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2019 Legion 9/11 Memorial Run N Gun: Sept 7-8, Park City, KY

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As usual - the best place by far to stay up to date and informed of all the discussions of this event is the Facebook Event Page at https://www.facebook.com/events/603980326679388/.  Click "Interested" or "Going" and check your notification settings and you should be dinged any time anything new is posted there.  Maybe.  Hell - FB is a big phat mystery to me most of the time so I just do the best I can!


For anti-FBers I will try to repost what I think is important here, so here goes:




This Match celebrates the traditions of the Green Beret’s and the legacy of Special Forces from WWII to present.  Stages are based on the history of 5th Special Forces Group from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq to the destruction of IS and the current fight.  Participants will be challenged both mentally and physically to balance both their intellect and skills on the clock, or against the threat.

This match is an opportunity to test rifle and pistol skills in stages based on combat situations faced by members of The Legion throughout their history.  Both a 5k(ish) with [TBD] shooting stages and a 10k(ish) with [TBD] shooting stages will be offered, so you can choose your level of challenge.  Match fees will be a little bit higher this year to better benefit the SFA:  $100 for the 5k and $150 for the 10k.


Proceeds from this match will be donated to the Special Forces Association, Chapter 38 – an organization dedicated to supporting the Soldiers and families of the Special Forces Community.


For an idea what you might expect, check out last year's match video at https://youtu.be/_Y-38wzV29A or match pictures by Lisa Stennett at https://www.flickr.com/photos/163548466@N06/albums/72157699713389221/page1


Minimum Rifle Round Count: TBD (10k) or TBD (5k)
Minimum Pistol Round Count: TBD (10k) or TBD (5k)
(Recommend carrying 2 x minimum rnd count. Also, there will be a side matches you can shoot as well)
- Rifle that can reach out to 300 yds
- Rifle sling
- Enough rifle magazines to hold the minimum rifle round count at least
- Enough rifle magazine pouches to hold your rifle magazines
- Pistol with secure holster (must cover trigger guard)
- Enough pistol magazines to hold the minimum pistol round count at least
- Enough pistol magazine pouches to hold your pistol magazines
- Headlamp for navigating the cave to/from the shooting portion (you cannot use a weapon mounted light for navigating the cave)
- Tac light (pistol mounted or hand held) for the shooting portion in the cave
- Clear Eye Protection
- Hearing Protection


0630 - Registration
0730 - Shooters Meeting/Safety Brief
0800 - First Runner
TBD - Awards Ceremony


0630 - Registration
0730 - Shooters Meeting/Safety Brief
0800 - First Runner
TBD - Awards Ceremony


Questions - post on this event page as you're probably not the only one with the question. Or you can contact:


Match Director
Matt Stennett


All pictures by Lisa Stennett

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Someone asked me for more details on the charity this match benefits:

The Special Forces Association essentially takes care of the SF guys' families while they are gone - hopefully temporarily, but sometimes forever (in the case of the Gold Star Families).  A water heater goes out while one of the guys is in Syria?  SFA buys his wife a new water heater.  A soldier is injured and stuck in a hospital in Germany/KSA/whoknowswhere?  SFA buys his wife a plane ticket to visit him.  An injured hero comes home and can't get around his own house because it's not handicap-friendly?  SFA is there to help.  Basically all the things Big Army doesn't do that fall through the cracks - SFA takes up the slack.

Chapter 38 is the local chapter who takes care of SF soldiers at Ft. Campbell, so all your money stays local and supports the guys we all know.

More info on the SFA in general can be found here:  http://www.specialforcesassociation.org/  This is a National Association, with local Chapters assigned to each area.

Anyone with direct knowledge PLEASE feel free to correct me or add to my description - this is the best I can do from my limited involvement so far.  Any misrepresentations are due to my own ignorance.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had a great meeting with a couple of my SF counterparts this weekend, and we now have some of the basics nailed down.  Here's what we know so far:


1.  Registration will open in early July.  I'll give a "two week warning" with a specific date and time.  Plan to be close to a computer then with credit card in hand as these sell out VERY quickly.


