DETACHMENT-A: HOW SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIERS OPERATED UNDERCOVER IN COLD WAR BERLIN

Detachment-A Berlin
Detachment-A Team 2 in Garmisch, Germany, for “ski training.” Pictured: Peter Gould, Kevin Monahan, and others. Photo courtesy of detachment-a.org.

DETACHMENT-A: HOW SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIERS OPERATED UNDERCOVER IN COLD WAR BERLIN

By Matt Fratus | January 25, 2022

In September 1969, Bob Charest arrived in Cold War Berlin and reported to Detachment-A, a classified and clandestine US Army Special Forces unit that didn’t officially exist.

The senior communications sergeant would spend nearly all of the 1970s operating undercover and awaiting activation. Charest, a veteran of cross-border operations with MACV-SOG who spoke both German and Russian, understood the stakes at play. If Russia, one of the four divisional powers in Germany, launched an invasion to overtake all of Berlin, Charest and other Detachment-A members would activate and conduct “stay-behind” sabotage missions against strategic infrastructure and vital targets. Without an escape and evasion plan, the team hoped to stall Soviet advances long enough until NATO reinforcements arrived.

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