|Secret mission: The Horse Soldiers of 9/11|
Combat Controller, Bart Decker, "HORSE SOLDIER"
wake of September 11, 2001, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne),
also known as the Legion, was called upon to play a major role in our
Nation's defense. Within hours of the terrorist attacks, Soldiers from
the Group were deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.
From October 2001 through April 2002, Special Forces Operational Detachments – Alpha (SFOD-A), or A- teams, from the 5th SFG (A) conducted Unconventional Warfare against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.
Individuals from these Green Beret A-teams have been recognized as "Horse Soldiers" due to their requirement to advise and assist their Afghan counterparts, formed under the moniker of the Northern Alliance, while riding horseback, a form of transport not used in the U.S. military since the cavalry of old.
In less than six months the 5th SFG (A), a regimental-sized force, effectively destroyed the popular base of the Taliban government and toppled the terrorist-sponsoring state of Afghanistan.
Interviewed; Combat Controller, Mike Scorintino
Their contribution to the American response will be commemorated with a statue near Ground Zero in Manhattan, complete with a parade to its installation:
During the 2011 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, a new monument to these men — and to all Americans in uniform — will make its way down New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue on the way to its final home, a stone’s throw from Ground Zero
Military men and women, along with New York City firefighters, policemen, emergency responders and other marchers, 50,000 in all, will escort the monument on its televised journey. The spectacle will feature members of the three original Special Operations teams — some on horseback, others walking alongside surviving spouses of fallen heroes.
If this sounds like a movie script, well, it shortly will be:
Retired Army general and current CIA director David Petraeus will be among the parade marshals. Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer is producing a future movie about America’s “Horse Soldiers.”
|Their Air Force Combat Controller — Master Sgt. Bart Decker, now retired —
radioed for airstrikes, calling in bombing coordinates to a female navigator on
an AC-130 gunship nicknamed “the Angel of Death.”
“The warlord we were advising heard her on my radio and broadcast to the enemy: ‘Female up in this airplane is wreaking havoc on you,’ ” Sgt. Decker recalled. “That’s an insult, obviously, to the Taliban, who used to beat down their women.”
The statue, a 16-foot-tall bronze of a Special Forces soldier on horseback, may wind up in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan once the protesters camped there depart. But for now, it is bound for a temporary spot in a building a block from the World Trade Center site.
Titled “De Oppresso Liber,” a motto of the Army Special Forces, the statue memorializes the soldiers who rode into battle in Afghanistan after 9/11. Sculptured by Douwe Blumberg, it now belongs to the United War Veterans Council, the organization that manages the parade.
The $500,000 to build the statue was raised from wealthy private donors, but the sponsors have not yet found a final resting place for the statue.
After making its public debut riding on a float up Fifth Avenue, it will be hauled to Battery Park City. It is to be dedicated Friday night by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Lt. Gen. John Mulholland in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center.
From there, it will go to a lobby of 1 World Financial Center, a building owned by Brookfield Office Properties, the company that owns Zuccotti Park. Brookfield had considered placing the statue in the park, before the Occupy Wall Street crowd descended on that plaza in mid-September, said Bill White, who helped arrange the creation of the statue. But that idea would have required approval by city officials. Melissa Coley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield, said, “We’re pleased to provide a temporary home” for the statue.
Mr. White said the statue’s sponsors hoped it would eventually reside at the World Trade Center, but Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said no decision had been made. Mr. Foye, who helped clear the way for the statue to travel to the Winter Garden, said that because it “memorializes the sacrifices of a lot of people after the attack on the trade center, a downtown location would be fitting.”
“That’s a possibility we’d be happy to entertain,” he added.