Rough Time for SF Over There, and Here

We’ve been losing a lot of people (for us), and other SOF units have been hit hard as well. Multiple deaths in SF are rare, and with such a small group, every death stings. The absolute lack of regard or respect from the E-Ring for the actual guys being sent to these actions stings additionally. Here’s two of ’em, from 10th Group:


Capt. Andrew D. Byers, 30, of Rolesville, N.C., and Sgt. 1st Class Ryan A. Gloyer, 34, of Greenville, Penn., died of wounds sustained while fighting enemy forces in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the Army says.

Byers and Gloyer — Green Berets — were assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at the Mountain Post. Both were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal, according to a Fort Carson spokeswoman.

Here’s a little more on Byers, originally from upstate New York. Young, upcoming guy. His father says:

My son was the commander of a Special Forces HALO team and this was his third deployment. He was scheduled to return in early December. Special Forces was his dream. He was a good kid and grew to be a great man.”

He’s survived by a twin sister in New York and a wife and family in North Carolina.

Konduz was 100% pacified by December, 2001. We didn’t have a guy get shot at there for a good ten years. Now it’s Game On; along with Byers and Gloyer, four other Yanks were wounded, and dozens of Afghans killed and wounded alongside them. They were hit hard as soon as they disembarked from utility helicopters and fell to small arms fire.

There was another guy, a medic, who fell in a green-on-blue recently.

One frustrating thing about this is the complete absence of this war in the priorities of those who, for personal aggrandizement or greed, make themselves “leaders.” Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter doesn’t care, although he would if the guys wanted breast implants rather than air support. He’s focused on social engineering and always has been. The President doesn’t care — he’s more concerned about the cares of criminals sent to prison for actual crimes.

The candidates for President don’t care. One of them wants the wars to stop, and the other, who has a couple of wars that practically have her own name on them, is well known for her contempt for those who fight them: when one dies, “what difference does it make?” It doesn’t put money in her family’s pocket. so it’s of no consequence.

Inserted Update

whitcherWe knew there was another casualty we wanted to mention. SSG David Whitcher died in a training mishap in open water at the SF Combat Diver Course in Key West. After 5 years in the NH National Guard, Whitcher went active duty in 2013 and volunteered for SF in 2015. He graduated from SFQC this year, and was assigned to C/2/7th SFG(A) at Eglin AFB before transferring to the SCUBA school unit, C/2/1st Special Warfare Training Group.

The school commander, MG James Linder, called Whitcher’s death, “a sobering reminder of the dangerous training our soldiers undertake to prepare themselves for the rigors of Special Forces.” Fair enough, General. We extend our condolences to his family, friends, and teammates in this unhappy time. Let us celebrate his life.

/end of Update.

Meanwhile, SF’s history got hit hard at home. Drew Brooks in The Fayetteville Observer:

Filing cabinets sit open with fans trained on the papers inside.

Books have been piled up to be sorted and salvaged at a future date.

They sit atop display cases, filled with patches, berets and artifacts from wars from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cliff Newman walks through it all, occasionally pausing to thumb through a book or peak at debris stored in plastic bags.

“We’re still kind of in a state of shock,” he said.

Newman, executive director of the Special Forces Association, said the nonprofit was hit particularly hard by the floodwaters that came with Hurricane Matthew last month.

The 52-year-old association’s compound off Doc Bennett Road – which includes picnic areas, a memorial garden and office space – was covered in nearly five feet of water at the flooding’s peak.

Nearby Rockfish Creek, located down a steep embankment from the roughly 20-acre compound, rose 40 feet to flood all but a small chapel and rows of memorial stones, Newman said.

“It was like a big lake,” he said. “It just surged right in here and flowed back out again.”

They have calculated the surge at 46 feet. The creek is way below the location of the Association compound. But with the floods, a bend in the creek bottled up the flow just enough to trash a half-century plus of history.

There is no flood insurance. (Who gets flood insurance when the normal water line is fifty feet lower?) but basic insurance will cover one building that engineers are calling destroyed, and repairs to another that was damaged. Even today, power, computer networking, and water to the site have not been fully restored. It’s a colossal mess.

