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Anonymous Letter Discussion and General Kurt Sonntags rebuttal (MERGED)

twobare

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#1
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amlove21

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#2
These issues are constantly on the forefront of every schoolhouse and training program in the military- not just SOF. For SOF, yes, the volume gets turned up on a lot of these because they're wrapped up in the Id and Ego of those that work there. Maintaining standards, personal accountability, adherence to a proud tradition of training and training the right way- these aren't just things we say in mission statements they're tenets and pillars of every SOF culture and something the individuals in that culture personally identify with. For a lot, those things are the very reasons why you signed up in the first place.

I want to point out that none of the claims made in the anonymous email have been substantiated. A lot of us on the board here have friends that work at the school, friends that just graduated, etc., and at least for me a couple of the reactions have been mixed. Like with everything else, "truth" lies on the midline of a lot of differing accounts.

In the end, decisions can get made at the command level that the Instructor staff feels are wrong. Instructors are typically very motivated and doing the instructor gig because they care deeply about the community and want to make it better. Sometimes, command can make a call that the instructors don't agree with and those deeply bought in Alpha type dudes see it as a personal affront, or an affront to the community or history or the standards or whatever. And neither side is technically wrong; and neither side is technically right, either.

ETA- Spelling, cause I haz the dum
 
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Teufel

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#3
I know that everyone reads the SOF truths but sometimes commanders have a fuzzy recollection of them when they are trapped inside the gap that often exists between graduation rates and manpower requirements. Especially when they usually evaluated against tangible factors like throughput goals.
 
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amlove21

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#4
I know that everyone reads the SOF truths but sometimes commanders have a fuzzy recollection of them when they are trapped inside the gap that often exists between graduation rates and manpower requirements. Especially when they usually evaluated against tangible factors like throughput goals.
This.

Now, imagine if you will, that the commanders we are speaking of are not actually beret wearing special operators. Imagine, instead, that those commanders might not even know those SOF truths, and are only concerned with student throughput.

Not to derail the thread, but that's my life.
 

Raksasa Kotor

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#5
This.

Now, imagine if you will, that the commanders we are speaking of are not actually beret wearing special operators. Imagine, instead, that those commanders might not even know those SOF truths, and are only concerned with student throughput.

Not to derail the thread, but that's my life.
We're dealing with a similar issue. Our MQC was completely shut down a few years ago when a previous AFSOC CC tried to divest our capability. When he retired, we were directed to switch back to our primary mission set - but there was no operational pause. MQC was turned back on nearly overnight, but severely curtailed in the interest of throughput. Assessment and selection was non-existent at first, and primarily administrative later. We've since managed to shuffle most of the folks hired during that period off to other assignments, but we're still feeling ripple effects.

The unit owns A&S, and it has since been completely overhauled into something appropriate. MQC however, is owned by another organization (that also runs courses for other mission sets) - and continues to be a slow fight.
 

amlove21

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#6
We're dealing with a similar issue. Our MQC was completely shut down a few years ago when a previous AFSOC CC tried to divest our capability. When he retired, we were directed to switch back to our primary mission set - but there was no operational pause. MQC was turned back on nearly overnight, but severely curtailed in the interest of throughput. Assessment and selection was non-existent at first, and primarily administrative later. We've since managed to shuffle most of the folks hired during that period off to other assignments, but we're still feeling ripple effects.

The unit owns A&S, and it has since been completely overhauled into something appropriate. MQC however, is owned by another organization (that also runs courses for other mission sets) - and continues to be a slow fight.
Frustrating, isn't it?

I feel the pain of the SWCS instructors "trying to do the right thing" and having a difference of opinion (not to disparage what @TLDR20 said about how endemic the problem is) with their command. If there is some goodness to be had, it's at least you all learn together and you can all make your culture better.

But it's even worse when you have instructors pounding a table saying "THIS ISN'T THE WAY WE DO THINGS!!!" and having those decisions flow from people that have literally zero experience.
 

