Monday, February 01, 2010

Not so quiet and not so professional...

When I was a little teeny privvit back in the 1980's I wanted to be Special Forces so bad it hurt. I didn't have what it took: I bolo'ed two patrols in Phase I, got recycled, lost my motivation and just frankly pussied out - "DOR'ed", or "dropped on request".(That's me, BTW, standing behind SFC Harris in the GI-issue birth control glasses with the rest of the heroes of 3rd ("Cold Steel") Platoon, Alpha Company, 4th BCT Battalion, 3rd BCT Brigade, Fort Dix, New Jersey in March, 1981. To this day - 29 years later, I can still remember my drill sergeants, SFC Raymond Harris and SSG Ricardo Layne. Just curious - anybody of the other enlisted scum here still recall their hats from BCT?)

I'm not proud of what I did in SFQC, but I'm not ashamed, either. I tried as hard as I could - at the time, still being young and unformed - and when I ended up in the 82nd Airborne I became a sergeant and a good one. I served as well as I could. I trained my troops to survive, and to be the best aidmen they could be.On the other had, it sounds like these guys didn't serve nearly as well as THEY should have:
"...shooting at targets down range while Afghans are standing right next to the targets, to screaming obscenities at them, calling them “fucktards,” and inflicting group punishment because they couldn’t master the “load, unload” drill..."
One thing I liked about the idea of SF back in the day was the concept that they were this immense force multiplier. You parachuted a dozen guys and a pantsload of gear into some trackless wilderness and after six months you had an entire little army, a native Mike Force led by the GIs ready to take on the local enemies on their own ground.

But it becomes increasingly apparent that the Charlie Beckwith/Special Air Service camorra have completely captured the Army SF community. Our "Special" Forces are now just a bunch of door-kickers with fancy hats. That's NOT what I enlisted to be. In that respect, my then-failure looks better with time. I'm glad I didn't live to be the First Sergeant of an SF-ODB that runs a bunch of glorified SWAT teams.

And what's even sadder?
"These SF guys are supposed to be the ones who know how to operate outside the big bases with the local population, but did you notice where they live? On a big box FOB, isolated and removed from their Afghan charges which is obvious, because none of them spoke a word of Dari or Pashto. They are good troops being poorly served by commanders who keep them isolated and removed from the people they are supposed to be protecting. They will never be able to gain the situational awareness required to do real COIN if they remain confined to the Big Box FOBs."
Go and read all of it.It makes me kinda sad and kinda mad, and I say that as the guy who back in 1981 loved the Special Forces and wanted to train our allies to help us fight "to liberate the oppressed" with that beautiful 1st Group flash on his green hat more than he wanted to have a week of wild monkey sex with Debra Winger AND Jamie Lee Curtis.

(Crossposted to MilPub)


rangeragainstwar said...

FD Chief,
I always ask -what's so special about SF?
When there's 10k of them then yah, they're special. When there's 50 K led by West Point pukes , then NO. Nada.
Beckwith did screw up SF but the real culprit was the RIF's that killed off all the experienced officers and forced them into exiting stage left , or becoming Reserve O's.The SF was eviscerated and when Charlie did his transformer routine the entire Proponency Branch of SF was slap filled up with 173rd ABN types that came over after THE WAR WAS FINI.These were the guys that drove the stake into the heart of the old guard.
I won't use names b/c some of these guys were friends and were good soldiers. They just weren't SF types.And of course they all wore Ranger tabs.This was when the WPPA started a branch ofc in Smoke Bomb Hill.
Try this one on for size- the Chief of SOCEUR was an AF O6. WTF?
He was a great guy but he didn't know fuck all about UW/Gw etc.. but he sure did know about SOS AF stuff, this ain't the same thing.His boss was a USMC O 7, and he had NO SOF experience. And we wonder why things are so fucked. Is it any wonder that Beirut 83 happened when EUCOM was directing the big picture?
But Chief, really why do we care?

FDChief said...

Jim: Not sure why. Maybe it's for the same reason that people who have never lived in Ireland call themselves "Irish", or people still love the place thwy grew up in, even though they moved away years ago.

For a big part of my life the Army was who I was. I find it hard not to still think that way, though the Army is doing its best to drive a stake through the OD Green part of my heart.

And I don't want to slag off on these guys as bad SOLDIERS. They're just - as you say - not good SF soldiers. And they reason they're not isn't their fault, but the fault of the Echelons Above Reality that oversaw the destruction of the guys who learned stuff the hard way in the RVN and in the old UW-focused Groups.