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Special Forces Berlin
by James Stejskal

5th Special Forces Group

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5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Basing. The 5th Special Forces Group was officially activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on September 21, 1961. It would be based in South Vietnam for much of the Vietnam War. It was transferred to Fort Bragg in 1971 as the United States began its drawdown from Vietnam. The group would later move to Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1988. 1.

Regional Focus. In the 1960s the 5th Special Forces Group was based and operated in South Vietnam. Later, once based at Fort Bragg it would be responsible for other regions of the world. It currently is responsible for the Central Command area of responsibility.

Vietnam. The group began deploying soldiers to South Vietnam in the early 1960s on temporary tours of duty. In February 1965, the entire 5th SFGA deployed to South Vietnam. During this time the group would receive members of other groups - 7th Group, 10th Group, etc. for one year tours and service in Vietnam. Upon completion of their tours they would return to an SF Group based stateside or perhaps to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.

While in South Vietnam, the group had elements in all four military regions of the country spread over 270 locations. The group conducted a variety of missions to include training and leading indigenous forces of the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups. In addtion, soldiers from the gorup led units of indigenous forces conducting reconnaissance and direct-action missions throughout Southeast Asia.

Desert Storm. 5th SFGA participated in the invasion Kuwait and southern Iraq during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. It was augmented by elements of 3rd SFGA and a company from 10th SFGA. A small element of 10th SFGA conducted CSAR missions from Turkey into Northern Iraq.

Afghanistan (2001-2002). After 9/11 the 5th Special Forces Group sent command, staff, and support personnel as well as 'A' detachments to K2 in Uzbeckistan from where detachments would infiltrate into northern Afghanistan. Ultimately 5th Group would set up a base at Bagram Air Field (BAF). It was relieved by the 3rd Special Forces Group and returned home to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to begin preparations for the invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003.

Iraq War (2003-2011). 5th Special Forces Group took part in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. Subsequent to that invasion it would stand up the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Arabian Peninsular (CJSTOF-AP). It would rotate in and out of this assignment with the 10th Special Forces Group.

Syrian Conflict. The 5th Special Forces Group had a battalion-sized element working with the Kurds of northeastern Syria. The Kurds formed up the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) which was primarily composed of Kurds but also had Syrian Arabs as well.

Other Facts and Trivia

Nickname. At some point in the group began referring to itself as "The Legion". It is believed to have started in the late 80s but didn't really take until the mid-90s.


5th Special Forces Group - Wikipedia

5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)


1. Army Special Forces: Rationale for Relocating the 5th Special Forces Group From Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Government Accounting Office (GAO), January, 1989. PDF, 24 pages. https://www.gao.gov/assets/nsiad-89-58.pdf



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