DA SWO

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#7
We're dealing with a similar issue. Our MQC was completely shut down a few years ago when a previous AFSOC CC tried to divest our capability. When he retired, we were directed to switch back to our primary mission set - but there was no operational pause. MQC was turned back on nearly overnight, but severely curtailed in the interest of throughput. Assessment and selection was non-existent at first, and primarily administrative later. We've since managed to shuffle most of the folks hired during that period off to other assignments, but we're still feeling ripple effects.

The unit owns A&S, and it has since been completely overhauled into something appropriate. MQC however, is owned by another organization (that also runs courses for other mission sets) - and continues to be a slow fight.
Frustrating, isn't it?

STTS?

I feel the pain of the SWCS instructors "trying to do the right thing" and having a difference of opinion (not to disparage what @TLDR20 said about how endemic the problem is) with their command. If there is some goodness to be had, it's at least you all learn together and you can all make your culture better.

But it's even worse when you have instructors pounding a table saying "THIS ISN'T THE WAY WE DO THINGS!!!" and having those decisions flow from people that have literally zero experience.
2 AF?
 

x SF med

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#10
With the current situation, I fully understand the reasoning behind the need for the "Quiet Professionalism" desired by SOF before the GWOT. The lack of general knowledge about the SOF and SMU units was a from of defense against the usurpation of training and standards by a politicized leadership. the lack of large scale media exposure (for the most part) was a from of camouflage from the public. From the 1950s to late 1990s very few non military people were even aware of the SOF units and their capabilities. Political leaders brought the media attention to these units in order to advance their careers, and since the media was involved, these units became a target for scrutiny by the uninitiated... a recipe for disaster. As the media circus grew rings, 'leaders' caved, instead of saying GTFO of my AO. Instead they said "Come and see the dogs and ponies, they're trained."

It spirals down from there...

Just my .02
 
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#12
U.S. Army Green Berets Accused From Within Of Lowering Standards

I found this article pretty interesting. Since this forum bears a reasonable amount of anonymity, I was wondering if anyone near or in the career had any thoughts of their own on this?

How Special Forces Bury the True Cost of America's Wars

This article seems to tag along nicely, accusing the blanket (special operating forces) of accepting simply more bodies, “[Special Operations Forces] have doubled in size and been deployed more often and for longer periods than ever before." as well as mentioning “SOF has become the US version of the French Foreign Legion,” said an Army Special Forces sergeant with over 25 years of service—who requested anonymity as he did not have permission to speak to the press. He was referring to the quasi-mercenary French military force that is separate from its national army and made up almost exclusively of non-French citizens. “The legion being ultimately a force that is not French. Ma and Pa in Paris or wherever, they don’t care if a bunch of Legionnaires get killed somewhere around the world because they’re not French anyway. That’s what SOF is like now.” and the above article a few remarks from anon-Green Berets stating similar things but directly about SF.

Search button....

Threads merged.
 

Ooh-Rah

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#14
Anyway, here's the thread. I'm locking this unless another staff member wants to merge the threads.
Since the OP started his duplicate thread with Links that are not part of this origional thread, I've merged them.
 

256

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#15
Grieving families lash out. Hindsight is 20/20. Mistakes were made. But one AC130 flying overwatch might've made the difference.
I’m going to guess that the whole mission in Africa is much bigger than we’re seeing, for good reason. Big assets bring big attention. Not so much from the media/news stand point. But when an asset gets pullled for something “more important” people start asking questions, then news outlets figure it out through their contacts/connections.

Anonymous Letter

I read the above letter. It’s pretty scary what some of the SF community are saying about their own community. Related to this incident or not, I have no idea. It’s way out of my league, but it made me wonder.
 

TacoTraplord

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#16
I’m going to guess that the whole mission in Africa is much bigger than we’re seeing, for good reason. Big assets bring big attention. Not so much from the media/news stand point. But when an asset gets pullled for something “more important” people start asking questions, then news outlets figure it out through their contacts/connections.

