It was US Army, Major General Robert A. McClure’s vision to create the Special Forces which resurected the WW II organization the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) that with their behind the scenes work helped to win the war. Lietenant Colonel Russell W. Volckmann built the plan for the Special Forces and Colonel Aaron Bank executed it.
The first Special Forces unit in the Army was formed on 11 June 1952, when the 10th Special Forces Group was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A major expansion of Special Forces occurred during the 1960s, with a total of eighteen groups organized in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. As a result of renewed emphasis on special operations in the 1980s, the Special Forces Branch was established as a basic branch of the Army effective 9 April 1987, by General Orders No 35 dated 19 June 1987.
Known to many as “The Silent Professionals,” over the years the Special Forces evolved to becoming the premier force of the US military
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Posted 1 year ago at 6:29 am. Add a comment
Story by: Donna Dixon FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army’s official parachute demonstration team, who have just celebrated their 50th Anniversary will be making a historical jump at Silk Hope, NC. The Gold Demonstration team will be conducting this commemorative jump in veneration of their fellow Gold Team demonstrators who lost their lives in a devastating C-47 crash.
The jump will take place at the baseball field next to the fire department at 1:00 pm on 17 April 2010 as part of a re-dedication ceremony. Approximately 5000 to 7000 people will be present for this event and the nearby Farm Heritage Day celebration.
March 8, 1973, the military transport left Fort Bragg at 8:18 am carrying 14 members of the Army Golden Knights parachute team to their first performance of the show season at Overland, Kansas. About seven to 12 miles north of Fort Bragg communication with the plane was lost. The plane traveled another forty miles to the Silk Hope area, still without further communication. At approximately 8:45 am, Mrs. Janelle Newlin, who resided on the opposite side of the field, reportedly heard what sounded like an explosion. Looking up, she saw one wing drop off the fuselage and the plane tragically spiraled downward and crashed in a cornfield on the Basil Perry Farm, two miles north of Silk Hope in Northern Chatham County.
It was said that among the pieces of debris that fluttered down onto nearby homes and yards were brightly colored brochures, proclaiming the mission of the Golden Knights, their legendary history and invitations to join the military and possibly come to Assessment and Selection to become members of the team.
For over 37 years this catastrophic event has been memorialized by a stone tablet at the base of the Silk Hope Fire Departments flag pole.
CWO Richard A. Del Conte [P]
PFC Paul D. Albritton
SSG Joseph C. Barbarick
SGT Michael G. Buckley
SSG Bartley L. Bullington
SSG Cecil E. Davis
SSG Raymond C. Kinser Jr
SGT Edward M. Parrish
CWO Rodney H. Pease
SSG Joseph B. Pelter
SSG James F. Rice
SP5 Michael D. Wasley
SGT Francis P. Welch
SSG Robert T. Wolfe
Please join us in this tribute by paying homage to our fallen comrades from the U S Army Parachute Team. For more information about the Golden Knights’ or to learn more about the team’s unique history and to view a schedule of events, visit the GOLDEN KNIGHTS Website.
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Posted 3 years, 2 months ago at 1:20 pm. 10 comments
Or for those who cannot read Russian Cyrillic -
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Posted 3 years, 5 months ago at 10:03 pm. 4 comments
Arlington National Cemetery is Closed!
I had plans on Saturday morning to capture the first major snowfall in Arlington National Cemetery. A week before, the Wreaths Across America annual event added 16,000 wreaths in Sections near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. So I could probably get some great photographs.
I forgot I live in the area where snow is more than a 4-letter word – it’s rare and most people living in this area have experience of little or none driving or dealing with it – Washington DC and surrounds … closes down. So I came back to the ranch and worked on Christmas cards.
Here’s a sample of a design for the US Army’s Divisions - Airborne All the Way!
- 82d Airborne
They are currently for sale at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC AND the 82d Airborne Division Memorial Museum on Fort Bragg, NC. Only one of many designs and units that are available.
Currently working on a new note-card for the 14th Infantry Regiment which was constituted in 1861 in Trumbull, CT
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Posted 3 years, 6 months ago at 7:20 am. Add a comment
Fort Bragg, NC - An historic meeting occurred that changed the US military – specifically the US Army forever. For it was on this day, 12 OCT 1961 a visit was arranged that forged a lasting effect that continues until this day - Presidential validation of the Special Forces – “The Green Berets”
To understand the history though, one must look back nearly 200 years before, one state south and consider “The Swamp Fox”…
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Posted 3 years, 8 months ago at 1:25 pm. 2 comments
Somewhere near Fort Bragg, NC: It was late that 16 MAR 2009 day, as I sat watching the formation teams practice in this vertical wind tunnel chamber – weightless maneuvers with the 11 humongous-horsepower fans that kept them aloft… As they went through their routines to collectively form as many different geometric shapes in the less than a minute of time that they had, I sensed there was more to this entire unit than a few Soldiers who decided it would be something different to jump free-fall out of a airplane.
