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This forward has been circulating on our internal email:

Subject: Fwd: A GI's interesting observations of some US SpecOps units his cavalry outfit worked with while in Iraq - NOT flattering to all!

Subject: A GI's interesting observations of some US SpecOps units his >>cavalry outfit worked with while in Iraq - NOT flattering to all!

Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 17:32:44 -0500

(From a Soldier of Fortune (SOF) magazine section titled "Command Guidance")

COMMAND GUIDANCE

Snuffy meets the SpecOps

Kenn Miller, author of Tiger the LRRP Dog, recently wrote us:

I spent most of yesterday with a sensible young E-4 Cav scout just back from

Iraq after a tour with 1/7th Cav, 1st Cav Division. It was very interesting

to hear him talk about his war and his Army -- which in many ways is very

different from what we knew, but in many ways very much the same.

His take on the U.S. special operations people he had contact with was very

interesting. At one time or another, his troop worked as transport and/or

blocking force for a SEAL Team, Delta, and 5th Group, and one platoon from his

troop spent a couple months or so on detached duty as transport and back-up

for an ODA. His entire squadron loathed the SEALs, who came in driving dark

(and conspicuously intimidating) vehicles that looked like something the crew

at Pimp My Ride had cust omized for Darth Vader. They were arrogant and

contemptuous of everyone who wasn't a SEAL, even to the point of cutting in lines in

the PX, and they were very trigger-happy. At one point they were working in

his squadron's sector in Baghdad, trying to sneak around in the city, and of

course someone saw them -- as someone is bound to do when a group of men is

making a big show of sneaking around in a city where people actually live.

When they realized they'd been seen and felt themselves compromised, they

opened fire 360.

This was a sector that 1/7 worked in regularly, and where they had very good

relations with the residents -- until the SEALs came along and acted like

Bob Kerrey's (D-Nebraska) squad allegedly did on that night recon that came to

light a few years back, overreacting when they discovered that their cloak of

invisibility wasn't working, and hosing every moving thing in sight.

It took lots of work, lots of Civic Action and perfect behavior to overcome

what the frogs had done. Delta was something else, he said. They wore

civilian clothes, some of them beards, some clean-shaven. They were slightly

aloof, but not out of any personal need to be superior, just because they could n't

talk in detail about what they were up to. They impressed the hell out of

the Cav scouts, and afterwards complimented them for keeping just enough

distance from them when they were operating, saying that too often conventional

troops tried to stay too close.

The regular SF, these Cav guys absolutely loved. This young E-4 said,

the Green Berets were incredibly competent and knowledgeable and very willing

to share what they knew. They lived very well and the platoon temporarily

co-located with them, lived like kings and were treated like brothers by these

Green Berets, and the Iraqis seemed to really trust them. Whenever one of the

Cav guys thanked them for anything, the SF guys would say something along

the lines of Nah, we don't really mean to be nice guys, it's just an act we're

putting on because we're very under-strength and over-tasked, and so we're

trying to recruit good men away from their units. Any of you guys want to

come to SF, you'll find out that we're all real ######. Obviously, this

left the Cav scouts feeling complimented, and not believing a word of it.

Just thought you might want to know what sort of impression your successors

are making on at least part of the regular army. The impression they left on

the 101st LRS [Long Range Surveillance] they spent some time with back at

Campbell last year was even deeper -- but then, the LRS guys knew 5th Group very

well and already liked them. But when 5th Group helped them do some work

with the Kurds... well, that was a recruiting ploy that worked so well a third

of the unit was in Selection or the Q course within two months of returning

from Iraq. That little taste of the side of the SF mission that SF didn't have

in common with the Ranger community (which roughly includes LRS) really

struck a chord with them.

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Very interesting. What are the distinct roles or tasks taken by these 3 services - SEALS, Delta and 5th SOG? There is very little written about the activities of special forces in Iraq, presumably for reasons of security. What kind of missions do Delta undertake, are they more stringent or made to be cognizant of operational security, even with regular army. Also, is this a fair or unfair generalization about the SEALS?

To an observer, the counter insurgency and development of Iraqi forces seems to be a disaster. Very few seem combat capable or have the will to fight the insurgents on their own, and little progress appears to be taking place. Does the special forces community have a different view on this? To me it looks a lot like Vietnamization and its subsequent failure. There must be a reason how a minority population group like the Sunni could keep the entire country under its thumb for so many years.

