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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Question For You Army History Buffs

    DND classifies history as top secret
    Men of the Devil's Brigade apply their camouflage paint before a patrol in Italy. The unit fought with great distinction during the Second World War, but now the Defence Department has decided that alluding to its illustrious history, even mentioning its official name ó First Special Service Force ó would damage national security.

    Photograph by : U.S. Army Photo

    David Pugliese, CanWest News Service; Ottawa Citizen
    Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2006
    As part of its latest secrecy push, the Defence Department declared Tuesday that releasing information showing that Canadians fought valiantly with the famed Devil's Brigade during the Second World War could harm national security.

    The name of the First Special Service Force, better known as the Devil's Brigade, has been censored from all the records that outline which unit has the closest historical military links to Canada's existing commando unit, Joint Task Force 2.

    Also censored from the records, released to the Ottawa Citizen under the federal Access to Information law, are the locations where the Devil's Brigade fought in Europe in the 1940s.

    The May 2002 records detail that the joint U.S.-Canadian Second World War unit ''never met defeat in battle'' and ''accomplished the most difficult missions with an elan and proficiency that astonished all outside observers, including the Germans.'' It concludes that JTF2 should try to emulate the high standards of the unit, whose name is censored.

    But, information referring to the link between the Devil's Brigade and JTF2 is on the Defence Department website and was previously released through other access to information requests.

    In 2003 media interviews, a JTF2 spokesman also acknowledged the unit wanted to build strong historical links to the Devil's Brigade and at one point was considering establishing formal ties to the unit.

    According to the Defence Department, revealing the words First Special Service Force would be ''injurious to the conduct of international affairs, the defence of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada or the detection, prevention or suppression of subversive or hostile activities.''

    In addition, the name of the First Special Service Force and the locations where it fought were censored because such details are considered part of advice provided to government.

    Numerous history books show the First Special Service Force was used in operations in the Aleutian Islands and later fought major battles in Italy. The unit also fought in France before being disbanded.

    Canadian Devil's Brigade veteran Bill Story says withholding such information doesn't make sense.

    ''It's idiotic,'' said Story, executive director emeritus of First Special Service Force Association. ''You can't really censor history.''

    The information was censored at the request of JTF2 officers, according to Defence Department officials.

    The Devil's Brigade incident is the latest example of a push by the Defence Department to boost the level of secrecy on issues not usually seen as being linked to security concerns.

    Among details now being kept from the public are the costs to the department to run individual pieces of equipment, a list that ranges from electric snowblowers to forklifts.

    Information about the hourly cost of flying the military's Challenger jets, used to ferry politicians and bureaucrats, is also now secret. Such information had been available to the public through the access law up until 2004.

    ''This whole thing boggles my mind,'' said Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, head of the Senate's committee on national security and defence. ''We don't understand why stuff that's been released before suddenly gets reclassified.

    ''Ottawa seems to be infected with a fear of talking with candor on the most mundane aspects of how the government functions,'' he added.

    Kenny said the public is not alone in trying to pry information out of government; his committee has also had ongoing problems obtaining basic information from the Defence Department and other federal agencies.

    The access legislation allows Canadians to request government records by paying a $5 fee per request. Since the government has several dozen reasons it can employ to censor material, users of the law note few real sensitive pieces of information are ever released.

    Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor has distanced himself from his department's secrecy program. Conservative government officials say it is up to individual departments to decide how they handle access to information requests and that is not a function that ministers such as O'Connor get involved in.

    The access law, however, clearly details that the minister is responsible for how the access law is managed in his or her department.

    ''DND/CF are committed to maintaining open and transparent access to information on the departmental and Canadian Forces activities,'' Etienne Allard, O'Connor's press secretary noted in an e-mail. ''We remain committed to change the culture in Ottawa from a culture of secrecy and entitlement to a culture of accountability.''

