RANGER AGAINST WAR: What's Special Here? <

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's Special Here?


fr. The Salute (Fall 2009)
______________

More from the propaganda bulletin The Salute ("an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army"). Their creed -- "I was a soldier, I am a soldier, I will always be a soldier" -- already has two out of three wrong.

I am no longer a soldier, nor will I always be one. The days that were given will suffice for a lifetime, so why does the Army propagandize us after retirement?


Page One topic:
"Special Forces to Expand":

"Soldiers wearing the Green Beret are more than just unconventional fighters. they perform special reconnaissance missions, conduct direct action operations, defend the infrastructure of friendly countries and fight terrorism."

Yes, recon is an SF mission as it is direct action, but what does that mean? Look at the above photo -- the Special Forces are indistinguishable from PV1 Rifleman of the Infantry. Do we train SF to perform such basic functions? How is this implementing SF as force multipliers, which is their true asset to the Army?


When did Special Forces become responsible to defend the infrastructure of friendly countries? In fact, one should define just what constitutes a friendly country.
In fact, friendly countries should defend their own infrastructures. My SF/Army should defend our infrastructures, or is that too much to ask? Or, by virtue of our presence, is it all ours?

In a complete non sequitur, the article continues, "Units such as the 75th Rangers trace their heritage back to ranger units that fought the Indians and French prior to the American Revolution."
Has everyone, even Army propagandists, syncretised the Special Forces and the Rangers? They are not the same thing.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous barcalounger said...

Epic fail on the part of The Salute. Just one example here: "On April 6, 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced the addition of more than 2,800 Special Operations personnel, a five percent increase. The Army’s share will be more than 500 Soldiers added to the Special Forces (SF) Command. Each of the Command’s five Active Duty Special Forces groups (SFG) will add one battalion." IIRC, a battalion has more than 500 warm bodies in it. Doesn't anybody check the accuracy of the reporting in The Salute? If I had submitted a wildly inaccurate article like that to my high school newspaper, I would have been severely beaten around the head and shoulders with a rolled up newspaper by the journalism teacher.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 3:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

barca,

The editor wanted to fail me for an otherwise stellar internship as I reported a felon as DWI (small town paper, y'see), rather than his actual offense. (While thumbing through the reports I mistakenly confused his current offense with one of his 3 prior DWI's.)

Details are important in journalism.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 5:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

The "Special" has been leached out of the SF for a long time. My understanding of the outfit is that it was more-or-less supposed to be the successor of the OSS "Jedburgh" teams from WW2. The mission was covert operations and limited direct action in enemy-held territory but the real selling point was "liberating the oppressed"; the SF A-team was supposed to be on the ground in occupied Europe or Red Asia assembling local opposition to the Commie Monolith. They would link up with the local partisans, form Mike Forces and eventually emerge to greet the liberating Allied legions at the head of the Free Polish (or Czech or Laotian or Chinese) Army...

But by 1964 the SF teams were deep in the RVN, organizing Mike Forces, yes, but mostly for the mountain tribes who hated the government we were supposed to be supporting. Fighting an insurgency rather than leading it. By the 1980s the transition was complete: from Che to Colonel Batista, hunting and killing local guerillas/rebels/freedom fighters and palling around with the death squads and the junta's troops.

My understanding of Afghanistan is that the SF guys there essentially acted like FOs with beards. The Tajiks and Hazaras of the Northern Allience didn't need to be taught how to fight - they were at the graduate level already. They needed someone to call in arclights to paste the piss out of the Talibs. Once that was done they wanted their SF "buddies" out of the way so they could do some looting, a little rape, and some revenge killing - you know, the way tribal wars have gone for centuries...

So, sorry, Jim, but your boys have become just the clothing-optional wing of the 75th Infantry. Not for nothing have the ranger battalions been thrown into the SOF blender. We're all just snuffies now, see? An Army of One, indeed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 1:25:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

Look I'll take 20 more SF Groups any day over one more F22 Squadrons or some other Piece of Shit Cold War Weapon system The Op Tempo of the The Groups and the Ranger Regiment is high as it is so the more S.O. Personnel the better....The Only thing that concerns me is that SOCOM maintain high standards...

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 2:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the special forces thing has become more of a marketing (to potential recruits) ploy than anything else.

SF was always more an Army trip; excepting the SEALs. The Corps never made the distinction because it has always considered itself, in its entirety, to be special and elite. Force Recon and FAST teams and maybe scout snipers and a few others were always veiwed, I suppose, as being "special" in a way, but they didn't have an official designation as such. In RVN there were CAP units. These were nothing more than detachments from regular infantry battalions with maybe an intel. officer or two in the mix (I believe).

But now the Marines have a growing special warfare command and they actively recruit with a pitch pertaining to the possibilty of joining these teams.
I think this is as much about keeping up with the Army as it is tactical.

