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Home > SOF > SOF History Timeline

SOF History Timeline

A chronological timeline of historical events relating to special operations.

Yearly Event Anniversaries

Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


15 January 1946. SOE dissolved by Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

15 January 1951. The Army established the Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare (OCPW) as a special staff division under the Deputy Chief of Staff and supervisory control of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, headed by Brigadier General Robert A. McClure.

22 January 1946. President Truman directs establishment of Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of CIA.

24 January 1964. MACV-SOG Established. On January 24, 1964 the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group was established. It was a highly classified, multi-service U.S. special operations unit that conducted operations during the Vietnam War in Indochina. It conducted reconnaissance missions, capture of enemy soldiers, rescued downed pilots, and rescued POWs throughout Southeast Asia. Individuals assigned to MACV-SOF came primarily from U.S. Army Special Forces. However members of the U.S. Navy SEALs, Air Force, Marine Corps, and CIA were present in the organization as well.


25 January 1974. On this date General Creighton Abrams directed the activation of the first battalion-sized Ranger unit since World War II. HQ U.S. Army Forces Command issued General Orders 127 directing the activation of the 1st Ranger Battalion 75th Infantry with the effective date of January 31, 1974. The battalion was to be an elite, light, and very proficient infantry unit.

30 January 1945. Over 500 prisoners of war were rescued at the Cabanatuan prisoner of war camp during WWII in the Philippines by a combined force of 6th Ranger Battalion, Alamo Scouts, and Philippine guerrillas.

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2 - On February 2, 2023, the 193rd Special Operations Wing received its first MC-130J Commando II. This signal the wing's transition to a new aircraft and a new mission.

6 - Battle of Lang Vei

16 - On February 16, 1945, members of the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) dropped onto Corregidor in an effort to recapture the island from the Japanese. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Corregidor_(1945)

21 - On February 21, 2008, Robin Moore, the author of The Green Berets, died. He attended the Special Forces Qualification Course and would later deploy to South Vietnam where he spent time with the 5th Special Forces Group.

24 - On February 23, 1991, SOFDA 525 was inserted by helicopter at night and moved to a hide site to conduct a recon mission deep behind enemy lines in Iraq. On the next morning, the 24th, this 5th SFG(A) team would find itself fighting for survival against an overwhelming enemy force.

24 - On February 24, 2006, the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) was officially activated at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

24 - On February 24, 1944, Merrill's Marauders began a campaign in northern Burma. The mission of the 5307th Composite Unit (provisional) was to disrupt Japanese supply and communications lines.

26 - On February 26, 1945, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (PRCT) secured the island fortress of Corregidor after two weeks of fighting. The 503rd had parachuted onto the island on February 16th. It was assisted by the 34th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 24th Infantry Division that made a seaborne assault, as well as other smaller units.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Corregidor_(1945)

27 - On February 27, 1944, a five-man team from the OSS parachuted into Malo Ticevo, Yugoslavia to establish a weather station. Operation Bunghole consisted of members of the OSS and USAAF specialists. Yugoslavia was occupied by the Germans at the time. https://codenames.info/operation/bunghole-ii/

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1 - On March 1, 1961, the 11th Forces Forces Group was activated. It was a part of the U.S. Army Reserse and had units based in Eastern United States from Florida to Massachusetts and inland. It was deactivated in 1995 and some members were rolled into the 19th and 20th SFG(A)s.

3 - On March 3, 1943 the Morale Operations Branch of the OSS was formed. It utilized psychological warfare to sap morale, induce confusion, and sow distrust within the populations of Axis countries and within the ranks of their armed forces.

3 - On March 3, 1971, the 5th Special Forces Group departed South Vietnam. The Green Berets were withdrawn as part of the U.S. troop reductions in Vietnam.

3 - On March 3, 2023, COL (Ret.) Paris Davis (Special Forces) recieved the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House for his actions in Vietnam in June 1965. Although wounded, he refused medical evacuation to remain on the battlefield and rescue fellow soldiers.

