The elite Guardsman

Special Forces a WANG asset

By J.M. Simpson on November 3, 2011

For the Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (SFG) (Airborne), Washington Army National Guard (WANG), there is nothing ordinary about their commitment to service.

The 19th SFG (A) is one of two National Guard groups in the United States.  Headquartered in Utah, the Group has responsibility over Southeast Asia as well as in the Pacific.

"Most of us joined to serve, and most of us have served in either 1st or 5th Group," one Soldier said before a training exercise late last winter.

"In fact, I served with that guy over there while on active duty, here in the Guard and - get this now - we had a lab class together yesterday at the University of Washington Tacoma.  How's that for being a small world?" he asked rhetorically.


Not only is it a small world, but also these citizen-Special Forces Soldiers train hard to be able to deploy on literally a moment's notice.

On that day last winter in an abandoned building, a number of WANG operators honed their close-quarter combat skills.

"It's necessary for us to be able to do a number of things," another Soldier commented during the training. "This is just one of the skills we need to keep sharp."

Sometimes referred to as Green Berets because of their distinctive service headwear, Special Forces Soldiers are tasked with six primary missions:  unconventional warfare; foreign internal defense; special reconnaissance; direct action; hostage rescue and counter-terrorism.

Other duties include combat search and rescue; security assistance; peacekeeping; humanitarian assistance; humanitarian demining; counter-proliferation; psychological operations; manhunts and counter-drug operations.

And it all begins with training, developing standard operating procedures - or SOPs - and then training some more.

It all makes for perfection.

"That's it - flow from room to room as you move down the hallway," commented a Special Forces Soldier as he watched the close quarters combat training. "The better we do it here, the better chance we have at success wherever we deploy," he added as the team finished up.