Fighting Next to U.S. Commandos, but Without the Same Training and Gear


Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Sep 9, 2006
(Spoken with a movie trailer voice)
"In a world dominated by tans and greens, ONE soldier defied all expectations. One soldier took a stand when others wouldn't. One soldier...wore a red bandana and stood out from the rest."

Was Safety Orange not available?

At least it wasn’t a secret squirrel patch.


Half Faceless Man
Verified Military
Jul 3, 2017
I didn't mean to suggest that regular SOF support elements aren't skilled. I know you guys go through some very tough specialized training to get where you are, often including airborne/MFF etc. I'm mostly talking about infantry and/or units that are not used to working with SF.

BTW, I've seen that CNN video before. You look good, bro. 8-) And thanks for posting it because helmet cam videos make me jones for the rush.

Last summer I went to an NCO seminar our state Guard put together for the weekend. There was a good representation of CSMs in attendance from all levels of state. The end of the seminar included a Q&A with the people that could effectively make change. Being the E5 I was, I took the opportunity to ask the state G3 CSM for more training. I explained as Intel, we often deploy as augmentees to theaters all around the world. When it comes to our regional support requirements, we often see Kosovo and Gitmo. Those are places that one deploys to learn the job and not have to worry about getting people killed. The next step is where you separate those that are just in to collect Tricare benefits from those that want to expand their knowledge and experiences. I simply asked if he could speak to 5/19 and make the request for integrated training.

If I'm off base with the next part, please correct me.

I explained the next step for career progression was to support SOF, which means being able to integrate into their platforms without becoming a liability to ourselves and the unit. I believe Intel is a secondary function outside the wire. In permissive environments like Djibouti, you can get away with little mission prep and be ok, although still not the right answer. Semi-permissive environments take more coordination and mission planning. You have to take into account QRF support, your GOTWA, contingency planning in the event of xyz, commo considerations, equipment failures, etc. Those same principles need to be applied in a non-permissive environment, but there's a level of complexity to overcome. You have IED threats, higher likelihood to encounter hostile actors, firefights, etc. You MUST know your surroundings at every point in the process, to include your cardinal directions. I'd guess these aren't things that people consider if they don't come from a combat arms background.

Heading out with a regular infantry unit is easy because you have a PL and a gun team by your side, and 20-30 people out front. Heading out with a SOF element, well, I would hope you have your shit together because you're either a hand or a hindrance.