Avedis

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 6:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen
Glad to hear from you.
We share common views but adding SF assets will not win an unwinnable war. In addition using SF assets as riflemen is not exactly sound military logic.
jim

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 10:39:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Avedis,
Be careful with your terminology.SOF and SF are not interchangeale words. Remember what I always say- I was SF before they added the O.
The SOF concept is a great argument for Purple Uniforms.
jim

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 10:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

FD Chief,
I worked for and knew several Jeds in my early days.
My understanding is that it was a spin off of the British SOE which heavily influenced it's direction and philosophy. The teams primary responsibility was providing log spt to include wpns/ammo but the key function was to insure that the Partisan forces operate in strict accordance with the Theater Army Cdrs manuever plan. It wouldn't do having partisans blowing up bridges that were needed to continue the theater attack scenario. The Soviets used the samre template for controlling partisaans in the eastern area of operations.
I don't believe the Jeds were there to actually lead but only to influence events.
jim

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 10:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, point taken. You're right, it's an important distinction.

Avedis

Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 6:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

'Ranger Hazen
Glad to hear from you.
We share common views but adding SF assets will not win an unwinnable war. In addition using SF assets as riflemen is not exactly sound military logic."
jim

I never said anything of the sort Jim...With or without SF Afghanistan is unwinnable unless we annex it as the 51st State in the Union... Wipe Everyone out... and Colonize It with Republicans...
My point was that highly trained troops have a higher R.O.I then the Billions wasted on Cold War Weapons systems like Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups...Let's also not forget that the reason the Rangers were reconstituted was to help spread professionalism and Esprit De Corps among the Regular Army after it basically collapsed after Vietnam...Back in the Day We were the only ones actually doing PT and training to fight on Fort Lewis The Legs morale sucked...Over a very short period of time as Ranger Junior N.C.O.s, Platoon Leaders, and Captains rotated out and into the 9th I.D. That changed...LOL
What good are boots on the ground without brains? Now you can spend your entire career in S.O. with I think is a huge mistake...It breeds a very dangerous form of elitism...mitigating and diluting the ideal of the "Citizen Soldier" for what I call "The Real Deal" club...We Hazen's have been citizen soldiers since Mose's Hazen formed his own Ranger Company with the blessing of Robert Rogers during the French and Indian War...At some point in a citizen's life.. one must turn one's sword into a plowshare... To nurture and grow the world they just tried to destroy... Not sit around with other "Real Deals" figuring out "high speed" ways to "fuck shit up."
Fighting Wars just for money and or prestige is a sure way to begin the destruction of any Democracy.

Friday, November 20, 2009 at 6:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
Sorry that I put words on screen that you did not utter.
My mistake. Won't happen again.
jim

Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 10:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
I believe the SOCOM/JSOC/SOF community was organised so West Pointers would have new career paths and additional opportunity for gaining stars.
Tell me really- what does a Ranger Bn do that a Airborne/Airmobile Bn can't do? Pls don't say Halo or Scuba b/cthose are not anything but eyewash.IMHO. As for SF there are indicators that they've devolved into mini Ranger units.
The 10th Mountain is operating as efficiently as the Regt or so it seems. Where's the beef?
jim

Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 10:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

"Ranger Hazen,
I believe the SOCOM/JSOC/SOF community was organised so West Pointers would have new career paths and additional opportunity for gaining stars.
'Tell me really- what does a Ranger Bn do that a Airborne/Airmobile Bn can't do? Pls don't say Halo or Scuba b/cthose are not anything but eyewash.IMHO. As for SF there are indicators that they've devolved into mini Ranger units.
The 10th Mountain is operating as efficiently as the Regt or so it seems. Where's the beef?"
jim

Jim as far as I can tell your observations are correct...I am now mostly out of touch (by choice mind you) with what is going on inside SOCOM There are still two sides to Army SF... Training and Direct Action...In Theory every ODA should be ginned up to do both...However... on the surface it might look like some SF folks are no different than my brothers at the Ranger Regiment and the Ranger Regiment may look no different than 10th Mountain or the 82nd....
Appearances can be deceiving is what I am being told by some pretty respectable folks...I wish I had more to say but frankly other than getting us out of both Iraq and Afghanistan and advocating bringing back the draft and downsizing our military "empire" to a more realistic force structure... I really don't have the time and I am not interested in nostalgia.

I will continue to read reply and support your blog though. :)

The Bodhisattva Way is my avocation now. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 1:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen
I roger your transmission and think i know what you are saying.
I like all the anti-war crowd get bogged down in small details when the whole point is-END THE SENSELESS WARS.
I stay away from the military and write only to illustrate the stupidity of the mind set that is perpetuating this goat screw.
I would be a better man if i walked away from it too, but I'm not that evolved.
jim

Monday, November 23, 2009 at 1:20:00 PM GMT-5  

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