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Special Forces Berlin
by James Stejskal



10th Special Forces Group

Home > Groups > 10th SFGA

10th Special Forces Group

The 10th Special Forces Group is the oldest SF group, formed on June 19, 1952 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Colonel Aaron Bank was in command.

Basing. In September 1953, following individual and team training, 782 members of 10th SFGA deployed to Germany. They were transported on the USNS General A.W. Greely in Wilmington,N.C for the transatlantic voyage to Bremerhaven, Germany. At Bremerhaven they boarded a train and traveled to Bad Tolz. in Bavaria. This was the training site for the SS candidate school during World War II.

The remaining individuals of 10th SFG(A) remained at Fort Bragg to form up the 77th Special Forces Group (later to be renamed the 7th Special Forces Group in 1960). In 1968, the majority of 10th SFGA redeployed to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. 1st Bn remained at Bad Tolz, Germany - later to move to Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1994 and 1995 10th SFGA moved from Fort Devens to Fort Carson, Colorado.

Regional Focus. Over the long course of history 10th SFGA has had many changes in its regional focus. One over-riding regional specialization has always been Europe. But time has seen 10th SFGA engaged in training events, conflicts or engagements in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia.

10th SFGA in Europe

Cold War. During the 1950s until the end of the Cold War the 10th SFGA's mission was to conduct partisan warfare behind enemy lines in the event of a Soviet bloc invasion of western Europe.

Lodge Act. This provision of law afforded the opportunity for members of eastern European countries to join the U.S. military. Special Forces attacted many of these individuals and they were a great benefit to 10th SFGA. The Lodge Act Soldiers knew the lanuage, culture, terrain, geography, cities, and history of the target countries of the Soviet bloc. One example of a member of U.S. Special Forces who was a Lodge Act recruit was Major Larry Thorne - a former Finnish Army soldier who fought against the Russians in 1938-1939.

Det A - Berlin. From 1956 to 1984 a small detachment of SF Soldiers were stationed in Berlin with the Berlin Brigade. They were a covert unit made up primarily of personnel from 10th Special Forces. Learn more about Det A Berlin.

Flint Kaserne - Bad Toelz, Germany. 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group was based at Flint Kaserne in a a small town in Bavaria, Germany. The area is known for its spas, quaint downtown, and views of the Alps. The mission of the SF battalion was to conduct partisan warfare in areas held by Soviet bloc forces in the event of a Soviet invasion of western Europe.

Panzer Kaserne - Boeblingen, Germany. In July 1991, the 1st Battalion relocated to the Stuttgart, Germany region.

Flintlock Exercise. For many years 10th SFGA conducted the annual Flintlock Exercise to train its operational detachments and staff in its many missions - UW, SR, DA, etc. The usual methodology was deploying from the U.S. to England to set up a Special Forces Operations Base (SFOB). The teams would receive their mission, isolate, and then infiltrate into the exercise area (Germany, Norway, and other European countries). In addition, more exotic mission training events took place - such as using the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System to exfiltrate individuals or important equipment or documents.

Bosnia. In December 1995 10th SFGA led the 1st Armored Division into Bosnia. In 2001 some of the first combat operations of the Global War on Terror was conducted by 10th SFGA in Bosnia.

Kosovo. 10th SFGA was one of the first military units engaged in the Kosovo conflict in 1999; conducting combat operations against KLW insurgents in 2001.

SOCEUR. 10th SFGA works very closely with the Special Operations Command Europe conducting Jont Combined Exchange Training (JCET), Foreign Internal Defense (FID), and other operations throughout Europe.

10th SFGA in the Middle East

Iran. In 1962 a 10th SFGA team conducted a mountaintop operation in Iran to recover equipment and the bodies of American service personnel killed in an airplane crash.

Jordan. In the 1960s a B detachment of 10th SFGA established Jordan's first airborne school.

Yemen. In 1963 a 10th SFGA company trained 350 officers and NCOs of a guerrilla force fighting the socialist government in Yemen.

In other training engagements 10th SFGA trained Iranian Special Forces, Kurds (in Iran), and Turkish Special Forces.

Vietnam. 10th SFGA (as did all the SF groups during the 1960s) provided SF Soldiers for deployment to Vietnam. Very rarely did an SF Soldier whose career spanned from 1960 to 1980 not serve in Vietnam. Many served as much as six one-year long tours.