4 – March 4, 2002 was a deadly day for American troops on a mountaintop in Afghanistan. Several men lost their lives. Two earned the nation’s highest honor – the Medal of Honor. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Britt Slabinski and Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman.

5 - On March 5, 1966, Barry Sadler's "The Ballad of the Green Berets" made #1 on the music charts, a hit song by favored by music fans at the heiight of the Vietnam War.

9-12 - During March 9-12, 1966, the A Sahu Valley Special Forces camp was attacked by a large North Vietnamese force. One Green Beret, Bennie Adkins, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the four-day fight.

16 - On March 16, 1967, Operation Bright Light was initiated. During the Vietnam War when a down pilot, Hatchet Force, or Recon Team was in trouble a MACV-SOG Brightlight team was formed and inserted into the fight to find, locate, assist, and exfiltrate the entity in trouble.

19 - On March 19, 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) began. Special operations forces played a big role in the invasion of Iraq. JSOTF-W conducted CTBM in the West and UW in the South. Elements of the 10th SFG(A) linked up with Kurdish forces in northern Iraq.

19 - On March 19, 2003, attack helicopters of the 160th SOAR struck Iraqi targets along the southern and western borders. The MH-60 "Black Hawk" Direct Action Penetrators (DAPs) and AH-6M "Killer Egg" attack helicopters eliminated over 70 Iraqi observations posts, crippling the enemy's ability to effectively gauge the size and scope of the incoming ground assault.

21 - On March 21, 1967, SFC Charles Hosking Jr., U.S. Army Special Forces, lost his life after he took the blast of a hand grenade to save the lives of his fellow Americans and members of the Vietnamese CIDG Reaction Force. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

24 - On March 24, 1961, the 12th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was activated.

25 - On 25 March 2011, the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (Airborne) was provisionally activated as a new HQs under USASOC to provide the Commanding General with an element that serves both as a command and staff entity to advocate aviation issues for USASOC. It was created out of the need to separate the combat role of Army Special Operations Aviation (ARSOA) from the resourcing responsibilities.

29 - On March 29, 1911. The United States Army adopted the M1911. This is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States military for over 75 years, from 1911 to 1986.

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April 1938 – SIS (MI6) creates Section D.

1 - The fight for Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom began in the beginning of April 2003. An Army University Press film describes the battle for the capital city.
"Objective: Baghdad", August 14, 2020, YouTube, 50 minutes.

12 April 1963: The 8th Special Forces Group was established at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone. The primary mission of the Group was counterinsurgency training for the armies of Latin America. https://www.specialforceshistory.info/groups/8sfga.html

9 – 1987. On this day the Special Forces Branch was established. While the first Special Forces unit was formed on June 11, 1952, the official branch was not established until 35 years later.

13 April 1991. Operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq begins.

13 April 1987. President Reagan approved the establishment of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

14 April 1965. The Joint Chiefs of Staff order the deployment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Okinawa to South Vietnam. They were the first major conventional U.S. Army ground combat unit committed to the war. After six years of continuous combat, paratroopers of the 173d suffered 1,744 KIA's and 9,027 WIA's. They had 13 MoH recipients, the most of any conventional unit (per capita) of the war, second only the 5th SFG who had 16.

21 April 1989. Col James N. “Nick” Rowe was assassinated in the Manila, Philippines. He was an American prisoner of war that escaped captivity during the Vietnam War after being held for five years. He helped establish the US Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training program at Fort Bragg. He was killed by a unit of the New People’s Army in the Philippines.

24 – Operation Eagle Claw

25 – ANZAC Day

28 April 1965. U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic.

30 – Operation NIMROD

30 April 1972 – MACV-SOG Disbanded.

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May 1940. British Security Coordination office established in New York.

May 5, 1941. First successful SOE infiltration into France; George Begue sets up circuit and meets follow-on agents.

