FORT CARSON, Colo. - "This is the one opportunity you have in your career to shape something in your own image," said Maj. Guillaume Beaurpere, 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) activation commander, "to take ownership of something from the ground and build up from there."
That is the message that Beaurpere and Command Sgt. Maj. Luis Pauka convey to the newest Soldiers of the unit as they prepare for the historical activation of the battalion. The 4th Battalion will be activated Aug. 19, having achieved a milestone of 70-percent manning strength - more than 300 Soldiers - come activation day.
"We emphasized the criticality of achieving 70-percent strength on activation date early on in the process," Beaurpere explained. "That was achieved first because Col. Sean Swindell, the 10th SFG(A) commander, put command emphasis on this task. And secondly, because of the hard work the sergeants major and human resource specialists did."
With the benefit of lessons learned from both 3rd SFG(A) and 5th SFG(A), the first of the five SF groups to activate their 4th battalions, 10th SFG(A) had a distinct advantage in developing its lines of effort leading to activation of a new battalion: manning, equipping, facilities/infrastructure and training.
Along the manning line of effort, the battalion decided to build a core staff while filling the three line company headquarters simultaneously rather than standing up each company sequentially. This allowed each company to be on par on activation day and have systems and procedures in place across the battalion.
"We took the very deliberate approach to manning sections, (operational detachment alphas) and (operational detachment bravos), with a carefully scrutinized mix of experienced noncommissioned officers and Green Berets right out of the SF (course)," Beaurpere explained.
The second activation line of effort was the fielding of equipment. Similar to the other groups, 10th SFG(A) relied on a U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) contract at Baker's Court in Kentucky, used to facilitate the staging of equipment for activating battalions until units are ready to receive and store items over the course of the activation period.
Having that initial staging area allowed the battalion to establish facilities such as an arms room and motor pool to receive the weapons and vehicles throughout the year.
Beaurpere credits his supply sergeant and property book managers with building accountability and property books from scratch. As new company commanders are now conducting their change-of-command inventories, there has yet to be a single-loss in equipment or property accountability identified.
Currently, the 4th Battalion and its companies are located in pre-existing facilities on the group compound area. However, those areas required renovation to accommodate the companies and ODAs to train and operate within. This included team room renovation and wiring for network improvement for computers and phones at all levels.
The final effort in the activation process was the training of Soldiers within the battalion. Already, the unit conducted a cold-weather mountain warfare training exercise last winter and currently has a company conducting Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat training.