Folks, sad news. Our brother Gil Turcotte passed away on 11/10/2019. Gil was a generous man, full of caring for all of us. One hell of an SF TROOPER. He will be sadly missed among his Detachment (A) family.
On May 1st, 2020 Chapter XI are hosting a Regimental Birthday Reception, Dinner and Dance Honoring Veterans of Special Forces Berlin at the Army Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, Virginia.
Their Chapter website https://www.sfa11.org has a button “Click Here for Invitation” to download the invitation with RSVP card and return address.
David Jackson and Chapter XI president Ray Oden are contacts for this event.
SFA Chapter XI Regimental Birthday Reception, Dinner and Dance
2019 Detachment“A”/PSSE Special Forces Berlin Get Together After-Action Report
The 2019 Detachment “A”/PSSE Special Forces Berlin Get Together held in Asheville, NC from 12 September 2019 – 15 September 2019 was outstanding and truly special. The 2019 Detachment”A”/PSSE Special Forces Berlin was incredible and truly special, one of the best yet. They just keep getting better.
Many thanks to all the folks that contributed to this year’s function which was extra special this time. Sid Williams contributed enormously to this function in both time and effort. His support is greatly appreciated. He also kept the bar stocked which was no small task. Many thanks also to Gil Turcotte as well for his contributions to this function. Mercer “Mac” Dorsey, Ron Braughton, Chris Feudo, Gil Turcotte, John Lee, Pat and Gabbie Walters, all made very generous donations of beer to the bar and food, as did many others. Alan MacRae and the PSSE contributed their time and efforts to help keep things going, many thanks to all of them. Alan will be hosting the 2020 function. John Lee provided us all with the sharp-looking name tags using our Berlin logo. Many thanks from the attendees. Nick Brokhausen was in attendance and he brought along copies of his first book WE FEW: U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam; three of which were auctioned off at the function. Nick has written a new book entitled Whispers in the Tall Grass with an expected publication date of 19 October 2019. All the information about Nick’s second book has been posted to the Special Forces Berlin/Detachment”A” web site.
Betty Amaker from the JFK Museum/Gift Shop was in attendance. Betty brought a large assortment of Special Forces and Detachment”A” items for sale. Sid Williams donated several artifacts for the JFK Museum including: two US Command Berlin telephone directories: US Command telephone directory, Directory of key personnel; copies of Berlin photos from 1935 to a 1963 checkpoint Charlie photo and maps from Berlin from the early days. These artifacts were handed over to Betty who will transport to Roxanne Merritt for processing.
Original Member Recognition
One of our Original Detachment”A” members, James Wilde attended with his lovely wife Rosi. Jim was in Detachment”A” from 1957 to 1963.
Some of the couples we managed to snap pictures.
Bob Charest kicked things off. Bob spoke about members on sick call, and how they were greatly missed; wishing them all well. Bob then introduced Chris Feudo who gave the blessing of the function. Chris gave a meaningful and inspirational invocation. Bob then introduced Alan MacRae who will be the hosting our next function in 2020. The Detachment”A”/PSSE Berlin Special Forces function will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado in September 2020. Alan gave a detailed presentation to everyone about the next function. Bill Crowley is doing a lot of the groundwork for this function. All this information has been posted to the Berlin Special Forces /Detachment “A” web site so you can find out all about the next function. For full information on our 2020 Detachment“A”/PSSE Special Forces Berlin Function go to the web site. Bob then asked Sid Williams to give everyone a briefing on his efforts with the Veterans Cemetery in Monterey, CA. Sid provided a full status on all the work done for the veterans’ cemetery.
Bob Charest and Nick Brokhausen were having breakfast when Nick came up with the idea to auction off three books and donating the proceeds to our function. He suggested to Bob Charest that he preside over the auction. Right about the time Bob was thinking it over as to who could be drafted as auctioneer instead of himself, along came Ron Bruce at the most opportune time. To make a long story short, Ron was ‘assigned’ the job of auctioneer although somewhat reluctantly having informed us he had no experience in this area. Later that day, the auction began. Ron assumed his role as auctioneer and not only did he perform as well as any trained auctioneer, he excelled; it was performance to behold. Ron was a big hit with the folks. Jeanne Fondas aided Ron by keeping records of all the bids. The bids exceeded expectations having raised over $300.00 for the three books. Many thanks to Nick for his generous donation. Bob Charest gave the money raised by the auction to Alan MacRae for the 2020 function.
Lee Fondas surprised Bob Charest with a special toast. Lee shared a $500.00 bottle of cognac with the troops. He and his wife Jeanne set it up. They prepared special shot glasses for those present and toasted Bob for his friendship, and his efforts and contributions to Detachment”A” and Berlin Special Forces.
Our honored guest MG(Ret) James Guest could not make our function this year, and he was sorely missed. A specially crafted eagle cane was to be presented to Jim at the function by Gil Turcotte who had the woodcarver artist create a personalized eagle cane for Jim. The cane was mailed to Jim’s home.
Former Member of Detachment”A” Nick Brokhausen has written his second book entitled “Whispers in the Tall Grass with an expected publication date of 19 October 2019.
On his second combat tour, Nick Brokhausen served in Recon Team Habu, CCN. This unit was part of MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group), or Studies and Observations Group as it was innocuously called. The small recon companies that were the center of its activities conducted some of the most dangerous missions of the war, infiltrating areas controlled by the North Vietnamese in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The companies never exceeded more than 30 Americans, yet they were the best source for the enemy’s disposition and were key to the US military being able to take the war to the enemy. This was accomplished by utilizing both new and innovative technology, and tactics dating back to the French and Indian Wars.
This small unit racked up one of the most impressive records of awards for valor of any unit in the history of the United States Army. It came at a terrible price, however; the number of wounded and killed in action was incredibly high. Those missions today seem suicidal. In 1970 they seemed equally so, yet these men went out day after day with their indigenous allies – Montagnard tribesmen, Vietnamese, and Chinese Nungs – and faced the challenges with courage and resolve.
Whispers in the Tall Grass is the second volume of Nick’s riveting memoir of his time with MACV-SOG. Written in the same irreverent, immediate style that made We Fewi a cult classic, he continues his hair-raising adventures behind enemy lines, and movingly conveys the bonds that war creates between soldiers.
Detachment “A” member and author James Stejskal has a new book entitled SOE and OSS IN WW2, No Moon as Witness that will be released in November 2019.
“In 1940, Winston Churchill famously instructed the first head of the Special Operations Executive, Hugh Dalton, to “Set Europe ablaze!.” Agents of both the British Special Operations Executive and the American Office of Strategic Services underwent rigorous training before making their way, undetected, into occupied Europe to do just that. Working alone or in small cells, often cooperating with local resistance groups, agents undertook missions behind enemy lines involving sabotage, subversion, organizing resistance groups and intelligence-gathering.SOE’s first notable success was the destruction of a power station in France, stopping work at a vital U-boat base, and later operations included the assassination of Himmler’s deputy Reinhard Heyrich and ending the Nazi atomic bomb program by destroying the heavy water plant at Vemork, Norway. OSS operatives established and supported anti-Nazi resistance groups across Europe, and managed to smuggle operatives into Nazi Germany, including running one of the war’s most important spies, German diplomat Fritz Kolbe. All missions were incredibly dangerous and many agents were captured, tortured, and ultimately killed the life expectancy of an SOE wireless operator in occupied France was just six weeks.
In this short history, historian James Stejskal examines why these agencies were established, the training regime and ingenious tools developed to enable agents to undertake their missions, their operational successes, and their legacy.”