17 May 1944. Battle of Myitkyina Begins. In the spring of 1944 the Allies were on the offensive in the liberation of Burma. The 5307th Composite Unit, a reinforced U.S. Army regiment known as “Merrills Marauders”, had circled and began attacking Myitkyina. The Japanese defenders were caught completely by surprise. While GALAHAD’s 3d BN feinted toward the north, the 1st Bn seized the Irrawaddy ferry terminal at Pamati on the right, a Chinese regiment overran the airstrip and probed toward Myitkyina itself, but was repulsed.

19 May 2002. 50 Green Berets, from the 10th Group, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, land at Tbilisi, Georgia, a former Soviet republic. The SF Soldiers trained 2,000 elite Georgian troops as part of a counterterrorism effort that sent thousands of allied and partner nation troops to Afghanistan.

20 May 1960. The 7th Special Forces Group was activated. It was reorganized from the 77th Special Forces Group.

29 May 1997. “On this day in U.S. Army SF history, 29 May 1997, Green Berets pave the way for U.S. marines and the evac of thousands of civilians in Operation Noble Obelisk.

In April 1997, ODA 334 (3rd SFG) deployed to Freetown, Sierra Leone, for Joint Combined Exchange Training. Their mission was to train and promote a professional, apolitical military, one supportive of the elected government. On 25 May 1997, rebel forces and military members toppled the government. Once shooting erupted at their training site, U.S. Green Berets manned security positions inside their compound, communicated with SOCEUR and EUCOM, and established intermittent contact with the military.

The next day, the detachment moved to Freetown, 20 miles away. The SF Soldiers had to pass through two rebel roadblocks and near an army post, but the rapport with their former trainees enabled the Americans to proceed to the safety of the Embassy.

In Freetown, the detachment commander divided his team to secure the two Embassy compounds, and team members performed advance force operations, including reconnoitering the helicopter landing zone on the coast. They also defused a tense situation during a meeting of senior ambassadors and rebel forces at the British High Commission residence. All of these activities required movement through a town riven by looting and indiscriminate gunfire.

On 29 May, team members conducted an early morning patrol through rebel-held areas to secure the landing zone for the marines from the 22nd MEU. They established sniper positions, security and coordinated with the Nigerians before the marine helicopters arrived. The next day, the NEO began, and after escorting official U.S. personnel to the landing zone, SF Soldiers served as a buffer by establishing two blocking positions between the U.S. marines and the marauding rebels. They succeeded in turning back rebel forces to reach the landing zone. The NEO evacuations ran from 30 May through 03 June, and a total of 2509 people (including 454 U.S.) were evacuated.” https://sof.news/history/operation-noble-obelisk/

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June 1, 1983. The US Army Institute for Military Assistance was renamed the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

June 4, 1944. Jedburgh teams jump into France to link up with French resistance. Lucien was one of them.

June 6, 1944. D-day.

On this day in U.S. SOF history.......07 June 2006: Special Operations Forces, commanded by Lt. Gen. Stan McChrystal, led the hunt ending in the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Zarqawi (Aḥmad Faḍīl an-Nazāl al-Ḫalāyla), was a Jordanian jihadist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan. He became known after going to Iraq and being responsible for a series of bombings, beheadings, and attacks during the Iraq War, reportedly "turning an insurgency against US troops" in Iraq "into a Shia-Sunni civil war". He was sometimes known as "Shaykh of the slaughterers". MUD

June 13, 1942. OSS replaces COI, placed under JCS.

June 14 – the Army’s birthday

On this day in U.S. Army SF history, 17 June 1983, The Department of the Army authorized a Special Forces tab for wear by qualified soldiers. The tab bore the same colors as those used for Special Forces Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. The Special Forces Tab is one of four permanent individual skill/marksmanship tabs authorized for wear by the U.S. Army.” https://www.soc.mil/USASFC/Sleeve.html

June 22, 1955. “On this date in U.S. Army SF history (according to some sources)....22 June 1955 – The first authorized appearance of the Green Beret took place. Another more detailed description from Richard Hayse is provided below:

