Fort Bragg warrior inducted into Army Ranger Hall Of Fame

While attending the All Florida Veterans Reunion in Melbourne, Florida we were able to meet and talk with Gary. Great guy and a Warrior’s warrior. Gary purchased and now wears one of our Warrant Officer rings.

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. – “Take anyone off the street, shave his head, put dog tags on him, get him to raise his hand and he’s a Soldier, but it takes a different kind of person with heart to be a warrior,” said retired Special Forces Chief Warrant Officer Gary O’Neal.

O’Neal’s dedication to his country was recognized last Friday when he was one of 14 “warriors” inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Ga.

O’Neal’s military career began with him being drafted in 1969. “My first assignment was a combat tour in Vietnam,” he said. While there, O’Neal served with several elite units to include the 173rd Airborne Brigade Line Company, Company C, 75th Ranger Regiment and the 5th Special Forces Group.

During his first tour in Vietnam, O’Neal spent the majority of his time conducting hazardous missions that included prisoner of war rescues and sniper operations.

“We lost 60,000 troops, but we killed over eight million,” O’Neal said. “That’s almost a nine to one ratio.”

Shortly after his return home, in 1972, O’Neal attended Ranger School before returning for a second tour in Vietnam. O’Neal received both the Silver and Bronze Star medals for his service in Vietnam.

“The Rangers are the toughest and best light infantry unit in the world,” O’Neal said.
Up next, O’Neal went to the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course where he completed all the training to earn his green beret.

“There wasn’t a mission we couldn’t do as Special Forces and Rangers,” O’Neal said. “That’s the attitude that I’ve had as a team member, team sergeant and a team leader.”

After earning his green beret, O’Neal went on to complete scuba and sub-operations training as well as high-altitude, low-opening parachute jump school.

Besides attending schools, O’Neal spent more than 15 years training and fighting with American and Latin American forces in Central and South America.

“Gary is one of the finest field Soldiers I have ever met in my entire life,” said Gary Dolan, O’Neal’s platoon leader while he was in Company C, 75th Ranger Regiment. “His ability to track the enemy soldier was the best I have ever seen.”

Additionally, O’Neal was an instructor for the Army HALO School and spent two years as a Golden Knight on the Army parachute team.

“I will be the first Golden Knight to be inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame,” O’Neal said.
He was also handpicked to help develop the first survival, evasion, resistance and escape course at Fort Bragg.

“SERE is everything a Special Forces Soldier needs to survive,” O’Neal said. “It is one of the most important schools he will ever go through.”

In 1996, after an impressive military career, O’Neal retired from the Army. However, in 2004, the Army again called him to active duty. This time, it was to be a master trainer in the world’s largest unconventional warfare field exercise – Robin Sage.

“Being a former Soldier, I will continue to train Soldiers until my body no longer physically allows me to,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal currently teaches seminars on his own developed fighting style, American Warrior Free Fighting System, where he is a 10th degree black belt.
He travels throughout the United States to teach the AWFS fighting style.

“When in combat, you don’t have time to take your opponent to the ground and try all the submissions and moves mixed martial arts teaches,” O’Neal said. “You have to get in and kill the enemy quickly so that you can continue on with the mission.”
All things considered, O’Neal is a true example of a warrior living by his motto, “Glory has a price. Honor is priceless. Integrity covers it all.”

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Bin Laden

By ADAM GOLDMAN and CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press Adam Goldman And Chris Brummitt, Associated Press – Mon May 2, 7:49 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the terror mastermind killed by Navy SEALs in an intense firefight, was hunted down based on information first gleaned years ago from detainees at secret CIA prison sites in Eastern Europe, officials disclosed Monday. The U.S. said a DNA match proved the man behind the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was dead, and millions of Americans rejoiced.

After the gunfire, U.S. forces swept bin Laden’s fortified compound in Pakistan and left with a trove of hard drives, DVDs and other documents that officials said the CIA was already poring over. The hope: clues leading to his presumed successor, al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden,” declared President Barack Obama, hours after U.S. forces killed the al-Qaida leader. They then ferried the body out for a quick burial at sea.

Bin Laden’s death after a decade on the run unloosed a national wave of euphoria mixed with remembrance for the thousands who died in the Sept. 11 2001, terror attacks. Crowds celebrated throughout the night outside the White House and at ground zero in Lower Manhattan where the Twin Towers once stood. Thousands of students at Penn State University and in other college towns spilled into the streets and set off firecrackers to mark the moment.

