Defense Media Network

The Year in Special Operations 2017-2018 (Digital Edition)





This year’s edition of The Year in Special Operations commemorates two important anniversaries in the world of special operations forces.

It is now 30 years since United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was activated in 1987. Those who advocated for its creation looked forward from tragedy toward a world where special operations forces would be of vital importance, something difficult to envision at a time when NATO and the Warsaw Pact faced each other on either side of a Berlin Wall. Yet SOCOM today is truly the tip of the spear in what has
become America’s longest conflict.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Army Rangers. Although Ranger bloodlines may go back much farther than World War II, Maj. William O. Darby’s formation of the 1st Ranger Battalion in 1942 was the beginning of the modern outfit, with personnel from that battalion forming the core of several more that followed and building a legacy that lives on today in the 75th Ranger Regiment. Accordingly, we’ve featured interviews with the commander and command sergeant major, as well as a four-part history of the Rangers.

Finally, this year is the first time the publication will be produced without consulting editor John D. Gresham at the helm. John was gravely ill in intensive care when last year’s publication went to print, and he passed away without ever seeing it in print. In many ways, The Year in Special Operations was John’s baby, and he was rightfully proud of all that he had helped accomplish. He is missed.

The Year in Special Operations will go on in the capable hands of veteran military writer and editor Scott R. Gourley, who has been a linchpin of Faircount publications for nearly two decades. A former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500 articles covering topics across all military services, Scott is editor or correspondent for nearly one dozen international defense publications.

We hope you find this edition informative and enjoyable.

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