"The Green Beret was originally designed in 1953 by SF Major Herbert Brucker, a veteran of the OSS. Later that year, First Lieutenant Roger Pezelle adopted it as the unofficial headgear for his A-team, Operational Detachment FA32. They wore it whenever they went to the field for prolonged exercises. Soon it spread throughout all of SF, although the Army refused to authorize its official use. Finally, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy planned to visit Fort Bragg. He sent word to the Special Warfare Center commander, Brigadier General William P. Yarborough, for all SF Soldiers to wear their berets for the event. President Kennedy felt that since they had a special mission, SF should have something to set them apart from the rest. Even before the presidential request, however, the Department of the Army had acquiesced and teletyped a message to the center authorizing the beret as a part of the SF uniform.

When President Kennedy came to Fort Bragg Oct. 12, 1961, General Yarborough wore his Green Beret to greet the commander-in-chief. The president remarked, “Those are nice. How do you like the Green Beret?” General Yarborough replied, “They’re fine, Sir. We’ve wanted them a long time.”

A message from President Kennedy to General Yarborough later that day stated, “My congratulations to you personally for your part in the presentation today … The challenge of this old but new form of operations is a real one, and I know that you and the members of your command will carry on for us and the free world in a manner that is both worthy and inspiring. I am sure that the Green Beret will be a mark of distinction in the trying times ahead.”

In an April 1962 White House memorandum for the U.S. Army, President Kennedy showed his continued support for SF, calling the Green Beret “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”


June 27 – PTSD Awareness Day.

June 28 2005 – Operation Red Wings.

June 29, 1990. On this day the 3rd Special Forces Group (A) was reactivated to cover Special Forces operations in EUCOM’s African region.

June 30, 1972. 8th SFG (A) redesignated as the 3rd Bn 7th Special Forces Group, Panama.

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July 1940. General Headquarters Auxiliary Units created for UK Home Defence.

July 4 – Independence Day, Rescue at Entebbe

July 4 1968 - On this day in U.S. history.....04 July 1968: “The Green Berets,” a film loosely based on a book by Robin Moore, was released starring John Wayne as a colonel in Vietnam and David Janssen as a newspaper correspondent who questioned the war’s wisdom. Much of the film was shot in the summer of 1967 (before the Tet Offensive).

Thematically, The Green Berets is strongly anti-communist and pro-Saigon. It was released at the height of American involvement in the Vietnam War, the same year as the Tet offensive against the largest cities in South Vietnam. John Wayne, concerned by the anti-war atmosphere in the United States, wanted to make this film to present the pro-military position. He requested and obtained full military cooperation and materiel from President Johnson. To please the Pentagon, who were attempting to prosecute Robin Moore for revealing classified information, Wayne bought Moore out for $35,000 and 5% of undefined profits of the film. The film was a critical failure, but succeeded financially. ---Mud

July 8, 1961. The 20th Special Forces Group (A) was activated in Birmingham, Alabama.

July 9, 1941. First Special Service Force officially activated.

July 9, 1961. “Teams of Green Berets began organizing and training tribesmen in the Central Highlands of Vietnam into the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG).

The CIDG program was devised by the CIA in early 1961 to counter expanding Viet Cong influence in South Vietnam's Central Highlands. Beginning in the village of Buon Enao, small A Teams from the U.S. Army Special Forces moved into villages and set up Area Development Centers. Focusing on local defense and civic action, the Special Forces teams did the majority of the training.

Another unit, Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs), fell under the Phoenix Program and was set up later. The PRUs became probably the most controversial element of Phoenix. They were special paramilitary forces that were originally developed in 1964 by the government of South Vietnam and the CIA. Initially, they were known as Counter-Terror Teams.

Eventually numbering over 4,000 and operating in all of South Vietnam's 44 provinces, the PRUs were commanded by US military officers and senior NCOs until November 1969, after which they were transitioned to CIA advisers. ---Mud”

July 11, 1941. Creation of COI.

July 20, 1942. First Special Service Force officially activated.

July 22, 1940. SOE Charter approved, formed from Section D, MI(R), and EH.