“For my family and I, it’s good, it’s desirable, it’s right,” said Mike Low of Batesville, Ark., whose daughter Sara was a flight attendant aboard the hijacked plane that was flown into the World Trade Center North Tower. “It certainly brings an ending to a major quest for all of us.”

Halfway around the world, a prominent al-Qaida commentator vowed revenge for bin Laden’s death. “Woe to his enemies. By God, we will avenge the killing of the Sheik of Islam,” he wrote under his online name Assad al-Jihad2. “Those who wish that jihad has ended or weakened, I tell them: Let us wait a little bit.”

U.S. officials conceded the risk of renewed attack. The terrorists “almost certainly will attempt to avenge” bin Laden’s death, CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote in a memo that congratulated the agency for its role in the operation. “Bin Laden is dead. Al-Qaida is not.”

Within a few hours, the Department of Homeland Security warned that bin Laden’s death was likely to provide motivation for attacks from “homegrown violent extremists” seeking revenge.”

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said, “While there are no specific, bin Laden-related threats at this time, every logical and prudent step is being taken to mitigate any developing threats.” There were questions, as well, about Pakistan’s role in bin Laden’s years in hiding. Both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said cooperation from the Pakistani government had helped lead U.S. forces to the compound where he died.

Copening- I understand that the operation was conducted by the Navy Seals, but no doubt our own U.S. Army Special Forces were involved. My hats is off to you guys !

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Dust-Off Hall of Fame

Timothy Cole, Jr.

Warrant Officer Tim Cole served his country with dignity, honor, and valor in Vietnam, flying over 800 missions and evacuating over 1600 wounded personnel. Tim was a dedicated pilot who earned the Silver Star, 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Purple Heart, and multiple Air Medals during his 9 months in combat. Tim was assigned to the 45th Medical Company (AA) in early 1968 and shortly became an Aircraft Commander in the war-torn III Corps Tactical Zone. A typical mission found Tim and his crew swiftly responding, landing in a hot landing zone, ignoring hostile fire, and saving multiple Soldiers in harm’s way. His flying abilities as a highly decorated DUSTOFF pilot immediately became legendary. Tim was transferred to the 54th Medical Detachment (HA), which was short of pilots, and only a few days later, was mortally wounded by hostile fire. He always gave freely to others without regard for his own safety. Tim will always be remembered as one of the greatest DUSTOFF pilots. Tim Cole was inducted into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame on 21 February 2009

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173rd Airborne Sky Solders

March 26, 1963 — On the island of Okinawa, the only separate Airborne Brigade to exist in the history of the US Army was activated. This was the 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate).

Formed to be what would be called in today’s jargon a quick-reaction force for the protection of American interests in Asia, the Brigade underwent extensive jungle training on Okinawa and Irimote. This was followed by parachute jumps in the Philippines; Thailand and Taiwan.

During the Taiwan exercises, the locals gave the paratroops of the 173d the nickname “Tien Bing” (Chinese for Sky Soldier). “The Sky Soldiers” became the official nickname of the Brigade and was commonly used in Brigade newsletters and press releases. A more popular nickname is one that originated from some anonymous pundit in the ranks – “The Herd.”

On May 5, 1965, the Brigade deployed to South Viet Nam as the first US Army ground combat unit in that war.

Upon arrival, one battalion of the Royal Australian Army and a battery from New Zealand were attached to the Brigade — making the 173d Airborne the only multi-national combat unit in the war.

Initially headquartered in Bien Hoa, the Brigade operated in the four provinces around Saigon. (Xuan Loc, Long Khanh, Phuoc Long & Phuoc Tuy), but (in its roll as a “Fire Brigade”) also went to the Central Highlands (Pleiku / Kontum) to fight Viet Cong. The 173d also conducted constant operations against the southern stronghold of the VC Main Force in the legendary Iron Triangle in War Zone D.

At 0900 Hours, February 22, 1967 (during Operation Junction City) over 800 paratroopers jumped into the rice paddies at Katum in War Zone C. The same unit (plus attached combat engineers and artillerymen) that had made the famous jump on the Island of Corrugators (2/503d) during WW2, made the first and only full-sized combat jump by an American unit (there were Vietnamese jumps of course and some small unit jumps by USMC’s Force Recon as well).

