Special Forces battalion activates on Fort Carson
August 30, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- The 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), was activated in a ceremony Aug. 19 at Manhart Field.
The battalion, which will have more than 400 Soldiers assigned when its growth is complete next year, is led by the command team of Lt. Col. John Taft and Command Sgt. Maj. Luis Pauka.
The new battalion will increase combat effectiveness, Pauka said.
"In standing up this battalion, we've increased the combat power of 10th Special Forces Group and of the special operations community overall and, of course, the overall combat power of our Army," he said.
In remarks during the ceremony, 10th SFG(A) Commander Col. Sean Swindell recognized the team responsible for coordinating the battalion's activation.
"They have created a perfect blend of experienced officers and noncommissioned officers along with those fresh out of the Special Forces Qualification Course in order to satisfy the current global need for Special Forces by providing more Soldiers to support ongoing missions around the world and to provide needed relief to the Special Forces units that have been continuously deployed since 9/11," he said.
Swindell noted that the moment was historic for the Special Operations community and charged the battalion's leadership with continuing the command's tradition of service.
"Today's activation ceremony is a step into the future for 10th Group. However, we would be remiss not to link this battalion to our past, the first special service force, the (Office of Strategic Services), and Col. Aaron Bank (who helped develop the Special Forces' organization)," he said. "Using the training strategies and the lessons learned during World War II by Col. Bank, I direct 4th Battalion leaders to create an elite unit of men, skilled in foreign languages to interface with indigenous forces, the arts of sabotage and stealth tactics, the use of explosives for demolition, amphibious warfare, rock climbing, desert warfare, mountain fighting and ski troops."
Although the battalion is new, the Soldiers assigned are mostly combat-experienced, Taft said.
"These are the brave men who do all the hard work and go into harm's way. The 'so what'' is just this: 84 percent of those assigned to 4th Battalion have combat experience," he said. "They are the finest Soldiers in this group."
Taft, speaking to local media after the ceremony, said the Soldiers bring varied skills to their missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Europe.
"Without getting into too much detail, they are just uniquely trained," he said. "They've got cultural capabilities, unique tactical and technical skill sets that allow them to carry out missions that are a little bit different than our commensurate partners'."
Swindell told the Soldiers standing on the field that, as their predecessors helped bring down the Iron Curtain, they would help bring an end to extremism.
"Those who serve in this command have bravely stepped forward and unsheathed the sword on our enemies," he said. "I've heard it said that communism didn't fall, it was pushed. Likewise, violent extremism will never crumble nor fade away of its own accord; it will be the valor, the grit and the fighting spirits of you, the men of 4th Battalion that will give heart to our friends while pursuing terrorists where they hide, wrecking their militias' designs and keeping them far from our shores."