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August 6, 1756. On this day General Howe authorized Robert Rogers to raise a battalion of Rangers for service with the British Army.

August 6, 2011. A U.S. Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down by the Taliban resulting in 38 deaths (30 Americans and 8 Afghans). There were no survivors. Of the U.S. fatalities were Navy SEALs who were part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). Five U.S. Army helicopter crewmen also perished. One U.S. military working dog also died in the crash.

August 10, 1944. Lt. John “Jack” Singlaub parachuted behind German lines (Jedburgh teams) to work with the French Resistance fighters or Maquis groups that had swelled the resistance ranks after the D-Day invasion.

August 22. USASOC Facebook Post. August 22, 2020 marks the 65th anniversary of the Department of the Army approving the Special Forces (SF) Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI). The SSI, or ‘unit patch,’ with the arrowhead shape and three lightning flashes, was designed by Captain John W. Frye, 77th SF Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The arrowhead shape honored Native Americans and was similar to the SSI worn by the WWII Canadian-American First Special Service Force, the lineage unit of SF. The SSI’s dagger represents the unconventional nature of SF operations, and the three lightning flashes, the ability to strike by air, water or land. In November 1958, the airborne tab was added to the SSI. The SF SSI remains a highly recognizable symbol of SF history and lineage. For more information on the history of SF insignia please visit: http://spr.ly/6184GmmCM

August 23, 1968. On this day in U.S. Army SF history.......23 August 1968: Worst Day in Special Forces history. A large force hit a MAC-V SOG FOB and mission launch site on Marble Mountain in Da Nang. The attacking NVA numbered at least 100 and were armed with AKs, grenades, satchel charges, and RPG-2 launchers (or B-40s as they were called in Vietnam).

Most of the attacking NVA died in the three-hour attack, but they killed over two dozen Americans and over 40 Montagnards who manned the Recon Teams or the Hatchet Force alongside Americans.

The best accounting of the attack to date is in the book On The Ground: The Secret War in Vietnam by John S. “Tilt” Meyer, himself a SOG veteran. The fact of August 23rd is that SF was small in 1968. Some of the killed were first-term troops; others had been around a very long time, like Secor and Norris. But almost every man in SF personally knew someone who’d bought it beneath Marble Mountain.

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17 Sep 1969. On September 17, 1969, Melvin Morris, a Green Beret that was part of the IV Mobile Strike Force, was in a fierce firefight. His heroic actions that day in Vietnam would be recognized years later when he received the Medal of Honor.

20 September 1945. Executive Order 9621 abolishes the OSS.

21 September 1961. The 5th SFG(A) activated at Ft. Bragg.

23 September 1961. On this day Special Forces Operational Detachment – Korea was formed. “Det-K” began with a series of TDY assignments from 1st SFG(A) in Okinawa. By November 1961 they became “FA 40th Detachment”, under the operational control of the Korea Military Assistance Group. It was redesignated on 16 October 2005 as the 39th Special forces Operational Detachment (Airborne).

On Sept. 24, 1943, the 7th Amphibious Force Special Service Unit #1, a top-secret scout unit in the Pacific made up of American and Australian military and natives from Papua New Guinea and other Pacific islands, began the reconnaissance of Cape Gloucester.

Inserting themselves from a PT boat, a small element of nine men paddled ashore and concealed their rubber boat in a small inlet. They remained on the island for 11 days during which they avoided the Japanese and pinpointed enemy guns that were later eliminated by U.S. bombers.

Started in July 1943, the 7th Amphibious Scouts trained in jungle survival, unarmed combat, reconnaissance, and shoreline sketching.

(source: USSOCOM Facebook, Sep 23, 2020)

On this day in U.S. Army SF history........25 Sep 1961 –Department of the Army Message 578636, designated the Green Beret as the official and exclusive headgear of the Army Special Forces.

