About a year ago, the U. S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) found a new home in the panhandle. This particular group relocated from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Eglin Air Force Base as part of the Base Realignment and Closure law. Today, a new part of that organization was officially activated.
The new 4th battalion will comprise eighteen teams of highly trained elite soldiers to join the other three battalions of the 7th Special Forces Group. There are 350-plus Green Berets who make up the battalion.
Florida Governor Rick Scott was joined by military officials and even families of the soldiers in Friday's activation ceremony. Governor Scott says, "we have to be very appreciative of what these individuals are doing. They are putting their lives at risk so we can have freedom and live out lives in safety."
U. S. Army leaders say the operational experience over the last few years has validated the Special Forces mission sets. Although these soldiers call the Florida panhandle home…their primary mission will take them to Latin America, to the fighting fields of Afghanistan and possibly other parts of the world.
The new 4th battalion commander says this activation brings a new mobility element. It will include a vehicle fleet…a great addition to combat power.
Green Berets bring a specialized level of responsibility. LTC Martin Schmidt, 4th battalion's new commanding officer, says, "On the battlefields today, it is not a conventional force we are fighting against they use tactics of terror. Its the Green Berets…special soldiers men and women out here today that get in the villages become friends with the elders there in the village they protect the people of Afghanistan.
Sergeant Christopher Corbin knows service in Afghanistan all too well. In February of 2011, his team looking for improvised explosive devices, missed one. SFC Corbin says,"lost both of my legs…I didn't realize it. My buddy tackles me I am trying to get away…started my recovery pretty much from then on."
After five months of recovery, Sergeant First Class Corbin was back to active duty. He ran his 15th 5k Friday morning. We wish him all the best. The 4th Battalion's Green Beret soldiers will train for expected duty in Afghanistan next year.