It intrigued me – immensely!
I sat there and LTC Tony Dill, the commander of this elite unit appeared and he was pleasantly surprised that this late in the day I was still here… seems all the major media headed back to file their stories of the events earlier in the day. I just wondered how much they really knew about the Golden Knights and the Soldiers who comprised this unit. I had spent some time exploring their website and found among them Soldiers who were Special Forces & Rangers, but also Helicopter mechanics & Medics, they came from all over the United States… the common theme was that they were AIRBORNE qualified and loved the US ARMY. Can’t ask for a better combination.
Back to LTC Dill and me, I asked if I could spend more time with the unit, since I saw something that needed to be shared, a story of how these men & women are risking their lives (it’s still dangerous jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 5, 10, 13 thousand feet… despite all the fail-safes and precautions that are taken. So each of these Soldiers puts their lives on the line up to several times a week to show the public a skill that I later learn transfers very well to the rest of the US Army.) My request to spend time with the Golden Knights was welcomed and I asked if I could get access to the team when they came to the Washington, DC area – the Andrews AFB Joint Service Airshow in MAY. This additional request was also welcomed and an airplane ride was offered much to my surprise!
The following day, I carried out another mission as I got acceptance of the notecards I had designed from the Golden Knights SSI (Shoulder Sleeve Insignia – though few of them wear the insignia on their shoulder.) – The notecards (along with other designs) are now for sale at the Airborne Special Operations Museum in Faytetteville, NC. I then responded to CPT Funderburk that the notecards were now available to the public and Thank you for the great warm hospitality while I was visiting.
Back to the story…
As the weekend of the Joint Forces Air Show approached, I hadn’t heard about how I would connect with the Golden Knights. Then Saturday 16 MAY, my cell phone had a voicemail on it from LTC Dill … the next day I was at Andrews AFB heading toward a rather wonderful “Golden Knights” aircraft… (I’ve learned that the airplane is the Golden Knights’ home-away-from-home = they spend about 42 weekends – and many weekdays away from their home base at Fort Bragg… and I thought I traveled a lot when I worked for Corporate America!)
I was escorted aboard and as I got strapped in, I watched as several of the Golden Knights reviewed and walked through what they were going to do in the air, right there on the ground (the US Army is always “On the Mission!”) They may have done this hundreds of times before, but again they made sure it was going to be perfect.
They next huddled and went through what I later found out was a ritual that has evolved over time… They then boarded the airplane and began donning their jump-suits – then the parachutes and harnesses went on then another series of staging practices occurred at each of the doors (they take such pride in their work!)
As final preparations were being made for takeoff… a very smooth takeoff mind you! they continued to prepare for their jump as more equipment was …. along with other necessary gear – gloves, altimeter, a final check of the parachutes.
All this happening while the airplane headed for 12,500 Feet above the Washington, DC area (the Washington Monument looked like a matchstick rising out of the ground!) It had rained the night before and there were still clouds lingering in the skies. As we went higher and higher, we lost 3 degrees of temperature for every 1,000 feet we climbed. Gloves! Need gloves since the brisk winds as the doors were open seemed to keep it cooler.
They even have their own camera man – who takes photos with his camera strapped to his helmet!
TO BE CONTINUED…
Yes, I’m leaving you up in the air…
… don’t they call that a
Posted 4 years ago at 1:52 am. Add a comment
Please set aside the dates – 16 to 22 MAY 2009 — Fort Bragg & Fayetteville, NC
Current Schedule of Events:
Saturday – Monday, 16 – 18 MAY:
82d Airborne Division Museum Living History Detachment (re-enactors) will have a display setup on Stang Field – the exhibit is open to the public and free of charge. Museum operation hours 1000 – 1630
Monday, 18 MAY:
- (0600) Division Run on Longstreet
- (1400) Memorial Ceremony at the 82d Airborne Division Museum
- Extended 82d Museum hours 1000 to 1800
Tuesday & Wednesday, 19 & 20 MAY:
- Individual Brigade Activities & Sporting Events – Contact the Brigade for the schedule – Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office at (910) 396-5600/5620
Thursday, 21 MAY (1100-1500)
- Division Picnic at Pike Field for all current Paratroopers & Soldiers, Family Members/Spouses and Veterans of the Division
Friday, 22 MAY
- Event Schedule Currently Unavailable, Contact Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office at (910) 396-5600/5620
Posted 4 years, 1 month ago at 8:15 am. Add a comment
A Sincere Thank You to COL Fenzel, LTC Dill, MAJ Bean, SGM Eitniear, CPT Funderburk and ALL of the US Army Golden Knights for a wonderful day and their warm hospitality on my recent trip Fort Bragg to participate in the Golden Knights 50th Anniversary Celebration!
Despite the liquid sunshine that moved us indoors, it was a great tribute to the men and women who are the US Army’s elite team who command the skies with their skillful manuevers.
