U.S. Army Special Forces Soldiers to graduate qualification training May 17
Newly inducted Special Forces Soldiers stand at attention during a Special Forces Qualification Course graduation ceremony April 7, 2011 at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C. Having attended more than a year's worth of training and education, t... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Media representatives and members of the public are invited to attend the graduation ceremony for more than 100 Soldiers from the 268th Special Forces Qualification Course at 3 p.m., May 17 at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville.

The SFQC, which is run and managed by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, focuses on core tactical competencies, specialty skills, survival and regional language and culture skills necessary for Soldiers serving in the Army's active-duty or National Guard Special Forces groups.

Depending on each Soldier's designated specialty, the SFQC may take anywhere from 52 to 92 weeks to complete. These students are broken into groups in order to become Special Forces detachment commanders, weapons sergeants, engineers, medics or communications specialists.

The SFQC graduation ceremony marks the formal induction of each Soldier into the Special Forces regiment, where they may first wear the Special Forces tab and green beret before their Family members, peers and friends.

Maj. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins, the director of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization -- part of the joint staff in Washington, D.C., will be the guest speaker at the ceremony. Higgins is a former commander of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, the Special Operations Command--Africa in Stuttgart, Germany and the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command--Iraq in Baghdad.

In lieu of inducting a former Special Forces Soldier as a distinguished member of the regiment during the graduation ceremony, an SFQC graduate will be awarded the Soldier's Medal for heroic acts taken while attending the course in July 2010.

While waiting for a friend to arrive at Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill, Capt. Chad P. Lewis witnessed a catastrophic plane crash involving a single-engine aircraft. After the plane slid to a halt, Lewis scaled a perimeter fence and ran more than 600 yards to the crash site to provide aid to the survivors. He found that the pilot was killed upon impact, but the co-pilot, partially ejected from the wreckage, had suffered double amputations to his legs just below the knees. Lewis applied improvised tourniquets to the co-pilot's legs and remained with him while he was medically evacuated to a nearby hospital.

Lewis, a 2004 graduate of the University of Delaware, is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Tenn. He is a veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, having most recently deployed as commander of an operational detachment--alpha conducting village stability operations in Afghanistan.

Distinguished SFQC graduates and student leaders will also be recognized during the ceremony.

Media interested in covering the event should contact the SWCS public affairs office at (910) 396-9394, or e-mail pao_swcs@soc.mil.

Related Links:

Maj. Gen. Patrick M. Higgins official bio

U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School