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CoLawman
10-18-2005, 09:41
Inquiring minds want to know!

Earning the Green Beret and the Special Forces tab is quite an accomplishment. Since so few actually earn this distinction, I was wondering about the graduation ceremony. I understand that those in the pipeline now receive the beret and tab at the end. In my mind, I picture an elaborate ceremony with dignitaries, families, and friends in attendance.

I look at the pomp and ceremony for high school graduations, college graduations, and even OSUT graduations. These accomplishments are certainly deserving of all attendant fanfare.

But what about graduation from the pipeline. Is the ceremony lowkey,or is it commensurate with the lofty accomplishment? As a parent I can only imagine the emotions at such a ceremony. I would not even be able to imagine the emotions and sense of accomplishment for the soldier that earns his beret and tab at such a ceremony.

Any of the QP's want to recount their experience, emotions, and rememberances of the day.

I know there are several parents on this board who hope and pray for the day that they can attend such a ceremony and would love a glimpse into that day.

Firebeef
10-18-2005, 12:58
yo COlawman.....

I'm on duty right next door, lawdawg....c'mon over and I'll buy ya a pop and tell ya ll about it!! LOL.

DG

CoLawman
10-18-2005, 14:52
But I am off today! Sorry! Type it up!:p

longtab
10-18-2005, 16:04
When I was in the Pipeline the evening prior to Robin Sage (then Phase 4)graduation we had the Regimental "picnic" which was the actual Beret donning ceremony. They had abolished the Regimental Dinner the class prior for whatever reasons. At the fancy friends and family "official" graduation you recieved your Phase 2-4 certificates and your "Yarborough" knife. Then cadre TOOK the knife promptly upon the completion of the ceremony never to been seen again until you recieved the SF tab! Then you had two or three weeks block leave before reporting to language school (Phase 5) for 4-6 months. Finally you received your SF tab at the SERE graduation (Phase 6), where you were re-united with your "Yarborough" knife. So basically the Phase 4 (Sage) graduation was the big celebration with friends, family and keggers; and SERE graduation was special, yet low-key... followed by keggers. I'm am told the whole pipeline has just been revamped though... so who knows.

dennisw
10-18-2005, 16:23
My son is not in the newest configuration of the pipeline, but his class is part of the old and the new. He just finished lanquage school and will start SERE training on October 24. His graduation is scheduled for November 23 where he is supposed to received his beret and tab.

He is not really sure what the ceremony will entail, and I don't think he wants to ask and be accused of not keeping his eyes on the 15 meter target.

Whether it contains pomp and ceremony or they give us a half empty can of coors light, I'm wouldn't miss it for the world. I'll have digital camera in hand to record even the most insinificant details.

18C4V
10-18-2005, 20:01
My class didn't have the 18X or the Yarborough Knife.

My class (04-01) finished Robin Sage (phase 4) and came back to Bragg on a Sunday. We all go reassigned back to student company and Monday to Wed was full of inspections, details, and cleaning of TA-50 for CIF turn in. Wed was the class picture day and we needed two berets. One with our Group Flash and the other with the SWC Flash (for language school). Our class photo was with our Group Flash and that quickly went into the bag for the upcoming Regimental Supper on Thursday at the NCO Club.

The uniform for the Regimental Supper was BDU's with PC's. No guests were allowed unless your dad was SF. Each table had the Group Flash and all members sat at their own Group Table. My table, I had my Group Commander and Group CSM. The posting of the colors was done by the Honor Grads of all MOS's. We watched a short video, Generaly Boykin spoke a few words and "The Ballard of The Green Beret's" came on and the order came to "don Beret's". Most of the Groups handed out their Group Coins with the exception of 3rd Group (don't know why).

Our graduation was the next day in Class A uniform. My graduation was marred by the fact that we lost one classmate 1Lt Tallas Tomeny and almost lost another in a tragic accident that never should have happened. When my buddy who was wounded (18C) got up from his wheel chair and walked across the stage to receive his Beret, we all stood up and started clapping. As we all walked on the stage, General Boykin shook our hands and told each of us "Get ready to go to war". "The Ballard of the Green Beret's" came on and the order came "to don Beret's" and we did.