SFA has since gotten some professional help with some aspects of the recovery. After several years of database pruning and maintenance, the Association’s data was in good shape, but there was no off-site back-up; the hard drives are supposed to be passed to a specialized recovery firm.

Saddam’s Revenge?

“It’s a little stale,” Newman said, commenting on the musty smell of the once-flooded building.

Parts of the walls are missing. Each room is stacked with piles of debris, some of which will be salvaged. Some is too destroyed to keep.

Ruined electronics are stacked amid piles of plastic bags, destroyed magazines – archives of the association’s quarterly Drop magazine – and documents which dated to the 1960s.

In another room, a bust of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, one arm outstretched, gazes at the damage.

Awards and mementos from many a Special Forces career are disheveled amid the still-drying display cases. Photos and posters, some decades old and tracing the history of Special Forces, are stacked on top of them.

There are flags, uniforms and traditional clothing from around the world.

“Some of this is salvageable and some isn’t,” Newman said. “Some of this is irreplaceable. It’s history.”

Well, so is Saddam. And the Association will rebuild.

30 thoughts on “Rough Time for SF Over There, and Here

  1. ambiguousfrog

    Thanks for sharing this. I look at their faces and realize their leadership (politicians) just don’t give a shit. As a civi we’re (most not all) disconnected from what is going on in the rest of the world. When Bushie was in it was plastered all over the news on a daily basis along with Harry “thewarislost” Reid. It is a sad state of affairs. We’ve been over their 15+ years and where are the results? IMO we need to get the hell out. I see no goal in Afghanistan at this point. Did we take out the primary bad guys? Can we remain vigilant and not have our fellow Americans remain in a third world shi*hole? The bad guys are gonna keep coming, can’t we reinforce our own perimeter at home? I have a kid coming of age and he “thinks” he wants to go into SOF after high school. Is it wrong for me as a father to discourage him with all the ass clowns we have running the asylum? He’s a patriot and I raised him right at a time when this country was united. Some days he still puts the flag out when I just don’t know if what it represents exists anymore. I’m selfish but wouldn’t be so if I just knew our goals as of today.

    Would you recommend it or could he survive it with all the “diversity” and gender nonsense going on? Or would they eat em’ up for doing the right thing? Sorry for the rant, it is frustrating and discouraging to watch it all circle the drain.

    1. Air

      No it’s not wrong. I’m a vet, my father and his father are vets. I tried to discourage my son, but joining up is on his list of possibilities, but he’s got aps in for a few police forces. Yeah, another safe profession with all the support in the world from our “leadership”. You just have to support him when he decides to go anyway, as you know you will… Good luck.

    2. QuietMan

      No, it’s not. When the war started, I was recalled to AD. Two of my kids were in high school and one in junior high. They’re all vets now, and my daughter was wounded along the way. I retired and it’s still going on.

      The middle kid (Eight years Infantry, B4 identifier, on the list for SFC.) came down on orders for recruiting. He called and said “I can’t put people in this mess in good conscience.” After some discussion of options, including SOF, he signed a dec statement.

      It’s now PermaWar, and you’re right to keep your kid away from it. It’s not just the diversity, it’s the lack of national focus and the setting of conditions that are deliberately designed to prevent victory, i.e., Global War on [an] Emotion. After retirement, I was at the embassy in Baghdad, with a son in Iraq and a daughter in Afghanistan. Studying and watching the disconnect between State, Defense, and reality (as I saw it) was appalling. One of those three is either insane, mendacious, or dynamically anti-clueful.

      When my wife and I discussed this, I told her it saddened me to be at the age where I’m no longer the go to action guy. That torch has passed on to the next generation. The military is no longer what I referred to as “finishing school for properly raised children.” I catch a lot of grief for this quote, but it applies, I think:

      “Teach your children quietly, for some day sons and daughters,
      will rise up and fight while we stood still.”

      You will do a better job than Mistress Nanny with him.

      Sorry so long, but I’ve needed to get that out for a long time. Apologies for using your site.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Never feel like you have to apologize for a thoughtful, heartfelt comment. They’re the reason I read my own blog most days!