2.  We will have a 5k-ish run on Saturday with 5 shooting stages and a $100 match fee, and a 10k-ish run on Sunday with 7 shooting stages and a $150 match fee.  100% of the match fee will go to the Special Forces Association, Chapter 38.


3.  There will be several other opportunities for fun around that weekend - the guys are going for more of a "family atmosphere" or "carnival feel", so think about bringing your families and be sure to look out for these other things.


4.  All stages will be shot "blind" in that you won't know what you are doing until you run up on the stage and receive the stage brief.  5th Group doesn't know exactly what they're in for until they arrive onsite, so neither will you.  Vignettes will be published ahead of time so you can understand the events each stage is based on - but that is more to share the stories and remember the heroes than it is to give you intel on shooting details.


Photo by Lisa Stennett



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  • 2 weeks later...

Registration will open at 10:00am CST on Saturday, July 6th. Payment will be required in full when you register: $100 for the 5k, or $150 for the 10k. These sell out in minutes every year, so make plans to be near a computer with your credit card in hand at that time to be sure you get in.


If you are active duty (ESPECIALLY if you are deployed), I will cut you some slack. Reach out to me and let me know what your situation is and I'll see what I can do to help to get you registered. Active duty folks get priority at this match.


Here's the link for the 5k registration: https://www.practiscore.com/5k-legion-9-11-memorial-run-n-gun-2019/register

And here's the link for the 10k registration: https://www.practiscore.com/10k-legion-9-11-memorial-run-n-gun-2019/register


You will need a free Practiscore account to register. Don't wait until July 6th to try to sign up for an account!



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Reminder: Registration opens this Saturday at 10:00am Central Time. Be near a computer with a credit card in-hand if you want to get it – these sell out quickly!


And for those who have never done a RNG before, or who have never run a Legion match before: don’t underestimate the difficulty. For a 5k road race, the winner will usually finish in 13-15 minutes. Average runners will take 20-30 minutes. Walkers will take 45-60 minutes to finish. Last year at the Legion match, the FASTEST 5k finisher was on the course for 85 minutes. The AVERAGE course time was 136 minutes, and the poor guy who trudged the entire course was out there for 215 minutes (3 ½ hours!).


Typical winning 10k road race times are around 30 minutes, with average runners finishing in an hour or so. Our fastest 10k guy was on the Legion course last year for 129 minutes (over 2 hours!). The average course time for everyone was 3 ½ hours, and our hardest-working-refused-to-quit dude came in at just under 5 hours.


Weather was a HUGE factor last year, so it MAY not be that bad this year. But we will still have those famous Kentucky hills, lots of people carrying heavy loads, getting lost, and stopping to shoot along the way. I’m not saying this to scare you off – just the contrary. If you put your mind to it, YOU CAN DO IT. But pace yourself, bring plenty of hydration and nutrition, and anything else you think you might need to finish the course.


No one would EVER underestimate the guys from the 5th Special Forces Group. Don’t even think of underestimating the Legion 9/11 Memorial Match they put on either.



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The full Rules & Procedures document is downloadable from Practiscore when you register, but since many of you won't take the time to read it before registering tomorrow for fear of not getting in, here are the important parts:

There are three equipment classes to reflect the different ways Green Berets fight: “Lightfighter” in which you can carry whatever you want, but are limited to one pistol and one rifle; “Operator” in which you must wear body armor with plates installed (front and back at a minimum), and are still limited to one pistol and rifle; and “Tier One” in which you must FINISH the race with a pack weighing at least 45 lbs (not including your main rifle and pistol) – but that pack may (and should) contain ANYTHING that can give you an advantage. The only limit is that pistol targets must be engaged with pistol rounds, and rifle targets must be engaged with rifle rounds. Want to carry a PCC? Be our guest. Think a scoped bolt gun or different upper in 6.5 Creedmore will give you an advantage? Go for it. You can even carry a shotgun to engage steel pistol targets if you want (birdshot only). Any weapons carried must be IN ADDITION to a primary rifle and pistol, and weight of the pack must be stand-alone (a plate carrier would not be included or required, for example). Packs may be removed prior to shooting, as that is how 5th Group would generally do it as well – but this will be done on your run time and BEFORE any wait time starts.

