Ohio Special Forces unit holds annual celebration

Ohio National Guard UPAR

Ohio Special Forces unit holds annual celebration

By Sgt. 1st Class Chadd A. Kuhn

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), conducted its annual Winter “Fete” Jan. 9, 2010, with friends, Family and invited guests from within and outside of the Ohio Army National Guard at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus. Soldiers dressed in Class A or Dress Blue uniforms and enjoyed dinner and dancing to a live band. Coaches Jim Tressel and Bob Tucker from The Ohio State University football program, attended as keynote speakers at this year’s event.
Each year, one of the evening’s key events is the “Punch Bowl Ceremony” which has become a Company B tradition. The ceremony consists of the reading of the Special Forces Creed, but after the initial stanza is read, the lowest ranking members of the unit stand up and read a part of our Special Forces history spanning from the colonial days to present. After they read their paragraph, they pour a beverage into the punch bowl. The paragraphs highlight the history of key Special Forces engagements as well as unit history.  After the history is read, the creed is finished and everyone in attendance is invited to drink from the punch bowl. 
B Company Soldiers take exceptional pride in their unit and place great emphasis on knowing and passing down unit history. Today’s unit members have also taken great pride in creating that history as they added another paragraph with its recent deployment to Afghanistan.

The Special Forces Creed
I am an American Special Forces Soldier!
I will do all that my nation requires of me.
I am a volunteer, knowing well the hazards of my profession.
I serve with the memory of those who have gone before me:
I pledge to uphold the honor and integrity of their legacy
in all that I am - in all that I do.

I am a warrior.
I will teach and fight whenever and wherever my nation requires.
I will strive always to excel in every art and artifice of war.

I know that I will be called upon to perform tasks in isolation,
far from familiar faces and voices.
With the help and guidance of my faith,
I will conquer my fears and succeed.

I will keep my mind and body clean, alert and strong.

I will maintain my arms and equipment in
an immaculate state befitting a Special Forces Soldier,
for this is my debt to those who depend upon me.

I will not fail those with whom I serve.
I will not bring shame upon myself or Special Forces.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I will never surrender though I am the last.
If I am taken, I pray that I have the strength to defy my enemy.

I am a member of my Nation's chosen Soldiery,
I serve quietly, not seeking recognition or accolades.
My goal is to succeed in my mission - and live to succeed again.

Rogers Rangers
Rogers' Rangers became famous for their engagement with the Abenaki St. Francis Indians, who lived midway between Montreal and Quebec. The Abenaki tribe was blamed with the deaths of more than 600 colonists during the French & Indian War. After the Indians attacked a retreating British unit under a flag of truce, Maj. Robert Rogers led a hand-picked force of 200 Rangers to destroy the Indian's village.

Francis Marion aka “The Swamp Fox”
The greatest American irregular leader in the American Revolution was Francis Marion, aka “The Swamp Fox.”  Incredibly daring, he terrorized the entire British Army in the Carolinas, striking with incredible surprise and swiftness, then vanishing ghost-like into the swamps to evade his pursuers. 

Mosby’s Rangers aka The Gray Ghost 
Officially designated the 43d Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, Mosby's Rangers was a partisan ranger unit operating in Northern Virginia from the winter of early 1863 until the end of the War Between the States. During that 28-month span, the Rangers became the most effective and feared partisan command in the Confederate Army.

First Special Service Forces aka “The Devil's Brigade”
The mission was fraught with danger. It demanded endurance and great skill in the handling and control of small rubber boats, paddled ashore in the dark and in very cold water. The mission required exceptional stealth and silence to achieve surprise, followed by the likelihood of a fierce, close-in battle against a tough enemy that initially outnumbered the raiding force. In addition, the weather was harsh and the terrain difficult. In short, this was a mission perfectly suited the Americans and Canadians who made the First Special Service Force famous during World War II.

Ranger Battalions of World War II
The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions participated in D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, Normandy, on June 6, 1944.  It was during the bitter fighting along these beaches that the Rangers earned their official motto. As the situation became critical on Omaha Beach, Brig. Gen. Norman D. Cota, assistant division commander of the 29th Infantry Division, announced that the entire assault force must clear the beaches and advance inland. He turned to Lt. Col. Max F. Schneider, commanding the 5th Ranger Battalion, and said "Rangers, lead the way!"  The 5th Ranger Battalion spearheaded a breakthrough the German defenses that enabled the Allies to drive inland from the invasion beaches.

Airborne Ranger Companies of the Korean War
The 1st Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) departed Ft. Benning, Georgia, on 15 Nov. 1950 and arrived in Korea on 17 Dec. 1950, where it was immediately attached to the 2nd Infantry Division. It was soon followed by the 2nd and 4th Ranger Companies, who arrived on Dec. 29. The 2nd Ranger Company was attached to the 7th Infantry Division. The 4th Ranger Company served both Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, and the 1st Cavalry Division. Throughout the winter of 1950 and the spring of 1951, the Rangers battled Communist forces of North Korea and China. They became warrior nomads, attached first to one regiment and then another. The Rangers performed "out-front" work: scouting, patrolling, raids, ambushes, spearheading assaults and counterattacking to regain lost positions.

