group's soldiers, by normal rotation or by volunteering, served with Special Forces units there.

In 1963, a group supported by Egyptian President Nasser overthrew the Royalist government of the Kingdom of Yemen. A new socialist government was installed under President Al Salol, seen as a puppet state of Egypt and USSR. The son of the old King Mohammed Al-Badr fled to the hills to fight a guerrilla war, supported by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Company C, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) commanded by Major William Hinton deployed to Saudi Arabia and trained 350 selected officers and NCOs of this guerrilla force in the basics of insurgency and counterinsurgency.

10th Special Forces Group activities covered Europe, the Near East, the Middle East, and South Asia during the 1960s. One B Detachment and 3 A Detachments traveled to Iran and trained with the Iranian Special Forces. The Iranian Special Forces was at that time actually only an airborne battalion. An A Detachment also trained Kurdish tribesman in the mountains of Iran. Captain Mike Boos and his detachment went to the hills and deserts of Pakistan to train with the Baluch Regiment of Special Warfare Warriors. Captain Steve Snowden and his A Team trained the nucleus of the Turkish Special Forces, including airborne qualification, Special Forces tradecraft and SCUBA operations for selected officers. They constructed a training apparatus for the airborne course, conducted classroom instruction for 350 officers and NCOs and presented training on operations for land, operations in water and operations in the air.

In September 1968, the 10th Special Forces Group, minus the 1st Battalion, redeployed to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The 1st Battalion remained forward deployed in Germany as part of Special Forces Detachment-Europe. The Group survived the lean years following the end of the conflict in Southeast Asia and was not dropped from the rolls, as were the 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 8th Special Forces Groups. However, operational deployments all but ceased completely. During this time, however, the 10th Special Forces Group maintained its training edge through continuous deployments into the European theater to train with NATO allies, and to do unilateral training on environmental skills. These deployments and the annual FLINTLOCK Exercise in Africa became the central points of every A Detachment's training program. Of course, those events were complimented by language training, as well as environmental training that was possible in and around Fort Devens.

From 11 May 1983 through 25 October 1985, the 10th Special Forces Group deployed 17 separate mobile training teams to support the Lebanese Army. Their mission was to advise and assist the Lebanese Army Training Centers. The 10th Special Forces Mobile Training Teams and the Lebanese Army developed a training program for over 5,000 officers, NCOs and soldiers. Training sites at Beirut and Adma provided for basic training; Safra was used for unit training; Wata Al Jawz was used for unit combined arms live fire; and Haef Jumayyid were used for urban live fire training. Training programs for NCO combat leaders, basic training for over 900 Lebanese Army conscripts, long range reconnaissance training for the Lebanese Rangers, and advance unit training and maintenance for Mechanized Units was also conducted. Despite the chaotic situation in Lebanon, the training programs conducted by the 10th Special Forces Group for the Lebanese Army were extremely successful. The complete deterioration of the situation, as well as the entry of the Syrian Army into Lebanon, brought the training operation to a premature end.

As a precursor of things to come, on 2 June 1985, an Mobile Training team from the 1st Battalion, Bad Tolz, Germany deployed to Somalia for 4 months to conduct disaster relief operations.

On 3 February 1986, the lineage and honors of former Company A, 2nd Infantry Battalion were withdrawn from that of the 10th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces. They were consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Infantry, and the consolidated unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, which thereafter had a separate lineage.

From 8 May 1986 through 23 December 1986, Company C, 3d Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, trained the nucleus of the Nigerian Airborne. Initially parachute riggers were trained to pack the parachutes, followed by Airborne cadre selection and training, and then the 10th Group soldiers observed this cadre as they trained the remainder of the Nigerian Army. Mission accomplished, the Nigerian Airborne School was established. In conjunction with the Airborne Mobile Training Team, one detachment trained the Nigerian Army in riverine operations, maintenance, tactics and patrolling.

Throughout the 1980's, 10th Special Forces Group Detachments from battalions in Germany and CONUS participated in Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) with West European armies, learning and sharing training techniques. During 1987, 30 JCETs were conducted with Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Federal Republic of Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Greece.