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It is difficult for me to say anything about the nature of SF operations there without running aground of OPSEC. SF is very self sufficient in the targeting process.

I have served allot of time on dive teams and love the frogman community. I have good friends in the SEALs. But at the same time they often demonstrate little to no capability for low visibility operations. They take the hammer rather than the rapier approach. There is a time and place for that. Just not Iraq nor most of the time. What is required is more of a scalpel precision. This is necessary to maintain what is becoming growing popular support for getting rid of these ######.

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you get looks, their in acu's, bellvilles, your in dcu's, or operational civvies, no unit patch, no rank, mission flag, oakley assualt boots, all the tools of the trade. not sure what the regular army thinks about us, its more laid back in some groups, rank doesnt mean a whole lot.

i dont know, if there were more regular army troops here, who have ran into more people in the SOF community besides us, i'd say poll it, but theres not. there are some arrogant, "i'm better than those legs" people out there. which is unfortunate.

read up on cag(its out there) to find out about their "missions", like Hatchet said, it is a violation of OPSEC to discuss missions, unless declassified, even then i think it would be uncomfortable to tell the "world" what type of operations these units conduct, because from there you can gather a lot of things.

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@HatchetForce

I'm curious. Back when I was younger (and dumber) I had the opportunity to work with in a very,very limited way with a few SEALs. I always got the impression that most were professional, along the lines of what one would expect in that profession, but on the other hand there was one that was an arrogant ######. No other way to put that either. Admittedly one out of the few I had any sort of dealings with is nothing to base an opinion on. My question though is, is that type of attitude limited, do you think, to just SEALs or is it something that plague's all spec ops groups in one form or another?

Stout Hearts

|RE|Warhawk

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@HatchetForce

I'm curious.  Back when I was younger (and dumber) I had the opportunity to work with in a very,very limited way with a few SEALs.  I always got the impression that most were professional, along the lines of what one would expect in that profession, but on the other hand there was one that was an arrogant ######.  No other way to put that either.  Admittedly one out of the few I had any sort of dealings with is nothing to base an opinion on.  My question though is, is that type of attitude limited, do you think, to just SEALs or is it something that plague's all spec ops groups in one form or another?

Stout Hearts

|RE|Warhawk

There are two things that drive drive the SEAL mentality in a different direction than the majority of SOF. One is the average operator age. They are young for SOF operators. Tadpoles. The second driving factor is the way they are instructed to act on the whole. Most SOF operators are lower key and not tending toward being high profile bulls in a china shop. It's the SEAL community's fault of being a victim of their own hype.

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Rangers are the only unit in the army with enlisted ranks, so needless to say there are arrogant people throughout SOCOM.

What do you mean by this exactly?

This is, believe it or not, an old problem everywhere. The SOF community, by nature, usually keeps a very low profile, especially when they work with regular army. Aside from the occasional arrogant idiots (there's a rotten fruit in every outfit), problem usually comes from the officers of those regular units.

SOF work their own way. Live their own way. Discipline themselves their own way. This is hard on regular army, who absolutely depends on formal discipline. Unlike most regular unit, where punishment are alot of times issued in the form of formal sanctions, unpleasant duites, or even physical, most of the time the only threat necessary to keep the SOF soldier in line is expulsion from the unit. That is why SOF soldiers maintain a very high degree of proficiency at all times. Remember, for instance in US Army SF, the Q course is only the beginning. Once you're in the groups and ODAs, you will be expected to continually prove yourself. Same goes here. The Selection is only the beginning. You want to stay in, you perform. Thus they are, in the eyes of regular army officers, 'undisciplined'. While in truth, they've taken personal discipline to a very high level.

Out.

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Ok, Hatchet commented on the operating age of SEALs.

my comment was on the age of Rangers. I myself am a Ranger, a unit under SOCOM, SOF.

the ranks e-1 to e-4(specialist) enlisted, are allowed in Regiment. In SF, CAG, SOAR, etc, they are not. you may be enlisted in training, but once training is complete, you become an NCO, officer, etc.

