Special Forces…why they are sospecial
Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Force Recon Marines

 

Force Recon does not belong to SOCOM Special Operations Command), but it is still providing commanders with a valuable resource as “special operations capable” forces attached to Marine Regiments. In many ways, they get the same training and equipment as SOCOM forces, but they are fully under the control of the Marine Corps.M

In 2001, there were roughly 500 RECON billets within the USMC.  Today, there are more than 2,000 RECON Marines, which demonstrates the necessity for RECON units within the USMC in today’s warfare climate. When MARSOC was created it left a hole in the USMC Special Operations Capable forces as two Force RECON companies were changed into MARSOC. Force RECON have since rebuilt and are fully operational with the Marine Expeditionary Force. The major difference between MARSOC and Force RECON is that MARSOC is under the command of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), whereas Force RECON works directly for the USMC Marine Expeditionary Force Commander.

RECON MISSION: The mission of Force RECON is to conduct amphibious reconnaissance, deep ground reconnaissance, surveillance, battle space shaping, and limited scale raids in support of the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), other Marine air-ground task forces, or a joint force.

Since the early years after September 11, 2001, the United States has ramped up its battle against terrorists worldwide and the special operations community has grown and changed to better prepare our special operators to do their mission. The Marine Corps has also changed the way they do business on the special ops side of the house. With the development of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC) in 2006, the Marine Corps joined forces with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to perform a variety of special operations missions around the world, including foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and other missions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Forces…and why they are so special: part 3
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Navy SEALS

Today’s SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) teams trace their history to the first group of volunteers selected from the Naval Construction Battalions (SeaBees) in the spring of 1943. These volunteers were organized into special teams called Navy Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs). The units were tasked with reconnoitering and clearing beach obstacles for troops going ashore during amphibious landings and evolved into Combat Swimmer Reconnaissance Units.

The NCDUs distinguished themselves during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. In 1947, the Navy organized its first underwater offensive strike units. During the Korean Conflict, these Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) took part in the landing at Inchon as well as other missions, including demolition raids on bridges and tunnels accessible from the water. They also conducted limited minesweeping operations in harbors and rivers.

During the 1960s, each branch of the armed forces formed its own counterinsurgency force. The Navy utilized UDT personnel to form separate units called SEAL teams. January 1962 marked the commissioning of SEAL Team ONE in the Pacific Fleet and SEAL Team TWO in the Atlantic Fleet. These teams were developed to conduct unconventional warfare, counter-guerilla warfare, and clandestine operations in both blue and brown water environments.

In 1983, existing UDTs were re-designated as SEAL teams and/or SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams and the requirement for hydrographic reconnaissance and underwater demolition became SEAL missions.

SEAL teams go through what is considered by some to be the toughest military training in the world. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training is conducted at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado. Students encounter obstacles that develop and test their stamina, leadership, and ability to work as a team.

The most important trait that distinguishes Navy SEALs from other Special Operations Groups is that SEALs are maritime special forces, as they strike from and return to the sea. SEALs take their name from the elements in and from which they operate. Their stealth and clandestine methods of operation allow them to conduct multiple missions against targets that larger forces cannot approach undetected.

Like the Army Special Forces Enlistment Program, the Navy has a program called SEAL Challenge, which provides an opportunity for applicants to enlist with a guarantee to try out to become a Navy SEAL.

Just to qualify to attend SEAL training, applicants must pass a Physical Fitness Screening which includes the following:

  • 500-yard swim using breast and/or sidestroke in under 12 minutes and 30 seconds (10-minute rest)
  • Perform a minimum of 42 push-ups in 2 minutes (2-minute rest)
  • Perform a minimum of 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes (2-minute rest)
  • Perform a minimum of 6 pull-ups (no time limit) (10-minute rest)
  • Run 1½ miles wearing boots and long pants in under 11 minutes and 30 seconds

The screening is just a warm-up for BUD/S. BUD/S is about six months long, and divided into three phases:

