Special operations veterans honored in Fort Bragg ceremony
By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer | Published: November 2, 2018
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — They are trailblazers, architects, longtime advocates and icons of Army special operations.
And now, they will forever be part of their respective regiments.
A dozen special operations veterans and civilians representing civil affairs, special operations and psychological operations were honored Friday at Fort Bragg.
A Regimental Induction Ceremony hosted by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School recognized the “overwhelmingly significant contributions” made by men and women spanning the past 100 years.
Maj. Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag, the commanding general of the Special Warfare Center and School, said those honored would serve as a link between modern special operations and the regiments’ storied pasts.
Many continue to serve soldiers, the general said.
“Today, we’re going to recognize 12 individuals who dedicated their lives in support of our nation, soldiers and their families,” Sonntag said.
Honorees included the late Gen. Lucius D. Clay and the late Col. Irvin L. Hunt, who are considered the forefathers of modern civil affairs; and retired Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, a former commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command who led the initial push into Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Clay and Hunt, who each began their military service in the early 1900s, were honored in coordination with the 100th anniversary of civil affairs.
Clay was commissioned in 1918 and played a pivotal role in the development of civil affairs. Early next year, the Special Warfare Center and School will dedicate a new academic building in his honor.
His influence on civil affairs spans from World War II to well into the Cold War. He helped rebuild Europe and orchestrated the Berlin Airlift to thwart a Soviet blockade of West Berlin.
Hunt was commissioned in 1899 and was the author of “The Hunt Report,” a study of the U.S. military occupation of Germany following World War I that helped convince Army leaders of the need for civil affairs soldiers.
Both men were named Distinguished Members of the Civil Affairs Regiment.
Retired Col. Harold W. Youmans, who served from 1967 to 1994, also was honored as a Distinguished Member of the Civil Affairs Regiment.
He served in Vietnam, Panama, Cuba and Somalia and is credited with helping better integrate civil affairs and psychological operations capabilities into joint planning.
The regiment also honored Deborah L. Alexander, a retired senior foreign service officer with the Department of State who assisted in the indictment of former Yugoslavian President Slobadan Milosevic and deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Agency of International Development shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She was named an Honorary Member of the Civil Affairs Regiment.
Mulholland was one of four men honored by the Special Forces Regiment.
He commanded the 5th Special Forces Group at the time of the 9/11 attacks and oversaw the special operations task force that spearheaded efforts to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. He later had leadership roles with Army Special Forces Command, Army Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Mulholland was named a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment alongside retired Command Sgts. Maj. Thomas B. Corbett and Jeffrey W. Wright.
Corbett served for 30 years with the 1st, 5th, 7th and 10th Special Forces Groups, culminating as senior enlisted leader of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. He served as part of Operation Eagle Claw, an attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran, and in Grenada, Panama, Iraq and Somalia.
Wright served from 1984 to 2017 and ended his career as the senior enlisted advisor for Joint Special Operations Command. He served with the 3rd Special Forces Group, the 1st Special Warfare Training Group and the 7th Special Forces Group, with service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another honoree, Scott A. Gibson, was named an honorary member of the Special Forces Regiment. Gibson, a civilian contractor, has operated the dining facility at the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, Fla., since 1994.
Two retired officers, Col. Miguel Hobbs and Lt. Col. Alfred E. Lunt III, were inducted as distinguished members of the Psychological Operations Regiment.
Hobbs began his career in 1988 and was instrumental in procuring civil affairs and psychological operations billets in brigade combat team staffs and helped plan and coordinate psychological operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Global War on Terror. He continues to serve as a Department of the Army civilian as chief of the information operations division for U.S. Army Cyber Command.
Lunt began his career in 1980 and served in various psychological operations positions in Central America and Bosnia before helping to revise psychological operations doctrine prior to his retirement in 2006.
Two others were celebrated as Honorary Members of the Psychological Operations Regiment. They are Debra L. Ambrose, a civilian Department of Defense employee, and the late Gregory Orme.
Ambrose began her career as a French instructor for the Special Warfare Center and School in 1986 and has served the Psychological Operations Regiment since 1991.
Orme, who died last year, worked for the Special Warfare Center and School as chief of the Literature Development Division, where he served as editor-in-chief of all doctrine and training literature for Army Special Operations forces.