June 15, 2010
On May 27, 2010, at the invitation of the Special Operations community, a small group of JINSA members traveled to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to participate in a special Memorial Day dedication and remembrance of the fallen warriors from the U.S. Army's Special Operations community.
In addition to the Army's Special Forces units (the Green Berets), Ft. Bragg is home to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command as well many combat units, such as the 82nd Airborne Division, as well as numerous support units and is, by population, the largest Army installation in the world, providing a home to almost 10 percent of the Army's active component forces. Approximately 43,000 military and 8,000 civilian personnel work there.
Major General Sid Shachnow, USA (ret.), a member of JINSA's Board of Advisors, and a career Special Forces soldier who ended his illustrious 40-year active duty career as head of the U.S. Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School which is located at Ft. Bragg, spent the day with the JINSA group.
The memorial services included a special unveiling of a redesigned memorial wall. Once the wall was unveiled, each major subordinate operational unit’s commanding officer and command sergeant major placed a wreath at the base of the memorial. Then, as the names of 35 fallen Special Operations soldiers who died in the past year, as well as five from previous years, were read off by each unit's command sergeant major, the crowd stood silent and only the lone ring of a bell could be heard. Families of the fallen as well as guests from the active duty and retired Special Operations community attended the ceremony.
During the ceremony, Lieutenant General John F. Mulholland, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, memorialized the fallen warriors: "These brave professionals of Army Special Operations will never be forgotten. Their names will forever remain inscribed on our Fallen Special Operations Soldiers’ Memorial Wall and within our hearts, memory and unit histories. We will best honor them, not only by what we do here today, but by what we will continue to do tomorrow, and the days that follow." Click here to read General Mulholland's full statement and the names with their units of the fallen soldiers.
After the memorial ceremony, the JINSA group had the opportunity to visit with General Mulholland who shared some observations about military operations in the Middle East and other areas of interest within the U.S. defense and foreign policy arenas.
Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, also spent time with the JINSA group. His emphasis during his remarks were on both Special Forces troop deployment and how well they are performing given the enormous strain placed on their units and loved ones.