We received our Beret's and MOS orders and I took 10 days leave prior to reporting back for language school. In Language school, we were required to wear our Beret with the SWC Flash on it. Graduation for language school was simple. It was held in the auditorium on a thursday, got our 1059 and certificate and had Friday, Sat, and Sun off prior to starting SERE on Monday.

Graduation from SERE was cool, it was at the JFK auditorium and family members could attend. It was in BDU's and I got my tab orders along with my certificate. I got my graduation certificate signed by all the former POW's who were at the graduation ceremony.

Two weeks later, I sign into my company and into my team as the Sr 18C. Two weeks after that my bn got deployed down range.

CoLawman
10-18-2005, 20:25
Our graduation was the next day in Class A uniform. My graduation was marred by the fact that we lost one classmate 1Lt Tallas Tomeny and almost lost another in a tragic accident that never should have happened. When my buddy who was wounded (18C) got up from his wheel chair and walked across the stage to receive his Beret, we all stood up and started clapping. As we all walked on the stage, General Boykin shook our hands and told each of us "Get ready to go to war". "The Ballard of the Green Beret's" came on and the order came "to don Beret's" and we did.


Thank you for the post. Lt. Tomeny's loss and the serious wounding of your friend was truly a tragedy. A tragedy that left so many questions unanswered. Especially for someone such as yourself... who wears both hats.
Again thanks for your excellent post.

Ambush Master
10-18-2005, 21:18
You were a plank holder in 112th Sig and you have a kid in the pipeline?

Geezus! AM, you are old!:cool:

This kinda ties in with the Grad Thread...........

I think that SOGVET (CC) was in the then Phase II (Robin Sage) class in '70 when a whole Team and a few Instructors were lost on the Demo Range. I was awaiting orders for the 5th and an all expense paid trip to RVN !!!

Most parents and newbies do not understand, that this is a VERY Dangerous business and stuff does happen.

I'll be copying this into the Graduation Thread.

Later
Martin

Firebeef
10-18-2005, 23:48
Geez, what does it take to get your next door neighbor to come over?!?!

When we graduated, we came out of the field from Robin Sage ...seems like it was a Monday. Anyways, we spent a day cleaning rifles and tents and all kinds of stuff. We reported back to our MOS companies, and as we finally got there, we were told our Group assignments and told we had @ 24 hours to have our group flashes sown on. I think I was issued 1 ea. Green Beret at that time as well. The next night was the regimental supper. That was truly superb, and will probably always be one of my fondest memories. Only cadre and students and distinguished guests were allowed. I think that only a father or brother who were GB's could attend. After they posted the colors, and several speakers spoke (wah-wah-wah-wa-wah...no disrespect to the speakers who were very articulate and motivational, but after the rigors of the course, Robin Sage, the excitement of everything and a couple brews....) Then came the order to stand. they played the ballad of the Green Beret, and came the command "Gentlemen, don your berets". Was the proudest moment of my life except for the birth of my kids.

The graduation proper was held in the Cumberland county Auditorium. It was the coolest, funnest and most exciting graduation I have ever attended. MG Garrison was our presenter. It was raucous, and loud...and it was encouraged!! MG Garrison said...these men have earned this, and let's celebrate!! Noone got rude or out of hand with the camera's. Family was encouraged to take pics as your diploma was handed out, and you could mug for the camera.(my brother got a good one of MG G handing me my diploma!) Don't get me wrong, it was all very respectful, I'm sure they posted the colors properly, and played the Army Song and all that happy horsedookey. It was so unlike anything I had ever experiecned in the regular Army, where graduations tend to be stuffy, hot and boring. This truly was a celebration, and I sure hope your son's is like that too!

dennisw
10-24-2005, 13:52
I spoke with my son yesterday. He gave me an update on the graduation. He said there is actually two. One where you get your beret and one where you get your tab.

Looking forward to both.

blustr18b
10-30-2005, 23:56
Question-I have been approached by a reporter from our local paper that would like to write an article about my son's experience going through the Q course, and attend his graduation. Is there a protocal for this? Thanks.

blustr18b

The Reaper
10-31-2005, 00:04
Question-I have been approached by a reporter from our local paper that would like to write an article about my son's experience going through the Q course, and attend his graduation. Is there a protocal for this? Thanks.

blustr18b

The protocol is to just say no. I recommend that he decline.