Shooters will be disqualified (DQ’d) and not allowed to finish the course for the following violations: dropping a loaded pistol, having a loaded rifle anywhere EXCEPT at a shooting stage after the "beep", pointing a loaded weapon at someone, or having a Negligent Discharge (ND). It is solely the judgement of my Staff that I trust if these should occur, and if you argue with an RO you will lose.

We will be shooting steel targets, so no penetrator, steel core, or green tip ammo will be allowed. To be safe - if a magnet sticks to the bullet, leave it at home.

Any active or former 5th Group should contact me directly to register at mstennett@twlakes.net - I'm saving several slots for you guys and your match fee is half-price.  Thanks for all you do!

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Here's where we stand with registration so far.  I'm surprised we have more people going Tier One than last year - but we also have more going Lightfighter.  Operator seems to be the least popular, but still has a pretty solid showing.



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Wake-up call: match day is only 8 weeks away. If you haven't been training already, you really should be!


For those of you who have never done anything like this before, post up here every single time you do something to prepare - CELEBRATE every small victory! They really matter.


For old RNG veterans who train 6 days a week already, post up your training plan and a weekly update - both to keep you honest and to let others know what is possible.


Photo by Lisa Stennett



I'll start:  I'm doing an 8 week "Intermediate 10k" training plan from https://www.verywellfit.com/10k-training-intermediate-runner-schedule-2911612


I chose it because I want to increase the number of interval training and "tempo run" days over my previous training plan to try to get my speed up.  I'm adding tire flips, jumps, and drags on the "easy" days because last year's Legion match unceremoniously pointed out I need more strength training.  The long runs on the weekend I'm going to add a weight vest and try my best to make trail runs instead of just plain road runs, and the "cross training day" will be swimming.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm thrilled to announce Buddy Jewell has committed to play Saturday night at the Lodge, along with his son Buddy Grey (with Grand Division) and Jonathan Wells.  Details are still in the works, but it's likely that some of this will spill over to Friday night - but the main idea is for the entertainment to start about the time the final runner comes in, keep you guys busy while I tabulate scores, and then really kick into overdrive after the awards ceremony is complete.

Buddy Jewell was the winner of Season 1 of Nashville Star and multiple time winner on Star Search: https://www.buddyjewell.com/

Buddy Grey and Jonathan Wells are rising stars in the Nashville scene:  https://www.jonathanwellsmusic.com/  https://www.granddivisionmusic.com/


Edited by Matt in TN
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Follow-up:  these gentlemen are donating their time to support 5th Group and the Special Forces Association.  Please do take a minute to visit their websites and support them however you can in return!  For example - Buddy Jewell has a new album out:  Shine On.  Check it (and his others) out here:  https://www.amazon.com/Shine-Buddy-Jewell/dp/B07P4M71M1/ref=sr_1_12?hvadid=78408976903181&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&hvqmt=p&keywords=buddy+jewell&qid=1564150340&s=dmusic&sr=1-12

Edited by Matt in TN
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Reminder: you will need a light of some kind to navigate and shoot in the cave (Stage 3). If you show up without a light you will not be allowed to shoot and will be given a zero for the stage. Weaponlights are fine to shoot with, but you'll also need a separate light to navigate parts of the cave before the shooting starts. I don't care if you carry a giant spotlight with a 12V truck battery, but you must carry it for the entire course!


If you've never been to the cave before, here's a preview video from 2017 (the names are different, but the basics are the same this year) that will give you a better idea what to expect:  


Edited by Matt in TN
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Reminder: This Thursday, August 8th at midnight is the deadline to withdraw from the match and still get a full refund. Any requests for withdrawal that come in after that will only get a 50% refund until August 24th, and then zero refund after August 24th.

