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Matt in TN

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About Matt in TN

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    Calls Shots

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    Baxter, TN
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    Matt Stennett

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  1. Final Run: NO GREATER LOVE Ayman Taha was born in Sudan, into an academically accomplished international family. Both his parents hold doctorates—after secondary school in England, Ayman received a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a master's in economics from the University of Massachusetts, where he was working toward a PhD. Athletic, a speaker of many languages, and a friend to all who met him, he had only to write his dissertation to earn his PhD, before he decided to serve in the Special Forces. On his second deployment to Iraq, Taha was hastily preparing a cache of munitions for demolition in the town of Balad when the explosives he found detonated and he was killed. The intense firefights faced by his teammates indicate the explosives, if not destroyed, would have been used by enemy combatants to target American soldiers. His teammates were able to recover his remains only under pressure from enemy attack. Ayman "lived in many cultures," his father said, was Muslim, and spoke English, Arabic, Spanish and Portuguese. More important than his formidable intellect or ability, were his personality and character. "If he has a five-minute conversation with you, that would be the beginning of a lifetime relationship." Ayman Taha demonstrates the character and integrity crucial to service in the Special Forces, and a love far greater and more important than any single combat-skill.
  2. Stage 5 (5k)/Stage 7 (10k): HIGH VALUE TARGET As early as January in eastern Syria, one of two operations in less than a month, Coalition forces targeted senior IS leaders in the Hajin region in Syria's eastern Deir Az Zor province near the Iraqi border. Included among those killed was the messenger for IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to the Iraqi government official release. Three houses linked by an underground tunnel were also destroyed, the statement said. The Iraqi press release added that the air raid was carried out based on "intelligence" and at the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Hajin, located about 50km from Iraq's border, is the largest populated hub still under IS control in Syria. Coalition forces rely on each other and common goals to share actionable information quickly—some of the most important details to one element may seem inconsequential to another.
  3. Stage 4 (5k)/Stage 6 (10k): HORSE SOLDIERS In the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Defense Department sent two teams of Army Special Forces soldiers to Afghanistan to bring down the Taliban. SFODA 595, the “Horse Soldiers,” went on missions that were extended for weeks and months. They did it all without body armor or tactical vehicles, living with Afghan partners and following an Afghan plan—often using horses and pack animals. 595 was charged with leading the Northern Alliance and the men of former (assassinated) Ahmed Shah Massoud to unite Afghanistan against Taliban rule. These Green Berets were among the first to deploy to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some of them rode into battle on horseback alongside fighters from the Northern Alliance. There were no guarantees that General Dostum of the Afghan Northern Alliance would safeguard the team, and many members had never ridden horseback before. The team found itself uniquely postured to react to the Nation’s call to duty after the 9/11 attacks.
  4. Stage 5 (10k only): THE MIND IS THE BEST WEAPON Nicknamed "Texas 12", a Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha designated “SFOD-A 574” was a 12-man team of U.S Green Berets. They worked side-by-side with irregular militia led by Hamid Karza, to capture the Islamic spiritual center in the city of Kandahar, and thus win over a critical center of gravity within the population of Afghanistan. The 12 Americans of ODA 574, assisted by U.S. close air support and 35 Afghans, successfully defended Tarin Kowt against 1,000 Taliban insurgents delivered by 100 trucks. Assisting the local militia, they helped to defeat the Taliban further along the Arghandab River and at Shawali Kowt and Sayyd Alma Kalay. These victories were the key to the Kandahar Campaign, ending when Kandahar was occupied by Marine Expeditionary Units. The battle and the overall defeat of the Taliban came at a heavy price. Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald "Donnie" Davis, Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, and SFC Daniel H. Petithory and twenty members of Karzai’s militia were killed. Five other members of ODA 574 and Karzai were wounded. Despite this incredible loss, members of SFOD-A 586 soldiers from Bravo Company, 3rd BN, 5th SFG, with reinforcements from adjacent units, were able to usher Karzai and new leadership into the center of power at Kandahar. President Karzai was able to negotiate the surrender of Taliban forces around Kandahar, drastically shortening the length of the war.
