Green Beret Training, Robin Sage

Chief Kidd sent in the following story to share:

At Fort Bragg in the ’80s, the duty battalion caught all kinds of odd duties they had to provide warm bodies for. Usually they were crappy jobs like highway cleanup, but when my unit’s time came up, I was able to leverage my job as a photojournalist into being a “G” for Robin Sage. A “G” is an active duty soldier who simulated being an untrained native resistance trooper for Robin Sage.

Robin Sage is the final phase of Special Forces training and the SF students came to Camp MacKall prepared for the worst. Make it through this and they earn the mythical Green Beret.  I was the most senior of the batch of junior folks assigned to support the operation, so I was the “G” first sergeant. We mooched smokes and food from them like there was no tomorrow.

Chief Kidd (Once SPEC4 Kidd)

The first week went as everyone expected. We lived in hooches covered in pine needles, woke in the middle of the night to DI DI MAO from the opposition forces and completed several missions, the coolest being the time we wired a bridge for demolition. We had just finished wiring the (simulated) explosives on a small road bridge over a seasonal riverway when we saw a large vehicle approaching.

We assumed an OPFOR deuce-and-a-half had caught up to us and our perimeter forces engaged.  The civilian operated Recreational Vehicle (CORV) immediately slowed at the sight of the subdued muzzle flashes of our guards, but bravely continued on their way. (This is sarcasm.)

In the second week, we had been forced to reposition several times and the leader of the guerrilla forces (an SF instructor) called a meeting. The trainee SF Team Leader (a 1Lt), his enlisted first (an SSgt) and I as “G” first sgt (lowly Spec4) met. The instructor ranted and raved about how his forces were being killed and blamed it on the SF team. The Lt denied any responsibility aggressively.

The guerrilla leader (SF cadre) ordered his guards (more SF cadre) to search the Lt’s gear. They found a map of the region marked with our current position as well as our boogie position (where we would go it we were hit unexpectedly). There was also a list of all the names of the G forces (a bad no-no, if the government forces get the opposition names, then families die).

He confronted the Lt, blaming him the deaths of his troops. After a lot of arguing he shot the Lt. (It was a blank obviously.) The Guerrilla leader then turned to the trainee SF team First Sgt and said “Can we do business?”

The SSgt mimed wiping blood off his pants and said “Yes, we can do business.”

This may seem harsh, but I was a fly on the wall so to speak. The instructors were very unhappy with the Lt’s performance and washed him out in the harshest manner. The SSgt brushing blood off his pants still sticks with me. I was very sleep deprived, an inexperienced REMF. Now looking back over 25 years later, I wonder if my memories are correct. But whether they are perfect or not, it is a helluva a good drinking story.

Chief Kidd (Once SPEC4 Kidd)