The 10th Special Forces Group's individual and detachment training for 1988 significantly enhanced the capability to execute the full spectrum of Special Forces missions. By direction of the Group Commander, the Group focused on the total spectrum of military and paramilitary operations in enemy held, politically sensitive territory. This training included: guerilla warfare, subversion, target interdiction, offensive actions, and intelligence reporting. 10th Special Forces Group held the reputation among all of Special Forces as the primary experts in Unconventional Warfare.

The Group participated in 1st Special Operations Command's EDRE/ARTEP evaluation Exercise Casino Gambit 1-88 and JCRX FLINTLOCK '88. These exercises constituted extreme challenges for the entire Group and provided true tests of overall combat readiness. Summer of 1988 found the Group in an intensive individual and collective training posture highlighted by JCET participation in Belgium, Denmark, West Germany and Italy.

Fall of 1988 found the soldiers of the 10th Special Forces Group in a diverse training posture. The 3rd Battalion conducted a 6-week Guerrilla Warfare exercise in the White Mountain National Forest, while 2nd Battalion executed an 11-week formal cross-training program in Military Occupation Specialty 18C and 18E skills. 1st Battalion conducted FTX Alpine Friendship in the Bavarian foothills continuing to hone its combat skills. During the period between 1989-1990, Operational Detachments conducted realistic joint training exercises in Norway, Denmark, France, Canada, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

In October 1989, the Group's Command Sergeant Major George Moskaluk, and one composite operational A detachment, briefed the Soviet Defense Minister, General Dimitriy Yazov, Soviet Ambassador Uriy Dubinin, and a delegation of 30 other Soviet military officers. The 10th Special Forces soldiers briefed the Soviet delegation on the organization, equipment, and capabilities of an A detachment. The team conducted the entire briefing in Russian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, and German. Local, national, and Soviet television and newspapers reported extensively on this event. This visit signified the shifting operational focus of the Group as the Cold War melted away. This shift, however was interrupted by events in the Middle East.

Between 1990 and 1991, the 10th Special Forces Group deployed forces in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, earning campaign streamers for 2 campaigns: Defense of Saudi Arabia and Liberation and Defense of Kuwait. On 7 August 1990, the Group had been alerted for possible deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield. Ten officers and NCOs from the Group immediately departed to augment Special Operations Command, Central (SOCCENT). They remained with SOCCENT for the duration of the war. One B Detachment and 6 A Detachments immediately commenced Arabic language training. A Mobile Training Team led by Major Pride Nichols deployed from Fort Devens to train the Saudi Arabian National Guard in combined arms live fire operations to include close air and artillery fire. During the battle of Khafji in November 1990, members of this Mobile Training Team accompanied SANG forces into battle, coordinated troop movements, called in airstrikes, and assisted with artillery support.

On 13 January 1991, the Group Commander, Colonel William Tangney, deployed the Special Forces Operational Base (light) and Forward Operational Base 101 (1/10th Special Forces Group) and 102 (2/10 Special Forces Group), with one B Detachment each, into South East Turkey. So secret was the deployment that it was said that the base publicist did not know the Group had gone to war until they returned from Operation Desert Storm. From locations within Turkey, 10th Special Forces Group participated in Operation Elusive Concept and prepared to conduct special operations from the north. A team from 1st Battalion participated in a personnel recovery mission deep within Iraq.

On 30 January 1991, Major John Stanley, Commander of Company A, 3rd Battalion, deployed his B Detachment with 6 A Detachments to Saudi Arabia. During the ground war his B Detachment provided direct support for VII Corps. The Special Forces elements, under orders from General Schwartzkopf, scouted the routes for VII Corps' supply train, even collecting soil samples. This came after the Defense Intelligence Agency warned that the terrain was unsuitable for trucks, which threatened to separate the armored columns from their supply lines. Company A, 3rd Battalion became the first B Team to support a maneuver unit in the role of a Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE).

