Camp Minden has joined Fort Polk and cities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to assist United States Army Special Forces in a routine multi-state military training exercise.
"This is a routine exercise, conducted to maintain a high level of readiness for the military personnel involved," according to the Army press release. "All movements and events have been coordinated with public safety officials throughout and within the towns where training will occur."
The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, is conducting the exercise with assistance from units based out of Fort Polk.
Areas surrounding New Iberia, Lake Charles, Houma, Belle Chasse, Orange, Texas, Houston, Texas, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Pascagoula, Mississippi are also involved with aspects of the multi-state exercise.
Safety surveys and risk assessments were conducted to ensure citizen and soldier safety during the exercise, according to the release, and efforts have been made to reduce associated noise and inconvenience.
According to the U.S. Army history website (www.history.army.mil) and a history written by Jake Jacobsen, the 1st Special Forces Group was originally activated in 1945 as 1st Battalion, Second Regiment, 1st Special Service Force, a combined American-Canadian organization.
"The Devil's Brigade," a 1968 film based on a 1966 book of the same name by historian Robert H. Adleman and brigade member Col. George Walton, dramatized its origins and first mission during World War II.
That first mission, an assault on a believed impenetrable Nazi mountain stronghold in Italy, was expected to last four to five days. However once the engagement began the group routed the Germans in less than three hours.
During Vietnam, the group served not only combat but also training, security, civil and disaster relief functions.
The name "A-Team," popularized by the 1970's television show of the same name, is a nickname begun during Vietnam for Special Forces' Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) teams.
Between 1957 and 1972, according to Jacobsen, 1st Special Forces Group soldiers earned eight Distinguished Service Crosses, 44 Silver Stars, 244 Bronze Stars for Valor, 499 Air Medals, 554 Combat Infantry Badges, and 88 Combat Medical Badges. Forty soldiers of 1st Special Forces Group were killed in Vietnam, two remain missing in action and 293 were awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat.
The group has seen multiple deactivations and reactivations in its history, the most recent activation being in 1984 and lasting to the present.
Soldiers assigned to U.S. Special Forces conduct complex missions in varied terrains across the world, according to the release. Tough, realistic and relevant military exercises are essential training, and the current and similar exercises are the best method to maintain readiness capabilities.