Anonymous Letter

I read the above letter. It’s pretty scary what some of the SF community are saying about their own community. Related to this incident or not, I have no idea. It’s way out of my league, but it made me wonder.
Reading the first few pages of that letter all I can think is: "sounds like the military as a whole"...
 

TacoTraplord

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#17
You are basing this on what? What they said in the explanatory article they released after the blowback from releasing the video?
I don't remember an article. I think it was just a response to someone asking why they released it.
 

DeadZeppelin

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#18
That "oversized logo" was to cover up the flag that was watermarked on the video, they also removed the audio because there was music in the form of propaganda and fake screams edited into the video.
Sofrep can try and spin it any way they want, at the end of the day they reposted terrorist propaganda with their logo on it in hopes of bolstering their companies revenue. Fuck sofrep.
The author of that letter (who called out operational SF guys by name, but decided to remain anonymous.) is clearly biased. IUW didn't exist 10 years ago, and now it's suddenly foundational to the training of every generation of Green Berets? Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

ETA: I went through IUW when gates and land nav were actually graded ie got you recycled for failing (which happened to close to half of my class), instead of how it is now. So I'm not just saying the above out of defense. I think there are problems, I just don't think it's as severe as portrayed in the letter.
 
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256

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#19
Sofrep can try and spin it any way they want, at the end of the day they reposted terrorist propaganda with their logo on it in hopes of bolstering their companies revenue. Fuck sofrep.


The author of that letter (who called out operational SF guys by name, but decided to remain anonymous.) is clearly biased. IUW didn't exist 10 years ago, and now it's suddenly foundational to the training of every generation of Green Berets? Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Ok, he’s biased. But who else would you want to give their opinion on this subject but the NCOs in charge of the selection and assessment process? It seems to me (very little military experience), a guy working in the school house would know if the process isn’t excelling like it should.

When a document like that is intentionally put out, they want people in power’s attention, right? Not only that, you can say it’s anonymous all you want, but the people in that community know what NCO(s) put that shit out. So they took great risk to their career and life style for that information (their opinion) to come out. Probably because they are passionate about the men/teams who they are sending men to. Who would know better if the process is working or not? Certainly isn’t me, it’s only the people involved. My take on the letter (my opinion only) it seems like a cry for help, not a badge protection. We’re not talking about a EIB here (I’ve seen a lot of EIB badge protecting nonsense). We’re talking about the men in place complaining that they MUST put guys through because the demand for unconventional Warfare is so high. SOF (Army SF specifically; direct action, training other nation’s armies, reconnaissance, and name 5 other things) has a very demanding mission set. I’m only curious if members of that community see things happening that these NCOs put out in their 14 page letter. Is there real mission evidence showing lacking skills as put out in the letter? I’m not asking for details or even a yes or no, just my general curiosity.

What the soldiers/commanders/TL did or didn’t do isn’t anyone’s business unless you’re part of that community OR/ARE in a place to be able to correct the shortcomings.
 

AWP

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#20
Sofrep can try and spin it any way they want, at the end of the day they reposted terrorist propaganda with their logo on it in hopes of bolstering their companies revenue. Fuck sofrep.


The author of that letter (who called out operational SF guys by name, but decided to remain anonymous.) is clearly biased. IUW didn't exist 10 years ago, and now it's suddenly foundational to the training of every generation of Green Berets? Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Agree on sofrep.

We've had a few SF members in good standing here echo the author's comments about the process and personnel mentioned. Is the truth in the middle? Perhaps. Not being involved but trusting the word of people I have no reason to doubt, I tend to err on the side of the author. Knowing your background I won't dispute any difference of opinion on this topic, I'll leave that to a team room and 18 series better equipped to handle the discussion. Unless proven otherwise, my otusider's opinion is biased towards the letter's author.

Also, fuck sofrep.

ETA: we have a thread or two on the letter, so we should probably take any discussion on it out of this thread.