As Operation Desert Storm came to an end, Kurds of Northern Iraq and other factions took the opportunity to rebel against a weakened Saddam Hussein. As the rebellion faltered, however, Hussein, a long-time enemy of the Kurds, unleashed his forces against them. Unable to protect themselves against the onslaught, the Kurds evacuated their villages and retreated into the mountains along the Turkish-Iraqi border. There they remained threatened by the full weight of the Iraqi military. Within a month of redeploying, 10th Special Forces Group Group returned to Turkey and on 8 April 1991, the 1st Battalion from Bad Tolz, deployed to Southeast Turkey and Northern Iraq to conduct humanitarian relief operations for over a half million Kurdish refugees. They were joined on 13 April 1991 by the 2nd Battalion and on 21 April 1991 by 3rd Battalion. This deployment, in support of Operation Provide Comfort, marked the first time that the entire Group had been deployed for a US European Command contingency. During the critical first 3 weeks, the 10th Special Forces Group directed and executed the overall ground relief and security efforts. The 10th Special Forces Group continued to support the operation until May 1991.

In July 1991, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) relocated from the Bad Tolz area to Panzer Kaserne in Boeblingen, near Stuttgart, Germany.

The Group's focus, however, was temporarily directed from Eastern Europe to Somalia as the situation in the summer of 1992 rapidly deteriorated. During the early days of Operation Restore Hope, between 10 December 1992 and 15 January 1993, the 10th Special Forces Group deployed a Coalition Support Team to Somalia in support of the 1st Belgian Para-Commando Battalion. The team conducted the amphibious assault at Kismayo with US Marines and a company of Belgian Para, while the rest of the team flew from Belgium with the remainder of the Battalion in a 9-ship C-130 formation to Kismayo. The Coalition Support Team, all French speakers but one, conducted patrols with Belgian forces, assisted elements the US 10th Mountain Division with intelligence preparation of the battlefield, and provided security for meetings with Somalian leaders.

Returning from Somalia, the Group returned its attention to Eastern Europe. Extensive 10th Special Forces Group involvement in the Military to Military Contact Program for Eastern Europe began in early 1993. In February 1993, 10th Group placed the first Special Forces liaison officer in the Military to Military Headquarters at Patch Barracks, Germany. Major Bob Brady worked to convince EUCOM that 10th Special Forces Group could be as effective in assisting democratization and stabilization in the new Europe as they had been in deterring aggression against Western Europe. He secured positions for Special Forces soldiers on missions to train and interface with the militaries of Eastern European and Former Soviet Union nations. The 2nd Battalion sent Sergeant First Class Rich Gola to work with the Albanian military. He was the first US Army NCO to work in Albania. He was so successful that when the US Navy contingent left, the Albanian Navy asked him to be both the Army and Navy representative. Captain Jack Jensen and Sergeant First Class Pairmore conducted the first airborne exchange with the Polish Army, receiving Polish Jump Wings from the Commander of the 6th Airborne Brigade in the fall of 1993. 10th Special Forces' involvement grew steadily throughout 1993 and into 1994 to include support to 11 attaches and 10 Military Liaison Teams, in a total of 17 countries. These countries included Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. By the end of 1994, 10th Special Forces had conducted over 35 missions in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.

Events in Africa again led to the Group demonstrating its versatility when it alerted for Operation Provide Hope to relieve suffering caused by the genocidal ethnic conflict in Rwanda. Within days of being directed by the Commander in Chief of EUCOM,, 10th Special Forces Group established a joint special operations task force at Entebbe Airfield, Uganda, while B Company, 2nd Battalion; 3rd Battalion; and Group Headquarters prepared to deploy. In response to a MITASK to the Group, Colonel Frank Toney, then the Group Commander, ordered the deployment of an advanced party to further develop the situation and OK'd a tentative plan to deploy a main body within one week, if required. This ADVON arrived in Entebbe to find that the strip and apron were capable of handing only limited traffic, and billeting was a hanger for 1,000 or so joint personnel.