  5. Stage 4 (10k only): THE MANBIJ POCKET In 2016, the reach and control the Islamic State had established in Northern Syria was staggering. It would take US Special Forces and their partners numerous operations and countless munitions to stem IS’s spread and retake key terrain, to turn the fight against IS. The Manbij Offensive, code-named Operation Martyr by the Syrian Democratic Forces was a 2016 military offensive to finally break through IS lines—at the time this was a small, critical pocket IS forces had established in Manbij city. Surrounding the "Manbij Pocket" in the northern Aleppo Governorate, Special Forces and the SDF saw the opportunity to cut off IS's last smuggling and supply routes from Turkey and shorten the battle. During the first 5 days of the offensive, the US-led coalition conducted over 55 airstrikes to support friendly maneuver. Desperate IS fighters used suicide attacks, improvised “mad max” vehicles, and drones to attempt counterattacks. After capturing Manbij city on 12 August, the SDF announced that the offensive would continue east from Manbij to crush IS.
  6. Stage 3: RAQQAH RUMBLE Currently Special Forces from sister services are operating together collectively to combat our Nation’s enemies. Elite Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Operator, Chief Kenton Stacy was critically wounded in November as one of the few elite Navy EOD operators assigned to a Special Forces unit tasked with clearing areas which had been held by ISIS fighters. While his team was clearing improvised explosive devices from the second floor of a hospital that had been rigged with booby traps, one of the devices detonated within just a few feet of Kenton, injuring his spinal cord and forever changing his life. Stacy endured the brunt of the blast, saving many of his teammates. His team reacted and sprang into action to speed him to critical care facilities. The teams continued work to clear the hospital, wrecked buildings and tunnel systems for months to come. Special Forces and EOD experts must face uncertain environments such as tunnels, cave systems, and wreckage in the current operating environment.
  7. Stage 2: AT TANF, “DE-CONFLICTION ZONE” In 2017, American Green Berets manned and operated an austere outpost in the Syria-Iraq-Jordanian “Tri-Border Region,” to disrupt enemy forces and target ISIS or “Da’esh” militants as they attempted to escape the killing grounds of the Middle Euphrates Valley. The Green Berets were highly trained in preparing local ground forces for combat. Despite the austerity of their location, they remained vigilant for the opportunity to engage Da’esh as they fled toward the US Partner-Country of Jordan. In the past year, At Tanf has seen multiple engagements and remains a hot bed of enemy and international activity. During a security patrol, two separate Green Beret elements made contact with and interdicted a small, hostile smuggling force. When engaged by the enemy, elements in contact made radio contact with adjacent units for support. The two teams quickly adjusted their activity to move to the location of the firefight and engage the enemy. One team had to hastily mount their gun trucks, and upon positively identifying suicide vests on multiple combatants began engaging and neutralizing the enemy immediately. That day resulted in numerous Da’esh enemy killed in action, and zero wounded or injured Green Berets. The action sent a clear message to Da’esh attempting to flee that American forces were waiting, and willing to interdict.
  8. And because these stories NEED to be told, I'm going to reprint the portions of the match books explaining the events behind each stage. Stage 1: BRONCO DOWN MACV-SOG, or Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group, was a joint service unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG under secret orders. These teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction, such as the "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions in 1971. When the Special Forces began operations in Vietnam, it didn’t take long to for the OV10, “Bronco” aircraft to earn its reputation as one of the most feared weapon in the US arsenal by the Viet Cong, NVA and Pathet Lao. The enemy knew the Bronco meant an air strike would certainly follow. On 6 July 1971, US Army Special Forces Capt. Donald G. "Butch" Carr, crewed a Bronco to find, fix, and support suppression of enemy forces. MAJ Carr was the Deputy Commander of the MACV-SOG element at Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. His Bronco, Nail 48 assailed one of the major arteries of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. Its mission was to target this border road used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, until his aircraft disappeared after reports of enemy activity. After his disappearance, there were wild and varied reports of a “crazy American,” who had survived the crash. Donald Carr was among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. While it is not known exactly what unfolded when MAJ Carr and his partner crash landed, numerous reports indicated multiple Enemy Killed in Action at or around the crash site. We do know MAJ Carr’s body was found decades later, far from the site. MAJ Carr was recovered and his remains returned to his family this year.
