By Staff Sgt. Anthony Torres | 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Editor’s note: The full names and identifications of those serving in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) are withheld due to safety and security of the Soldiers and their Families.
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Green Berets with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) put away their skis and scuba tanks and headed to Florida to take part in the training exercise “Vulcan Thunder” at Avon Park, Florida, May 17-21, 2021.
The operation was designed to validate Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs), ensure Component Service Units (CSU) are up to date on all certifications and execute missions at varying levels of control across the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne).
The exercise provided realistic training for Special Operations and conventional Army units using a variety of aviation and ground-based platforms to support evaluation- and scenario-driven training. Soldiers from all the Special Forces groups, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) platoon from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment, all participated.
From the ground, JTACs coordinated with air assets to call for fire from different platforms such as the F-16 Falcon,
AC-130 Gunship and A-10 Warthog, while also coordinating fire from conventional forces like artillery and HIMARS units.
This was made possible with a Link-16 network established by the 10th SFG(A) support team made up of five communications Soldiers. The Link-16 is a network that military aircraft, ships and ground forces use to exchange their tactical picture in near-real time. It provides an accurate description of a Special Forces operations detachment-alpha’s (SFOD-A) location and surroundings.
The Soldiers with 10th SFG(A) fully integrated all components to recreate a real combat scenario. Soldiers assimilated with a HIMARS platoon to execute the calling for fire on a target identified by troops on the ground.
A JTAC with 10th SFG(A) called the training a huge success.
“This was the first time an exercise like this has happened,” he said. “All of the assets needed were available to train and be included.”
It was vital that 10th SFG(A) integrated and coordinated with all elements involved, said the joint operations center commander of 10th SFG(A).
“This training exercise was important to get the 1st Special Forces Command current, while also preparing SOF units for large scale operations” he said.
Most Special Operations require non-SOF assistance. Green Berets in 10th SFG(A) fully used Soldiers from conventional units, such as Air Force intelligence, Air Force pilots and units across 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) to successfully complete the mission and enhance joint capabilities.