    In an examination of 23 access requests made to the Defence Department over the last 18 months, the Ottawa Citizen found 87 pieces of information, now censored, had been previously released to the public or are still on government and Defence Department websites.

    Julie Hallee, the Defence Department's access to information director, said her staff put forward their best effort in trying to negotiate with JTF2 on the release of details in the Devil's Brigade record. Hallee said she will further review the records to determine whether new information could be released.

    Earlier this week, the Montreal Gazette reported that the government is singling out the access to information requests of some Canadians for closer scrutiny and special treatment. The requests being targeted are those that might attract media or political attention, according to an e-mail obtained by the newspaper.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper had criticized such a practice when he was in opposition.

    The Conservatives deny that such a system exists and that each department has its own procedures to handle access requests.

    Ottawa Citizen

    © CanWest News Service 2006


    Hmmm... so let me see... I am not a Canadian soldier, and I was never posted outside the country... Oh wait... I can neither acknowldge nor deny any knowledge or information regarding my existance on this planet. Is this a planet? SHEESH some days ya just gotta shake your head.

    Oh.. and thats NOT me in that photo with my head turned away from the camera!
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    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.


  2. #2
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    I could tell ya,but then I'd have to kill ya." ;D

  3. #3
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    Talking top secret

    Yes, and area 51 still doesn't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
    The name of the First Special Service Force, better known as the Devil's Brigade, has been censored from all the records
    That's really funny to me. I used to teach a class on the First Special Service Force to soldiers when I was stationed in Alaska. All of the information that I found came from library books and the internet.

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckbrooks
    I'm sure that there are ongoing coolaborative efforts between the two militaries. However, I would be really surprised and interested to see it if, in fact, they have decided to form another joint unit.
    The current practice is not to create joint "Units" anymore, but temporary assignments of complementary forces are commonplace.

    JTF2 attach regularly with SEALs and other units when and where specialized soldiers are needed. The transient nature of the postings helps maintain the secrecy, and stretch our limited numbers.

    A good friend of mine, who I worked with for 10 years (and has recently moved out of country), was Canadian Airborne, and served very successfully attached to the SEALs in Iraq 1. Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan was another recent example of temporary joint deployments.


    As for what the current gov't is doing, it could just be the return of a "conservative" government, or Harper's ongoing disdain for the media.

    I suspect however, that this particular action has more to do with recruiting. Harper has committed to increasing the ranks of the Canadian Forces, but we are not typically a nation motivated by ongoing military action. The new recruiting commercials showing the CF deployed in aid of civil powers is the perfect example.

    We do however have a strong military history up to and through the Korean war. In the 70's we began to seriously dissassemble our military machine to support universal healthcare and other social initiatives. Our military accomplishements were attached to Peacekeeping and Cold War actions, and not in the image of a typical offensive military force. Combine that with the Airborne scandal in Somalia, and our recent SF history is spotty at best.

    I think that by tying the JTF2 back to such great accomplishements as the FSSF, the CF leadership is hoping to add some history and legend to the JTF2. This will no doubt help the unit internally, as history is paramount in military organizations, but will certainly bring additional ammunition to the recruiting front as well.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 11-09-2006 at 02:54 PM.
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Chuck, I was talking with my Dad last night. Apparently (and I have yet to confirm it for down here) that the Canadian History channel has been carrying a 4 part series on the Devils Brigade. From what he told me is that they have taken "crack" Canadian and US troops who have served in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq and are recreating the training conditions of the Brigade circa 1942. Including the uniforms, equipment, training styles and format, right down to having a former Brigade instructor offering technical advice.

    I wonder how that program holds up against the Department's standing on this?
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
    Chuck, I was talking with my Dad last night. Apparently (and I have yet to confirm it for down here) that the Canadian History channel has been carrying a 4 part series on the Devils Brigade. From what he told me is that they have taken "crack" Canadian and US troops who have served in Bosnia, Afghanistand and Iraq and are recreating the training conditions of the Brigade circa 1942. Including the uniforms, equipment, training styles and format, right down to having a former Brigade instructor offering technical advice.

