7th Special Forces train with Brazilian team
November 12, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - At the offshoot of a long dirt road sits Range 74. A combined arms corrective training facility for military and urban terrain environment, the range consists of 32 cinder block buildings strategically positioned for urban combat training. Many structures feature video and voice recording equipment, used for playback during unit action review. According to one range official, the environment is designed to be unassuming and generic which gives units the freedom to improvise and adapt.
For elite teams trained in unconventional warfare operations, adaptation is their calling card. So on Oct. 15, American and Brazilian Special Forces Soldiers crept through the trees and over a dusty bridge, past a deserted gas station and between the sunbleached buildings of Range 74 like ghost Soldiers.
The objective - an urban assault. The target, a high-threat individual. The wild card: a suicide bomber near the center of town. The technique: close quarters combat.
For two weeks in October, American and Brazilian units traded teams in an effort to strengthen their multicultural partnership. So while a handful of SF Soldiers headed to South America to one of the best jungle schools in the world, Fort Bragg's 7th Special Forces Group hosted 12 members of the Brazilian 1st Special Forces Battalion. For the U.S. and Brazil, it is a partnership steeped in mystery and rich in tradition.
"Our special force was born here in 1957 and it's pretty good to maintain these relationships," said the Brazilian captain, whose team member acted as an interpreter.
Brazilian special forces, or Un Batalhao De Forcas Especiais as they are known in South America, embody the motto 'any mission in any place, in any time, in any way,' according to Shadowspear Special Operations Network. Stationed near the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, the 1st Special Forces Battalion supports every Brazilian command area, according to the commander.
In the words of the Brazilian commander, there is great satisfaction in completing the hard work of a special forces Soldier. "We generally get on duty early and go home after all (the others). We train a lot and we get proud when we complete our missions ... we know that we are doing our best for the nation," he explained.
Training at Fort Bragg gave the Brazilians an opportunity to see a different part of the world, interact with new instructors (cadre) and refine their skills within a larger organization.
"The training is very similar but we live different realities. We are going to take these skills and we are trying to improve in our country," said the commander.
American detachment commander for Operation Detachment-Alpha 7133 highlighted the unique opportunity to train with foreign forces on American soil. "It's inherent in special forces for both countries to work with a partner nation. We're not built to work alone," he said. "So to have an opportunity to do this type of training here, to work together, to exchange ideas and techniques and to work as an integrated organization has been unbelievable," the detachment commander added.
Last month's combined joint assault marked the culmination of a variety of exercises including close quarter combat and live fire (pistol and rifle) on a number of outdoor ranges. The Brazilians received a two-week induction into a traditional five-week, Special Forces advanced urban combat course, facilitated by a seasoned cadre of 16 instructors and one noncommissioned officer in charge.
The course, which prepares Special Forces operators for deployment to various parts of the world, ensures each Soldier is prepared for the intensity of combat operations like clearing a building, conducting an overt raid and rescuing captive U.S. forces.
"My job is making sure that all the 7th Special Forces Soldiers are at their peak before they deploy to combat," explained the Fort Bragg based noncommissioned officer in charge. While it's important for Soldiers to sharpen their skills, he noted, it's vital to do so in the controlled environment of a pre-deployment facility like SFAUC.
"(Soldiers) don't often have the chance to go and train on their own due to various reasons. Our course provides them the chance, just before they deploy, to get their skills back up to par," he added.
According to the NCOIC, collaborating with the Brazilians on a joint-operation exercise was an invaluable resource for Americans, as well. Strengthening that bond included some non-military activity, as a group of Soldiers took to the field for their own international soccer match.
"The original plan was to (compete) against each other - we thought better of that," said the detachment commander, laughing.