FORT BRAGG, NC – Family, friends, and Soldiers both past and present, gathered at Meadows Memorial Plaza, Nov. 7, to commemorate the sacrifice, patriotism, and heroism of the service members of Task Force Dagger, during a memorial stone dedication ceremony.
It is because of the actions of the men of Task Force Dagger in Afghanistan from October 2001 to April 2002, which led to the fall of a terrorist government in Central Asia and eviction of al Qaeda leadership from Afghanistan, that they are being memorialized in stone.
“I would like to thank each and every one of you who made it out here today to honor this great event in honor of some great men,” said Lt. Gen John F. Mulholland, deputy commanding general, U.S. Special Operations Command. “This day, the men of Task Force Dagger are truly walking in the footsteps of giants as we are recognized with the other members of Special Operation Forces in this memorial plaza.”
Soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Task Force Dagger was directed to conduct Special Operations missions in support of a number of Northern Alliance commanders in Afghanistan, and to work with them to gain their active assistance in overthrowing the Taliban regime.
“As we rolled that task into one machine it was absolutely phenomenal. All of our joint brothers in arms were absolutely amazing,” said Mulholland.
Mulholland chronologically described each and every moment of emphasis that changed the outcome of the task force and the importance of each of them. One point made was that of the role of the families.
“We are twelve years into this and we have a very solid process and great support. But, that was not the way it was when we had our first casualties—it was all starting from scratch,” said Mulholland. “The ladies of 5th Special Forces Group had to figure that out, all of whom were exceptional, and figured it out is just what they did. For the exceptional job that they accomplished, I would like to say thank you.”
“This day is about the commemoration of Task Force Dagger. This represents our place in history. We have extraordinary men who took on our nation’s most difficult and dangerous enemies,” said Mulholland. “It was the men on those alpha-teams and their interagency counterparts figuring it out on the ground—guiding us, informing us, and letting us shape and bring things together when we saw opportunities.”
For its actions, Task Force Dagger earned the Joint Meritorious Unit Award while its subordinate units earned six Presidential Unit Citations and four Valorous Unit Awards.
“The nation is truly in debt to these men, to 5th Special Forces Group, and the Night Stalkers who flew incredibly perilous missions; to our AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] brothers in the fixed wing world, combat controllers, Para Jumpers and weathermen, and all of this coming together with our interagency partners to get the job done on behalf of our country,” said Mulholland. “If there is one strategic lesson to take away from this is when the United States brings all of the elements and capability powers together there is nothing that can stop us – nothing can stand in our way.”