GUESTS TO RECOGNIZE

 

GEN(R) LINDSAY

LTG TANGNEY

LTG & MRS. MCNEILL

LTG(R) YARBOROUGH & MRS. PARTAIN

OTHER FLAG AND GENERAL OFFICERS

MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER - COL (RETIRED) OLA LEE MIZE

MAYOR ADCOCK (SPRING LAKE)

MAYOR DEAVER (HOPE MILLS)

MEMBERS OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS ASSOCIATION

MEMBERS OF THE SPECIAL FORCES ASSOCIATION

FRIENDS OF SOF

DISTINGUISHED GUESTS

FRIENDS AND FAMILIES

SOLDIERS OF US ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

 

VETERANS OF MAC-V SOG

 

THANKS FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.  YOU HONOR US WITH YOUR PRESENCE.

 

(PAUSE)

THIS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE DAYS THAT YOU WILL NEVER FORGET

 

    IT CERTAINLY WON'T BE BECAUSE MY SPEECH IS SO ELOQUENT OR BECAUSE THE CEREMONY IS SO FLAWLESS AND IMPRESSIVE.....NO, IT WILL BE ONE OF THOSE VERY

SPECIAL DAYS THAT YOU'LL REMEMBER FOREVER BECAUSE OF THE RARE AND EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE ASSEMBLED HERE SO WE CAN PAY A DEBT THAT IS LONG

OVERDUE.....

 

    SUCH A COLLECTION OF BONAFIDE SPECIAL OPERATIONS WARRIORS..... WHOSE STORY HAS FOR SO LONG STAYED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, MEN WHO CONTRIBUTED SO GREATLY IN THE MOST DANGEROUS POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENT.....GETTING TOGETHER THIS UNIQUE GROUP OF REAL SPECIAL OPERATIONS WARRIORS, BUT I DOUBT IF IT WAS EVER IN PUBLIC.....

 

    TODAY WILL BE EVEN MORE IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE ARE BLESSED TO HAVE THE MAJORITY OF THE FORMER COMMANDERS OF SOG PRESENT OR REPRESENTED.....

ADDITIONALLY WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE MANY OF THOSE FEW, WHO STILL SERVE ON ACTIVE DUTY.....INCLUDING THE HIGHEST RANKING MEMBER OF SOG WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO STILL BE SERVING, CURRENTLY AS THE DCINC IN SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND TAMPA, MY GOOD FRIEND, LIEUTENANT GENERAL BILL TANGNEY.

 

    AND TODAY'S AUDIENCE IS FULL OF THOSE WHO WORKED WITH SOG, SUPPORTED SOG OR PULLED OFF SOME PRETTY HAIRY MISSIONS THEMSELVES IN VIETNAM OR OTHER WARS, BATTLES AND AOR'S AND WE ARE PLEASED TO HAVE THEM WITH US.

 

 

    SO AS I SAID, THIS IS PROBABLY THE BEST GATHERING OF REAL SOF GUYS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM SINCE SOMEONE ACCIDENTLY SAID THERE WAS FREE BEER AT THE GREEN

BERET CLUB.

 

    FIRST LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR THAT I AM ABSOLUTELY HONORED THAT I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE YOUR HOST.....SO LET ME START BY THANKING THE GUY THAT

REALLY MADE ALL THIS POSSIBLE AND THAT IS MAJOR (RETIRED), SOG VETERAN, JOHN L. PLASTER.....NOT ONLY HAS JOHN PUBLISHED AN INCREDIBLE BOOK ON THE EXPLOITS OF SOG,.....ESPECIALLY INTRIGUING IS THE PHOTO HISTORY EDITION, BUT HE WORKED TIRELESSLY

AGAINST ALL ODDS TO MAKE THIS PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION AWARD HAPPEN.....JOHN.....EVERY PERSON HERE TODAY IS INDEBTED TO YOU FOR YOUR WONDERFUL

PUBLICATIONS AND YOUR DEDICATION TO MAKING THIS DAY HAPPEN FOR YOURSELF AND ALL THESE GREAT VETERANS.....

 

    AS YOU MAY KNOW, WE HAVE HAD A SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE COIN MINTED JUST FOR TODAY AND LATER IN THE CEREMONY IT WILL BE MY PRIVILEGE TO AWARD YOU THE VERY FIRST ONE.....FROM ALL HERE, THANKS..(APPLAUSE)

 

    BUT THE REAL REASON WE ARE GATHERED, IS THE AWARD OF THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION.....

 

    NOW EARLIER YOU HEARD RON AMAN SAY THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION IS ONLY GIVEN TO UNITS THAT DISPLAY GALLANTRY, DETERMINATION, AND ESPRIT D'CORPS IN ACCOMPLISHING IT'S MISSION UNDER DIFFICULT AND HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS THAT

SET IT APART.....