US Army Special Forces in Vietnam
On Sept. 21, 1961, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, was activated at Fort Bragg, N.C.  The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) would eventually be charged with conducting all Special Forces operations in Vietnam. It was the fall of 1961, early in U.S. involvement in French Indochina, when President John F. Kennedy began to display particular interest in U.S. Army Special Forces. Based upon his conviction that Special Forces had great potential as a counterinsurgency force, he became a powerful advocate for developing Special Forces capabilities within the Army.   When President Kennedy visited the U.S. Army Institute for Military Assistance in the fall of 1961, he observed the troopers of Brig. Gen. William Yarborough wearing the distinctive Green Beret (which was contrary to U.S. Army and Fort Bragg uniform regulations).  President Kennedy was so impressed by the paratroopers’ demonstration that he issued his presidential authorization for Special Forces troops to wear the distinctive headgear that became the symbol of U.S. Army Special Forces … the Green Beret.

Desert Shield/Desert Storm
A Special Forces “A- team” worked with a Saudi engineer battalion to plan for clearing invasion lanes through two Iraqi minefields and over an above-ground pipeline inside Kuwait. On 22 Feb., 1991, the Saudi engineers and U.S. Special Forces easily cleared six lanes because the Iraqis, battered for over a month by allied air power, failed to cover the minefields with artillery fire. In the north, other Special Forces teams worked with the Saudis and Egyptians to create breaches in minefields for the passage of coalition forces assembled to oust The Republican Guards of Saddam Hussain from Kuwait.   On 25 Feb., Egyptian forces drove into Kuwait against sporadic resistance. The Egyptian corps supported by Special Forces “A-teams” of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) served as the hinge for U.S. Central Command’s huge turning movement in the western desert. By the night of 26 Feb., Egyptian units and their Special Forces advisors reached their tactical objectives near Kuwait City.

Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti
In May 1995, units of 2d Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) were mobilized to reinforce 3d Battalion, 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne) for peacekeeping operations in Haiti.  Co B deployed with six Special Forces ODAs (Operational Detachment A) to Fort Bragg, N.C., and then to Haiti. 
Operation Joint Guardian/Joint Forge, Kosovo /Bosnia
In Bosnia and Kosovo, unconventional warfare elements of 10th Special Forces Group advised NATO coalition forces and provided liaison control elements to Task Force Falcon and Task Force Eagle. After hostilities ended between various ethnic factions, 10th Special Forces Group and conventional NATO elements maintained the peace and facilitated and supported reconstruction and reconciliation. ODA’s from A Company, B Company, C Company and Detachment 1 mobilized and deployed to Kosovo between 2000 and 2002.  There they augmented 2d and 3d Battalions of the 10th Special Forces Group, providing valuable experience and civilian skills to the peace building effort.  In Dec 2002, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) assumed the Special Operations Command and Control Element mission at Camp Bondsteel where they were subsequently replaced by Company A, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group.

Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan
U.S. Central Command responded to the terrorist attacks on the United States by toppling the Taliban regime and Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. U.S. Special Forces troops of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Ft. Campbell, Ky., deployed to Uzbekistan to mount cross-border operations to coordinate activities between local guerrilla fighters and U.S. air power. Typically, guerrilla fighters would engage enemy soldiers and tanks causing them to move, after which U.S. Air Force tactical air control personnel directed devastating fire from above.  2d Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) mobilized and deployed to Uzbekistan to establish a forward operating base supporting operations in Afghanistan. During this deployment, two 19th Special Forces Group Soldiers were killed in action – Staff Sgt. Gene Arden Vance from the West Virginia Army National Guard and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Romero of the Colorado Army National Guard.

Operation Desert Sprints, Kuwait
In June 2002, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) mobilized and deployed to Kuwait in support of U.S. Central Command Operation Desert Springs. After relieving Company A, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Camp Doha, Special Forces Operational Detachment B 950 took on the Advanced Operational Base (AOB) mission subordinate to the Special Operations Command and Control Element to Coalition Forces Land Component Command. Five Special Forces ODA’s conducted foreign internal defense, liaison and control element and unilateral training missions prior to the build up of U.S. Forces for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In October 2002, Company A, 1st Battalion 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) relieved AOB 950 and subsequently led coalition forces north from Kuwait to Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq
2d Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was mobilized in October 2005 and conducted pre-mission training with 10th Special Forces Group in Colorado and Wyoming.  In January 2006, 2d Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in support of Forward Operating Base 102 under the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula. For seven months the citizen-Soldiers of National Guard Special Forces trained, advised and assisted their Iraqi counterparts. They conducted numerous missions and raids leading to the successful capture and detention of terrorists and insurgents. On 8 June 2006, our unit lost a Soldier, friend and brother, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel B. Crabtree.