The following editorial appeared in the Fayetteville Observer:
As their mission in Afghanistan winds down, soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group are preparing for a homecoming of sorts: They’re heading back to Africa.
From its reactivation in 1990 until the terror attacks of 9/11, the 3rd Group spent much of its deployed time in Africa. What they often dealt with were local issues, like warlords and insurgencies.
It’s a whole new landscape today. But some of the threats they face will look familiar, because they saw them in Afghanistan, too, including offshoots of al-Qaida and Islamic State. There are also the vicious homegrown radicals of Boko Haram.
The Green Berets are heading into some of Africa’s most troubled countries. They will see massive refugee and human-rights problems in the region, along with terrorism.
The group’s return to Africa coincides with the Army’s renewed focus on the continent, especially in the more northern countries that include many unstable governments – and in the case of Libya today, virtually no functioning government at all.
For some senior soldiers, the journey to Africa will be a return to a place they have served before and enjoyed. For the younger ones, it’s a big change from the only deployment they have known, Afghanistan.
And for the rest of us at home, it’s a reminder that for a rapid-response post like Fort Bragg, there’s really no such thing as down time, especially for special-operations troops.
If there’s a trouble spot in the world, we know there will be a direct line from it to Fort Bragg.
And in a world filled with spreading insurgencies, there’s an endless supply of work to be done.
Tribune Content Agency