Iran Rescue Attempt. A detachment "A" from (Det A Berlin) participated in Operation Eagle Claw - the failed attempt to rescue hostages held by Iran in 1980.

Lebanon. During the the 1983 to 1985 10th SFGA deployed 17 Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) to Lebanon to conduct training with the Lebanon Army. Over five thousand Lebanese Soldiers went through the training. The training mission ended with the entry of the Syrian army into Lebanon.

10th SFGA in Africa

Congo. In the summer of 1960 a small group of 10th SFGA Soldiers deployed to the Democratic Republis of the Congo (it had just gained its independence). The Americans assisted in the movement of 239 American and European civilians to safety in Leopoldville where they met up with a larger evacuation force led by Belgian paratroopers.

Somalia. In June 1985 a Mobile Training Team (MTT) from 1st Battalion, Bad Tolz, Germany deployed to Somalia for four months to conduct humanitarian disaster relief operations.

Nigeria. In 1986 a detachment from 10th SFGA trained a cadre of the Nigerian Airborne forces.

Somalia. 10th SFGA deployed a Coalition Support Team (CST) of 4 ODAs to support the 1st Belgian Para-Commando Battalion in Operation RESTORE HOPE in 1992-1993. 10th SFGA also assisted the U.S. 10th Mountain Division.

Rwanda. 10th SFGA deployed to Entebbe Airfield, Uganda to assist in the return of displaced persons to their home following the ethnic conflict in Rwanda.

SOCAfrica. 10th SFGA works closely with Special Operations Command Africa conducting the full range of special operations missions in Africa.

OEF - TS. 10th SFGA conductes Operation ENDURING FREEDOM - Trans Sahara. This operation consists of training the military forces of Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania.

10th SFGA in South Asia

Pakistan. In the 1960s 10th SFGA trained with Pakistani Special Forces.

Persian Gulf War

Following the August 1991 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq 10th SFGA deployed an MTT to train the Saudi Arabian National Guard. This MTT accompanied the Saudi forces into battle calling in airstrikes, artillery fire support, and coordinated troop movements. In addition, a small element of 10th SFGA conducted unconventional warfare with elements of the Kuwaiti resistance.

In a little known 1. but very important part of DESERT STORM 10th SFGA deployed elements to Turkey to conduct Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions into northern Iraq. This operation was called ELUSIVE CONCEPT.

Operation PROVIDE COMFORT. At the conclusion of Operation DESERT STORM the 10th SFGA elements returned to Fort Devens. Their stay at their home station was short-lived as the entire group returned to Turkey to conduct the humanitarian relief effort for the Kurd refugees in mountaintop camps along the Turkish-Iraqi border. Read more about Operation PROVIDE COMFORT.

Iraq War OIF

10th Special Forces Group elements deployed to northern Iraq to link up with Peshmerga units prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. 10th SFGA organized the Peshmerga to attack and defeat the Ansar al-Islam - a terrorist organization allied with al-Qaida located in northern Iraq along the Iranian border. The Peshmerga, advised by 10th SFGA, then attacked Saddam Hussein's army in northern Iraq. This attack tied down a large number of Iraq divisions - preventing their movement south to contest the invasion of the Allied invasion force coming from the south moving north to Baghdad. The Peshmerga would capture the major cities of Mosul, Kirkut, and Tikrit. 10th SFGA would remain engaged in Iraq until 2011. The group would alternate with the 5th Special Forces Group in being the headquarters for the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsular (CJSOTF-AP).

Afghanistan - OEF

ISAF SOF. 10th SFGA ODAs and ODBs have rotated into Afghanistan for a number of years to train, advise and assist Special Mission Units (SMUs) of the Afghan National Police (ANP). As a part of ISAF SOF, 10th SFGA, co-located with other teams from the European Special Operations Forces, worked with the Provincial Response Companies (PRCs) and other specialized units of the Ministry of Interior (MoI). During the earlier stage of the war these detachments came from 1st Battalion (Stutgart) but once the U.S. involvement in the Iraq War (OIF) came to an end detachments from Fort Carson began to deploy to Afghanistan.

Facts and Trivia

Nicknames. Currently the 10th SFGA is referred to as "The Orginals". Past nicknames include "The Best".

Websites in Info about 10th Special Forces Group

10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) by USASOC

10th SFGA by US Army Europe



1. The existence of the operation was so secret that the Fort Devens base Public Affairs officer did not know that elements of the unit had deployed until they were on the way home.



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