5th Special Forces Group

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In the United States Army Special Forces, the 5th Special Forces Group are geographically specialized for operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Horn of Africa. They most commonly are assigned to United States Central Command, with a home base at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Vietnam War

The 5th Group was the overt Special Forces command during the Vietnam War, with primary responsibilities in working with their Vietnamese counterpart, Lac Luong Dac Biet (LLDB) operating the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups. Especially after the LLDB was reduced, some personnel transferred to the unacknowledged MACV-SOG.

Gulf War

In the Gulf War, the 5th Group conducted a wide variety of cross-cultural training, relying on their communications skills rather than deep expertise; one sergeant wondered why he was, after a career in light infantry, advising a tank force; he managed to stay one lesson ahead of his students.

They also conducted many special reconnaissance missions. 5th Group, however, did not lead guerrilla forces. Joint Special Operations Command conducted direct action and counterterrorism, as well as deeper reconnaissance missions.

Afghanistan War (2001-)

They were the main acknowledged Special Forces formation in the Afghanistan War (2001-2021), under COL John Mulholland. In their work with the Northern Alliance, this was the largest-scale use, in years, to advise and lead foreign troops.

At the Battle of Tora Bora, they provided reconnaissance; CIA did most of the liaison with local forces, and JSOC carried out direct action.

Iraq War

Again under Mulholland, they and the 10th Special Forces Group were the acknowledged forces in Iraq. 5th Group dealt with southern Iraq. Again, JSOC carried out most direct action and counterterrorism.