Special Forces were successfully employed in teams to occupy Haiti in Operation Uphold Democracy. Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 062 (ODA 062) deployed to Poland and linked up with the Polish special operations unit and provided coalition support for the duration of the unit's stay in Haiti. During the deployment Captain Otis McGregor and Staff Sergeant John Donovan earned the Polish Cross of Bravery for saving the lives of several Haitian nationals. The awards were presented in Warsaw by the Polish Minister of Interior. Subsequently, ODA 045, ODA 046, and ODA 066 performed a similar mission with the Dutch Marines, while other 10th Special Forces Group soldiers provided augmentation at various headquarters during the operation.

In late l994, the floodgates opened for 10th Special Forces Group involvement in Eastern Europe, including the first JCET missions to former Communist countries. ODA 093 trained in Slovakia in August 1994, ODA 076 deployed to Albania in September 1994 at the request of the Secretary of Defense, and ODA 064 visited Romania in November 1994. At the same time, 10th Special Forces Group played host to delegations of Eastern European officers, visiting under the Familiarization Tour (FAM) program. By early 1995, military leaders from Slovakia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Minister of Defense for the Ukraine, had made visits to 10th Special Forces Group. In 1995, ODA 095 conducted a search and rescue JCET with Hungary, the highest visibility Partnership for Peace exercise at the time. ODA 051 conducted a peace-keeping JCET with Lithuanian forces at the request of the Ambassador, and C/2/10th Special Forces Group conducted Partnership for Peace (PFP) Exercise Double Eagle in Poland with the Polish 4th Mechanized Division and the US 1st Armored Division. The most significant exchange training event of the year was the 2nd Battalion's deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana and for the PFP Exercise Cooperative Nugget. With augmentation from 3rd Battalion, the 2nd Battalion provided coalition liaison elements to 14 European and former Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union platoons and companies. 10th Group's contribution as advisors, trainers, and subject matter experts on Peace Operations were instrumental to the success of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the commanding conventional force headquarters.

During the same period, 10th Special Forces Group continued to play a role in the ongoing mission in Northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort II and the mission of NATO support to UN forces in the former Yugoslavia, Operation Provide Promise. The Group lost two of its own on 14 April 1994, when Staff Sergeant Ricky Robinson and Staff Sergeant Paul Barclay of A Company, 2nd Battalion, died in a tragic fratricide incident, when a UH-60 helicopter was downed over Northern Iraq.

After establishing its own workspace, and making contact with elements of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) under command of Lieutenant Colonel Rich Mills, the Special Forces planning cell conducted mission analysis on how to help the movement of the Displaced Persons back home. This involved watering stations spaced across the vast stretches of formidable terrain (the middle of nowhere) that would get people healthy enough to move and uncomfortable enough to keep moving rather than setting up shop to stay. Two sergeants were further deployed to the Embassy in Kigali during an incident in which the Embassy was threatened. These two soldiers provided critical SATCOM to the Ambassador, and were central figures in ensuring the security of the Embassy. The entire 10th Special Forces Group element was able to redeploy once the process of moving the displaced persons was well under way a few weeks later.

Also during 1994 and 1995, the 10th Special Forces Group prepared to move from Fort Devens, Massachusetts to Fort Carson, Colorado. This move was part of the closure of Fort Devens as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations. On 1 September 1994, the colors of the 2nd Battalion were uncased at Fort Carson. The 3rd Battalion joined the 2d Battalion in Colorado on 20 July 1995. On 15 September 1995, the 10th Special Forces Group colors were uncased, officially signifying the end of a 27 year presence in New England. In the fall of l995, the 10th Special Forces Group aggressively executed training from its new home at Fort Carson. Deploying 2nd Battalion for a second time in 2 months to Joint Readiness Training Center, the Group assisted the Army in the testing of sophisticated equipment and information age warfare concepts as part of a Force XXI Army Warfighting Experiment. 3rd Battalion deployed to Joint Readiness Training Center to shake out the new staff that had been built at Fort Carson only weeks before, and 2nd Battalion reopened the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Germany by providing a SOCCE and 2 special reconnaissance ODAs in support of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized).