The age of the people in our unit has a lot to do with arrogance. I am 18 years old and in Regiment. I dont frown upon other units, though there are people i work with that do. I am not bashing my own unit here, not by any means, i am simply agreeing with Hatchet, age has a lot to do with it. i am very young and have no experience, this isnt somthing a unit like CAG or SF wants(which is why i dont understand why they have 18x program, but thats a difefrent discussion).

i dont know everything, but i am beginning to understand the structure of how SOF works.

and with the SF q-course, RIP, its only the begining, you continually improve yourself, better pt scores, more knowledge, only then will you be allowed to go to Ranger school.

Rangers are the only unit in SOCOM, in the US Army, with enlisted ranks. thank you connie.

trust me xG5kdo, personal discipline has been instilled in all of us.

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Came across all 3 types in Baghdad,fiercely competative,but all very proffesional,Army SOF tended to be more talkative when approached,NSW were like "Get the f..k outta ma space Limey!!"

That being said I became very friendly with some guys from TEAM 3,who were all asked to try for DEVGRU,all declined as it wasn't their scene.

The UKSF suffer the same stories guys,I've worked with ex Regiment blokes who were complete crap at the job,and their man management skills were pathetic!!

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Ok, Hatchet commented on the operating age of SEALs.

my comment was on the age of Rangers. I myself am a Ranger, a unit under SOCOM, SOF.

the ranks e-1 to e-4(specialist) enlisted, are allowed in Regiment. In SF, CAG, SOAR, etc, they are not. you may be enlisted in training, but once training is complete, you become an NCO, officer, etc.

The age of the people in our unit has a lot to do with arrogance. I am 18 years old and in Regiment. I dont frown upon other units, though there are people i work with that do. I am not bashing my own unit here, not by any means, i am simply agreeing with Hatchet, age has a lot to do with it. i am very young and have no experience, this isnt somthing a unit like CAG or SF wants(which is why i dont understand why they have 18x program, but thats a difefrent discussion).

i dont know everything, but i am beginning to understand the structure of how SOF works.

and with the SF q-course, RIP, its only the begining, you continually improve yourself, better pt scores, more knowledge, only then will you be allowed to go to Ranger school.

Rangers are the only unit in SOCOM, in the US Army, with enlisted ranks. thank you connie.

trust me xG5kdo, personal discipline has been instilled in all of us.

Well, Rangers are SOF so I guess personal discipline is paramount. I guess every unit in ARSOC and/or SOCOM in the US are that way. I was comparing SOF with regular units. Rangers are far from regular unit.

Out.

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We are accepting guys off the street into SF in what is known as the 18Xray program. I came in 'back in the day' when it was allowed and mangaged to gut my way through. Too dumb to quit. Finally SF decided they were wasting their money and started to only accept people that had reached the rank of E4. We began with 475 men in what was called PrePhase. We graduated 13. Not long after my class, SF ceased taking guys in off the street.

SF has now reinstituted this practice. It has it's good and bad points. First they make all of their mistakes in SF. That is bad as we would rather have them do it elsewhere. That may sound selfish but our price is usually higher when something goes wrong.

The good part is we bring them in and ruin them for the rest of the Army. They do not have to unlearn anything moronic.

We get good men from the unlikeliest of units. Not every guy that winds up being a great Team mate comes from an Airborne unit. They do go to Airborne school though and wind up being superb operators. The Rangers furnish us some great guys that are looking to go in a different direction. Hopefully in the not too distant future I can talk Marcinko into coming up to Bragg for a long walk in the woods... :devil:

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I read that Delta Force is the US primary anti-terrorist force. But they also do other stuff.

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, otherwise known as Delta Force, is the United States' first dedicated national intervention, counter revolutionary warfare and aggressive Special Operations unit.
Edited by Arms
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I read that Delta Force is the US primary anti-terrorist force. But they also do other stuff.

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, otherwise known as Delta Force, is the United States' first dedicated national intervention, counter revolutionary warfare and aggressive Special Operations unit.

The 1st-SOFD-Delta is a highly triand force, but act lazzy, they'll put two bullets in your head in a second. i think they are the best room clearing force in the army

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I can tell I'm going to really have to read, and re-read, and edit and re-edit this post several times before hitting the submit button, but I think it's time that this thread get's a little "feet wet" so to speak.