    I wonder how that program holds up against the Department's standing on this?

    I am surprised to hear that. All the history that I had read was that they were disband towards the end of WWII citing a successful campaign but heavy casualty rate. I did find this on wikapedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil's_Brigade
    I'm sure that there are ongoing coolaborative efforts between the two militaries. However, I would be really surprised and interested to see it if, in fact, they have decided to form another joint unit.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Actually I am not really sure they are forming a unit, so much as just "reliving" things from an older era. Kinda like making a "Real TV" Survivor type thing out of it.

    My dad did comment that they are applying all the same requirements for the training. In other words, if you become incapacitated by injury you are "out". One instance was a broken leg. He was RTU'd back to his home unit. Another officer, a Marine (for those of you "keeping score" LOL) has been deemed "too smart". Apparently there is a competition shoot that they had to do, and most of the group scored very poorly, but our young Marine chose to read the fine print on the original training instruction for the shoot and determined that there was no time limit applied, so he did just that. Took his time and worked his way through. From what dad said it was very technical (I dont have the specifics ) and that you really did have to take the time to look and think. Which is exactly what the Marine did. And of course scored very highly. Dad commented that the training cadre were considering dropping the Marine, not because of his inability to excel but because he was doing TOO WELL. Unfortunately I dont have enough back ground info to give more than what dad related to me, at this time.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    What follows is something from the CBC and our PIO Geeks here in the Embassy. It is only marginally related to the topic at hand, but amplifies some of what Martin was commenting on.

    Subject: CBC Poll on Canadian role in Afghanistan

    Afghanistan

    CBC-Environics public issues poll

    Last Updated November 2006

    CBC News www.cbc.ca/news/credit.html

    1. Generally speaking, would you say that your opinion of the Canadian Armed Forces is

    Very favourable 34
    Somewhat favourable 39
    Not very fabourable 14
    Not at all favourable 10
    Don't know/No answer 3

    2. Do you feel more proud, less proud, or about the same pride, in the
    Canadian Forces today as you did five years ago?

    More proud 38
    Less proud 13
    About the same pride 46
    Don't know/No answer 3

    3. When it comes to Canada's role in the world, some people say that Canada should focus on a peace-building role in the world. Others say that Canada should focus on active combat roles with our allied countries. Which view is closer to your own?

    Peace-building roles 80
    Active combat roles with allied countries 16
    Don't know/No answer 4

    4. I would like to know how you feel about Canada's involvements around the world in the last several decades. Please tell me if you are proud or not proud of each of the following: a) Canada's involvement in United Nations peace-building operations around the world since World War Two?

    Proud 92
    Not proud 6
    Don't know/No answer 2

    4. b) Canada's non-participation in the U.S.-led war in Iraq?

    Proud 78
    Not proud 20
    Don't know/No answer 2

    4. c) Canada's recent involvement in Afghanistan?

    Proud 55
    Not proud 42
    Don't know/No answer 3

    5. As you may know, Canadian troops are now active in Afghanistan. Why
    do you think Canadian troops are there? What is the reason or reasons?

    Support U.S. troops / U.S. foreign policy / help George Bush 22
    Support NATO/support United Nations 5
    Restore peace 13
    Defeat Taliban / warlords / insurgents 9
    Help create democracy 8
    War on terror / defeat world terrorism/defeat Al-Qaeda 8
    Peacekeeping 24
    Humanitarian assistance/reconstruction 18
    Negative U.S. influence / pressure 2
    Stabilize Afghanistan 2
    Sent by Canadian government 2
    Other SPECIFY 6
    DK/NA=0 11

    6. Regarding Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan, do you...
    2002 2004 2006 March 2006 June 2006 Oct 2006 Nov
    Strongly approve 38 75 26 61 21 49
    25 56 23 48 19 50
    Somewhat approve 37 35 28 31 25 31
    Somewhat disapprove 11 33 15 35 16 48
    15 40 18 50 18 48
    Strongly disapprove 12 20 32 25 32 30

    7. As far as you know, is the Canadian mission in Afghanistan part of a
    U.S.-led coalition or part of a United Nations approved NATO mission?