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  • 2 weeks later...
We always have some questions about scoring and penalties. Short version: if you came to last year's match, it will be the same.
If you're new: Each shooting stage will be weighed equally, and all the shooting stages combined will be weighed equally with your net run time (finish time minus start time minus any wait times). So you must both shoot well and run fast to do well at this match.
Each shooting stage will have a total of 180 seconds to complete. Any targets not fully neutralized per the course of fire when you are finished with the stage will add 10 seconds (each target, not each hit) to your shoot time.
Unless otherwise specified - steel targets take one hit to neutralize and paper targets take either 3 rifle hits or 5 pistol hits to neutralize. 5th Group NEVER just takes two shots at a target and moves on - they shoot it until it is no longer a threat. Since we can't really do that here, I asked them for an average number of hits they have made during past encounters. That's how we came up with 3 rifle or 5 pistol.
Any "No Shoots" hit will also incur a 10 second penalty (per target, not per hit) on your shoot time. 5th Group operates under totally different rules than we civilians do, so the scoring will reflect that.
There may be various other bonuses or opportunities along the way. PAY ATTENTION - during the shooter's meeting the morning of match day, during the stage brief, and pretty much all along the course. Those who pay attention, can think clearly, and can put to use what they've seen or heard will be rewarded. That's all I'm going to say about that for now.
Any questions???
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ROUND COUNT: It's complicated. Anyone who shot last year knows that you can engage some targets in different ways (paper needs 3 hits rifle or 5 hits pistol, for example), and doing well on the mental tests may mean you can skip some targets penalty-free. So I'll say this a few different ways and you can judge how much ammo to bring.
If you shoot it exactly as I intend, NEVER MISS a shot, and observe, remember, and put to use intel at the proper times on 100% of the mental tests, you'll need 72 rifle rounds and 46 pistol rounds (for the 5k) and 106 rifle rounds and 56 pistol rounds (for the 10k).
If you fail every mental test but NEVER MISS a shot, you'll need 40 more pistol rounds and God knows how many more rifle rounds. If your rifle goes down or you run out of rifle ammo, you'll need a BUNCH more pistol rounds.
If you're running Tier One and want to bring and use other weapons: there will be 15 pistol steel, 20 paper torsos, and 39 rifle steel of various types for the 10k. 10 less pistol steel and 26 less rifle steel for the 5k. Pistol steel can be shot with PCC or shotgun (bird shot only). Paper can be shot with PCC, pistol, or rifle (5 hits with pistol rounds, 3 hits with rifle). Rifle steel can be shot with rifle, pistol, or PCC. Intel suggests the chances for drones in the area this year are slim. Some rifle steel will require multiple hits.
And remember: you can carry a loaded pistol as long as it's safely secured in your holster. If you drop that loaded pistol at any point on the course, you get a match DQ and are done for the day. You decide if carrying loaded is worth the risk, or whether you'd rather play it safe and carry unloaded (we just laugh at you if you drop an unloaded pistol - no DQ). You can NOT carry any other weapon loaded.
When in doubt, BRING MORE AMMO. I highly suggest you bring at least twice the round count above. Maybe more if your mental facilities dull when you get tired (as most do!).
Edited by Matt in TN
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5th Group's long term goal is to turn this into a "Family Fun Day" for their folks as much as it is an event for us - so in addition to food trucks and concerts they have a generous donor bringing horses, caregivers, and airsoft guns and will be performing "raids" on various locations around the property. This is primarily aimed at the kids of 5th Group soldiers - so definitely let them go first if there any in line waiting.

However, "raids" will be available to the public in exchange for a donation to the SFA if you'd like to bring your own families out to play. The more families we can have show up, the more it will show that a "family day" is a worthy effort and idea for these guys - and you get to support 5th Group in the process.