I spent 11 long, hard years of my life as a USN SEAL (Team 5, SDG A Squad) doing counter-terror and counter-narc work on just about every continent this planet has to offer, and I'm going to make a few points here that you can either rip, or accept.. makes no difference to me. Not a matter of me feeling "better" or "more competitive".. anyone who's ever strapped up know's of the long standing "Army-Navy" feud. I call it a feud lightly, as it's more a matter of chest thumping and beer pounding most of the time..lol

Point One: The Navy SEALS are the ONLY program (at least as far as 2000 goes) that recruited 18yo's off the street (you can DEP into the program before you even get your first issue of uniforms in bootcamp) that I'm aware of. The Army's 18x program was, in my opinion, an attempt to "replenish the ranks" with newer minds and more moldable SOF operators. The issue with this always has been, and always will be, that you give an 18yo YOUNGSTER the training, the ability, and the insignia, it WILL go to his head. I know from experience, since I was 18 when I got my budweiser. I was 19 when 2 old leathernecks from Force Recon showed me that just an insignia is NOT a definition for being a "bad azz" by giving me enough lumps and contusions that I spent 2 days in sick bay. After release by the doc, I went and found these 2 gentleman in question, and bought them a beer. It was the first step to realizing that SOF, in general, needs more mature operators to be effective, efficient, and seen as "professional" in the eyes of the general military population.

Point Two: Navy SEALS are taught one strict mantra, and they hold it true with EVERYONE they encounter - If anyone finds out the objective of you mission, or your past mission, that mission is a FAILURE.

SEALS are trained that failure is NOT an option, no matter what.. so we tend to keep a bit tight lipped about things we do, or are doing, or have done. Some people take that as a "better than thou" attitude, even when the SEAL in question is NOT meaning to present it that way.

Point Three: A SEALS true mission, no matter what the objective at the time, is always, and I mean ALWAYS, multi-faceted. Infiltrations, Extractions, Primary and Secondary objectives... all of these, and many other factors are always planned, replanned, and pored over by your senior Operators (Senior as in service time, not Rank) until every little quirk is worked out, every contingency planned for, every angle covered. The problem with this is when you introduce NON-SOF commanders into the field that wish to manage their SOF teams in-field. Every SOF commander I have EVER met will follow the factor of thinking an objective thru over and over again.. until it's worked out. A NON-SOF Commander will NOT, and will see any SOF unit as a "surgical" unit, instead of a fluid tactical one. At least that has been my experience, and often a reason why as a Team Leader, I went "off grid" more times than I stayed on it. SEALS also carry the destinction that it's not necessarily the Senior RANKING member that is the Team Leader, but often the team member with Proven Combat Skills/Experience, as well as proven leadership experience. I have met PLENTY of Non-Experienced Officers (in every SOF unit, including SEALS) that where the Team Leaders, and most of them luckily had really Sierra Hotel NCO's helping them on a daily basis.

Point Four: And to me, this is the BIG ONE... no matter the unit, no matter the operation, no matter the situation...

EVERYONE COMES HOME.. Full Stop.. End Story

I've done operations before with CRT/SEAL teams.. working with some of the finest SOF operators from EVERY branch of the US Military.. and I have to say, to a few of those guys, I will STILL buy their drinks if we run into each other again, because they've saved my skin (and my teams) on more than one occassion. Working with them, I have seen something that very few people in the Military ever get to see.. Professionalism that goes BEYOND BRANCH.. Rangers, Delta's, SEALS, RECON, INTEL, and EOD (All branches) working side by side to bring our SOF troopers home.. just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye.

The main issue with the soldiers view I have from his original post is his take on SEALS as a community. To view the entire whole of TEAMS as "braggarts" and "trigger happy" is about the biggest crock of crap I've EVER HEARD in my life. As previously mentioned here, there's always "one bad apple in the bunch", and it would appear this soldier met that bad apple, and ONLY that bad apple. The biggest issue I have with SEALS as a community is their normal lack of experience PRIOR to being involved with an SOF unit who's missions, scope, and situations vary from operation to operation. I have always believed that SEALS should be more like DELTA's in the fact that you have to have "prior, sustained, SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE" before being accepted into the program. Granted, I didn't go that route myself, but I'm sure it would have kept a few pieces of my anatomy where they belonged when I first deployed to Desert Shield/Storm, as the mistakes that got me injured where, without a doubt, rookie and amateur at best.

@ Hatchet and Marcinko:

Do your jobs guys.. do your best.. and come home safely... First Rounds on me.. I'll even make the trip to Bragg for it if necessary.

Fortes Fortuna Juvat

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