During World War II, US Army Special Forces (SOF) personnel wore a variety of headgear during their operations as members of special operations units. Those who served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Europe often adopted whatever headgear their French or Belgian Resistance compatriots wore. This was often a beret, since many of the OSS teams served in France. The beret, worn in a variety of styles and colors, showed even up on OSS personnel in the Far East. Many of the first members of the US Army 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), formed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in June 1952, were veterans of the OSS. Berets of various types and colors began being worn unofficially as early as 1954 on the unit's field exercises in Germany and at Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall, North Carolina. The color green was favored because it was reminiscent of the World War II British Commando-type beret that had been adopted by the Commandos on 24 October 1942. After testing in 1955, the 77th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg specified, still unofficially, that its soldiers wear a beret of Canadian Army design in rifle green. Special Forces personnel in Europe in the 10th Special Forces Group (A) simultaneously adopted a green beret, even wearing it publicly with the Army class A uniform, despite the lack of official approval. Special Forces troopers first wore the green beret publicly at Fort Bragg during a retirement parade in 1955. In 1957, however, the Fort Bragg post commander banned the wearing of the beret. This ban was reversed on 25 September 1961 by DA Message 578636, which authorized the green beret as the official Army headgear to be worn by Special Forces. The first official wearing of the newly authorized green beret was at a Special Forces demonstration staged for President John F. Kennedy at Fort Bragg on 12 October 1961. President Kennedy was instrumental in the approval by DA of the green beret for US Special Forces. Currently, all Special Forces-qualified soldiers wear the green beret with the authorized flash of their Special Forces Group.

September 26, 1972. GSG 9 of the German Federal Police was founded.

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1 October 2012. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) activated at Fort Bragg.

3 October 1993 – Operation Gothic Serpent, Battle of Mogadishu

4 October 2017. Four soldiers of 3rd SFGA die in ambush in Niger.

7 October 2001 – The U.S. involvement in the Afghan conflict began on this date, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

9 October 1967. Che Guevara executed in Bolivia. 8th SFGA trained the counter-guerrila force that tracked down Che's small guerrilla group.

10 October 1951. On this day in U.S. Army history . . . The Ranger Course was conceived during the Korean War and was known as Ranger Training Command. “The Ranger Training Command was inactivated on this day in 1951 and became the Ranger Department, a branch of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga. Its purpose was, and still is, to develop combat skills of selected officers and enlisted men by requiring them to perform effectively as small unit leaders in a realistic tactical environment, under mental and physical stress approaching that found in actual combat.”

12 October 1961. Brigadier General William P. Yarborough, as commander of the Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, NC, met with President Kennedy to visit Fort Bragg. The meeting resulted in increased funding for Special Forces and the authorization of the Green Beret for wear as the official headgear of Special Forces. The President further showed his unfailing support for Special Forces in publishing an official White House Memorandum to the US Army dated April 11, 1962, which stated in part that “The Green Beret is again becoming a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom."

12 October 1966. 46th Special Forces Company activated in Thailand.

15 October 1984. On this day 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group was activated on Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan, under the command of Lt. Col. James L. Estep. 1st SFG(A) had previously been stations on the island from 1957 until being inactivated in 1974 as part of an Army reduction in Special Forces strength.

15 October 2017. Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and IRGC proxies attack the Kurdish city of Kirkuk.

16 October 2006. The Psychological Operations branch was established on this day.

16 October 1981. 160th Special Operations Air Regiment is established.

16 October 1991. 2nd Battalion, 3rd SFGA is activated with HQs company, 2 SF companies, and a forward support company.

18 October 1965. SF Captain Larry Thorne is killed in Vietnam.

19 October 2001. Two SF detachments infiltrate into northern Afghanistan to link up with the Northern Alliance. First two U.S. Army teams inserted into Afghanistan to work with Northern Alliance Forces, ODA 555 (5th Special Forces Group). These are the first American military "boots on the ground," after the 9/11 attacks.

