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Old 24 August 2002, 01:08
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California SF unit gets mobilized

Elite Guard unit told to get ready
The California troops may ship out within a week for a secret mission overseas.
By Sam Stanton -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Tuesday, August 20, 2002
Amid talk of war with Iraq and continued military action in Afghanistan, about 80 members of an elite California National Guard special forces unit have been told to get ready to ship out for a secret mission overseas.

The deployment of the 19th Special Forces Group, which has headquarters in Redwood City and Los Alamitos and includes members from Sacramento, was ordered last week. The soldiers may ship out within a week.

No one will say where the soldiers are being sent, with officials citing the need for secrecy.



"We have approximately 80 members of Team Alpha, Fifth Company, 19th Special Forces who have been activated to support Operation Enduring Freedom," said Capt. Denise Varner, a California National Guard spokeswoman. "They will be deploying soon for a classified destination."

Varner said members of the unit are "revving up now, preparing personal items, legal issues and health issues, and will be departing soon."

Previous deployments of soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group saw its East Coast teams involved in fighting in Afghanistan, and two members have been killed there.

Sgt. Gene Arden Vance Jr. of the West Virginia National Guard was killed in action last April in eastern Afghanistan when his unit came under heavy fire. Sgt. 1st Class Daniel A. Romero of Colorado also died last April in an accidental explosion at a demolition range next to the former home of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the one-time leader of the Taliban who vanished from sight after the war began.

Special forces soldiers also have been helping to train Afghan military units, but officials said that was no indication the California soldiers would be heading there.

Instead, with the uncertainty about whether the United States is headed toward war with Iraq, "they could be going anywhere," one official said.

The California special forces unit is composed of 12-man "A teams" that can be split into smaller groups "tailored for specific and unique missions," according to a Guard description.

"The group possesses a wide range of special skills and talents, including airborne, medic, engineer, communications, weapons and intelligence," the Guard description says. They can, the description says, "take a force of 500 Afghan troops and shape them into a guerrilla force of battalion strength."

Maj. Frank Cuffe, the unit's commander, could not be reached for comment Monday.

But military supporters in the Bay Area already are scheduling a two-day fund-raising effort they hope will raise at least $1 million to help offset the losses in income the soldiers will face by leaving their civilian jobs.

"We saw there was a need to help support the soldiers that are being activated," said former Army Ranger Capt. Dan Rice, who is now a financial adviser. "The cost of living in Northern California makes deployment very challenging financially.

"Soldiers that make $100,000 make $35,000 once they're deployed. Their family stays in the same high cost-of-living area with the same mortgage."

Organizers of the fund-raisers are planning a $1,000-a-plate black tie dinner in San Francisco on Oct. 5, with another effort the next day aboard the USS Hornet that will cost $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12.

Details about the events are available online at the Web site www.operationenduringsupport.com , Rice said. Supporters who will be present include Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and former GOP Gov. Pete Wilson. The Web site is expected to be updated later this week to include an order form for tickets, he said.

Rice said organizers also plan to invite Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and his Republican opponent, Bill Simon, to draw attention to the financial burden facing Guard members who have been deployed in operations linked to the war on terror.

"We've been told that the gap between civilian pay and military deployment pay is $100 million for the California National Guard," Rice said.

One study done for the Guard in 1998 found that soldiers who are activated for service see their household income cut anywhere between 16 percent and 65 percent, creating a serious financial blow to many.

For the 11 percent of the Guard members who reported incomes then over $70,000 annually, the potential lost earnings for a yearlong deployment could total $3.7 million, the study found.

"This potential loss of income, disruption of lifestyles, and interruption to continuing education plans become a serious impediment to recruitment and retention as the likelihood of federal activation increases," the study found.


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  #2  
Old 24 August 2002, 01:22
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Someone needs to explain to CPT Varner that "Team Alpha, Fifth Company, 19th Special Forces" is NOT the correct unit designation.

Are we talking Company A, 5/19 SFGA?
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Old 24 August 2002, 01:24
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Reaper
Someone needs to explain to CPT Varner that "Team Alpha, Fifth Company, 19th Special Forces" is NOT the correct unit designation.

Are we talking Company A, 5/19 SFGA?
Ha ha I laughed when I read that too. You got the right unit Reaper.
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Old 24 August 2002, 02:28
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They're not the only Co. from the 19th that are heading to action...

Romero was from Bravo, yet they make is sound like he was from Alpha.
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Old 24 August 2002, 03:43
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God be with them

I have allot of friends in that unit leaving wives and children behind. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.

William Hazen ODA332 C 3/12 SFGA(R) then... Now "UD Deleted" 19 SFNG OCONUS bound...