 

    NOW LET'S SEE.....DEEP BEHIND ENEMY LINES, VIETNAM, COMBODIA, AND LAOS.....SPECIAL RECONNAISANCE ON THE HO-CHI-MIN TRAIL, CALLING IN B-52 STRIKES.....SEARCH AND RESCUE OF DOWNED PILOTS IN THE JUNGLE, DESTRUCTION OR RECOVERY OF SENSITIVE EQUIPMENT.....SABOTAGE, RAIDS AND EVEN PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS, COASTAL AND UNDERWATER OPERATIONS AND INTEL GATHERING TO NAME A FEW.....YES I'D SAY THAT QUALIFIES.....NOT TO MENTION THE ABILITY TO TIE DOWN THOUSANDS OF ENEMY THAT COULD BE ENGAGED IN OTHER COMBAT WHILE THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR SOG.....

 

    BUT THERE IS, IN MY OPINION A BIGGER CONTRIBUTION AND THAT IS THE GUILE AND AUDACITY TO TAKE THE WAR TO WHERE THEY ENEMY LIVES.....TO GET AT HIS SANCTUARY, TO MAKE HIM REACT TO TAKE AWAY HIS SAFE AND SECURE ENVIRONMENT.....TO GIVE HIM THE CHILLS AS HE'S WALKING DOWN THAT LONG JUNGLE

TRAIL AT NIGHT.....NOT KNOWING IF AROUND THE CORNER MEMBERS OF SOG ARE WAITING.....IT DOESN'T TAKE MANY AND IT DOESN'T TAKE OFTEN BUT IT DOES TAKE MEN OF STEEL WILLING TO TAKE THE RISK, WILLING TO MAKE THE TRIP.....

 

    THOSE ARE IN FACT THE MEN WE HAVE GATHERED HERE TODAY TO HONOR.....AS YOU KNOW MANY ARE NOT HERE.. ...SOME COULD NOT MAKE THE TRIP FROM FAR AWAY HOMES, OTHERS ARE NO LONGER WITH US AND OF COURSE A GOOD NUMBER NEVER CAME HOME FROM

VIETNAM AND ARE HONORED WITH OUR OTHER 58,220 AMERICANS ON THE WALL" IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL.....

 

    FOR THOSE THAT COULD NOT MAKE THE TRIP, IT IS OUR INTENTION TO SEND REMEMBRANCES OF TODAY'S CEREMONY AS WELL AS THEIR AWARD AND CITATION TO AS MANY AS WE CAN FIND.....

 

    SO.....IT IS FITTING THAT TODAY WE TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO HONOR, WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION, MEMBERS OF THE STUDIES AND OBSERVATION

GROUP.....IT IS EQUALLY AS FITTING THAT TO GET HERE MANY OF YOU DROVE DOWN ZABITOWSKI ROAD.....AND IF YOU CAME BY MY HEADQUARTERS, YOU SAW AN AWFUL GOOD LIKENESS OF DICK MEADOWS IN A STATUE AND AS WE PRESENT THESE TOKENS, WE WILL DO SO IN THE SHADOW OF THE GREAT BULL SIMONS,.....ALL MEMBERS OF SOG.. ...AND AS THE STORIES OF THEIR EXPLOITS CONTINUE TO LEAK OUT, I'M SURE THAT THESE ARE JUST A FEW OF THE MANY THINGS THAT WILL BE COMMEMORATED FOR THE GREAT HEROES OF SOG.....

 

    SOG CONTRIBUTED MUCH MORE THAN JUST THEIR PROWESS ON THE BATTLEFIELD.....FOR THEY HAVE GIVEN US A LEGACY.....TODAY MANY OF THE TACTICS, TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES WE USE WERE PIONEERED BY MEMBERS OF SOG.....SOME OF THEIR EQUIPMENT WAS THE FORERUNNER OF THE EQUIPMENT WE USE AND MANY OF THE MEMBERS OF SOG CAME BACK AND THEY BECAME THE PLANK HOLDERS, THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF TODAY'S VERY SPECIAL UNITS.....ALL OF US TODAY IN SOF

ARE BETTER BECAUSE OF THE WORK DONE BY SOG.....

 

    IN CLOSING, IT HAS BEEN MY GOOD FORTUNE TO WORK WITH MANY OF THSE FINE SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND AIRMEN, AND MARINES OVER MY YEARS IN SOF, IN FACT,

MAJOR GENERAL HELLAND, U.S. MARINE CORPS, WAS IN MY Q COURSE HERE AT FORT BRAGG WHEN WE WERE ENLISTED MEN IN THE LATE SIXTIES.....SAM, IT'S GOOD TO SEE

YOU BACK.....I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THEM AND BE WITH THEM IN COMBAT AND IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS AROUND THE WORLD AND I WOULD TELL YOU THAT THERE IS A THREAD THAT RUNS THROUGH ALL OF THEM AND IT IS QUITE SIMPLY A DESIRE TO BE IN THE ARENA CONTRIBUTING, IT IS A DESIRE TO ACCOMPLISH THE MISSION.....IT IS A QUIET CONFIDENCE THAT SAYS.....THESE ARE NOT MERE MEN.....THESE ARE MEN TO BE TRUSTED AND COUNTED ON.....THESE ARE MEN THAT

WANT THE CHALLENGE AND WILL SUCCEED, THESE ARE THE MEN OF SOG.....