And I can hear the questions already: "Can adults go on the raids???" Ask the caregiver - we'll see. 🙂


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Reminder: You will need eye and ear protection to shoot. Running with eyes and ear sucks, so either deal with it or take the time to take it off when running and put it back on before shooting. You will not be allowed to shoot if you show up at a stage without it, and will receive a score of ZERO for that stage.
You will also want to bring along a stopwatch of some kind so you can record any wait time you might have. If you run up to a stage and someone is already shooting, you get a "time out" and need to start your stopwatch (the RO should instruct you to do so). This time will be subtracted from your run time. However - you can not use this free time to reconfigure gear, drink, eat, rest, etc. It is simply a "time out" and should provide you no added advantage over those who have to run up and start shooting right away.
You may also want to strongly consider bringing a small pad of paper and a pencil (or some other way to record important information) if your memory is not perfect when you're exhausted and excited. Just sayin'...
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Innovative Targets is stepping up in a big way to provide almost $1,800 in steel targets for the match, and they will be selling them at a discount after the match is over on Sunday night. So bring CASH and hang out Sunday night if you want a great deal on some awesome targets!

Here's the price list and quantities we will have:
(9) 8" x 10" pistol ringer w/ stand $40
(1) 6" x 8" pistol ringer w/ stand $30
(1) 1/4 Torso w/ stand $119
(1) BC Zone Torso w/ stand $162
(2) Full Torso w/ stand $204
(6) 10" Rifle Gong $30
(6) 12" Rifle Gong $40

Check out his website at https://www.innovativetargets.net/ for all the details on these and all of his other targets. 


Edited by Matt in TN
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Some tips for anyone new to “blind stages”:  approach it like you would a firefight.  You see a situation ahead where gunfire is likely, but don’t know exactly what you need.  Prepare your gear BEFORE you approach so you’re ready when you get there – unsling your rifle, move magazines around if necessary, and be ready to “fight” as soon as you arrive.  This is how 5th Group does it, so this is what we are trying to replicate here.  You will be given your stage brief and required to start exactly as you were configured when you arrived at the stage.  You will not be allowed to reconfigure gear during the stage brief, during wait time, or before shooting.  If you’re not ready – you’re not ready, and you’ll have to deal with it when the buzzer goes off and the shooting starts.  

Don’t be that guy.


Edited by Matt in TN
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  • 2 weeks later...

Because sharing these stories and appreciating their sacrifices is one of the most important parts of the match, I'm going to create a separate post for each of the vignettes here.  Below the vignette I'll give a brief description of the shooting stage so anyone can get an idea of how we gave competitors just a glimpse of each situation.  If you have stage video or pics it would be great if you'd add it as well!

Najaf, Iraq (Doe Valley) 2007


In the late morning of 29 January 2007, SFOD-A 563 (C Co, 2nd Bn, 5th SFG (A) was contacted by local police Chief to accompany his SWAT element to a small compound just north of Najaf, Iraq where earlier in the day the local police attempted to arrest a suspected militant leader and was met with heavy gun fire. Six Iraqi police were killed in the initial contact.  When SFOD-A 563 and Hillah SWAT (an elite, USSF-trained element) developed a quick plan to surround the compound in order to arrest the militant leader and his followers.  During movement to the compound SFOD-A members observed armed personnel staging on a dirt berm about 300m north of the convoy of 2x USSF vehicles and 10x SWAT pickup trucks.  On direction from the TM SGT the convoy made a left flank and drove north toward the berm.  With all 12 vehicles on line moving toward the berm, the armed personnel retreated from their positions and seemingly fled.  30 seconds later the vehicles reached the dirt berm and USSF and SWAT quickly dismounted in pursuit.  Instantly the dismounts began receiving heavy amounts of small arms fire. To everyone’s surprise the armed personnel had not fled, but had fallen back to secondary fighting positions about 50 meters further north of the berm.  At the time, 2x US Army Apaches were overhead receiving heavy gun fire as well, but waived off continued contact.