I was totally in awe when I entered their headquarters to see the case after case of trophys, plaques and awards that the Golden Knights have earned over the years. I’ve learned that there are many more not on display. These talented soldiers are the US Army’s ambassadors who come to visit after jumping out of an airplane from thousands of feet … some who actually hit a 3 centimeter (now TWO!) target from this free fall thru the sky.
There’s more to learn about the Golden Knights and I look forward to spending some time with them real soon…
Now the great news….
Many of you know that I produce US Arny heraldry cards with the unit insignia and significant information on the back of the card. Many of you have them, a few have had them personalized. For this event with the Golden Knights, I decided it was appropriate to craft and design a card for them and bring them as gifts (personalized of course) for a few of those I would meet.
But the great news is that the GOLDEN KNIGHTS’ notecards are now available for sale at the Airborne Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayettville, NC
– Mission Accomplished LTC Dill!
Some More Great News…
I had the pleasure and opportunity to meet the Hon Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army while I was in Fayetteville and he is now the proud owner of the first ever regimental calendar – “The Old Guard on Parade – 2009″
And finally, I am proud to say that my heraldry cards are now on sale at THREE museum giftshops in the Fayetteville, NC area.
Posted 4 years, 3 months ago at 10:41 pm. Add a comment
A few weeks ago, I had a trip to Fort Bragg to witness and record the induction of three retired Special Forces soldiers as “a distinguished member of the Regiment.” While there, I met and spent some time with the Director/Curator of the JFK Warfare Museum and she furthered my knowledge about the origins of the Flashes that are used behind the insignia of rank, certain badges or the regiment.
I had earlier learned that LTG Wm P. Yarborough when confronted with the comment by his commander that the Parachutist Badge which he designed and presented to his commander that “… they’re too … small!” Then Captain Yarborough, with a spark of creative genius used pieces of colored felt that were put behind the badge to make it appear bigger. That same concept was applied for the Special Forces Group Flash.
Originally, a consideration was a “rosette” similar to the ones awarded to recipients of the Purple Heart shown below (now discontinued)
or a Medal of Honor recipient …
Many of the colonial troops wore a rosette in their tricorn hats.
Instead of the rosette, a small piece of colored material to provide “A flash of color…” was the General’s answer…
Shown below are the 1st, 5th and 7th Group flashes worn on their green berets…
Posted 4 years, 4 months ago at 12:37 am. Add a comment
A few weeks ago, I was whisked down to Fort Bragg for a ceremony that is rare and another that occurs several times a year. It always invigorates me when I see these events to know that there are soldiers who are ready, willing and able to defend the freedoms that many in the United States take for granted.
Most of us are too busy trying to figure out what movie we’re going to see, where we’re going to have dinner or planning that vacation. Too few are aware of the sacrifice and dedication of those who have volunteered to abide by a simple creed of “DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY” that in 1962 General Douglas MacArthur included in his speech delivered at West Point, NY at the US Military Academy.
There are also misconceptions and misperceptions that abound out there and frankly, until I was informed and educated by my core advisory / mentor group (which continues to grow mind you.) I truly had some similar ideas about how the military does things and protects our freedoms. Those ideas have been put aside as I became more knowledgeable and spent many hours with the soldiers understanding just what they go through on a day-to-day basis, while probing and tapping into my network.
Recently, I was asked to join a group ’cause it’s “less intense than Special Forces” which prompted this focus. I sensed that the person suggesting that I join didn’t really understand what the US Army Special Forces is all about. Yes, they are soldiers who will take up arms and eliminate threats. BUT and there’s a DIFFERENCE – A BIG DIFFERENCE!
They are not the “commandos” that many people think they are. Yes they have special skills that are imparted and honed, which is why they are “SPECIAL FORCES” – these may include additional language skills, medical training, psychological skills, etc. for their mission is “To Free the Oppressed” = De Oppresso Liber. NOT through force, but by working with the people and winning their acceptance to help them help themselves. The SF are “force multipliers” teams of 5 or up to 10 may be inserted in to initiate and successfully complete this “unconventional warfare” = Teaching the people how to defend themselves from oppression. Transferring the skills that the SF soldier spends weeks and weeks aquiring and learning to utilize -honing them over the years.
The SF motto, from what I have researched is drawn from a quote by St. Augustine’s Confessions which includes:
“The turbulent have to be corrected,
The faint-hearted cheered up,
The weak supported;
The Gospel’s opponents need to be refuted,
Its insidious enemies guarded against;
The unlearned need to be taught,
The indolent stirred up,
The argumentative checked;
The proud must be put in their place,
The desperate set on their feet,
Those engaged in quarrels reconciled;
The needy have to be helped,
The oppressed to be liberated,
The good to be encouraged,
The bad to be tolerated;
All must be loved,”
And this is what they do … Not Commandos, but Special Forces. Just like President John F. Kennedy’s reaction to the display of their skills on 12 OCT 1961 “They truly are Special…”
Posted 4 years, 4 months ago at 11:00 pm. 1 comment