Special Forces Association Convention 2022 (SFACON 2022)
The Special Forces Association Convention 2022 (SFACON 2022) celebrated the 70th anniversary of Army Special Forces (SF). The distinguished visitor committee (seminar team) selected topics to highlight SF’s tactical, operational, and strategic activities. SFACON 2022’s symposia took place at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs between September 21-24, 2022.
SFACON 2022’s De Oppresso Liber Symposium Series included nine seminars: The Original Mike Force (Vietnam 1965 / Operational-Tactical vignette), Task Force Dagger (Afghanistan 2001 / Operational vignette), Task Force Viking (N. Iraq 2003 / Operational vignette), El Salvador (1980s / Strategic vignette), Shok Valley (Afghanistan 2008 / Tactical vignette), FOB Ghazni (Afghanistan 2013 / Tactical vignette), The Originals Panel (1952-53 Strategic vignette), Det-A / SF Berlin (1956-1990 Strategic vignette), and 1st SF Command (current day).
Topic: Det-A / SF Berlin (ca 1956-1984 / 1984-1990)
Date of presentation: September 24, 2022 from 0900-1015 MT via Zoom
Presenter: MSG (Ret) Robert Charest. He served two tours with Det-A and hosts the Det-A website.
Summary: In 1990, the Special Forces cased its final unit colors in Berlin, bringing to close 34 years of clandestine Cold War activities. Former Det-A veteran MSG (Ret) Robert Charest reviews the various phases of this one-of-a-kind unit with a truly elegant mission. He describes the Berlin based 39th Special Forces Detachment Alpha – Berlin, aka Det-A’s 1956-early 1970s Unconventional Warfare design, the addition of its Counterterrorism mission, and the 1984 transition to the 410th SF Physical Security Support Element – Berlin, aka PSSE-B. LTC (Ret) Mitch Utterback joins the session to describe PSSE-B.
Here is a video tribute to some of the original Detachment “A” members.
Former Detachment “A” member Georg Moskaluk created and produced this video while on assignment in Afghanistan.
Georg Moskaluk, was a former Detachment “A” member having served in Berlin. He also served as the Command Sergeant Major of the 10th Special Forces Group (A). Additionally, Georg served in the 5th Special Forces Group (A), 6th Special Forces Group (A), and MACV SOG.
This video production contains material in whole from audio and video materials supplied by (GMVP) Georg Moskaluk Video Production, and is protected by copyright and trademark laws. No material (including but not limited to the text, images, audio and/or video) can be reproduced for profit.
Non-profit duplication and exhibition is permitted. Modification of this video production or use of the materials for any other purpose is a violation of GMVP, and other sources’ copyright, trademark and other proprietary rights.
Special Forces Association Chapter 363, hosted a speaking engagement at the Poinsett Club in Greenville SC on 19 July 2022. Guest Speakers were Major General Jim Guest and MSG Bob Charest. Chapter President Todd Carpenter officiated the event.
A special honor was bestowed on Bob Charest, former member of Detachment “A” and MACV/SOG, as he was presented the Silver Star by Major General James Guest, 55 years after his actions in September of 1967.
Written by Chris Feudo former member of Detachment “A”
‘These are the men of the Green Beret, and more so, men of Detachment A These are men, America’s best – the epitome of the American fighting man 100 Strong they stood and glared, deep within Cold War Berlin Ready to fight to defend against, the awaited threated Red Menace’
These are the men of Detachment A, one of the top six covert units in the USA They spoke and looked like any of their foes, with however, The training and weapons more lethal than all Involved with some of the most sensitive actions of the cold war
They did things that others would never do Could never do, mentally, emotionally or physically They did things that men could dream only of Things that require a commitment found nowhere else
These were exceptional men, bred from warriors’ blood Men of integrity, of honor and truth, duty bound Masters of their profession, full trust and confidence of their Brothers in Arms Theirs is more than a job or an occupation, it is the very way of life
They have been awake in Berlin, clandestine and known, since 1956 Never exceeding 100, but targeted by 10,000 and the Stasi alike For they thought that we were thousands, instead of the robust force multiplier 100 Deactivated in ‘84, the 39th Special Forces’, covert name Detachment A, its colors retired
Their missions, always classified, still remain unknown and absent from historical annals Many have survived, others have passed on, with names inscribed at Arlington On the black granite walls at the Vietnam Memorial, or local cemeteries, most important They will be remembered within our very essence
They will always be alive within our heart and soul, forever cherished as human cohort Their memories, their feats, their friendships, and their very legacy will forever not be lost They have sacrificed all in their service to our beloved country, For Freedom is NEVER Free
Must be fought for, protected, and then handed on to the next generation to do the same
‘These are the men of the Green Beret, and more so, men of Detachment A These are men, America’s best – the epitome of the American fighting man 100 Strong they stood and glared, deep within Cold War Berlin Ready to fight to defend against the awaited threated Red Menace’
Originally, Detachment “A” was not permitted have their own colors due to the classified nature of the unit. However, some Detachment ”A” members persisted and eventually were granted the authority to issue colors.
CSM Terry Swofford was the last CSM of Detachment”A”, when it closed its doors 1984. He packed the flag and it remained with him ever since and no one saw it for a long time. He informed Bob Charest that he took possession of the flag. After CSM Swofford passed away, it was missing in action. We knew it was passed along informally but did not where it ended up.
During the course of the Detachment ”A” Memorial Stone project and dedication ceremony General Shachnow stated to Bob Charest who was a member of the project that he wanted to retire the colors at the ceremony. Bob knew this was an essential artifact for the ceremony and immediately initiated a search request to all the Detachment”A” members to locate and secure the missing flag.
SGM Thomas Twomey and LTC Eugene Piasecki simultaneously found the flag at the SFA Chapter 1-18 Team House. Bob Charest contacted MG Sidney Shachnow and informed him where the flag was located and requested that he personally secure the flag. MG Shachnow retrieved the flag and secured it until the day of the Detachment ”A” Memorial Stone Dedication Ceremony that took place on 30 January 2014.
During the ceremony, MG Sidney Shachnow and Bob Charest presented the Detachment ”A” flag to LTG Charles Cleveland at the Detachment”A” Memorial Stone dedication. LTG Cleveland announced that the Detachment”A” flag would have a permanent home at USASOC HQ where it now resides.
The week after the ceremony, the flag was officially cased by Eugene Piasecki and SGM George Bequer.