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The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces

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From before there was even a United States, Special Operations was active on the continent. Then through the Revolution, to the Civil War, and into the 20th Century. There are the soldiers and units we base our current SOF upon.

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The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces

  1. 1. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces
  2. 2. Current U.S. Special Operations Forces have a unique lineage, dating back to before the founding of the country.
  3. 3. Rogers Rules of Rangering Major Robert Rogers in 1759 wrote Standing Orders, Rogers Rangers, from lessons learned in the first 3 years the Rangers were formed during the French and Indian Wars. More on those in another slideshare HERE.
  4. 4. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces Rogers petitioned the King to fund exploration to the West Coast, but was denied. Rogers actually fought for the Crown against the rebels during the Revolutionary War but many of his Rangers fought for the Colonies.
  5. 5. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces Francis Marion was a South Carolina farmer who took up arms against the British. He became known as the ‘Swamp Fox’. He was known for his hit and run tactics and willingness to break the ‘rules’ of war.
  6. 6. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces
  7. 7. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces During the Civil War, a Southerner, John Mosby, tied down large number of Union forces in western Virginia with his partisan tactics. Mosby was a lawyer who started the war as a private. He eventually raised a band of guerrilla fighters. His forces actually penetrated Washington DC’s defenses.
  8. 8. In 1863 with just 19 men Mosby captured General Stoughton. He almost captured General Grant on a train he was on.
  9. 9. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces Mosby’s irregulars so frustrated the Union, that General Custer executed six of his men that he captured. Mosby retaliated by shooting 7 of Custer’s men who were prisoners. A note was left on one of the bodies saying all captured would be treated as POWs as long as Custer followed suit. Irregular warfare tends to be brutal.
  10. 10. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces Mosby’s force showed one of the tenets of Special Operations: a small, highly trained unit, can tie down large numbers of enemy forces. As a child, George S. Patton met Mosby and listened to his stories.
  11. 11. The British Influence The British formed the SOE— Special Operations Executive and the SAS— Special Air Service. Forerunners of the OSS/CIA and Special Forces/Delta
  12. 12. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces The First Special Service Force was a joint US-Canadian unit. Their initial, highly classified mission, was to destroy German heavy water plants in Norway. When this was scrapped and they deployed to fight the Japanese in the Aleutians and then to Italy.
  13. 13. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces Other Special Forces units in World War II: Merrills Marauders. Darby’s Rangers. The Alamo Scouts.
  14. 14. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces However, the unit modern Special Forces looks back to as the true birth point was the OSS: the Office of Strategic Services.
  15. 15. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces Founded by ‘Wild Bill’ Donavan, the OSS was the American equivalent of the British SOE. Donavan is still the only person to have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross and the National Security Medal.
  16. 16. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces The OSS was organized to operate behind enemy lines in small groups and link up with Resistance units. In France these units were called Jedburgh Teams.
  17. 17. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces OSS Detachment 101 was organized in Burma. It recruited Kachin tribesmen into a force that killed over 10,000 Japanese troops while losing only 206. This is a copy of a novel I have written by a former member of Detachment 101.
  18. 18. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces An excellent book on covert operations during World War II is Bodyguard of Lies by John Cavet Brown.
  19. 19. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces After the brutal landing at Tarawa, the Navy saw the need for elite sailors who could perform hydrographic surveys and underwater demolition duties. The UDT— Underwater Demolition Teams— were formed. The forerunner of today’s Navy SEALs.
  20. 20. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces At the end of World War II, the OSS officially morphed into the CIA in 1947. In 1952, Colonel Aaron Banks, a former OSS operative, convinced the Army to form a unit called Special Forces. The first SF unit was 10 men, formed on Smoke Bomb Hill at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
  21. 21. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces The first SF unit with called the 10th Special Forces. Banks labeled it 10th to make the Soviets believe there were at least 9 other like it. It was the SF unit I was assigned to where I commanded an A- Team.
  22. 22. The Lineage of US Special Operations Forces My team, ODA 055, attending the Royal Danish Navy Fromandkorpset Combat Swim School.
  23. 23. Print Book Free downloadable Powerpoint slideshows on survival, history writing, and interesting information are available HERE
  24. 24. New York City. 1970s. Former Green Beret Will Kane is the lone wolf who must take down the bad wolves preying on the innocent.
  25. 25. New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point and former Green Beret. He’s had over 75 books published, including the #1 bestselling series Green Berets, Shadow Warriors, Time Patrol, Area 51, and Atlantis. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his wife and dogs. For free eBooks, audio, slideshows and more go to: www.bobmayer.com

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