    3. Aesop

      If he’s bound and determined to enter the military, do these things:
      Make it excrutiatingly clear that it’s far better to do Lieutenant time than PFC time, and get him to finish college first. In any degree field that might interest him. Four or five years’ time may get you a military freed from the current lunatics, and headed back on track. If not, it’ll still give him a chance to mature. If he still goes in, the pay is better as an officer than an enlisted man, at minimum.
      Secondly, if at all possible, and concurrent with the last paragraph, get him to gain a private pilot’s license and some goodly number of hours. Starting with gliding before power is even better, in that it’ll teach him the fundamentals of flight better, and it’s probably financially easier to start with gliding before tackling the expense of the PPL.

      If you can accomplish A and B, and four or so years down the line, he’s still got the military bug, I point out two things:
      The Air Force, being the least service-like of the services, has been less ruined lately, because they had so little of the warrior ethos to ruin. They might be a better choice.
      If he’s not interested in that, I point out in hindsight that unlike the primary services, the Coast Guard does a valuable job every day, is highly unlikely to find its members in the SWAsia meatgrinder, and for bonus points, he’ll spend a term there actually doing his mission every day, whereas the primary services spend no small part of time, and more in peacetime, just training for theirs.

      If none of those points avail, and he’s bound and determined to kill people and break things, much as we all decry the rot that has set in, AF Pararescue, the Marines’ combat arms, Seals, Rangers, and the Special Forces have and will continue to resist the PC nonsense that’s been foisted upon the military, and of lifesaving necessity will continue to. If he’s planning on entry, and nothing else will dissuade him, accept no substitutes for those options.

      YMMV, but that’s the advice I’d give anyone in your position.

      1. John Distai

        Sounds like advice my dad gave to me, except for the pilot’s license thing. That was of course after he got done screaming that no child of his would join the #$#@!^ military. He was a Vietnam-era Army draftee, and didn’t have pleasant words for the experience.

        The irony is to this day I regret following his advice and staying out. But then again, I’m reminded that it’s a moot point anyhow, since I wouldn’t have passed the medical tests due to foot problems and unknown metabolic issues.

      2. Boat Guy

        The last time we were in a fix like this older son was just coming on draft-age and it looked like our Balkan Adventure was gonna be the next ‘Nam. I told him “You are NOT allowed to be drafted! If you are called you get your ass down to USMC and enlist. If you screw up and are drafted get to SF as fast as you can.”
        Now with younger son still in the reserves after one bump to Anbar I want him to STAY HOME and be ready for the war that’s likely HERE.
        And sorry to say the Chair Force may be “less ruined lately” but EXCEPT for AFSOF they had the shortest road to go to be “in compliance” with the LightBringer. USMC is still holding the line the firmest. That said, my counsel is still to stay the hell away unless/until this gets sorted – whcih is very unlikely.

    4. John Distai

      Several years ago I saw some article stating that the U.S. Geological Service has done mineral surveys of Afghanistan, and determined that the area contains trillions of dollars worth of minerals.

      I contemplated that for a moment – What are they doing there, and why would we care about minerals if we are “fighting terror”? Then I pondered if we were really there to “tame the barbarians” and monetize the spoils. I know that even though members of my family may long for the adventure, we would not share in the plunder, only the pain.

  2. Hillbilly

    You know there will be casualties, but it still doesn’t make much easier. If anything it’s harder now that I’m retired.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Yeah, I saw tonight confirmation that at least one of the three KIAs was from Group. That means there’s a strong possibility the others were as well. Press is reporting it as green on blue.

  3. DaveP

    Respects to all three men, and condolences to their communities and Group. Hold hard, fellas.

    Although I love the water, stories of CD school scare the beejeezus out of me.

    1. Hillbilly

      I was assigned to a Dive team when I did OJT after SFAS.
      Not to long after I got there and with all the tabbed guys doing language refresher the Team Sgt. asked “Hey you want to go to Pre-Scuba?” In my not so infinite wisdom I said “Sure, it can’t be that bad.” It literally turned me off swimming for fun, I haven’t been in a pool voluntarily since 2001.
      Given the choice I’d rather do SFAS again.

  4. Matt

    What happened to the A Team guy who was KIA in Kenya recently? I haven’t read much ! more about it.

