Thread: 8th Group
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Old 04-03-2008, 14:38   #8
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Location: Detroit, MI
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Originally Posted by NousDefionsDoc View Post
1963-72, personnel were transferred to 3/7.

It couldn't have been a very big outfit. Wonder what the story was?

Just constant reorg because of Vietnam?

What was 7th Group doing?
I too was with the 8th SFG. For historical accuracy, I'd like to add to my friend Terry's response. The The 8th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Special Action Force, had only 2 line companies. Those were Special Forces Company's A & B. Also included within the 8th SFG were Headquarters Company, Company E (Signal), 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 401st Security Agency Detachment, 146th Engineer Detachment, 610th Military Intelligence Detachment, 255th Medical Detachment, and 550th Military Police Detachment. Of course, there was Group Headquarters as well. The 8th was the US Army's only full Special Action Force.

One of the reasons for the deactivation of the 8th SFG in 1972 was the draw down during the waning years of the Vietnam build up. The other reason was, SF was going to Battalion. rather than Company strength. It made sense that the 8th became the 3rd Battalion of the 7th SFG, because it was an element of the 7th that began the set up of the 8th SFG in August of 1962. Commanded by Major Melvin J. Sowards, Company D, 7th SFG was the main body of SF to move to the Canal Zone. They would later be followed by the augmentation detachments. With the arrival of these detachments, the basic organization of the Special Action Force was completed and having been promoted, Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer assumed command.

Lt. Col. Sawyer remained in command through the rest of 1962. It was the legendary Lieutenant Colonel Arthur D. (Bull) Simons that took command in January of 1963 and Lt. Col. Sawyer became the XO. On April 12, 1963, under the command of Lt. Col. Simons, the SAF elements of the 7th SFG were officially redesignated, as authorized by the Department of the Army and the 8th SFG was activated.

Throughout it's 9 year history, the 8th SFG sent Mobile Training Teams and Technical Assistant Teams throughout Central and South America. The 8th SFG also ran a number of schools. These included a basic Airborne and Jumpmaster course, Recondo School, NCO School, SCUBA and PARA-SCUBA Schools. They also conducted Jungle Expert Traning at the Jungle operations Training Center and had a serious hand at The School of the Americas.
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