Last edited by Ranger002; 24 August 2002 at 19:32.
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Old 24 August 2002, 15:39
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Stay safe fellas.
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Old 24 August 2002, 16:51
JumpmasterK JumpmasterK is offline
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In the interest of force protection, and overall opsec, I think it would be better if no units IDs were mentioned. If one appears "wrong", than so be it.

I used to have the anti-"weekend warrior" mindset, until I came to SF Command. The NG is decisively engaged, and I too, pray for them and their families. Good luck, God Bless, and stay out of harms way.
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Old 24 August 2002, 19:40
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Quote:
Originally posted by JumpmasterK
In the interest of force protection, and overall opsec, I think it would be better if no units IDs were mentioned. If one appears "wrong", than so be it.

I used to have the anti-"weekend warrior" mindset, until I came to SF Command. The NG is decisively engaged, and I too, pray for them and their families. Good luck, God Bless, and stay out of harms way.
Good point. I edited my post. When I was back at Bragg doing a tour with the (Then) Reserve SOCOM HQ during the Gulf War, I noted that allot of respect was givin out to the Reserve and NG guys by the BTDT's on the Teams. Most folks don't realize that the SFNG A Team guys and B Team Support personnel sacrifice allot when duty calls. Here in Cali they are going to have a fund raiser to help the families of the guys who were just called up. You can bet I will be pitching in and not just with money!

William Hazen
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Old 25 August 2002, 01:07
RifleMaster RifleMaster is offline
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Hazen, thanks for the email reply!

We will discuss supporting these soldiers at the next SFA Chapter meeting. See ya there.

Carl
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Old 25 August 2002, 03:49
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I didn't know if the 130 that left Los Alamitos today carried SFNG teams, but as I watched it head out over the pacific, I fared them a heartfelt...












"GET SOME!"

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Old 25 August 2002, 07:43
Boat boy 16 Boat boy 16 is offline
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Hmm...

hey I've got kind of a newbie question... NG SF Groups, are they state funded since their the NG, or do they fall under SOCOM's budget?

BB16
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Old 26 August 2002, 10:01
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Re: Hmm...

Both. The pot of money that they draw from is complicated to me (I had a very limited involvement with it).

Sitting in on staff briefs to the BC, we were briefed that the Feds send a certain amount to the State Area Commands to be distributed to their units. Then there was another pot given out by USASOC or USASFC (can't remember who) that went to the NG SF units. Additionally, there were other sources as well for things like language proficiency.

Take care,

BTAR
Quote:
Originally posted by Boat boy 16
hey I've got kind of a newbie question... NG SF Groups, are they state funded since their the NG, or do they fall under SOCOM's budget?

BB16
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Old 26 August 2002, 10:23
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Exclamation Re: Re: Hmm...

In a perfect world this arrangement is great. You're able to access two pots of money for your unit. The problem occurs when greedy mil pay/accounting people on your particular base get that money FIRST.

Next thing you know, the $150,000 that was sent from SOCOM to purchase new M-4's/SOPMOD is being used to build a parking lot adjacent to the headquarters building. This has happened to our NG unit many times. You've got to work overtime to keep track of it all.
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  #14  
Old 26 August 2002, 12:09
Doogie320 Doogie320 is offline
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SATCOM,

I saw it in FL. State would take our slice justifying that with "You get X dollars from Y anyway." Illegal? I dunno. My understanding of the situation comes from listening to the S-3 and S-4 talk about it during staff briefs. From my position, I was told that I have Z dollars to spend. Where that money came (precisely) from was above my pay grade.

There is a lot of animosity in the Guard that an SF BN has more training money than an Infantry Brigade (Sep). Some folks can't deal with that.

Take care,

BTAR
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Old 26 August 2002, 18:56
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I got a bud who is part of that crew I think. Friggen Army acronyms and desigs make me sea sick.
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  #16  
Old 27 August 2002, 09:24
Doogie320 Doogie320 is offline
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As opposed to the Navy's 4 foot long "abbreviations" for commands and units? :D

COMSUBPAC (an easy one)

NAMTRAGRUDET

FASOTRAGRULANT (Heard this one, don't know what the hell it is)

I'm sure there are far worse out there.

BTAR


Quote:
Originally posted by DFC5343
I got a bud who is part of that crew I think. Friggen Army acronyms and desigs make me sea sick.
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Old 29 August 2002, 11:49
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I was told that mobilization and deployment of a certain unit was OPSEC and all that jazz these last couple of months, yet a couple of nights ago there it was all over the news with interviews and everything of the guys going and where they're going. Was it just OPSEC during their mobilization time so they could get ready?
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