We are not in this for the publicity, and his team will not look kindly on a cherry with no deployments under his belt waxing poetic about the trials and tribulations of the SFQC. The chain of command rarely sees this as a positive event either. Many ways to go wrong, and few positive aspects.

Maybe he can tell his best Robin Sage story for them, or that he can tell him, but then he will have to kill him.

Quiet Professionals do not normally give interviews willingly while still on active duty.

Have him direct the reporter to the USASOC or SWCS PAO.

TR

dennisw
11-01-2005, 08:55
It was so unlike anything I had ever experiecned in the regular Army, where graduations tend to be stuffy, hot and boring. This truly was a celebration, and I sure hope your son's is like that too!

Sounds like a really good time. For me and my family, and I'm sure for most of the folks on this forum who have sons in the pipeline, a fun ceremony will be the icing on the cake.

Firebeef, thanks for the information.

dennisw
11-27-2005, 09:58
Well, we just returned from Fort Bragg. The graduation ceremonies were fun and memorable. Let me just offer this caveat right away, one of my son’s friends graduated four weeks earlier, and his ceremonies were not exactly the same so you need to remain flexible if you attend one in the future.

As I mentioned previously, there were two ceremonies. The first was an outdoor ceremony welcoming the graduates to the regiment. The second was a more formal ceremony held at the Coliseum located in nearby Fayetteville. Both ceremonies were enjoyable in there own way.

The outdoor ceremony was held in front of the statue of Colonel “Bull” Simons which is next to the SF museum. Unfortunately, the weather did not completely cooperate as it was cold and the wind was blowing pretty hard. I thought maybe it was part of the training.

All the graduates wore their BDU’s and were in formation according to the group they were going to join. They had a bag piper who played a series of songs and did a hell of a job considering the windy conditions. After the introductions of honored guests, they had about 20 SF veterans from past and current conflicts line up facing the graduates . The graduates were asked to don their green berets which was very moving for me personally. Then glasses of wine were distributed to the SF veterans, and they toasted the graduates and drank the wine (I was hoping they would dash the goblets on the concrete when they were finished, but there’s probably a rule against that).

The chaplain who offered the prayer did a fantastic job. One of the things he mentioned was the concept of," to whom much is given much is expected." I thought that put a lot of things in perspective.

By the way, the museum is very interesting, and they have a great gift shop.

As I mentioned before, the formal ceremony was held at the Coliseum which is where the local hockey team plays. The building is fairly good size, but it did not detract from the ceremony. BG Mulholland, Jr. gave the address, but it was hard to hear exactly what he said as he’s pretty tall and was a ways from the microphone. I thought about yelling, “Can’t hear you”, but I did not feel like doing push ups.

In the beginning of the program they showed some videos of action in Afghanistan an Iraq. They were pretty graphic and I believe a few grandmas at the ceremony looked like deer caught in headlights.

They honored the distinguished graduates first and then brought each group up according to their MOS’s. Everyone was very excited and enjoyed it immensely.

A little off the subject, we had Thanksgiving dinner at the Pinehurst resort, specifically at the Carolina Hotel. I ask my sons and their friends who we invited share our dinner to wear their dress uniforms. I wanted the stuffed shirt crowd and the blue bloods to see some soldiers up close and realize the warriors they see on CNN and Fox are real people. Their response was surprising. Many a holiday garbed matron came up to these men and hugged them and thanked them for their service. In the hotel lobby, numerous older gents stopped them to shake their hands and thank them for their service. I was humbled and grateful.

The Reaper
11-27-2005, 10:23
A little off the subject, we had Thanksgiving dinner at the Pinehurst resort, specifically at the Carolina Hotel. I ask my sons and their friends who we invited share our dinner to wear their dress uniforms. I wanted the stuffed shirt crowd and the blue bloods to see some soldiers up close and realize the warriors they see on CNN and Fox are real people. Their response was surprising. Many a holiday garbed matron came up to these men and hugged them and thanked them for their service. In the hotel lobby, numerous older gents stopped them to shake their hands and thank them for their service. I was humbled and grateful.