  5. John M.

    These were great men. And their memories are insulted by the politicians who seem determined to make their deaths a sacrifice for nothing at all.

    -John M.

  6. Keith

    I honor all those who serve and sacrifice past, present and future. Father please be with out service men and women where ever they are. Amen.

    TY to the vets who post here and to you Hognose.

  7. Tom Stone

    Our Country can not afford to lose too many men like this, there are never enough.
    I hope they had kids, for the future of our Country.
    As to Ash Carter and his ilk, may they be gang raped by syphilitic banana slugs and then sold to Somali brothel owners.

  8. Quill_&_Blade

    I was driving across town, doing errands, when I come upon the old Knoxville High School. Out front is a statue that I think a relative told me was Alvin York. I’ve driven by for 20 years and not stopped. But lately, I’ve been inspired by certain situations, it’s not expedient to describe the details, except to say that things have to be kept in separate mental folders. Some things in life are so good they’re over the top, off the charts, and other things are just the opposite, some are downright edgy. So it is, I thought man! Stop, check this out. I parked the truck and got some pictures. The inscriptions don’t say anything about Sergeant York, but the words below the statue are chilling in their foresight. And here I was wondering if there would be a relative post to show them.
    I’m forever delighted and burdened by philosophical contemplation. Some situations are screaming for people to be more binary…hello, wake up people. If X is true, the Y is about to follow! Time to face it, no other option. Other times people are the opposite, too binary. I leave room for reasonable patriotism, but am put off by blind jingoism, by people who can’t accept that the motives of governments going to war are not always in the peoples’ interest. Really skeptical of that. So when I read the words, I had a little chill. See what you think. As I said, I have more pictures.

    1. James F.

      Knoxville’s WW1 memorial, dedicated in 1921, might have been meant for Alvin York, who was certainly a Tennessean. I found some more pictures and a copy of the inscription:

      DEDICATION: This monument perpetuates the memory of our beloved comrades who, true to the instincts of their birth, faith to the teachings of their fathers, constant in their love of country, made the supreme sacrifice in the performance of their duty; who have glorified the great cause of freedom by the simple manhood of their lives. The patient endurance of suffering and the heroism of death, and who, in the darkest hours of the world’s conflict, in the hopelessness of the hospital in the short sharp agony of the battlefield found support and consultation in the belief that at home they would not be forgotten.

      Let the Americans of another generation who may in future time pause to ear this inscription recognize that when reverses followed reverses, when want displaced plenty, when mourning for the flower of the world’s manhood darkened countless homes.

      When governments tottered and chaos threatened, these men were steadfast and unafraid, unshaken in their patriotism, uncomplaining in sacrifice, true to the cause, in which they perished that these men taught them how to live and how to die. That their sacrifice was not in vain. For we have preserved for our children the priceless treasure of their memories. Teaching all that truth, courage and patriotism endure forever.

  9. Alan Ward

    Thanks for sharing all these comments and pictures. I too read each day for the insightful, patriotic comment and the thought provoking words. As we approach Remembrance Day here in the GWN, and your Veterans Day, I give thanks both privately and publicly for all those who have and who will sacrifice their time, effort, blood, sweat and unfortunately lives on my behalf. I’m in so many ways not worthy of their sacrifice, as so many of us are not, yet they still go forth and give it anyway.
    Greater Love…..

  10. Aesop

    Not to worry.
    Ass Carter is sending the groups an emergency resupply of transgenders and Barbies to pick up the slack for these two fallen heroes.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  11. jlhulme

    I’ve visited here for quite sometime..SSG Whitcher – hometown kid -worked with his dad-have 13 yrs+/-
    time in the green machine-have a son whose done the degree route, passed on the officer option, long & short..AFSOF,on loan to an alphabet unit with 12 yrs in..tried all the “talks”..he’s been down range more than i care to think..i get him home this Thanksgiving..i’m so damn lucky..Bud Whitcher isn’t. i’m not sure if there are any words of wisdom for our sons & daughters to consider…it seems we all did what was called for..they just followed us..who am i to judge the code that they adopted..sorry for the ramble..

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