10th Special Forces Group to be honored at 2017 Rally

SF-DOL-270The United States Spercial Forces motto “De Oppresso Liber” translates to “FREE THE OPPRESSED”.

The 10th SFG was activated on June 19,1952 at Fort Bragg, N.C., with Col. Aaron Bank in command.

The first class of the Special Forces Course graduated in 1952 and the Group grew to an aggregate strength of 1,700 personnel over the next year. In September 1953, following intensive individual and team training, 782 members of the Group, deployed to Germany and established Group headquarters at Lengries in Bavaria. An additional 99 personnel deployed to Korea where they were assigned to the 8240th Army Unit which was training anti-Communist North Korean partisans (called the United Nations Partisan Forces Korea) on the off-shore islands.

The group’s mission was to conduct partisan warfare behind enemy lines in the event of a Soviet invasion of Europe. The 10th Special Forces Group originally attracted many former members of the OSS, Rangers and Airborne units from World War II as well as many foreign nationals.

The Green Beret was authorized for wear at Bad Tölz by the Group commander, Col. William Ekman, on 17 November 1955, and its usage became group policy. Every soldier in the unit wore a green beret as part of the uniform. The Department of the Army (DA) did not recognize the beret as official headgear, and only after President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Fort Bragg in October 1961 was the wear of the Green Beret authorized. President Kennedy, a major champion of the Special Forces, issued a Presidential Directive recognizing the Green Beret as the “Symbol of Excellence” and the official headgear of Special Forces.

The 10th SFG was recognized publicly for the first time in 1955 when the New York Times published two articles about the unit, describing them as a “liberation” force designed to fight behind enemy lines. Pictures showed soldiers of the Group wearing their berets, with their faces blacked out to conceal their identities.

In the summer of 1960, a few 10th Group members deployed to the newly independent Democratic Republic of the Congo. Amidst revolutionary turmoil, the men rescued endangered Americans and Europeans and moved them to Leopoldville, where a larger evacuation was led by Belgian paratroopers. The group evacuated 239 civilians in only nine days without suffering a single casualty.

As the United States became increasingly involved in Vietnam, counter-insurgency warfare became the primary focus of the Special Forces, rather than the traditional unconventional warfare. While the 10th SFG never deployed to Vietnam as a unit, many soldiers and officers did rotate into the country and participated in Special Forces operations.

The 10th SFG was the leading force behind the development of the M25 sniper rifle in the late 1980s, at Fort Devens.

On 2 September 1994, the 2nd Battalion, 10th SFG moved from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to Fort Carson, Colorado, followed by 3rd Battalion on 20 July 1995. The group headquarters moved to Fort Carson on 15 September 1995, ending a twenty-seven year presence in Massachusetts.

10th SFG has deployed numerous times in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF), principally to Iraq, since the start of the War on Terrorism.

SF-70010th SFG along with officers of the CIA’s Special Activities Division linked up and were the first to enter Iraq prior to the invasion. They organized the Kurdish Peshmerga to attack and defeat the Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist organization allied with al-Qaida. This battle was fought in critical terrain controlled by Ansar al-Islam in northeastern Iraq. Kurdish forces and their 10th SFG advisors soundly defeated the terrorists and uncovered a chemical weapons production plant at Sargat, the only facility of its type discovered in the Iraq war. Three Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars for Valor were awarded in this engagement.

10th Special Forces soldiers are currently conducting operations and training missions in Europe, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan. These soldiers continue the legacy of professionalism, honor, and elite capabilities that is the hallmark of the 10th Special Forces Group. From 10th SF Command: “The 10th SFG(Airborne) has a long, proud history that dates back to 1952. We maintain high standards in physical fitness, training, daily performance, and personal appearance. As such, you are expected to arrive highly-motivated and physically fit. We are a nation at war; this unit is an extremely active participant in that struggle. To succeed, we need the total dedication of every member of this unit. Let us thank you in advance for your service to our nation and you total commitment to this unit.”

A bronze plaque memorializing the fallen from the 10th SFG will be dedicated on the Veterans Memorial in Cripple Creek’s City Park at noon on Saturday during the 30th annual Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at this year’s rally. Everyone is invited to attend.


Last Updated on Friday, 28 July 2017 14:52