Dennis:

Thank you for your comments. Good report.

As far as "stuffed shirt crowd and the blue bloods" seeing some real soldiers up close, not being a local, you might be surprised how many military in general, and SF in particular, live here in the Pinehurst area.

One of those gents happens to be the guy that the Yarborough knife is named for.

Another happens to be a Nazi death camp survivor who also held BG Mulholland's job a few years ago.

There are many veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Mogadishu, OIF, OEF, and a hundred little battles you never heard of before living within a few miles of the Carolina Hotel.

Some of those "older gents" were probably veterans of some pretty scary combat. Likely, some were retired Colonels or Sergeants Major. Some may have been SF themselves. One could have even been me.

Moore County is one of the places Robin Sage is conducted. Parts of Camp MacKall are in Moore County. That is the same county where the Carolina Hotel is located and you had your meal. On occasion, I eat there as well. I do not consider myself a "stuffed shirt" or a "blue blood".

We appreciate your son's service and his sacrifice, and applaud your request to have him wear his uniform. At the same time, note that there are many quiet heros out there who have already worn their uniforms, made their sacrifices, and left the business behind. Many have served with great honor and distinction. Your son is only beginning his career. Have him wear the uniform from pride and respect, never to show off.

I would not presume too much about the people of an area based on your cursory analysis, or desire to flash your son's credentials.

TR

dennisw
11-27-2005, 15:19
TR

Thanks for the comments. Indeed, the pinehurst area is a interesting area. Had no idea regarding demographics, but the warm reception and heartfelt considerations of the folks should have provided a clue. I love California, but sometimes living in a liberal environment can leave one jaded.

Again, thanks for the edification.

CoLawman
11-27-2005, 15:37
Congrats! Proud Papa!

The Reaper
11-27-2005, 17:30
Food for thought.

TR

"William “Bill” Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was our squadron janitor.

While we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events, Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors, emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100 college-age kids can leave in a dormitory.

Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.

Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed. Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved. After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours.

Maybe it was his physical appearance that made him disappear into the background. Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury. His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of young cadets. And his crooked smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face it, Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world. What did he have to offer us on a personal level?

Finally, maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first, and that didn’t happen very often. Our janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders, a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell.

So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just another fixture around the squadron. The Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy from dawn till dusk. And Mr. Crawford...well, he was just a janitor.

That changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976. I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story. On Sept. 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill 424 near Altavilla, Italy.

The words on the page leapt out at me: “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire ... with no regard for personal safety ... on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States ...”

“Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.” We all knew Mr. Crawford was a WWII Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was some sort of alien being. Nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday.

We met Mr. Crawford bright and early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and doubt on our faces. He starred at it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep, that’s me.” Mouths agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly back at our janitor. Almost at once we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?” He slowly replied after some thought, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.” I guess we were all at a loss for words after that. We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to.

However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same around our squadron. Word spread like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst-Mr. Crawford, our janitor, had won the Medal! Cadets who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Crawford.”

Those who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up started taking it upon themselves to put things in order. Most cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began inviting him to our formal squadron functions. He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue, star-spangled lapel pin. Almost overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our teammates.

Mr. Crawford changed too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference. After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked smile more often.

The squadron gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more. Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that didn’t happen often at the Academy. While no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets and his squadron.

As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.”

With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed. Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in a small town.

A wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made a difference for me. While I haven’t seen Mr. Crawford in over twenty years, he’d probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons. Here are ten I’d like to share with you.

Be Cautious of Labels. Labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.” Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.”

Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the “janitor” label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.

Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos” to heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us.

Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?

Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr. Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.

Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your “hero meter” on today’s athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr. Crawford-he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same.

Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should-don’t let that stop you. Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living.

No Job is Beneath a Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it.

Pursue Excellence. No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.” Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home."

The Reaper
11-27-2005, 17:30
(Continued)

"Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn.

Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons."

blustr18b
11-27-2005, 23:26
Dennis
:D Congrats to your son and your family! You must be SO proud! Thank you for the description of the ceremonys, it certainly helps to know what to expect.
blustr18b

jon448
11-28-2005, 09:44
Dennis,
Congrats to your son, and yourself for supporting him through this.