  9. There's no way a video can do justice to the spirit, comaraderie, catharsis, horrible and amazing weather conditions, explosions and 50 cal simulators, and demonstrations of sheer willpower and skill we saw last weekend. But here's six minutes in which I try to capture just a TASTE of all that. Thank you to everyone for helping me to pull this off and making it an extremely successful weekend from every single angle: from sharing 5th Group stories, to honoring their fallen and Gold Star Fathers, to raising a ton of money for the Special Forces Association, Chapter 38 - and welcoming the guys themselves into our awesome Run N Gun Family while testing ourselves against the hardest course I've seen yet. I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you.
  10. Official match pictures are up at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/163548466@N06/sets/72157699713389221 As I mentioned at the match, please use them however you'd like, but give Lisa Stennett a photo credit if you do. If you see any pictures of yourself you'd like to be removed, simply send me a message and we'll take them down ASAP. It's hilarious that Flickr chose to use the horse as the cover photo.
  11. Hahahaha! I'm sure everyone who shot on Sunday and half of those on Saturday would have agreed with you - thanks for taking the time to write all that up! The only edit I'd add is that there were 6 paper targets on stage 2. But they were going by so fast it's no wonder you only counted five! Thanks again for making the long trek and working so hard all weekend. We couldn't have done it without you.
  12. Some stats: We ended up with 144 total competitors. 26 of those were 5SFG (3 ran on both days), 2 were Gold Star Fathers, and 5 were women (1 ran on both days). 3 were kids, and the youngest who ran and shot was 11. Here's the breakdown to show how many people failed to finish each stage (top bar graph), how many people failed at multiple stages (bottom bar graph), and how each day's weight classes filled out. I'm happy to report only one person failed every stage they attempted to shoot. And they kept going and never quit! Conditions played a HUGE factor, so I wanted to document those too: And this was totally informal and NOT part of the official match, but we had 11 people who ran both the 5k on Saturday and the 10k on Sunday. Many of them asked me, just for fun, to combine their scores to see how they stacked up against each other.
  13. OK - someone paying more attention than me pointed out that the scores are correct on Practiscore if you dig deep enough. Go here for the 5k Results: https://www.practiscore.com/results/html/be846e41-3467-4776-b9e3-b5aeb3a8cbe2 And here for the 10k results: https://www.practiscore.com/results/html/b14bb2f6-743e-4a7d-8553-7092f148ab6b I'll continue to work on making it easier to find - sorry for the delay and confusion. And then we have two more follow-up items: 1. Please send any photos or videos you're willing to share to legionrungun@gmail.com 2. There were several lost and found items (including a prize table item) left over after everyone had left. Please email the address above if you've lost anything and they'll dig through the pile to see if it's there. Or we may find it still on the course next year (it happens every match!). More to come...
  14. Just wanted to let everyone know that the match shirt is still available online at https://www.shredderlife.com/shop/ until 9/14 for anybody that wasn't able to get the size they wanted. Thanks to everyone involved for coming out and supporting the SFA Chapter 38 and the Legion! DOL!
  15. A word of warning: this is not your typical match, in which I design stages so most people succeed. To give you a taste of 5th Group life, the shooting stages are pretty complex. The shooting itself is fairly simple - IF you were fresh (not exhausted) and had all the time in the world. But you don't. And you won't be. It will be a rare person that finishes the entire match without failing at SOMETHING. I'm guessing there will be a few who fail to complete EVERY shooting stage. When that happens, keep in mind 5th Group is not successful because they never fail. They are successful because they KEEP GOING despite failing over and over again, and being faced with situations MUCH more dire than simply failing a stage at a match. Then pick yourself up, gather your gear, and trudge forward to the next challenge. I promise you, you will NOT be the only one to fail. Embrace it. Learn from it. And keep going.