Tuesday, 18 June 2002
This week’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of
Special Forces is bringing together ‘‘three generations’’ of Green
The soldiers who are fighting in Afghanistan are
continuing a legacy that began 50 years ago Wednesday at Fort Bragg with
the activation of the first Special Forces unit, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey C.
Lambert said Monday. The original commander, 99-year-old retired Col.
Aaron Bank of California, will attend the events.
‘‘They are all still doing the things we
did,’’ Lambert said. ‘‘They’ve got new things on the plate,
which will make them better and more lethal. But still, it’s a constant
stream of training and experiences and knowledge.’’
Lambert is commanding general of U.S. Army
Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg. His command oversees the training of
about 9,500 people in seven Special Forces groups at Fort Bragg and
elsewhere. The soldiers are involved in the war on terrorism in
Afghanistan, Yemen, Georgia and the Philippines as well as the drug war in
Latin America and African training missions, Lambert said.
Fort Bragg this week is marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of
a force of highly trained airborne soldiers who could fight or operate
behind enemy lines during the Cold War.
‘‘The granddads’’ are the veterans of World War II, the Office
of Strategic Services and the Korean War who were the original members, he
The ‘‘dads’’ are the Green Berets of the Vietnam War era, and
‘‘our children’’ are the soldiers fighting the war on terror, he
A ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Memorial Plaza to honor 20 special operations soldiers killed in the war on terrorism.
‘‘The most significant thing is the families that are coming in for the memorial,’’ Lambert said. They represent the people who have ‘‘given the most,’’ he said.
About 2,500 people are expected to attend the ceremony, Lambert said.
Also being memorialized will be a soldier killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, one killed in Kuwait and two killed in the Vietnam War.
As part of the ceremony, two memorial stones will be unveiled to honor the 10th Special Forces Group and the Mike Forces, the quick reaction units of the Vietnam War.
The annual Special Forces Conference will be today and Wednesday at the Cumberland County Coliseum Complex in Fayetteville.
Speakers will include Gen. John N. Abrams, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va. His command works with the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
The 2002 conference is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the Special Forces Association and the National Defense Industrial Association. The seminars are limited to active-duty military members, military retirees, members of the SF Association and the Friends of SOF.
Air Force Gen. Charles R. Holland, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command at Tampa, Fla., will be a guest during the week, Lambert said.
Special Forces soldiers have been among the casualties in the war in Afghanistan.
One soldier died too recently to be included in the ceremony. A memorial ceremony for Sgt. 1st Class Peter Tycz is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the JFK Chapel. Tycz, a member of 3rd Special Forces Group, was killed Wednesday when the MC-130 aircraft in which he was riding crashed in Afghanistan. He was one of three service members killed. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The Airborne & Special Operations Museum will hold a program at 11 a.m. Thursday on the history of Special Forces. Speakers will include retired Col. Roger Donlon, a Special Forces soldier and the first person to receive the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.
By Henry Cuningham Military editor, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
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