    U.S. led coalition? 35
    UN approved NATO mission? 53
    Don't know/No answer 12

    8. In your opinion, should Canadian Forces

    Stay in Afghanistan past the year 2009 10
    Stay in Afghanistan until 2009 and then return to Canada, or 23
    Return from Afghanistan before 2009? 59
    Depends -
    Don't know/No answer 8

    9. Do you think in the end the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is likely
    to be successful or not successful?

    Successful 34
    Not successful 58
    Don't know/No answer 7

    10. Here are some reasons why Canadian Forces might stay in or might leave Afghanistan a) Some experts say that if Canadian Forces left Afghanistan, it would undermine international efforts to help that country and the Taliban might return to power there. In your opinion is this

    A good reason to stay in Afghanistan, or 58
    Not a good reason to stay in Afghanistan? 38
    Don't know/No answer 4

    10. b) Some experts say that the Canadian mission in Afghanistan has increased Canada's image and influence in world affairs. In your opinion
    is this

    A good reason to stay in Afghanistan, or 32
    Not a good reason to stay in Afghanistan? 64
    Don't know/No answer 4

    10. c) So far 42 Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. In
    your opinion is this

    A good reason to leave Afghanistan, or 41
    Not a good reason to leave Afghanistan? 56
    Don't know/No answer 3

    10. d) Some experts say that Canada's mission in Afghanistan will increase the chances of Canada becoming a target of terrorist attacks. In your opinion is this

    A good reason to leave Afghanistan, or 44
    Not a good reason to leave Afghanistan? 53
    Don't know/No answer 3


    Ok... I didnt make the numbers, and besides they are "stats" and we all know the saying about that topic LOL.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Default 1ST Special Service Force

    My father served with the 1st SSF from its inception until captured on the road to Rome. After VE Day he was assigned to the 82nd Abn to prepare for the drop into Japan. He met my mom to be and they were married. Dad was then transferred to Ft. Benning where he became the SR Jumpmaster then to Ft Bragg and Germany forming 10th Group.

    The former 1st SSF guys were the core cadre of the forerunner to Special Forces, the Psy Ops-Psychological Warfare Teams at Ft Bragg with ABN training at Benning. Psy Ops Teams is what became 10th SF Group. I met some of those guys that my dad had trained over the many years that I served, not all were Army, some were USMC and Navy UDT formed into 4 man and larger Sniper-Recon-Training teams dropped into Laos and Cambodia when the Korean War began and on thru the 1950's.

    The shoulder patch of today's SF comes from the 1st SSF arrowhead and sword design. I lived thru this as an Army Brat as 10th Group formed so I think I am telling it right, about the Beret. The early 10th Group guys who had served with the 1st SSF when they got to Bad Tolz wanted a distinct field head covering, so they pulled out their old Red Berets and wore them in the field. There were former OSS guys, some of the Psy Ops guys who had been with 5th Group who had worked with the French forces in SE Asia who wore a Green Beret. There was some friendly contention but since the Brit Abn in Germany wore a Red Beret the Green Beret won out and became the `unauthorized' field cap at Tolz and Bragg. Eventually it was authorized by President JFK in 1961.

    There was a lot of political in-fighting back then among the various commands at the Pentagon and elsewhere about what should be the mission of the SF and under which command should it be. What it became is based on its original mission, Intel gathering drops into East Europe in the 1950's and prep for behind the lines action should war break out in Europe. As the need to work with indiginous peoples in SE Asia grew so did SF and its mission solidified. Various commands, such as the Rangers and Airborne, made their bids to have SF permanently assigned to them. As we know those who pushed for independent command won out.

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