The first of several SF elements infiltrated Afghanistan. Eleven members of ODA 555, onboard MH-47 Chinook helicopters, arrived late in the evening at the Astaneh camp in Panjshir Valley and received their initial briefing. Within a few days, ODA 555 would link up with NA’s General Bismullah near Bagram. That same night, the 12 men of ODA 595 infiltrated the Darya Suf Valley on MH-47s to join General Dostum’s forces in Dehi, some 60 miles south of Mazar-e Sharif. Not long after the team split into two sections, one accompanying Dostum to his headquarters, the other remaining at Dehi. Mud”


19 October 1994.

“On this day in U.S. Army SF history.......19 Oct 1994 – Honorary Special Forces LTC Martha "Maggie" Raye died.

During the Vietnam War, she was made an honorary Green Beret because she visited United States Army Special Forces in Vietnam, and she helped out when things got bad in Special Forces A-Camps. Because of those actions, she came to be known affectionately by the Green Berets as "Colonel Maggie." She continued her relationship with the Green Berets for the rest of her life. She built a guest house for Green Berets on the grounds of her home in Los Angeles and made many trips to Fort Bragg and other Special Forces Posts throughout her life. In 1988, the Special Forces Association Convention held in Fayetteville, NC carried the theme of "Honoring COL Maggie".

Maggie died of pneumonia on October 19, 1994, after a long history of cardiovascular disease. Martha Raye was 78 years of age, and residing in Los Angeles at the time of her death.

On November 2, 1993, Martha Raye was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Bill Clinton, for her service to her country.

The patriotism she showed in her tours during World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam Conflict earned her the nickname "Colonel Maggie."

Because of her work with the USO during World War II and subsequent wars, special consideration was given to bury her in Arlington National Cemetery upon her death. At her request, she was ultimately buried with full military honors in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Martha has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

One for motion pictures and one for television.

Credit: http://www.war-veterans.org/Maggie.htm . Mud”


19 October 1965.

“On this day in U.S. Army SF history......19 Oct 1965 – ODA A217, 5th Special Forces Group (A) fought in the Battle of Plei Me, Vietnam. The Siege of Plei Me (Vietnamese: Bao vây Plei Me) (19–25 October 1965) was the beginning phase of the first major confrontation between soldiers of the communist North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) and the U.S. army during the Vietnam War. The lifting of the siege by South Vietnamese forces and American air power was followed by the pursuit of the retreating North Vietnamese from 28 October until 12 November, setting the stage for the Battle of Ia Drang. Plei Me was an isolated U.S. Army Special Forces and Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) camp in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam defended mostly by Montagnard tribesmen. ---Mud”

19 October 2001. “3rd Ranger Battalion conduct an airborne operation in Afghanistan to seize Objective Rhino; part of a highly publicized U.S. effort to show that the United States could put boots on the ground anywhere in the world whenever it wanted. A slick video montage of the operation was created by an Army PSYOPS team that was broadcast on news networks across the world, depicting grainy footage of 119 Rangers loading on and exiting military aircraft onto an obscure desert objective. It has become known as the “first American boots on the ground” in the War in Afghanistan, although other American forces were already in-country at the time.” (SOFREP).

26 October 2020. US Navy SEALs rescued Philip Walton, a US citizen living in Niger who was kidnapped.

29 October 1963. On this day Captain James “Nick” Rowe was captured by the Viet Cong. He was a Special Forces officer and one of only 34 American prisoners of war to escape captivity during the Vietnam War. He would later help establish the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program taught to high-risk military personnel.

29 October 1963. Green Beret Captain Humbert R. Versace is captured by the Viet Cong. He was held as a prisoner of war until September 26, 1965 in the Republic of Vietnam – the day of his death while in captivity. He was serving as a S-2 Advisor while assigned to the Military Assistance Advisory Group. In 2002 he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush for his actions during captivity.

31 October 2020. U.S. special operations forces rescued an American held hostage by armed gunmen in Northern Nigeria. Philip Walton, age 27, had been kidnapped in Niger several days earlier. He was a Christian missionary who worked in Niger. No military personnel were injured during the operation. Several of the gunmen were killed. The rescue is credited to Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU).

