For the Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, readiness means staying as sharp as the Yarborough knives the Green Berets earn after graduating the Special Forces Qualification Course — a tradition since August 2002. A knife, not just any knife, but the Yarborough knife, a combat field knife that serves as a link to the brotherhood of unconventional warriors.
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The “First in Asia” Soldiers recently conducted a Full Mission Profile spanning from receipt of mission and mission planning, to infiltration and actions on the objective.
“Periodic FMPs ensure mission readiness as the military’s alert force in Asia,” said Team Leader Capt. John, whose name is being withheld for security reasons. “The hope is that the Soldiers come away with a better understanding of the planning process and integration of enablers while maintaining individual and collective skills,” he said.
In his initial message to the Army, the 39th Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley placed readiness at the top of his list of priorities.
“Our fundamental task is like no other — it is to win in the unforgiving crucible of ground combat,” said Milley in his first message to the force. “We must ensure the Army remains ready as the world’s premier combat force. Readiness for ground combat is — and will remain — the U.S. Army’s No. 1 priority. We will always be ready to fight today, and we will always prepare to fight tomorrow,” he said.
The Green Berets on Okinawa hone their edge with exercises and training events like the FMP in an exceptional setting, which often forces them to adapt and integrate with sister service components.
“Training on Okinawa is unique as the restrictions and concerns specific to Okinawa teach units to be creative,” said John. “When planning [and] training, the unit must take into account external concerns, such as noise concerns of the Japanese citizens, and work within a joint environment, navigating the similar but different cultures of the Marine Corps and [Air Force Special Operations Command]. Furthermore, these experiences foster cultural understanding, both internationally and inter-service, which ultimately makes for a more aware, well-rounded Soldier,” he said.
As the complexity and number of security challenges in the world are increasing, creating new requirements for combatant commanders, the Army’s commitment to readiness here on Okinawa remains razor sharp.