After several hours of exchanging gun fire with the (Jaish Jena, “Heaven’s Army” militant cult.  Two SFOD-A members devised a plan to take out a heavily fortified machine gun nest and RPG firing position that had the left flank of the USSF/SWAT element pinned down. The hasty plan would have one USSF operator “Gravy,” and 30 SWAT members lay down suppressive fire while the other USSF operator “Groucho,” would engaged the nest with a shoulder fired rocket.  On the order to fire, the 2 Green Berets and 30 Hillah SWAT members moved to the top of the dirt berm to take out the nest.  Immediately upon cresting the berm the element received a tremendous amount of small arms.  As dirt flew up from an RPG explosion into their faces and rounds snapped past their heads the 2 USSF operators were suddenly abandoned by their partners.  During the exchange the Groucho’s anti-tank weapon miss-fired, re-cocking the weapon, he stood back up to engage the enemy fighting position.  Gravy was shot, the bullet impacting the side left side of his helmet. Covering Gravy, Groucho took aim he paused to ensure the rocket would clear the berm he was standing on, then looked down to ensure his footing.  In that instant Groucho was shot in his helmet by a 7.62mm round from about 40-50 meters away.  Luckily his helmet was enough to keep the round from penetrating his skull. After falling face down in the dirt, the Green Beret got up and began engaging the enemy with his rifle until it was expended, transitioning to his pistol.  He engaged the enemy until the Detachment’s Medical Sergeant saw the damage and blood on his helmet, pulling him back to cover to contact MEDEVAC and coordinate Close Air Support.
After reports of two USSF operators being shot in the battle reached the Task Force, air assets from all over theater were diverted to support 563.  Fast movers and A/C-130 support was utilized for the next 24 hours to destroy fighting positions inside the compound that approximately cover about a square kilometer.  Gravy and Groucho were both stitched up and continued to fight for another 30 hours.  They engaged enemy personnel, identified targets for Terminal Guidance Operations, and conducted detainee operations.  The Special Forces Detachment Alpha controlled a total 42 coalition aircraft, emptied or “Winchester” two AC-130s gunships’ of ammunition, and was credited with 300-400 EKIA.
Test your presence of mind and physical prowess when confronted with adversity.  Play hurt, and finish the fight.
Honor the commitment of Groucho* and Gravy* (who are back in the fight)



Stage brief:  Begin below the berm.  On the buzzer, load your rifle and make three hits each on the three targets in front of you, FAR to NEAR (to simulate an advancing enemy).  Then move to the next hole with your finger OFF the trigger and do the same.  Move to the third hole and do it one more time.  Engage your safety and leave your rifle pointed downrange, climb the hill, and hit five pistol targets.  Reholster your pistol, retrieve and clear your rifle, and call in the medivac on the radio you find there.  Any questions?  (answer questions)  Ready?  [BEEP – hit them on the head and splash with water to simulate the bullet strike to the helmet]


Competitor calls medivac




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Shaddadi, Syria (Cowboy Town) 2017 

On 16 February 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an offensive to capture the strategic city of al-Shaddadi and the surrounding countryside, with a force of about 6,000 fighters and a few, embedded USSF advisors.  SDF forces attacked mainly from two axes, from the Abdul al-Aziz Mountains and from the al-Hawl area, advancing towards Shaddadi from the northwest and the northeast.  With advice and assistance from accompanying USSF, SDF forces captured 48 villages and hamlets in a matter of days.  Over 79 ISIS militants were killed, and another dozen wounded in the clashes.


USSF, and Coalition Forces quickly established a foothold in the strategic location, with an inner perimeter to protect its Command and Control node and an outer perimeter manned by the SDF, who would rather die than risk a Coalition wounded in their fight to defeat ISIS.  Despite this, two specially selected Green Berets, K and J, named JEDBURGHs in honor of WWII heritage, remained “outside the wire,” to embed and integrate with the SDF’s Command and Control and provide real-time coordination and ground truth to the Command element.  However, wounded but not defeated, ISIS attacked the newly established Forward Operating Base with 8 suicide bombers and a force of over 22 militants.  K and J quickly assessed the situation, hastily retrieved additional grenades and ammunition, and raced to the contact on and SDF vehicle to support the crumbling SDF defense.  Operating in tandem, they provided suppressing fire for each other and unknown SDF to bound between fighting positions and engage the suicide bombers before they could breach the inner compound.  K, realizing an enemy attempt to break through, used multiple grenades to disperse the enemy, allowing J and the SDF to finish the fight.  They continued to pursue the enemy and then coordinate Close Air Support, resulting in multiple Enemy KIA.   Countless SDF and Coalition Force casualties were prevented as a result of their actions.  While K and J both received valorous awards, they asked not to be named here, simply saying “I was just doing my job.”