TR,
Thats an amazing story and thanks for posting it for all of us to read.

Now its time for me to hit the gym. :lifter

Nonna
02-18-2006, 12:45
Can anyone tell me aproximatle what time the ceremony at the Coliseum is? We may have elderly family driving in from SC for graduation and are trying to determine if they need to come to Fayetteville the night prior.

Soft Target
02-26-2006, 18:25
Class 78-1, come on, I ain't that old, graduation was typical of the times. Walking across the stage in the SWC Auditorium. But mine had two twists. The first was we had an Aussie SAS officer in our class that I befriended. We were to exchange a small token for memories. I gave him a collection of patches, crests, badges, etc. in the entryway of SWC where the seal is/was, he gave me mine - two large Foster's lager cans wrapped in newspaper. I then insisted we share such a thoughtful present right there at about 1200 (OK it didn't take much convincing). We were sitting on the ridge around the floor and imbibed while in greens and his equivalent. Not long after we started, a SWC Colonel came up and said something like "what are you two doing?" It then dawned on the crust Colonel that it was SFOC graduation day and he asked if it was. We replied as we found our feet, "Yes Sir!". He replied: "Carry On" and walked away. The other was the night before I received word my father (CPT, AUS Ret) was in a coma. So I eft immediately after the Fosters was gone. I went stright to the hospital and whispered to him "Your son earned his Green Beret", although he was intubated, I'm sure he smiled, shortly before being pronounced. Dave

JellyBean
01-11-2007, 13:28
hi everyone
I was just wondering if anyone could give me some insight on what to expect of graduation in the new pipeline? I saw that there were many graduations in the prior pipelines, is it still the same or will it just be one graduation? And are you limited to the number of people you can invite as we have a fairly large family. Thank you for the information

The Reaper
01-11-2007, 20:59
hi everyone
I was just wondering if anyone could give me some insight on what to expect of graduation in the new pipeline? I saw that there were many graduations in the prior pipelines, is it still the same or will it just be one graduation? And are you limited to the number of people you can invite as we have a fairly large family. Thank you for the information

JB:

You need to do some reading here and tune your SA very thoroughly before posting again.

TR

Mosby Raider
06-30-2007, 16:44
I graduated from the Q course in September 73. I got out of sequence when I and three other commo guys got recycled through Phase II because of IMC. We went on to Phase III because there were not enough radio operators to have one per team, so after Phase III, we went back to Commo Phase II, and graduation after the commo FTX in Pisgah. A friend of mine and I didn't attend our graduation. We were 20th Gp, he was from Mississippi, and I was from Alabama. Our orders ended three days before the graduation ceremony and our respective State Hq's wouldn't extend the orders because they said they didn't have the money and it was only a ceremony! On top of that, the 1st SGT kicked us out of the barracks and said we couldn't stay there because we had out processed and belonged to the National Guard now, not the Regular Army. We were so angry and disgusted we just loaded up our vehicles and beat feet for Alabama and Mississippi.

whitesnake
07-23-2007, 13:52
In 1969 after Phase I we were trucked back from Camp Mackall to the parking lot at the SWC.
We formed up clutching our new berets, the order to remove headgear was given, followed by" Don Berets" while the Ballad of the Green Berets was played. It was simple and outstanding. We then returned to barracks cleaned up and went out to eat decent food and then headed to the APEX Lounge for large quanities of adult beverages. The following Monday we began Phase II( SF Mos training) after that it was Phase III (SF Advanced Course). Graduation from Phase III was held in the SWC auditorium. We were in Class A uniform for that. That was when we recieved our diplomas and assignments to the various Groups and were able to wear the Flash of our assigned Group. Once you were Special Forces qualified, your MOS ended with the suffix S if you were enlisted (as an example, 11B S) or a prefix 3 if you were an Officer (as an example, 31542). There was very little pomp and ceremony, however there was a lot of beer drinking later!

