When Bob Charest realized that Detachment (A)’s history was fading away into the historical dust bin, he started an effort to bring Detachment(A) in from the cold. With this most important goal at stake, and with the knowledge of how important this unit and its members were to the Special Forces history he began an endeavor that took years of hard work and dedication to accomplish the one goal in his mind: to bring Detachment(A) in from the cold; to finally bring about the recognition that was so richly deserved to the Detachment(A) unit and its members. He could not let this unit fade away.
He began by organizing Detachment(A) functions – Detachment”A” members were scattered all over the world. They started out very small but grew each year and have become very successful.
He then created a new Detachment(A) web site and domain, dedicated exclusively to Detachment(A). In conjunction with this, he wrote and published the article “A Thumbnail Look at Detachment(A) Berlin Brigade in January 2012. Then things just took off. He continued organizing and hosting Detachment(A) functions with increased numbers and success.
The Thumbnail Look at Detachment(A) Berlin Brigade was circulating for some time, and the Special Forces Association(SFA) got hold of it and published the article in the 2013 Winter edition of the Drop Magazine.
Bob also worked with the SFA and was able to obtain a section dedicated to Detachment(A) in the Drop Magazine.
The Detachment(A) functions continued to grow with members getting together to share stories about serving in Detachment(A). These functions were gatherings of the Detachment”A” folks, and the format and motto was simple: come as you are, pay as you go, BYOB and no agendas, no frills, and no politics. Jeff Raker told him never change this format.
Bob organized several projects to continue to bring Detachment(A) in from the cold which were all team efforts including representation of Det-A in the JFK Museum, collecting Det-A artifacts, and managing the project that brought Jimmy Spoo’s Memorial Stone idea to fruition.
Bob made the Memorial Stone project a team effort which allowed all Detachment(A) members to contribute to the Memorial Stone, which they generously did. He coordinated with SFA to manage the contributions. The project was fast and furious, collecting all the money that was needed and then some. All monies over the necessary funds were donated to the Green Beret Foundation.
He also worked with USASOC and General Shachnow on ceremony activities including speakers, guests, press and many other ceremony details. He also ensured that special recognition was attributed to Major Hermann Adler who was unable to attend.
The Detachment (A) Memorial Stone Dedication Ceremony was hosted by LTG Charles Cleveland, Commanding General for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) on 30 January 2014.
The Memorial Stone ceremony was covered by the local copy press and was also televised. It was a major success and a real team effort.
Bob then continued his efforts and wrote another article for the VFW Magazine entitled: “In the Eye of the Cold War Hurricane, Detachment A Berlin Brigade” which was published in the November/December 2014 issue.
It was at one of the Detachment(A) functions that James “Styk” Stejskal indicated that he would like to write a book about Berlin Special Forces.
In the meantime, to keep the momentum going with the goal to bring Detachment(A) in from the cold, Bob worked with WeAreTheMighty.com and published the article: This top secret Green Beret unit quietly won the Cold War. The article was published on 1 February 2015.
Another article was then published by WeAreTheMighty.com which featured Detachment(A): The 6 most-secret units in military history which was published on 14 June 2015 followed up with a video.
Bob also worked with two highly established authors and writers who wanted to write books about Detachment(A). These two projects were put on hold because fellow Detachment(A) member James Stejskal’s book was still in progress and Bob did not want to interfere with his efforts until his book was published.
Bob continued his efforts and worked with NEWSREP’s reporter Jack Murphy from NEWSREP.com who published a short article about Detachment(A) entitled: Detachment A: the Cold War Sabotage Experts of Special Forces published on 27 April 2016.
Jack was a guest at the September 2016 Det-A function. He interviewed Detachment(A) members for a follow-up article which was published on NEWSREP.com in a 4-part series dated from 07 February 2017 – 10 February 2017.:
Detachment A: Clandestine Special Forces Missions from Berlin to Iran
Part 1: Detachment A: Clandestine Special Forces missions in post Hitler’s Berlin published 6 Feb 2017
Parr 2: Detachment A: Green Berets play cat and mouse with communist agents published 7 February 2017
Part 3: Detachment A: counter-terrorism and Operation Eagle Claw published 8 February 2017
Part 4: Detachment A: Final missions, the wall comes down, and the end of an era published 10 February 2017
Jack conducted in depth interviews with Det(A) members and the articles he published were outstanding. Jack has been instrumental in bringing to light Det(A)’s legacy to the public with his professional writings.
All of these articles are posted on the Detachment(A) website.
Jim’s book entitled Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army’s Elite, 1956–1990 was published 17 February 2017.
Our function in Fayetteville NC in memory of Jeffrey Raker in June of 2017 featured a Detachment(A) formation at the Memorial Stone. This was probably be the last formal formation of Detachment(A).
We also now have a biography in the making. There were interviews conducted at the function. We have two teams of biographers as well as the military professionals.
WeAreTheMighty.com published another series of articles about Detachment’A”:
“The top-secret plan to cripple Berlin during a Soviet invasion” authored by Logan Nye and published on 14 August 2018.
“Top-tier special operators of the Cold War worry about modern ‘soft skills’ ” authored by Logan Nye and published an article on 29 August 2018 entitled .
“A secret Cold War unit was the basis for today’s special operations” authored by Blake Stilwell and published an article dated 23 August 2018 entitled
For many years, and at many functions, Jeff Raker has spoken about Bob Charest bringing Detachment-A in from the cold. At the September 2016 function, he honored Bob Charest by recognizing all the projects and efforts Bob has done for Detachment-A. He presented a thank you card signed by the Detachment(A) members and here is what he said:
“I am not modest in what I’m going to say right now. One reason we are all here; one reason Det-A, after all those years Detachment-A got put on the map. One reason there’s a marker at headquarters, with Detachment-A on it, is because one individual, he did have some help, but one individual went all out and made sure we didn’t die. That individual is here, and because of that individual, we are all here. And Bob if you will be so kind and stand up – with this card that we all signed thanking you for keeping us together, thanks Bob.”
For Bob, this was the ultimate honor, one he will never forget, from Detachment(A) members and from one of the best Special Forces soldiers he has ever served with, and a very special friend.