Be prepared to work as a team, adapt to your situation, close with and destroy the enemy.


Stage brief:  Begin in the back of the truck.  On the buzzer, load your rifle and make three hits on the far target while driving forward.  Dismount the truck to the right and perform a successive bounding maneuver with a real live Green Beret as your partner to move through two cover positions into the barn.  Once in the barn, lob a grenade out the window (RO throws a grenade sim to provide an actual explosion), then exit and neutralize all targets, and call in an airstrike with the radio you find there.  Any questions?  (answer questions)  Ready?  [BEEP]

Competitor calls in airstrike

RO Answers On Radio:  DARK6 is RIFLE, break contact and move to support 555, .5k West at cave complex from your position.  Abu Jas’m standing by with target packet.

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Eastern Afghanistan often pitted U.S. troops against waves of insurgents who attacked from bunkers and caves.  Enemy networks use subterranean caves and tunnels to avoid aerial and satellite detection, as well as provide protection from various munitions.  On June 22, 2011, American forces had to be reinforced several times during the two-day firefight in southeast Afghanistan's Paktika province.  The sole U.S. fatality in the attack was Army Master Sgt. Benjamin A. Stevenson, a highly decorated member of one of the Army's special mission units, and previously of 5th SFG (A).

In the Paktika raid, U.S. and Afghan troops attacked an insurgent encampment under cover of darkness last week, killing nearly 80 foreign fighters -- mostly Arabs and Chechens brought into Afghanistan from Pakistan.  But as they searched the site in the daylight, they were attacked by two more waves of insurgents who came out from underground bunkers and caves.  Additional U.S. forces were called in several times as reinforcements as the firefight stretched on.  

The target of this raid was a camp full of fighters from the so-called Haqqani network, responsible for many recent attacks in Afghanistan and is closely tied to al Qaeda. The presence of so many foreign fighters among an insurgent group that typically relies on local Afghan and Pakistani populations indicated a High Value Target, or enemy combatant of high importance.  

MSG Benjamin A. Stevenson was 36, from Canyon Lake, Texas, on his 10th tour of duty in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq when he was killed. 

In this stage, test your ability to keep your cool and engage threats in a constrained, low-light environment.



Stage brief:  Role Player Outside Cave:  Al Queda’s head commo guy is in there with great intel.  Hand me your rifle and go get him!

Stage brief:  On the buzzer, move forward WITHOUT USING ANY LIGHT (stage is dimly lit with green chemlights) while manhandling your POW in front of you as cover and neutralize all enemy targets.  There are no friendlies in the cave.  Any questions?  (answer questions)  Ready?  [BEEP]

In the back of the cave is a stash of weapons (two RPGs, a Dragunov, and an AK) surrounding an 8" x 10" sign that says "Enemy radio frequency:  154.620 MHz"  This information should have been noticed and recorded for later use.

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Stage 4 (10k Only):  TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

At 6-foot-5, Jon was a towering warrior, and physically intimidating even without a Green Beret and a chest covered with medals.  But to those of us who served with him closely, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Farmer was more than a decorated soldier, more than six overseas combat tours, more than a giant.  He was a leader, a mentor for those who wanted one, a "Viking" who was as generous with his knowledge as the huge hugs, which he was known to offer freely.  He was truly a warrior-philosopher, a paragon of his profession, and—above all—a good man.

He was a friend, a father-figure and to many, a legend.

For most of his career he was an engineer sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha, whose motto is "Taking Care of Business," according to teammates.  Farmer took care of business, but he also took care of others.  There are no words to describe his character and his impact on so many people's lives.

