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1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

During 1999, the elements of the 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducted training in Utah, California, Montana, Nevada, and outside the continental United States (OCONUS) in Thailand, Korea, Tonga, and the Maldives. During these operations, soldiers trained on pre-mission planning, deployment, execution of special operations missions, redeployment, and demobilization skills. A particular highlight of the 1999 training year was the opportunity to participate in Exercise Global Patriot. This was a unique exercise that tested the combat, combat service, and combat service support capabilities of Army, Air Force, and Navy forces working in concert to accomplish military objectives. Special Forces teams planned and executed special reconnaissance and terminal guidance missions to provide "eyes on target" to direct combat power and perform battle damage assessment. This training provided an opportunity to conduct training in critical battlefield skills that were rarely afforded to National Guard soldiers. The proficiency achieved placed the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) on the "cutting edge" of modern technology and capability.

In June 2001, a total of 20 students participated in recent "sustainment" mountaineering training conducted by Washington Army Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Special Forces Guardsmen from Washington and Utah trained on basic and intermediate military mountaineering tasks in the hills of the Tonto National Forest, Arizona. The soldiers hit the ground on the first day with an airborne operation into Coolidge Drop Zone, near Tucson. Starting off with indoor rock wall work to assess the level of individual proficiency, the training progressed to real rock faces in the hills nearby. Other training covered advanced rope work, movement in a mountain environment, and even climbing at night using their night vision goggles (NVGs). Several of the students had been assigned to active-duty Special Forces mountain detachments in the past, but most had only been exposed to these skills in Ranger School, sport climbing, or civilian alpine mountain climbing. The biggest challenge for the instructors was standardizing the techniques that each student would use, to accepted Army standards, and then demonstrating how a Special Forces detachment would use the skills in a tactical environment.

In June 2002, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) mobilized and deployed to Kuwait in support of US Central Command Operation Desert Springs. After relieving Company A, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Camp Doha, Special Forces Operational Detachment B 950 took on the Advanced Operational Base mission subordinate to the Special Operations Command and Control Element to Coalition Forces Land Component Command. Five Special Forces Operational Detachment As conducted foreign internal defense, liaison and control element and unilateral training missions prior to the build up of US Forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In October 2002, Company A, 1st Battalion 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) relieved B 950 and subsequently led coalition forces north from Kuwait to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.




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