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Special Operations Play Pivotal Role In War Against Iraq

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Special Operations, headquartered at Fort Bragg, said close to 12,000 soldiers are a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which would be the largest deployment in Army Special Operations history.

Officials say the soldiers' missions are precise and often times perfect.

"You go in, you break things, you kill people. We've done that," said retired U.S. Army Special Forces Capt. Craig Marks. "[We] seized airfields. We've looked for rocket launchers in the West and destroyed them."

Special Operations is made up of highly trained, mature soldiers. It has five commands with specific roles. Special Forces conduct unconventional warfare. They operate in the cover of darkness in groups as small as three or four.

Officials say the teams are often on their own and that is why what they do is so secretive.

"They don't have fellow Americans to protect them. All they have is what's in their brain, what's on their back and what's in their heart," said Lt. Col. Walter Herd, chief of current operations.

The names of those Special Operations soldiers killed in Afghanistan are already displayed on a memorial wall. Soon, the names of those fallen in Operation Iraqi Freedom will be added. To date, officials say four Special Operations soldiers have been killed, one based at Fort Bragg.


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