While many missions involve secrecy Green Beret’s like Jon are willing to put their lives on the line for their country, no Green Beret will leave another behind.  When the suicide bomber struck and the call went out, the closest support happened to be Jon’s Command Team.  Both the Task Force Commander and Jon’s Battalion Commander immediately responded to the scene, without hesitation moving on foot to render aid.

The Soldiers of the Legion share fond memories of Jon, as a testament to the warrior profession and as a man of character.

In this stage, assess the situation, react immediately.  Remember Jon during the stage, and after the match. 

“Often, for undaunted courage, Fate spares the man she has not already marked.”
-a Viking proverb


Stage brief:  On the buzzer, advance up the hill and locate your team-mate who was just injured in the blast (arty sim fires while competitor advances up hill).  Drag him (a 180lb Rescue Randy) to cover, and neutralize 5 pistol targets.  Proceed down the hill to the helicopter (wobble platform) neutralizing pistol targets along the way.  Mount the helicopter and neutralize three rifle targets in the woods.

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Stage 5 (10k Only):  MARLOW’S MARAUDERS

In Southeastern Syria, Special Operations Detachment-Alpha (SFOD-As) continue to pursue the remnants of the Islamic State.  They will not tire, they will not falter, and they will not fail.  The reward of persistence, planning and preparation is an unfair fight for the enemy.

The delicate balance between these three aspects of operations is tempered with training and specialized techniques.  Retaining information, attention to detail, and applying that information appropriately to any operational environment is the key to success.  Whether a simple link up between forces, or crucial intelligence to complete the mission, or the cognitive application of training.
Through careful reconnaissance, observation, planning and preparation, a team from 3rd BN, 5th SFG (A) found such a success in a cornered and hostile enemy, fleeing members of the disintegrating Islamic State.  Through careful, but hasty application of precision fire this contact resulted in over 40 enemy killed in action.  

Use attention to detail, stay mentally sharp, and retain information under pressure to shoot the most effective course of fire. The mind is the best weapon.


Stage brief:  Begin with your rifle unloaded on the deck.  On the buzzer, engage the far target (645 yds) with two rounds from the long rifle (provided).  Retrieve and load your rifle, and hit all the rest of the targets (20 in total, ranging from 100 to 340 yds) one time each.  A far target miss can be made up with your rifle.  Any questions?  (answer questions)  Ready?  [BEEP]

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Stage 6 (10k) or 4 (5k):  THE SHARKMEN
GAZA VALLEY, AFGHANISTAN (Powerline cut) 2014

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.  Years later, SFOD-A 5125, the “Sharkmen,” named for their ability to conduct underwater infiltration, continued the missions that generations of the Legion conducted before, in Gaza Valley, Afghanistan.  

09 Jun 2014, the Team was conducting a high-profile, multi-day mission when they came under fire by enemy forces in large numbers.  Scott Studemend, Weapons Sergeant, and five other Green Berets were killed after an incorrect grid was passed for a bomb drop.  2, 500lb bombs landed nearly exactly on their position.  Prior to that, the men were engaging at distances of 200 to 500 meters to allow the remainder of the team to maneuver against overwhelming numbers of enemy forces.

Maximize use of cover, keep your nerve and don’t forget anything important.


Stage brief:  On the buzzer, shoot the numbered targets through the corresponding ports, in the order of the enemy radio frequency.  Any questions?  (answer questions)  Ready?  [BEEP]

A VTAC board is set up with numbers assigned to 6 different ports, and six targets are scattered across a hillside from 100 - 300 yds with a number next to each.  The competitor must make a hit on target #1 through port #1, and so on until they complete the 6-digit radio frequency they should have seen in the cave.  No target distances are given, but there is a range card (with distances to telephone poles, rock outcroppings, and a road) on the VTAC Board.  

There is also a 7th target marked with a #15 jersey they were told to watch for as an HVT during the morning shooters' briefing.  Recognizing that and making the hit would remove 20 seconds from the shooter's stage time.

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