Written by Staff Sgt. Barbara Ospina
5th Special Forces Group (A) Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – There have been many milestones observed by Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) over its relatively short, but storied history, but many pale in comparison to the milestone celebrated here last week.
Past and present members of the 5th SFG (A) commemorated the 50th anniversary of the unit’s activation, which originally took place September 21st, 1961, at Fort Bragg, NC. The week-long Reunion allowed Soldiers and veterans alike to observe and participate in various events, but more importantly it was a time to simply enjoy the camaraderie between the generations of Green Berets present.The Reunion events included weapons competitions, sporting events, golf and fishing tournaments, airborne operations, a capabilities demonstration, guest speaker seminars, a formal banquet on the General Jackson Showboat in Nashville, and a day-long picnic culminating with a 20 minute firework display.
The week was highlighted by a formal ceremony Wednesday on Gabriel Field marking the anniversary of the Group’s activation in 1961. The ceremony recognized the historic achievements and sacrifices made during five decades of service to the Nation.
During the ceremony, the oldest and the youngest Green Beret jointly unveiled a 9/11 monument. The monument features two World Trade Center structural steel columns that were recovered from Ground Zero in New York City and presented to the unit by the Port Authority of both New York and New Jersey on May 27th, 2011.
The steel columns, which are shaped in a Roman numeral V, serve as a constant reminder to the unit of the thousands of lives lost on September 11th, 2001 and the special relationship between 5th SFG (A) and New York City first responders, and why, to this day, the Group remains vigilant and at the forefront in the Global War on Terror.
Master Sgt. Chris Spence, a Special Forces team member, acknowledged that the attacks on the World Trade Center elicit the same emotions in today’s Soldiers as the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.
Col. Scott E. Brower, commander of the 5th SFG (A), elaborated on the significance of the recently unveiled 9/11 monument and reinforced the importance of what Green Berets do.
Green Berets were the first to invade Afghanistan in response to the attacks, and once again led the 2003 invasion of Iraq, resulting in a stable environment and the opportunity for a free and democratic society, commented Brower.
“It is an understanding and an ability to relate to those first responders who risked their lives to go to the aid of others that has kept our Soldiers and these three [emergency response] organizations friends to this day,” Brower stated. “The brave first responders of 9/11 who were running to the World Trade Center, not away, who were climbing up stairwells, not down them…”
The culminating event for the week, a picnic Saturday on Gabriel Field, allowed Soldiers, veterans, families and friends of the Legion to gather once more. Attendees enjoyed great food, live music and entertainment, and several static displays including Special Forces mission equipment and a replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C., provided by the American Veteran’s Traveling Tribute. As the day came to an end, the crowd also enjoyed the incredible aerial talents of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights and a 20-minute fireworks display.