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Special Operations Spotlight

3rd Special Forces Group

3rd Special Forces Group

The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) has a long and storied history serving the Nation during peacetime and war. Stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., the 3rd SFG (A) is the lead Special Forces Group on operations in central-Asia. Special Forces Soldiers are renowned for their ability to deploy in small teams, operate independently, and conduct their mission in austere environments.  Whatever situation may arise, be assured the men of the Special Forces stand ready to answer the Nation's call to duty - De Oppresso Liber.

Special Forces units perform seven doctrinal missions: Unconventional Warfare, Foreign Internal Defense, Special Reconnaissance, Direct Action, Combating Terrorism, Counter-proliferation, and Information Operations. These missions make Special Forces unique in the U.S. military, because they are employed throughout the three stages of the operational continuum: peacetime, conflict and war.

Its area of operations (AO) is now Africa (excluding the Horn) and the Caribbean basin. The 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) was reactivated at Fort Bragg, NC on 29 June 1990. In the mid-1990s the Third Special Forces Group had as its responsibility all of the Caribbean and all of the western part of the continent of Africa. The reactivation of Fort Bragg's 3rd Special Forces Group brought the number of Special Forces groups to five on active-duty status. Each group has three battalions, a group support company and a headquarters company.

The companies have six Operational Detachment Alphas, or A-teams, assigned to them. The ODA is the heart and soul of SF operations. US special forces are training African military forces to respond within 30 days when such regional humanitarian disasters strike. The goal of the African Crisis Response Initiative is to create effective, rapidly deployable units that can operate together in a humanitarian or peacekeeping operation.

The program began in Senegal and Uganda in late July 1997 with the arrival of about 120 U.S. troops of the 3rd Special Forces Group and XVIII Airborne Corps, both of Fort Bragg, NC; US Army Europe; and US Special Operations Command. The 1st Battalion, 3rd SFG, was the first U.S. Special Operations unit to conduct African Crisis Response Initiative training.

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