FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, June 3, 2008) – Donning the green beret, receiving the sacred Special Forces tab and the continuation of a legacy.
As Staff Sgt. Thomas R. Biddle graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course on May 30, his father, 1st Sgt Thomas C. Biddle, a first sergeant for Headquarters Detachment, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), watched on with pride.
Being Special Forces is an honor in itself, but to be a father-son duo in the same unit is even more of a rarity. 1st Sgt. Biddle and his son are both apart of 1st SWTG(A) and the timing worked out in a perfect manner.
Twenty-one years ago 1st Sgt. Biddle stood in the same place, joining the regiment as a Special Forces medical sergeant. Although the ceremony has become much more elaborate since then, the honor is the same.
“I am happy that they are giving these young Soldiers more recognition upon graduation. This becomes a life-long profession for many of them and it should start out with significant recognition.”
1st Sgt. Biddle has made Special Forces a life-long career. He has served as a medic for 16 years in 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and 1st SWTG(A). He then went on to serve as the assistant operations sergeant for two years on Operation Detachment-Alpha 792. Before becoming the HHD, 1st Bn, 1st SWTG(A) first sergeant, he held the position of team sergeant on ODA 775.
Naturally, it was a proud moment for 1st Sgt. Biddle when he learned his son would follow in his footsteps.
“I am proud that he is following in my steps and hope that he can learn from the experiences I have had in this career,” said 1st Sgt. Biddle. “It is my hope that I can share the many lessons I have learned over the years to aid him in having the most rewarding career possible. It is extremely hard for me to not be the ‘meddling father’ but I think I can control myself and let him forge his own path. After all, he has arrived at where he is of his own accord, and I am sure he wants to make his own way and form his own reputation in the future.”
Staff Sgt. Biddle always knew Special Forces was not only in his blood, but in his heart as well. “I always knew I wanted to be a Green Beret, but wanted to have time and experience in the regular Army beforehand,” said Staff Sgt. Biddle.
“I wanted to be a Green Beret so I could have the opportunity to do my job in the Army in a more independent manner without the constraints of traditional military thinking,” said Staff Sgt. Biddle.
Just because Staff Sgt. Biddle is dedicated to Special Forces it did not make the Special Forces Qualification Course, SFQC, easy. There were many obstacles that he had to overcome.
“The biggest obstacle was probably trying to keep up with the fast paced learning environment of the SFQC,” he said. “You commonly hear the SFQC learning experience referred to as ‘drinking water from a fire hose. A lot of dedication and constantly reminding myself to stay focused on the task at hand helped me overcome this obstacle.”
Nevertheless, Staff Sgt. Biddle crossed the stage as a Special Forces weapons sergeant and was greeted by his father. He said he could not have made it that far without help from his family and friends.
“I’m most grateful for the support of my family and the opportunity to share the experience of the SFQC with a good group of Soldiers,” he said.