- California and the Global War
- Company A, 5th Battalion, 19th
Special Forces Group (Airborne) in
- The following
articles originally appeared in the August 2003 is of The
Special Forces Group: A Breed Apart
- The California National Guard's Team A,
19th Special Forces Group, is playing a unique and vital role
in a terrorist-free world emerging from the rubble of 9/11.
- It is ensuring that a new government will
rise and survive from the ashes of the World Trade Towers and
the Pentagon. The 80 Green Berets of the 19th Special Forces
Group helped purge Afghanistan of terrorist influence and assisted
with training an army to sustain the new nation.
- The soldiers traded their civilian jobs
as policemen, firemen, paramedics, federal agents, and many other
walks of life to wear beards, civilian clothing, and even dress
in the local Afghan garb, to fight terrorist forces and help
build the military infrastructure necessary to maintain this
new found peace. Company A, 19th Special Forces Group is making
sure that it stays that way by helping build the Afghan Army.Currently,
Special Forces are the `Tip of the Spear' in the Global War against
Terrorism. The men of the California National Guard's Special
Forces are part of this force and are in the fight against al
Quaeda and Taliban forces located throughout Afghanistan and
hiding in the Pakistan Border Mountains waiting for opportunities
- The Special Forces' unique and unorthodox
methods-according to Army standards-make them a breed apart.
Many ride on horseback, on motorcycles, armored military vehicles,
old Russian vehicles, and even souped-up trucks patrolling areas
around U.S. Forces and Bases.
- The Primary Mission of the men of the
California Army National Guard's Special Forces is Foreign Internal
Defense. While some members protect the local Afghan Militia
Forces while they train in Unconventional Warfare, other members
of the company are assisting the local Afghan Militia Forces
with its regional security. The majority of the Special Forces
have been very busy standing up a new army for a new nation.
The Afghan National Army will be responsible for the security
of the young government, which is no small task in an historically
- Team As task is even more formidable because
of Afghanistan's numerous tribes and many languages. The teams
must communicate with all these groups in order to train them
in basic soldiering skills, unit tactics, planning, and operations.
The unit has learned to overcome this challenge and has found
creative ways to interact and deal with the daily tribal feuds,
inter-clan rivalries, family vendettas, and other related situations.
- Team A had to recruit mature Soldiers
who can operate at the grass roots level and who can communicate
the strategic significance of implementing U.S. Foreign Policy.
This maturity is critical in order for these Host Nation Forces
to maintain the peace and avoid international incidents. As they
develop and progress, they will live up to their nickname: "Diplomat
- The California National Guard Green Berets
cannot talk about all their missions. They are conducting a wide
array of operations in support of the U.S. mission to fight terrorism
and rebuild the Nation of Afghanistan. Some of these missions
are classified and cannot be disclosed, in order to protect the
soldiers and their families back home.
- The California National Guard's 19th Special
Forces Group realizes the special significance of its skills.
Using both their military skills and civilian experience, the
members are helping create a nation and a 9/11 legacy. Their
contributions are helping to make the world more free from terrorism,
while ensuring that those who perished on September 11th, 2001
did not die in vain.
Hell and Back
- By Major Stan
Headquarters, State Area Command
The 19th Special Forces Group, or the Green Berets, with teams
in Redwood City and Los Alamitos returned home in early June
after spending six months in
Afghanistan striking a major blow against global terrorism.
The heroic unit earned more than 40 Bronze Stars and sustained
two wounded in action casualties during their service. Its 85
members were divided into small teams and worked throughout the
entire country of Afghanistan. They trained and accompanied company
and battalion-sized Afghan units on several missions ranging
from surveillance and reconnaissance to combat engagements, according
to Sergeant First Class Kenneth Stearn, unit administrator for
the 19th Special Forces Group.
There were times when the only hot water they had came
from pots that they were cooking with on cook stoves, said
Stearn. But thats the kind of missions that the Special
Forces have been doing as long as they have been in existence.
These missions often required the Green Berets to operate in
rugged terrain, sometimes crawling into deep caves, or maneuvering
between steep, rocky cliffs. They were constantly exposed to
danger. Two of these warriors, Sergeant First Class Michael Lyons
and Sergeant First Class Christopher Martin, sustained wounds
on December 17, 2002 while on a mission in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan.
They had just finished
business in a busy marketplace and were leaving the area in a
Waza Russian jeep. After stopping at a congested
traffic stop, terrorists, armed with AK-47s and homemade hand
grenades, seized the opportunity to launch an attack on the soldiers.
The soldiers escaped with their lives but sustained wounds after
a hand grenade crashed through the vehicles windshield
and exploded. Lyons and Martin received purple hearts and a ticket
Their road home, however, ran through New York City where the
California National Guard soldiers joined special forces soldiers
from other units in appearances on numerous television shows.
Their New York tour also included a visit to ground zero,or
the site of the World Trade Center, where Americas War
on Terrorism began.