Re: Green Beret Saves Neighbor’s Life

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Tawahi-50, Sep 17, 2009.

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  1. I've kicked this off in another thread as Military History may be more appropriate.

    I once asked, purely out of curiousity, a Royal Highland Fusilier Provost Sgt at Dreghorn why he was wearing his SAS wings
    on his chest rather than on his sleeve. I also once mistook a NZ SAS patrol for an Australian one. From both of these encounters
    I emerged unscathed- in fact all concerned were pretty decent guys.
    That's almost the sum total of my Special Forces exposure and I don't want to give the impression that I have any special
    insight-I haven't. Having got that out of the way, here goes;

    In the Radfan Campaign of 1964, the ill-fated SAS patrol in which Capt Edwards and Tpr Warburton were killed and Cpl Baker was
    awarded a MM, It's my understanding that the patrol medic was a US soldier.

    I recall a contemporary non-verbal, official source which said, likely not verbatim but near enough;

    "Had it not been for the advanced medical skills of the patrol medic, a US soldier on exchange with 22 SAS, it is highly probable that there would have been more fatalities in the patrol"

    The source was as accurate as it gets, if my details are at odds with what really was the case, then it's an extra-ordinary abberation
    of my memory, normally excellent but not infallable. The worse case is that I've got it wrong and am doing a Brit SAS man a great dis-service, in
    which case someone in the know will no doubt be able to put the record straight.

    It's worth pointing out that in those days, there wasn't the mystique about the SAS; that came about some years later. If the
    details of a US soldier in the Radfan didn't pass in to the public domain at the time, it would have been more on political, rather than security
    grounds.

    It's not a bad thing for the medic to have on his CV and I would like to think that he got some recognition among his American peers; and that in some American Legion or VFW outpost somewhere, there's someone with a pretty interesting story to tell.
     
  2. I cannot speak on the specific incident to which you refer, but in general over the years there have been numerous "exchanges" of varying types, duration and formality of personnel between various US and UK units. I did one years ago with the RMs that included operational time in NI and Oman, although such things were pretty much off the books and low profile.
     
  3. just curious, but did you qualify for medals for those tours?
     
  4. Ermm....no. Only have para wings and green lid to show for it.
     
  5. The story of the patrol is an interesting one and deserves to be more fully told before memories fade.

    (It may well have been, but I stopped reading SAS literature after General de la Billiere hit the publishing scene so am not up-to-date)

    It's difficult at this distance in time, to convey the furore in the press and parliament in the aftermath of the patrol. As I recall, the then Defence Secretary, Dennis Healey (I believe), didn't emerge with much credit after the pillorying and subsequent vindication of General Cubbon, the GOC.
     
  6. What is the approximate date of that patrol?
     
  7. The patrol was in 1964, they were going to mark a DZ for 3 Para
     
  8. My bold - Perhaps then you should have included the fact, that the heads were removed from the dead soldiers and displayed on a pole in the Yemen.
     

  9. 30th April 1964
     
  10. The were going to mark 3 Para's DZ the bodies were recovered

    http://www.paradata.org.uk/events/radfan
     
  11. Thanks-I will do a bit of checking
     

  12. That's a fair point, A_L but I just wanted to make a swift response to Jarhead.

    I could also have mentioned that much of the furore especially in parliament but also in the press was not the fate of Capt Edwards and Tpr Warburton, horrific as it was, but by the denial, led I believe by the US Consul in Taiz that the atrocity had taken place. This denial was widely believed in Govt and and it was only upon the recovery of the bodies, as mentioned above, that Healey was forced to recant his condemnation of Gen Cubbon.
     

  13. No worries. Cpl Baker went on to be RSM and eventually retired as a Colonel. An outstanding Paddy. :D
     
  14. From an extensive career in reading most of what has been written about "them", which includes what has been written about that unfortunate mission, I cannot recall anything about there been a US soldier. However, that is not to say there wasn't one.

    IIRC correctly, the original head of Delta Force, Beckworth (?), got his ideas for Delta after serving as an exchange officer with 22 SAS in, I think, 1964 so there would certainly have been the possibility of a US soldier on the mission.