bobby efurd
07-23-2007, 16:03
I graduated in 1980. Grauation was held at the SWC Auditorium. My Mother and Father drove 12 hours to attend.
Col. Mize handed out our certificates. We marched as a class over to Bronze Bruce for the Don Berets.
My father was a Korean War Veteren and a very hard man. After we were dissmissed my Father walked over to me with tears streaming down his cheeks. I was shocked and asked if he was OK.
He told me how proud he was of me. He dried is tears and looked at me with a very hard stare( the one I had seen before).
He told me to wear that Beret with honor but never forget the blood that was shed by the Special Forces Soldiers before us.
My father died seven years ago but I will never forget that day and what his words were.
Of course later there was a lot of Beer!

kgoerz
07-23-2007, 20:47
My parents came down to watch me graduate. I actually told then no need to come, its not that big deal. They came and it was like nothing I expected. I guess the accomplishment hadn't sunk in until walking the stage. I would of never forgiven myself if they listened to me.
Afterwords my dad said he had something for me in the car. Right in the JFK parking lot he pulls out a war trophy he brought back from WWII. I never knew he had it. I about tackled him to put it away. I had to inform him just because I am SF now doesn't mean I am above the law. Of course my mom is bitching at him the whole time. I told you he wouldn't want that thing. I wanted it but I like the Green uniform better then an orange one.
It could of been the shortest SF career in history if someone would of saw it. Well We disassembled it later on and concealed it so he could take his souvenir back to NY. I guess it's still mine but ill let old Dad hold onto it.
I am sure most can figure out what my dad pulled out of his trunk in broad day light. In a crowded JFK parking lot. Every time I saw him going in his trunk after that I would always say something like "what ya got for me this time Dad, ICBM, Bazooka, Fin from Little Boy, old can of Mustard Gas....etc" Its amazing what some old vets have lying around.
He is over ninety and not doing well today. I discussed with my brothers about his souvenirs. Maybe we will just let Dad hold onto them when he passes on;)


About the amount of SF living out near Camp Mackall, Southern pines area. I live on calloway road in Hoke county. I know at least half the people on this road are SF. It's a great place to live just for that alone. One guy up the road has a personal Museum in his Garage. He collects uniforms and displays them on Mannequins. Everyone says he was a COL in SF. I never asked him but it's pretty obvious he was.
Everyone just calls him Jack. One day ill remember to ask his last name. Might be on hear for all I know. He asked me to bring a turban back from A-Stan. I guess he thought I would forget. When I gave it to him months later is when I first saw his collection. Told him, thats what I call a GI Joe collection.
NDD we made his day giving him the FARC patrol pack.

tom kelly
09-04-2007, 16:02
I have been to Two Special Forces Graduation cermonies,The last one was in June 14, 2006,I and my Wife were attending the Special Forces Association National Convention hosted by Chapter 1-18 in Fayetteville North Carolina.On that particular day we were on a tour of Camp McKall and about 1500 hrs. Maj.Gen.James W Parker announced that he had to leave the tour group to attend the Special Forces graduation back at Ft.Bragg and if anyone was interested they were welcome to attend.My wife and I borded the bus back to Smoke Bomb hill and it parked in back of the JFK Museum and we walked around to the area in front of the Colonel Arthur "Bull" Simons statue where the graduation was held.In attendance were Maj.Gen Parker and Col.(Ret) Roger H C Donlon (MOH) along with other cadre from the SW center & school The Graduates macched out in BDU's and soft utility caps and went to formatiom to their assigned groups.There were a few speaches and the wine toast and finally the graduates were told to don their berets,there was a large group of family and friends and other Special Forces soldiers there and after the applause the ceremony ended.The other Special Forces Graduation that I attended was my own,we came back from the field training exercise at Uwharrie National Forest arriving Smoke Bomb Hill Special Forces Training Group Area about Noon on 22 November 1963 (almost everybody knows where they were at that time and date)At the formation we were told that we had earned The Green Beret and that President John F kennedy had been assinated .That ended the graduation ceremony for our class.

Mike
09-08-2007, 00:28
Graduations?
I deen't gets no steenkeen' graduations!
Finished phase 3 FTX Dec 67 and stayed in the field to support some training operation with the 82nd.
Fnally got back in time for Xmas leave and handed orders for 6th group.