Once on the ground, the paratroopers joined the Brigade in cutting off VC units fleeing a massive sweep by the 1st, 4th, and 25th Infantry Divisions, and the 11th Armored Cavalry regiment.

In the summer of 1967, the Brigade saw extensive and bloody action in the Central Highlands near Kontum, Pleiku, Dak To.

In mid-November of 1967, the 2d Battalion of the 503d Airborne Infantry pushed units of the 1st and 10th North Vietnamese Army Divisions towards the Cambodian/Laotian borders. To cover their retreat into these sanctuaries the elite NVA 174th Infantry Regiment was deeply entrenched in a complex of fortified bunkers on Hill 875, near Dak To. On November 6th, two companies from 4th battalion encountered elements of the NVA 66th Regiment south of Ben Het and in a fierce firefight lost 7 men. On November 11th (Veteran’s Day), Charlie Company and two platoons from Delta Company 1/503 were ambushed with 20 killed and 154 wounded. PFC John Barnes received the CMH for his actions during this ambush.

On November 19th, 1967, the 2d Battalion of the 503d Airborne Infantry was ordered to clear Hill 875. Resistance by the communists was intense and the 4th Battalion of the 503d joined 2nd battalion in its efforts.

Four days later, on Thanksgiving Day, after some of the bloodiest fighting of the war, the survivors of the 2d and 4th Battalions finally reached the summit. Chaplain Watters and PFC Carlos Lozada received the CMH for their heroism on Hill 875. The 2nd battalion lost 107 men killed and 282 wounded and 10 MIA.

In 1968 the majority of the Brigade was stationed in the province of Binh Dinh. Operations were also conducted in the Central Highlands and near Ban Me Thout.

For the next four years the Brigade conducted operations against VC/NVA forces. Not as frequently noted as it should be, the Herd also provided security for medical teams involved in MEDCAP; training of indigenous forces for self-defense; and other programs designed to undermine the VC infrastructure in the rich rice-growing lands of the Coastal Plain. Emphasis was on small unit patrols and combined operations with ARVN/MSF/RF-PF units.

The 173d Airborne Brigade took part in 14 designated campaigns in RVN. It remained in combat longer than any other American military unit since the Revolutionary War. It earned four unit citations, had 12 Medal of Honor winners, 1601 Sky Soldiers were killed in action and another 8,435 were wounded in action.

The 10,041 casualties incurred by the Brigade were five times greater than those suffered by the 187th Airborne Regiment in Korea, four times greater than those suffered by the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific during World War II, more than twice those suffered by the 101st Airborne Division in Europe in World War II, and two-thirds of those suffered by the entire 82nd Airborne Division in WW2.

In September 1971 the Brigade was redeployed to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and subsequently on January, 14, 1972 was deactivated.

To see ring in more detail or to purchase:

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82nd Airborne Division

The 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army is an elite airborne infantry division and was constituted in the National Army as the 82nd Division on March 5, 1917, and was organized on March 25, 1917, at Camp Gordon, Georgia. Since members of the division came from all 48 states, the unit was given the nickname “All-American.” This is the basis for its famed “AA” shoulder patch.

Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division provides the ability to begin executing a strategic airborne forcible entry into any area of the world within 18 hours of notification. Their primary mission is airfield and seaport seizure. Once on the ground, they provide the secured terrain and facilities to rapidly receive additional combat forces. The division is the nation’s strategic offensive force, maintaining the highest state of combat readiness.

On any day, a third of the division is on mission cycle, ready to respond to any contingency. Another third is on a wartime training cycle, and the rest of the division is on support cycle. These support units prepare vehicles and equipment for deployment and support such other division and post activities.

As the largest parachute force in the free world, the 82d Airborne Division is trained to deploy anywhere, at any time, to fight upon arrival and to win. From cook to computer operator, from infantryman or engineer, every soldier in the 82d is airborne qualified. Almost every piece of divisional combat equipment can be dropped by parachute onto the field of battle.

In honor of the brave men who are currently serving and have served in the Division, we are manufacturing a high quality sterling silver ‘All American’ ring. We will be able to start delivering the ring no later than 25 April 2011. We are currently offering a “Launch” price of $175 for orders placed between now and 25 April 2011. We will be limiting this promotion to the first 100 orders. After 25 April 2011, the Retail price on the ring will be $215.