From 30 August to 2 September 1995, search and rescue operations were conducted by 1/10th Special Forces Group operating from San Vito Air Station, Italy, to retrieve French pilots shot down by Serb antiaircraft fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Captain Douglas McVey led ODA 024 on MH-53 night patrols and received numerous rounds of enemy fire while conducting combat search and rescue operations, during which 2 US Air Force personnel were wounded from enemy fire. Although the pilots could not be located, the effort demonstrated NATO resolve to the warring factions. The pilots were recovered by diplomatic efforts after the signing of the Dayton Treaty.

On 8 December 1995, the advanced element of the Group Headquarters deployed to Kiseljak, Bosnia-Herzegovina to become the first US combat force to enter that country as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. The 10th Special Forces Group Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC; later known as the just the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) as part of the multinational Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, which including British, French, Italian, Dutch, and US special operations forces. The CJSOTF was the land component for Special Operations Command Implementation Force (SOCIFOR), led by Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) in support of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, the first-ever NATO peace enforcement operation. The 1st Battalion, 10 Special Forces Group was the subordinate forward operating base, providing command and control for companies and ODAs from the lst, 5th, and 10th Special Forces Groups.

The 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, co-located with SOCEUR at San Vito, Italy and ran the ISOFAC. This came to include the SOCIFOR supply center, to include a firing range in an abandoned bowling alley. Liaison Coordination Elements, tailored Special Forces teams with attached Air Force special operations personnel, were provided to reflagging UN units and incoming coalition units from Russia, Pakistan, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Malaysia, Egypt, and Turkey. In place prior to D-day, the Special Forces teams provided vital communications and intelligence connectivity between NATO's ARRC Headquarters and its subordinate units during the first critical weeks of the operation. Of significance were the Special Forces Company headquarters being located with each multinational division headquarters: C/3/10 in the British 3rd (UK) Division sector; A/1/10 in the French 6th Infantry Division sector; and B/1/10 in the US lst Armored Division sector.

Special operations forces from the Army, Navy and Air Force conducted numerous missions supporting NATO's Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Assistance ranged from air support and rescue operations to reconnaissance and liaison duties. Nearly 700 members of the Army's Special Operations Command deployed to Bosnia in mid-December 1995 and began numerous operations throughout the Balkan nation. Included were more than 100 reservists serving in Special Forces, civil affairs and psychological operations positions. Army special operations units in the area included the 1st Special Forces Group from Fort Lewis, Washington; the 5th Special Forces Group from Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the 10th Special Forces Group from Fort Carson, Colorado; and the Army National Guard's 20th Special Forces Group from Birmingham, Alabama. Portions of Fort Bragg's 4th Psychological Operations Battalion, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, and 112th and 528th Special Operations Signal battalions were also in Bosnia. Special operations personnel served as liaisons between NATO forces and local nationals. Other tasks may included unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian or civic action.

In the spring of 1996, the 1st Battalion, having largely disengaged from Bosnia, was alerted as part of a SOCEUR Joint Task Force to recover the missing passengers from a tragic aircraft accident in Croatia. The deceased included Secretary Ron Brown, the US Secretary of Commerce. Overcoming coordination roadblocks and difficult weather, the missing were recovered quickly and professionally by 1/10th Special Forces Group soldiers.

When peace talks collapsed in Liberia, SOCEUR alerted 1st Battalion again for the mission of evacuating endangered Americans and other designated nationalities from that war torn African nation. With the capital Monrovia and much of the countryside in chaos, 1st Battalion and SOCEUR established an Intermediate Staging Base in neighboring Sierra Leone, and in 10 days, evacuated 2,000 personnel to safety. On 18 April 1996, after the bulk of the mission was concluded, 1/10th Special Forces Group conducted a relief-in-place with a Marine Task Force and redeployed to home station.

In December 1996, the British-led Operation Joint Endeavor transitioned over to the US-led Operation Joint Guard, and with it, the CJSOTF transitioned as well to US command. The Group's participation increased, both on the CJSOTF and FOB staffs, as well as the operational elements, as 10th Special Forces Group took over the Joint Commissioned Observer peace-monitoring mission.

