Army Special Forces aren’t the Green Berets — they’re better 

At least 150 Taliban swarmed in front and around him when Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller of the U.S. Army Special Forces charged them on a cold Afghanistan morning in January 2008 to provide cover for the retreat of his fellow Green Berets and a dozen members of the Afghan National Forces.

They were on patrol in a valley that harbored a Taliban compound. After calling in air strikes on the compound, Miller, who was 24 years old, and his unit headed toward it to inspect the damage. That’s when they were ambushed, surrounded and subjected to deadly plunging fire from three sides by insurgents.

In a White House ceremony last October, President Barack Obama described what happened after Miller charged toward the enemy:

“Rob made a decision.  He called for his team to fall back.  And then he did something extraordinary.  Rob moved in the other direction — toward the enemy, drawing their guns away from his team and bringing the fire of all those insurgents down upon himself.

“The fighting was ferocious.  Rob seemed to disappear into clouds of dust and debris, but his team could hear him on the radio, still calling out the enemy’s position.  And they could hear his weapon still firing as he provided cover for his men.

“And then, over the radio, they heard his voice. He had been hit.  But still, he kept calling out enemy positions. Still, he kept firing. Still, he kept throwing his grenades. And then they heard it — Rob’s weapon fell silent.”
But his men lived to fight another day. Obama posthumously awarded Miller the Medal of Honor, which was received Oct. 6 by his parents.

Miller’s courage earned him the nation’s highest honor, but just since the 9/11 attacks, members of the U.S. Army Special Forces have been awarded nearly 1,500 medals, including two Distinguished Service Crosses, 90 Silver Stars and more than 500 Bronze Stars.

Brig. Gen. Ed Reeder commands the Army Special Forces, based at Fort Bragg. He’s served multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Panama, and says his basic job, besides equipping, training and deploying his men, is making the American public aware of the crucial importance of Special Forces capabilities in dealing with threats characterized by unconventional warfare. 

He beams when he talks about his men, adding that “we even had an F-18 Hornet pilot who came over to Special Forces.”

An Army unit that can lure Navy fighter pilots is special indeed.

Mark Tapscott is editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner.

About The Author

Mark Tapscott

Pin It

Speaking of...

More by Mark Tapscott

Latest in Guest Columns

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation