Special Operations Forces In Bosnia
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Information Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 -- Special operations forces from the
Army, Navy and Air Force conduct numerous missions supporting
NATO’s implementation force in Bosnia. Assistance ranges from air
support and rescue operations to reconnaissance and liaison
Nearly 700 members of the Army's Special Operations Command
deployed to Bosnia in mid-December and began numerous operations
throughout the Balkan nation. Included are more than 100
reservists serving in Special Forces, civil affairs and
psychological operations positions.
Army special operations units in the area include the 1st
Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash.; the 5th Group from Fort
Campbell, Ky.; the 10th Group, Fort Carson, Colo.; and the Army
National Guard 20th Special Forces Group, Birmingham, Ala.
Portions of Fort Bragg’s (N.C.) 4th Psychological Operations
Battalion, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, and 112th and 528th
Special Operations Signal battalions are also in Bosnia.
Special operations personnel serve as liaisons between NATO
forces and local nationals. Other tasks may include
unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special
reconnaissance, counterterrorism, and humanitarian or civic
Air Force special operations forces are continuing efforts
started two years ago with Operation Deny Flight. Airmen of the
16th Special Operations Wing from Hurlburt Field, Fla., and the
352nd Special Operations Group from Royal Air Force Base
Mildenhall, Great Britain, are providing search and rescue forces
for NATO air operations. They also augment Army support to the
implementation force commander.
During Deny Flight operations, two Air Force NCOs received
Purple Hearts for injuries while searching for two downed French
pilots. Crews flying Air Force AC-130H gunships fired on targets
enforcing U.N. restrictions in Bosnia. They also transported
supplies and personnel into the country.
Air Force sources said special tactics airmen are with all
liaison teams, coordinating air support between the teams and
NATO air support. There are also specially trained Air Force
security police teams serving at critical locations. Air Force
special operations support forces also serve at both Brindisi and
San Vito, Italy.
Navy special operations forces have assisted Army engineers.
Units building bridges across the Sava River used reconnaissance
information from Navy SEALs to confirm river depth and map
obstacles. The SEALs, like their Air Force counterparts, are also
assisting Army special operations forces in liaison missions.