  • First Phase (Basic Conditioning): First Phase trains, develops, and assesses SEAL candidates in physical conditioning, water competency, teamwork, and mental tenacity. This phase is eight weeks long. Physical conditioning with running, swimming, and calisthenics grows harder as the weeks progress. Trainees participate in weekly four-mile timed runs in boots, timed obstacle courses, swim distances up to two miles wearing fins in the ocean, and learn small boat seamanship. The first three weeks of First Phase prepares candidates for the fourth week, better known as “Hell Week.” During this week, applicants participate in five and one-half days of continuous training, with a maximum of four hours sleep total. This week is designed as the ultimate test of one’s physical and mental motivation while in First Phase.
  • Second Phase (Diving): Diving Phase trains, develops, and qualifies SEAL candidates as competent basic combat swimmers. This phase is eight weeks long. During this period, physical training continues and becomes even more intensive. Second Phase concentrates on combat SCUBA. This is a skill that separates SEALs from all other Special Operations forces.
  • Third Phase (Land Warfare): Third Phase trains, develops and qualifies SEAL candidates in basic weapons, demolition, and small unit tactics. This phase of training is nine weeks in length. Physical training continues to become more strenuous as the run distance increases and the minimum passing times are lowered for the runs, swims, and obstacle course. Third Phase concentrates on teaching land navigation, small-unit tactics, patrolling techniques, rappelling, marksmanship, and military explosives. The final three and one-half weeks of the Third Phase are spent on San Clemente Island, where students apply all the techniques they have acquired during training.

Following Phase III, SEALS attend Army Jump School and then are assigned to a SEAL Team for an additional 6 to 12 months of on-the-job training.

SEAL West Coast Teams are based in San Diego, California, while the East Coast Teams make their home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Special Forces…and why they are so special Part 2
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

Delta Force

Everybody’s heard of Delta Force. However, most of what you’ve heard is probably wrong. Almost every aspect of Delta is highly classified, including their training program and organizational structure.

Back in 1977, when hijacking aircraft and taking hostages seemed to be the “in thing,” an Army Special Forces officer, Colonel Charles Beckwith, returned from a special assignment with the British Special Air Service (SAS), with a unique idea. He sold the idea of a highly trained military hostage-rescue force, patterned after the SAS, to the Pentagon, and they approved.

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, Delta was created. Most military experts believe that Delta is organized into three operating squadrons, with several specialized groups (called “troops”) assigned to each squadron. Each troop is reported to specialize in a main aspect of special operations, such as HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) parachute operations or scuba operations.

Delta is the most covert of the U.S. Military Special Operations Forces. Delta is sent when there is a tough objective, and we don’t want anyone to know that there was U.S. Military involvement. Delta is rumored to have their own fleet of helicopters which are painted in civilian colors and have fake registration numbers. Their special training facility is reported to be the best special operations training facility in the world, including a close-quarters-battle indoor facility nicknamed the “House of Horrors.”

Delta recruits twice per year from U.S. Army units worldwide. After a very extensive screening process, applicants reportedly attend a two- or three-week special assessment and selection course. Those who make it through the course enter the Delta Special Operators Training Course, which is estimated to be about six weeks in duration. Delta Force is primarily made up of hand-picked volunteers from the 82nd Airborne, Army Special Forces, and Army Rangers. Delta is said to be the best in the world at close-quarters combat.

The highly classified Delta operations facility is reported to be in a remote location of Fort Bragg, NC.

 

FINDING REDEMPTION, PART 2: COULD HE DO THE JOB?
Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of one of Books 1-4, Guardian Security

He’d been through hell. Everyone knew that. He’d retreated from life and shut everyone out while he battled the demons that never seemed to leave him alone. But the life of an eight-year-old boy depended on his being able to do just that. 

Lisa looked at the man across from her. She’d seen him a few times, in very brief situations, but this was the first time she’d had the chance to study him.

At thirty-eight he looked at least ten years older. He had thick black hair peppered with grey, worn long enough that he tied it back with a leather thong. His beard looked more like the result of not shaving rather than a deliberate plan, and dissolution had added extra flesh around the jaw line and pouches under his eyes. His skin was an unhealthy, ruddy color, probably from the amount of alcohol she heard he drank with regularity. Although he carried a few extra pounds, she bet that in his best days, he was lean and mean.

If this were, as the fairy tales said, once upon a time—before Charles had killed any interest she had in men and before Ethan Caine had destroyed himself—she could see herself being drawn to him. Now he just offended her, and she resented any latent spark of attraction he ignited in her.

But then she saw his eyes and something stabbed at her. Although they were alert, studying both the Taylors and his surroundings at the same time, they were a bottomless black filled with so much pain it hurt to look at them. What had this man seen and done that caused that much personal misery? Was this the kind of man she could trust to find her son?

“Lisa?”

