October 19, 2011
Soldiers with the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson likely will be among the 100 U.S. troops being sent to train the Ugandan and other militaries to battle an insurgency in central Africa.
The White House announced the American deployment last week to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army, one of Africa’s most notorious rebel group. The troops being sent haven’t been identified, but would likely involve the Fort Carson Green Berets, who are assigned to missions on the African continent and are expert in training foreign militaries.
The group wouldn’t comment on the Africa mission. While U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., wouldn’t discuss which troops have been or will be sent on the mission, command spokesman Maj. Chris Augustine confirmed 10th Group’s area of responsibility in Africa.
The Lord’s Resistance Army has been responsible for a string of massacres across northern Uganda and Central Africa since it formed in 1987. Its leader, Joseph Kony, claims to communicate with God has sought to overthrow the Ugandan government.
Special Operations forces, which include units from all services, have been tabbed with the Africa mission, where they will act as trainers and advisers to African forces battling the rebel group. According to letter sent by Obama to Congress, the troops will not play an offensive role in the fighting.
Special Operations Command includes the Green Berets, Army Rangers, Air Force Special Operations troops, Navy Seals and specially trained Marine units. Of those units, the Green Berets have most commonly been tasked with training foreign militaries, a job that has fallen to the soldiers since Vietnam.
The first troops headed to Africa last week and more will follow, with some forces sent to Sudan and the Central African Republic, the White House said.
The training mission is a specialty of 10th Group, which trained Kurdish forces to fight the army of Saddam Hussein in the Iraq War.
The 10th Group has been honored for its prowess at tracking down and capturing or killing insurgent leaders. The group’s work helped destroy al-Qaida in Iraq. One of 10th Group’s soldiers, Staff Sgt. Jarion Halbisengibs earned the nation’s second-highest honor for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross, during a daring raid against Iraqi insurgent leaders.
The Africa mission is relatively new for the group, which traditionally trained to fight in Europe and spent years figuring out how to conduct missions behind Soviet lines in case of war.
American leaders have increasingly focused on Africa since 2008, when the Pentagon formed U.S. Africa Command, headquartered in Germany.
All troops sent on this mission will fall under Africa Command.