Just over a year after the U.S. Army’s Psychological Warfare Center officially activated its Special Operations Division in May 1952, the Green Berets received their first mission.
A handful of soldiers assigned to the newly minted 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) were deployed to Bad Tolz, Germany, in September 1953 as part of a “stay-behind” operation to push back against growing Soviet control over Western Europe. The soldiers organized guerrilla resistance fighters along German border, destroyed enemy infrastructure, and generally scared the bejesus out of Russian forces — and they did it all without public recognition.
It would take six more years before the American public finally met the soon-to-be-fabled Green Berets in the oddest way possible: the 30-minute mini-documentary “Phantom Fighters.” The film — produced by the Army Signal Corps and first broadcast on the Corps’ documentary program, “The Big Picture” — captures soldiers with the 10th SFG conducting field training exercises “in the vicinity” of Bad Tolz.
The Army video plainly states that the 10th SFG is ”trained to organize guerrilla resistance in enemy occupied territories,” but these soldiers do a little more than advising and assisting; in the 10th, a narrator explains, “a man's hand is as deadly a weapon as a rifle or hand grenade.” And while the Army mini-doc may seem a tad too cheerful, it’s a nice reminder of the gritty, hazard-filled origins of the Green Berets as they become increasingly entwined in combat operations around the world.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
A marble statue memorializing the founder of the U.S. Army Airborne was set on fire Thursday in North Carolina, and museum officials believe it happened because vandals confused it for a Confederate memorial, according to the Dunn Daily Record and other media outlets.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."
Airmen with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron pump water from a flooded common living area to an area with less impact on the local population, Dec. 13, 2009, in Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force/ Staff Sgt. Sharon Singer)