She shook herself at the sound of Josh’s voice. “I’m sorry. My mind tends to wander these days.” She pasted what she was sure was a grotesque mockery of a smile on her face. “Than you very much for coming, Mr. Caine.”

“Ethan. Don’t thank me yet.” His voice was deep but not smooth, more like the scraping sound of gravel falling on cement. “Right now we’re just having lunch.”

“That’s true.” She nodded, willing her hands to stop their incessant tremors.

“So, why don’t we order and you can tell me what this little meet and greet is all about.”

FINDING REDEMPTION

 

In her darkest hour, only a ruined hero can help her
Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of any of Books 1-4 in Guardian Security

I was always told that if you want to write a good story, write what you know, either through narrative or personal experience. I do  that with almost all of my books. In fact, in MOVING TARGET, Book #1 in Guardian Security, Windswept was based on the small Texas town where I was living at the time and Quinn’s house is my house.

In FINDING REDEMPTION. I chose to base the main character on a real person. Many of you have met my son, Steven Horwitz at various conventions and book signings. Steven had a long-time friend who passed away suddenly a few years ago, but he was a great character and a terrific friend. He followed his own path. he would disappear for months at a time and people would say, “Bill? Oh, you know, he’s off doing something for the CIA. Or the NSA. Or the FBI. Or whatever. Then he’d reappear with no explanation.

But as a friend there was no equal. His passing left a big hole in a lot of people’s lives. And people kept telling me, “Bill’s someone you should write a book about.” So I did! He became the model for Ethan Caine, the dark hero of FINDING REDEMPTION. And if you want a dark hero to take home for Christmas (and why not, right?), Ethan fits the bill.

Here for your enjoyment, the first of two excerpts from the book, #5 in Guardian Security.

Lisa Mallory’s marriage from hell ended with her husband’s unsolved murder. Four years later, her eight-year-old son, Jamie, is kidnapped. When every other avenue of finding him fails, she turns to her brother’s best friend. He’s not the man she’d have chosen, but to get her son back, she’ll suffer anything…even the desire he stirs that she’d thought long dead.

Ethan Caine, former Marine/special ops agent, is dealing with his own private hell. All he wants is to be left alone with a bottle of whiskey to drown the guilt of surviving a mission gone wrong. When he finally agrees to go after Jamie, he certainly doesn’t want the boy’s mother slowing him down. Besides, she makes him ache to have her naked and beneath him. Worse, she stirs dreams of the future…something he doesn’t deserve.

Passion explodes between Ethan and Lisa in the exotic Quintana Roo jungle, even as the past and present threaten to steal it all.

Excerpt:

Prologue

 

Of course it was raining. How fitting that the weather should be miserable.

Lisa Taylor Mallory shifted on the folding chair provided by the cemetery, careful not to move out from under the umbrella held by the funeral home attendant. Next to her, four-year-old Jamie snuggled closer to her, needing the assurance of his mother’s warmth.

Under his own umbrella, Pastor Howard Devol of Mangrove Baptist Church intoned passages from the Bible. He had already eulogized Charles Mallory to the point of sainthood. Lisa clenched her fists and swallowed the nausea that insisted on rising at the back of her throat as she listened to the words.

If you only knew. Just let this be over. Please, please, let us get this over with.

She let her gaze travel over the crowd of mourners. The abundance of black umbrellas nearly formed a canopy over the assemblage. Tampa society’s A List as well as the giants of the financial world were gathered in their best funeral attire to mourn a man whose sins had been swept away in fire at the foot of a mountain.

“Keeping up the myth,” Josh Taylor had told his sister.

This is for Jamie.

He was so frightened by the circus surrounding the death of his father. Lisa wanted him to have closure on what had become an outrageous situation. Despite the devil’s trap her marriage had become, Charles Mallory had always been good to his son. So much so that Lisa had lived in constant fear Charles would one day disappear with him and leave her behind.

Sitting on her other side, Josh squeezed her arm, a signal that this farce would soon be over and everything would be okay. Not exactly the word she’d have chosen to describe the current state of her life. She clenched one gloved hand in her lap. No, okay wasn’t even in the ball park.

At last, the interminable ceremony ended. Josh rose and nudged her to stand with Jamie. The pastor signaled her to come forward. With her brother’s arm supporting her, she stepped over to the casket and took the white rose the pastor held out. She stared at the casket for a long moment, then dropped the rose on its mahogany surface.

In a voice so low only her brother heard it, she said, “Rot in hell, you son of a bitch.”

 

FINDING REDEMPTION