Please follow this link to see additional images of ring:

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Screaming Eagles

The division bills itself as the “only air assault division in the world” and has the ability to conduct air assault operations and long-range helicopter assaults. The division is armed with 270 helicopters, including thee battalions of Apache attack helicopters.

In Afghanistan, the 101st Airborne soldiers fought in Operation Anaconda, the March 2002 battle in the Shah-e-Kot valley. Apache helicopters from the 101st Airborne fired the first shots in the Persian Gulf War, destroying Iraqi early-warning radar sites 22 minutes before the air war began on January 17, 1991. The 101st Airborne also penetrated deep into Kuwait to cut off Iraqi forces fleeing toward the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.

In honor of the brave men who are currently serving and have served in the Division, we are manufacturing a high quality sterling silver “Screaming Eagle” ring. We will be able to start delivering the ring no later than 25 April 2011. We are currently offering a “Launch” price of $175 for orders placed between now and 25 April 2011. We will be limiting this promotion to the first 100 orders. After 25 April 2011, the Retail price on the ring will be $215.

Please follow this link to see larger picture of ring along with ordering details:

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FORT BENNING, Ga. – Seven Operation Just Cause veterans joined hundreds of students from the U.S. Army Airborne School in Thursday’s jump to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the operation, including the Armor School’s top NCO, CSM John Troxell.

“It was the first and only time I’ve ever jumped into a combat zone,” he said.

Troxell was a tank commander with C Company, 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor Regiment (Airborne) assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade, when the unit made Armor history by parachuting Sheridan tanks and their crews into Panama. Operation Just Cause is the reason Troxell made the Army a career, he said.

“I went from ‘proud to be in the Army’ to ‘I don’t want to do anything else,'” he said. “We fought like we trained.

“On the flight down, you’ve got mortar base plates digging in one leg and a dragon missile jump pack digging in the other because we’re all packed in there like sardines,” Troxell said. “The minute the doors opened up, instinct took over, training took over and we executed.”

Operation Just Cause was a well planned, “truly joint, surgical strike,” said Dave Stieghan, Infantry and Fort Benning historian, to capture the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

President George H.W. Bush cited four reasons for the invasion – to protect American citizens living in Panama, defend democracy and human rights in Panama, combat the drug trafficking and protect the Panama Canal treaties, which transferred the canal to Panamanian control in 2000.

It was the first operation after the Goldwater-Nichols Act to get all the services working together and the first time the military used the special operations forces – Rangers, SEALs and Delta Force – as a single instrument, the historian said.

CSM(R) Doug Greenway was a platoon sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, who had just returned to Fort Lewis, Wash., from a three-week training exercise, which, unknown to them, was a rehearsal for the invasion.

“Within 24 hours of returning, we received orders to redeploy via Benning to Panama. Luckily all of our stuff was still somewhat configured,” Greenway said. “We had eight hours for coordination and synchronization.
“Crossing over the beaches into Rio Hata, we sounded off with the Ranger Creed and we were out the doors just after midnight – filling the skies with paratrooper silk at 500 feet.”

The Air Force had more than 300 aircraft in the air during the invasion. The coordination of those assets on multiple targets was an immense task – huge, said Greenway, the former U.S. Army Infantry School command sergeant major.

Attack C-130s were overhead the whole time and the 105 mm howitzers and 40 and 20 mm cannons were the best Air Force asset, causing less collateral damage, Greenway said.

“Overall the mission went as we’d planned and trained for,” said Troxell, a staff sergeant when he landed at the Torrijos-Tocumen International Airport Dec. 20, 1989.

“When we hit the ground and moved out and took our objectives, there were some bumps and bruises but it was exactly how I thought it would be.”

The paratrooper spirit came out in that operation, said Troxell, who jumped Thursday with a recent Airborne graduate, SGT Brian Bingham, assigned to HHC, U.S. Armor Center.

“I brought him here because I wanted him to be part of the 20th anniversary jump so 20 years from now, when he’s a command sergeant major, he can say ‘I jumped with those old, crusty (Soldiers who) 40 years ago made the jump into Operation Just Cause.’ He’s carrying the Airborne Armor legacy forward for me.”

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