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8 November 1962. HQ US Army Special Forces Command – Vietnam established.

13 November 2001. Kabul falls to the Northern Alliance. Green Berets would enter the city the next day. The Northern Alliance were also advised and assisted by other SOF elements such as the 49th Public Affairs Detachment (ABN) out of Bragg, Psychological Operations, and 1st Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment out of Ft. Drum, NY. The initial operation name was Operation Stronghold Freedom and these U.S. service members made up the Joint Special Operations Task Force-North (JSOTF-N).

November 21, 1970. Operation Ivory Coast was conducted on 21 November 1970, a joint operation led by Air Force General LeRoy J. Manor and Army Colonel Arthur D. “Bull” Simons who infiltrated 56 U.S. Army Special Forces Soldiers by helicopter at the Sơn Tây prisoner-of-war camp, located 23 miles (37 km) west of Hanoi, North Vietnam.
The objective was to rescue 61 American prisoners of war assessed to be at the camp. Unfortunately, the prisoners were moved to another camp shortly before the mission. However, the message of love and commitment to recovering American prisoners of war was profound.

24 November 1963. Camp Hiep Hoa, Republic of South Vietnam, was overrun by the Viet Cong. It was the first CIDG camp to be overrun during the Vietnam War. SF Soldier, Isaac Camacho, one of four missing Americans, later became the first American to escape from a Vietcong POW Camp. In the battle, an estimated 500 Viet Cong fighters took the Hiep Hoa Special Forces Camp, resulting in four American personnel MIA. South Vietnamese commando units and the American Green Berets resisted but were overwhelmed.

28 November 1943. Alamo Scouts Activated. On this day the U.S. 6th Army Alamo Scouts were activated in New Guinea. The 6th Army Special Reconnaissance Unit was in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. The unit is known for its role in liberating American prisoners of war (POWs) from the Japanese Cabanatuan POW camp near Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines in January 1945. A movie called the Great Raid was produced about this action.

28 November 1970. First combat HALO jump, CCN, MACV-SOG. On the night of 28th of November 1970, through the black skies of Laos a C-130 blackbird flew at 17,000 ft. On the ramp stood SFC Cliff Newman of MACV SOG Reconnaissance Team Florida waiting for the signal from his jumpmaster, MSG Frank Norbury, a dedicated HALO pioneer, who got out of bed battling malaria to be a part of this mission. With a green light from the pilot and a signal from his jumpmaster, Cliff Newman shuffled to the edge of the ramp and leaped into the darkness becoming the first soldier in military history to make a combat HALO Insertion. Both men, Newman and Norbury, also left their marks playing vital roles in the 10th SFG(A)'s early HALO program in the late 60's.

(Trained by Billy Waugh, CCN Recon Team Florida was made up of Team leader, or One- Zero, SFC Melvin Hill, SFC Sammy Hernandez, SSG Cliff Newman, two Montagnards and an ARVN Army officer). (Special Operations Association, Facebook post, Nov 28, 2020.)

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December 1941. First successful OSS infiltration into Europe (Corsica).

5 December 1944. The combined U.S.-Canadian First Special Service Force (FSSF) paraded one final time at their Villeneuve-Loubert camp, near the town of Menton, in southeastern France on December 5, 1944. The 1st Special Forces Regiment and all U.S. Army SF groups trace their “official” lineage to the FSSF. Commemoration of Menton Day is an occasion when U.S. SF honors its lineal connection to the FSSF.

December 6, 1941. Camp X (STS 103) opens in Canada.

December 7, 1941. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.

20 December 1989. On this date in Ranger History: December 20, 1989: The entire 75th Ranger Regiment participated in Operation Just Cause (Panama). Rangers spearheaded the action by conducting two important operations. Simultaneous parachute assaults were conducted onto Torrijos/Tocumen International Airport, Rio Hato Airfield and General Manuel Noriega's beach house, to neutralize Panamanian Defense Forces. The Rangers captured 1,014 Enemy Prisoners of War, and more than 18,000 arms of various types.


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