Lt Gen Brown shares War Stories

Special Forces Command (Airborne)

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Lt. Gen. Doug Brown, the commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, shared stories from Afghanistan’s front lines with Junior League members at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum Friday night.

His speech was part of a three-day conference, which focuses on volunteerism, community improvement and developing the potential of women. The conference was organized by the Junior League of Fayetteville.

Staff photo by Tracy Wilcox
Lt. Gen. Doug Brown and his wife Penny Brown applaud at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum during a visit to a Junior League conference.

More than 100 delegates representing Junior Leagues in the southern region attended the conference’s opening on Friday night.

Brown, who is 55, is a graduate of Seventy-First High School.

He answered questions and talked about the role of his special operations soldiers in Afghanistan.

He said the message sent to the Taliban and al-Qaida fighters was clear: ‘‘You hit us, we’re coming.’’

Before Sept. 11, 13 of Brown’s 12-man A-teams were deployed to southwest Asia, he said.

‘‘Quite frankly, it was a great feeling already having those guys on the ground,’’ Brown said.

Forty-eight hours after the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, special operations units had deployment orders, he said.

Brown commands 26,000 soldiers stationed in the United States and around the world. Rangers, Special Forces, commandos and special operations aviators and psychological operations soldiers were among the first to fight in Afghanistan.

Brown shared stories of his soldiers flying under hazardous conditions, trekking through treacherous terrain, galloping on horseback, linking up with warlords, calling in air strikes and taking part in fire fights.

Many of his Green Berets lost 10 percent of their body weight during their deployment, he said.

‘‘These were not easy times when Special Forces soldiers hit the ground,’’ he said.

‘‘We stress out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving,’’ he said. ‘‘We want guys that can think different. Riding horses is exactly what we’re talking about. We don’t train guys to ride horses.’’

Brown talked about the role of all his units in Afghanistan, including the Rangers, who he described as young and tough.

‘‘When we call for the Army Rangers, we expect them to break things and hurt people,’’ he said. ‘‘And they did a good job of it.’’

One delegate asked Brown about the possibility of Fayetteville and Fort Bragg being targets for terrorists.

‘‘They had an airplane and they didn’t come after Fort Bragg,’’ he said. ‘‘They came after innocent civilians, innocent people. The defenseless. That’s what they went after; they liked the soft targets. If I was a terrorist I wouldn’t take on the hard guys.’’

A self-described news junkie, Brown said it worries him when he watches a 30-minute newscast without a word mentioned about troops in Afghanistan.

‘‘I don’t want the American public to forget about them,’’ he said.

By Tanya Biank, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer


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