February 1965 total forward deployment of the Group was completed to South Vietnam. Although young in years of existence, from its operational base at NHA Trang, the Group deployed throughout the four military regions of South Vietnam. Its operational detachments established and manned camps at 270 different locations which trained and led indigenous forces of the civilian irregular defense groups, as well as regular units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Vietnam.
Despite being one of the smallest units engaged in the Vietnam conflict, The 5th Special Forces Group colors fly twenty Campaign Streamers, and its soldiers are among the Most Highly Decorated in the History of our Nation. Seventeen Medals of Honor were awarded, 8 posthumously.
Awarded the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) Vietnam 1966-1968, Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army) Vietnam 1968; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam 1964-1969; Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal, 1st Class, Vietnam 1968-1970. Other teams and elements received unit citations, Naval Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Awards and numerous Vietnamese Unit Awards.
On 5 March 1971, the colors of the 5th Special Forces Group were returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina by a 94-man contingent led by Col. Michael D. Healy, thereby terminating their official Vietnam service.
30 Sep 87 – 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) moved from Fort Bragg to Fort Campbell.
10 Jun 88 – Headquarters, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) moved from Fort Bragg to Fort Campbell, Ky.
The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) remained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina until 10 June 1988, when the Group colors were cased at a ceremony marking its departure from Fort Bragg. The colors were officially uncased by Maj. Gen. Teddy G. Allen, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, Col. (now Maj. Gen.) Harley C. Davis, Commander of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Dennison on 16 June 1988 at its new home at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) added to its Combat History during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
In August 1990 the Group was called upon to conduct theater operations in Southwest Asia in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
During this crisis the Army’s First Special Operations Task Force, (ARSOTF), consisting of elements of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) comprising 106 special operations teams performing a myriad of missions that spanned the scope of operations: support to coalition warfare; conducting foreign internal defense missions with Saudi Arabian Land Forces, performing special reconnaissance, border surveillance, direct action, combat search and rescue missions; and advising and assisting a pan-Arab equivalent force larger than six U.S. divisions, as well as conducting civil-military operations training and liaison with the Kuwaitis.
The border surveillance mission assigned the 5th Special Forces was among the most vital in providing “ground truth” to the American and Pan Arab Forces.
A new chapter in coalition warfare was written while new military relationships were forged which continue their importance today.
In August 1992, a full four months prior to the deployment of major U.S. Forces, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) were conducting operations in the country of Somalia, again, providing “ground truth.”
On 11 June 1993 Gen. Wayne A. Downing, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command, presented the Valorous Unit Award to the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) for service during Operation Desert Storm 17January 1991 to 28 February 1991.
Today, 5th Special Forces Group teams are deploying throughout Southwest Asia and Africa. Over the past two years, teams have trained in over 14 countries to include: Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia and Somalia.
The soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Group continue to live the Special Forces motto: To liberate the oppressed.
If you would like more information about the Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne), contact the Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne), Public Affairs Office at Commercial: (270) 798-7896, DSN: 635-7896