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Detachment A Berlin Brigade


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Good to see this. Not enough recognition has been given to these very brave men .....

"I looked up at the bunker in front of me and saw a khaki-uniformed NVA with a pith helmet, chest web gear, green Bata boots and an AK, Type 56, and no other identifying insignia. Then I shot him." -- Sergeant Tony "Fast Eddie" Anderson, RT Kansas, TF1AE, 1971

 

"My God, where do we find these men?" President George H. W. Bush commenting on 1st SFOD-Delta after the Operation Acid Gambit rescue of Kurt Muse.

 

"Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me." - Inscription on the dog tag resting on the flag-draped homeward bound casket of an American Special Opearations warrior killed in action in Afghanistan, July 2005. - Dick Couch - Chosen Soldier

 

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The article highlights the ignorance of both the author and apparently the SF people cited.

 

1. "Det A' was a COVER name, for a properly constituted and activated unit that was OFFICIALLY the 39th SFOD.

 

That number fell between the Alaska National Guard Dets (36th-38th) and the USAR Hawaii one (40th-45th). The 39th, as a proper TO&E UNIT rather than a provisional TDA entity, was constituted 27 Aug 1965, activated in Berlin 1 Sep 65, and inactivated there 1 Oct 1984 (per CMH website on unit lineages). It later was activated in KOREA, 16 Oct 2005, as the TO&E part of USSFK.

 

2. "Flag"? Is it actually a GUIDON? The 39th should not have had a Regimental/Battalion FLAG, whether green or blue.

 

3. SF guidons prior to about 1980 were teal blue with golden yellow markings; the rifle green with silver gray came later.

 

4. And what use would a "clandestine" unit have for a flag? "Clandestine" is stronger than "covert", the former implying ILLEGAL activity.

 

5. An important task for the 39th was testing the alertness and readiness of US, West German and other NATO units. A friend who served there told me that each member had two wall lockers filled with "funny" uniforms and gear -- West German and East German (army and border guards), British and French, and USAF. He was decked and almost shot by Greek sentries once, because the "costumers" in Berlin sent him on a mission with incorrect insignia. He had better results in Denmark, taking a catnap in the cockpit of a jet fighter before waking up and exfiltrating.

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A photo attached to the article does show a flag being cased, so who knows?

Berlin flag.jpg

Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

burkcats@hotmail.com

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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Heard a story from a guy, when you rotated out of the detachment you had to get up to the Wall or the outer lying rings of other numerous defenses, obviously with your buddy's looking out and very carefully snip a piece of barb wire 4 or so inches long. This would then be put on a plaque which would be presented to you when you left.

 

'A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon'

 

Always looking for Vietnam War US Special Forces/MACV-SOG jungle shirts/uniforms and OG107 Shirts/uniforms.

 

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Heard a story from a guy, when you rotated out of the detachment you had to get up to the Wall or the outer lying rings of other numerous defenses, obviously with your buddy's looking out and very carefully snip a piece of barb wire 4 or so inches long. This would then be put on a plaque which would be presented to you when you left.

 

Didn't really have to sneak around to get the barbed wire. I was stationed in Berlin from 86 to 90 and I was able to get several pieces of the original barbed wire. When the East German government closd the borders in August 61, they strung the barbed wire right along the border. When the Berlin Wall started going up, it was constructed a few more meters back from the wire, obviously in East Germany. The wire remained in place and in some outlying locations in Berlin such as doughboy city the American training site, the Berlin Wall ran right along the border and barbed wire that was placed in 1961 was still all over the place. I was able to bring back several feet of wire when I left.

 

Leigh

"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr  - US Army (Retired)

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Greetings All,

 

There are lots of stories about the unit - some with an element of truth, many without.

 

"Detachment A," as opposed to 39th SFD, had a blue flag because it was a "sub-element" of 6th Infantry.

It was given the flag, not a guidon, by the COB as a nod to its unique structure and mission in 1963. It had both a TDA and a TO&E throughout its history.

 

All army unit's have flags or guidons, even if they just sit in the Commander's office.

 

As to the meaning of "clandestine" - it has nothing to do with illegal activities. It means operations that remain hidden to the observer - hiding both the activity and those who carry it out. That's a characteristic of intelligence operations.

 

#J_ANDREWS: What you're talking about (Item #5) was a very small part of the unit's mission. The big missions were much more than that. Be careful when you relate what someone tells you, because they may not have a clue, may be lying, or be giving you a cover story. Check their bona fides - mine are good, believe me.

 

VR

Wolfe

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  • 2 weeks later...

What I was taught in SF Training Group;

 

Clandestine operations - Activities to accomplish intelligence, counterintelligence, and other similar activities sponsored or conducted by governmental departments or agencies, in such a way as to assure secrecy or concealment.

 

Covert operations - Operations which are planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor. They differ from clandestine operations in that emphasis on concealment of the sponsor rather than on the concealment of the operations.

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  • 6 months later...

One of the 1st classes I had in SFTG, they asked "who expexts a cloak and dagger?"

 

Those who admitted it were invited to leave the room.

 

In 1967 there was still a lot of cold war stuff emphasized.

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