(1) The blurb about "a Silver Star for gallantry, the military's third highest award," isn't it the 2nd?
(2) For someone to go mano-au-mano with an adversary and survive is a real big deal to me, I don't believe the reporter truly understands the gravity of the matter, she kind of gives the impression of "no big deal."
By Heather Nauertwww.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,109518,00.html
Average Green Beret is more brainy than brawny
If you?ve never met a Green Beret, you probably assume that they?re like
Sylvester Stallone in the movie ?Rambo,? soldiers who can eliminate their enemy
with nothing else but a paperclip. While there may be some element of truth to
that, as I found, the average Green Beret is, in fact, more brainy than brawny.
This quickly became apparent when I met a group of them while on assignment
overseas. One minute they spoke to me in English, the next they turned away and
carried on a conversation in Ukrainian. I was immediately curious about who
these guys were, what their jobs were like and what kind of training they
endured to become a Green Beret.
"Some of the locals working with them at Anaconda had just days before fought
for the Taliban...Imagine fighting a war never really knowing for sure who was
your enemy and who was your ally... "
I knew that the physical training was rigorous, but I didn?t realize that they
were required to learn so much about the culture of the countries they cover.
They could discern between the Iraqi dialect of Arabic and the Egyptian dialect
and then follow up with a history lesson of tribal strife dating to the western
colonization of the Middle East. They were hardly the Rambo guys I expected.
When I heard that this group of soldiers had been sent to Afghanistan less than
two weeks after 9/11, (the actual bombing campaign began weeks later) and had
stayed there nine months, only to return home for a short time before being sent
to Iraq, I knew I had to tell their story.
Months after meeting them, I went to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, home to the 5th
Special Forces Group, the 101st Airborne and 160th Special Operations Airborne
Regiment, portrayed in the movie ?Black Hawk Down.? After some convincing, they
finally agreed to let me tell their story.
Ft. Campbell is home to hundreds of Green Berets and many were given the chance
to participate in our story. The vast majority of them were not interested in
taking part. As we walked around their base with our camera, it was not uncommon
for soldiers to insist that their faces be kept out of our shots. Many were
concerned about security. As one bluntly put it, ?I don?t want my face to be on
Al Qaeda?s deck of cards.? Other soldiers were, in fact, too shy to be
interviewed. Because each man on a team contributes to a mission, few soldiers
are willing to make themselves the center of attention in an interview.
Fortunately, a dozen or so volunteered to tell their stories on camera. I was
struck by how humble they were about their work. In fact, it took some
convincing to get them to even realize that their stories are pretty amazing.
They told stories about working with Afghans to stop the flow of weapons and
terrorists coming across the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan at Operation
Anaconda. Some of the locals working with them at Anaconda had just days before
fought for the Taliban. Of course, the soldiers had to be on the lookout in case
one of their newfound friends betrayed them. At night, some Americans stood
guard watching for the enemy and keeping a skeptical eye on their new allies
while their comrades slept. Imagine fighting a war never really knowing for sure
who was your enemy and who was your ally. The Green Berets actually seemed to
think nothing of fighting under these conditions. It takes a lot to faze these
Master Sergeant Tony Prior experienced something that none of us will ever have
to ? he went one-on-one with Al Qaeda terrorists. His team and one other
conducted a raid on a house filled with Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. Tony
and the other soldiers came under intense automatic weapons fire. Soon the teams
were forced to fight the enemy hand to hand. One enemy fighter was so close to
Tony that he could smell the man?s breath. Tony single handedly eliminated four
men despite being hampered by an injury to his arm. The two teams eliminated two-dozen
enemy fighters, and Tony and his men made it out without a single casualty. In
true Green Beret form, Tony brushes off the notion that he performed valiantly
saying, ?It wasn?t a heroic act, it was second nature. I won and I moved forward.?
Tony was awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for gallantry, the military's
third highest award. Months later, Tony and the other teams were back home
leading a very different life.
When they?re not deployed, they?re at Ft. Campbell training and going to classes.
Life there seems pretty quiet except for the occasional helicopter and military
plane flying overhead. When our crew ? myself, producer Jonathan and cameraman
Adam ? first arrived, we got together with some of the guys we would later
interview, meeting them for a beer. Even though they all knew one another, the
guys huddled with members of their own team. They say that since they?re
deployed with one another for months at a time they become ?like brothers.?
We arranged to meet some of them the next morning for combatives training, an
extreme wrestling used if they to come face to face with the enemy. They laughed
when I told them I?d take part, which made me nervous; I hoped I wouldn?t get
hurt. The next day we showed up and a dozen guys were scrambling around on mats
flipping each other. First Sergeant Johnson taught me a few moves and paired me
up with a soldier about my size. After a few minutes I was flipping Specialist
Richardson. The exercise proved that by using your body?s leverage, not your
strength, anyone can successfully take on the enemy. Of course, I later flipped
my producer Jonathan throwing him over my back. That was the best part.
We watched them train for raids and other situations in which exact marksmanship
is essential. At Ft. Campbell there are acres and acres of shooting ranges, each
one used for different weapons and types of training. The ranges were constantly
busy as we watched them stage mock raids day and night in the freezing December
weather. They use real guns filled with paint pellets called simunitions. If the
guys are smacked with a pellet, it?s pretty painful. They had me put on a flak
jacket, a helmet and safety glasses to guard against stray rounds. I couldn?t
believe how heavy the flak jacket was and how hard it was to maneuver in it. It
was clear how seriously they take their training.
-- continued --
In all, we spent about a week with the Green Beret?s of 5th Group. Before long,
they?ll be heading back to Iraq, something they?ve been preparing for. I look
forward to filing additional reports about their continued work in support of
the war on terror.
Heather Nauert is a New York-based correspondent for FNC whose in-depth reports
are featured on "The Big Story,"airing weekdays at 5 pm ET. She has a master's
degree in Journalism from Columbia University.
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The main task of the Special Forces was (and I guess, still is, as evidenced in Afghanistan) to recruit and train insurgents, and gather intelligence. When they are deployed, they know that they're going deep into the enemy's interior. To be successful, they, probably more than any other MOS, need VERY intelligent people who can "think on their feet". Since they are also used as the morst forward element a lot, designating targets for air strikes and such, they also need to be able to carry out their mission undetected, which also requires more brains than anything else.
Since they know that once the shooting starts, they're pretty much on their own, they are also capable of combat actions FAR in excess of their numbers.
Globally, they couldn't print enough money to get me to fuck with the SF.
The only SF guy I have really talked to was about five foot seven and one hundred forty pounds. He was also retired, about sixty five years old, and I still wouldn't fuck with him.
most of the sf types I meet regardless of what service they are in are bookish soft spoken types who keep qualifications/abilities quiet. While americans come in all shapes and sizes most look more like a wall street accountant than rambo or a muscle head