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    Among the guerrillas: NC Green Berets give local cadets a tactical advantage

    Among the guerrillas: NC Green Berets give local cadets a tactical advantage

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Mary Junell | Two North Carolina National Guard soldiers assigned to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 20th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Lindley Bess 

    382nd Public Affairs Detachment

    ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. – U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers – known as the nation’s quiet professionals who wear the coveted green beret – are elite warriors, specially selected and trained because of their quick-thinking and mental toughness as much as their physical strength and tactical expertise. Among several unique missions and responsibilities, these men make up the only force within the Department of Defense who perform unconventional warfare missions – enabling and preparing resistance movements – across the globe.

    Green berets are equipped with the skills and tools to shoot, move and communicate alongside a variety of partners in any type of environment. Each soldier learns one out of more than a dozen languages, is qualified as an expert in small-unit tactics, and has opportunities to attend advanced training in combat diving, military free-fall and advanced mountaineering operations. As a 12-man team – the baseline Special Forces unit known as an operational detachment-alpha or ODA – teammates combine their specialized training as weapons, engineering, medical, communications or intelligence experts to create one unit with a lot of skills and resources within a small footprint.

    On a rainy first weekend in August, in the muddy forests of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., these two ODAs ran through an unconventional warfare training scenario while leading an even more unconventional guerrilla force: U.S. Army ROTC cadets from N.C. State University’s Wolfpack Battalion.

    The soldiers from B Company, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) – a unit part of the North Carolina National Guard and based out of Roanoke Rapids – led a select group of seven cadets through fields and forests on a three-day exercise capping almost one year of mentorship with the group of future officers.

    This partnership began in October 2012 when B Company’s Capt. Matt Ratnesar recruited some of the Wolfpack’s cadets to operate as the guerrilla force for a unit training operation, aptly named “Operation Jump Street.” These cadets experienced the full extent of this operation which began with planning and rehearsals and culminated in traveling to a remote location via UH-60 Black Hawks, using land navigation techniques to maneuver through wooded terrain, breaching two objectives and rescuing a role-playing hostage from some role-playing bad guys.

    “This operation gives us the experience and the knowledge of employing some of these tactics and see things written on paper, then actually implement it in real time,” said Cadet George Sendelbach from the Wolfpack Battalion. “We got to see the planning phase, the train-up phase, and the culmination” over a course of four training periods.

    For the cadets, this training goes beyond the perimeters of what they ordinarily get to learn. But for the Special Forces soldiers, this was practice for primary mission as instructors and partners to foreign forces. While the majority of the nation’s Special Forces units serve on active-duty, the North Carolina National Guard is home to two separate Special Forces companies, each of which fill their drill-weekend and annual two-week training events with exercises to sharpen their skills in order to be a ready, reliable, responsive and relevant military force for the nation and the state of North Carolina.

    Operation Jump Street operated in an unconventional warfare setting “where we go into a denied environment where there is a partisan or guerrilla force, link up with them and train them to make them more capable to someday overthrow a hostile government,” explained Maj. Rick Trimble, the B Company commander who oversaw the training.

    Another side of the U.S. Army Special Forces mission is the conduct of foreign internal defense, where a host government requests the Special Forces to come in to help raise the capability of its own forces.

    “What foreign internal defense and unconventional warfare have in common is that there is a partner force involved; a non-U.S. force that is at a certain skill level that we are going to try and make better,” Trimble said.

    For the Special Forces soldiers, this culmination began the night of Aug. 2 with ODA 2324 conducting a military free-fall and ODA 2325 conducting airborne static-line jumps in order to “infiltrate” the mock foreign country in the forests of northern North Carolina and southern Virginia. From there, the soldiers continued their infiltration by boat, after acknowledging that if the units had more than three days to complete the training, they would have taken the time to live in the country, identify target sites, further build trust and understanding with their partner guerilla force and send reports up to their higher headquarters.

    As the mission continued into the guerrilla force’s tactical movements and actions on their objectives, the cadets within the guerrilla force got some hands-on experience rehearsing important tactical skills, including basic squad- and platoon-level combat and close-quarter battle operations as well as first aid, enemy prisoner-of-war searches and advanced intelligence techniques like target exploitation.

    An additional core mission for North Carolina National Guard Special Forces units is that of providing defense support to civil authorities in times of need or crisis such as a natural disaster or civil disturbance. And while Operation Jump Street focused on core Special Forces missions that can only be conducted in foreign environments, the ODAs’ soldiers said any training event is an opportunity to sharpen their team’s movement and communication skills.

    The cadets – who cannot be considered to join the Army’s Special Forces Regiment until they’ve served a few years as lieutenants in another Army branch – also gained some valuable experience that will help them succeed in any military position.

    “If we’re working with ROTC cadets, we’re going to train them in small-unit tactics, land navigation, things that they need to know to be successful as cadets to earn their commission,” Trimble said.

    “It’s building a good relationship between [the Special Forces and N.C. State ROTC] because the cadets get the opportunity to come out here and learn from the best in the Army,” Sendelbach said.



    Date Taken: 08.04.2013
    Date Posted: 08.12.2013 15:39
    Story ID: 111832
    Location: ROANOKE RAPIDS, NC, US 

    Web Views: 686
    Downloads: 1