1997 and 1998 saw multiple JCETs deployed to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Macedonia; mobile training teams to the Slovak Republic and Latvia; and Traveling Contact Teams (TCT) and FAMs with Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, and the Ukraine. Once again, the Group's contributions in providing coalition support teams to forces from over 20 countries during the PFP Exercise Cooperative Nugget '97 at Fort Polk proved crucial to the resounding success of the Exercise.

In August 1998, along with the name change from Operation Joint Guard to Operation Joint Forge, the Group's ongoing JCO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina downsized from a battalion level commitment to a company (+) deployment. The 2nd Battalion trained special operations teams from Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Italy to take over the JCO duties in the NATO-led Stabilization Force's (SFOR) Southwest and Southeast sectors. The 2nd Battalion officially closed its FOB operations in the country on 18 August 1998.

In the winter of 1999, tensions were heightening in the Balkans, with the impending "Brcko Arbitration Decision" on the future of that northern Bosnian city, and increased fighting between ethnic Albanian paramilitary forces and Serbian Army and police forces in the Serbian Province of Kosovo. Soldiers of C Company, 2nd Battalion were involved in numerous hostile incidents in February and March 1999 in SFOR's northern sector, Multi-National District-North (MND-N). Later in 1999, 10th Special Forces Group handed the Bosnian mission over to 3rd Special Forces Group in order to focus on events unfolding in Kosovo.

In March 1999, 1st Battalion deployed to San Vito, Italy again, establishing FOB 101, and employed all their companies in support of the Joint Special Operations Task Force Noble Anvil for Operation Allied Force and the Kosovo-related NATO-led airstrikes into Serbia. During this deployment 1/10th Special Forces Group participated in numerous sensitive operations, to include rescues of 2 downed NATO aircrews behind enemy lines. As the political situation developed to require entry of ground forces into Kosovo, 10th Special Forces Group elements.

Following the events of 11 September 2001, the 10th Special Forces Group was called upon to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. 10th Special Forces Group was also called upon to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq beginning in March 2003. 10th Special Forces Group along with officers of the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division linked up and were the first to enter Iraq prior to the invasion. They organized the Kurdish Peshmerga to attack and defeat the Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist organization allied with al-Qaida. This battle was fought in critical terrain controlled by Ansar al-Islam in northeastern Iraq. Kurdish forces and their 10th Special Forces Group advisors soundly defeated the terrorists and uncovered a chemical weapons production plant at Sargat, the only facility of its type discovered in the Iraq war. 10th Special Forces Group Group and conventional US Army elements organized into Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - North (CJSOTF-N; also known as Task Force Viking) then organized and led the Peshmerga against Saddam's Army in the north. In a series of battles along the Green Line, the US-led Kurdish forces prevented Saddam's divisions, to include 13 armored divisions, from redeploying to Baghdad to contest the Allied invasion force coming from the south. The 10th Special Forces Group teams assisted their Kurdish allies in recapturing and controlling the key cities of Mosul, Kirkut and Tikrit.

By 2005, the Group consisted of a group headquarters and support units and 3 subordinate battalions. One of these battalions, the 1st Battalion, was forward deployed at Panzer Kaserne, near Stuttgart, Germany. Over 1,100 soldiers were assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado. Major subordinate elements of the 10th Special Forces Group included the Headquarters and Headquarters Company; the Group Support Company; the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group; and the 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group. The Group was redesignated on 1 October 2005 as the 10th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces Regiment.

The Group activated its support company in 2006 and on 19 August 2010, the 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was activated at a ceremony at Manhart Field, Fort Carson, Colorado. The battalion was to have more than 400 Soldiers assigned when its growth was completed in 2011.

With the establishment of US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2008 and its special operations component, Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA), 10th Special Forces Group also became affiliated with these entities, continuing to conduct Joint Combined Exchange Training and Foreign Internal Defense/anti-terrorist operations as part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara. Such activities have included training the military forces of Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania. The 1st and 3rd Battalions had also participated in training in Senegal in 2006, along with the 352nd Special Operations Group from the US Air Force USAF.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list