Special Operations Forces

Through the 1990s

C - I

Charters, David. "The Role of Intelligence Services in the Direction of Covert Paramilitary Operations." In Intelligence: Policy and Process, eds. Alfred C. Maurer, Marion D. Tunstall, and James M. Keagle, 333-351. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

Chinnery, Philip D. Any Time, Any Place: A History of USAF Air Commando and Special Operations Forces. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1994.

According to Proceedings 121.1 (Jan. 1995), this work covers from the beginning in 1944 of Air Force special operations to the present. The book "brings the reader up to date with information on the current configuration and equipment of Air Force Special Operations."

Cohen, Eliot A. Commandos and Politicians: Elite Military Units in Modern Democracies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978.

Colby, C.B. Special Forces: The U.S. Army's Experts in Unconventional Warfare. New York: Coward, McCann, 1964.

Wilcox: "Basic account of the special forces."

Colby, William E. "Interview: William Colby, Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency." Special Warfare 7, no. 2 (Apr. 1994): 40-43.

Collins, John M. [COL/USA (Ret.)]

1. America's Small Wars: Lessons for the Future. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1991.

2. Green Berets, Seals, and Spetsnaz: U.S. and Soviet Special Military Operations. Washington, DC: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1987.

3. Special Operations Forces: An Assessment, 1986-1993. Washington. DC: National Defense University Press, 1994.

4. "Roles and Functions of U.S. Special Operations Forces." Special Warfare 6, no. 3 (Jul. 1993): 22-27. [Gibish]

5. "Where Are Special Operations Forces?" Joint Force Quarterly 2 (Autumn 1993): 7-16. [Gibish]

Dodson, Charles A. "Special Forces." Army 11 (Jun 1961): 44-52.

Emerson, Steven. Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era. New York: Putnam's, 1988.

For Valcourt, IJI&C 2.3, the "book's promise and actual content do not match up adequately.... While purportedly telling about covert operations, the book instead details much of the corruption that has plagued the special forces.... Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) ... was, and still is, one of the Pentagon's most highly classified organizations." To Lowenthal, the book is "[u]seful in highlighting the difficulties inherent in command and control of such operations, but weaker in assessing their propriety and utility."

Bar-Joseph, I&NS 4.3, finds that Emerson's description of the activities of the Army's Special Operations Division since its establishment in 1981 "is rich in detail." While his account "is fluent and colorful," the author seems to take his sources -- many of them the "secret warriors" themselves -- "at face value, giving them more credit than they deserve and foregoing even the simplest criticism of small operational details which contradict common sense."

Eshel, David. Daring to Win: Special Forces at War. London: Arms and Armour, 1992. [Gibish]

Faint, Donald R. [COL/USA], and Robert M. Gearhart [CAPT/USA]. "Special Operations Intelligence: Meeting 21st Century Challenges." American Intelligence Journal 17, no. 3/4 (1997): 23-26.

"SOF missions are growing in number and complexity, which increases the need for detailed, timely SOF intelligence support."

Fane, Francis Douglas [CDR/USNR (Ret.], and Don Moore. The Naked Warriors. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1956. The Naked Warriors: The Story of the U.S. Navy's Frogmen. Rev. ed. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

From advertisement for the 1995 edition: "Fane, commander of Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) One for 13 years, is credited with contributing more to the development of UDT operations and civilian SCUBA than anyone in the United States. In this long-awaited update of his classic blow-by-blow account of UDT operations in World War II and Korea he offers first-hand information and photographs never before available as well as a new chapter that continues the UDT story after the original book's 1956 publication."

Galvin, John R. "Special Forces at the Crossroads." Army 23 (Dec. 1973): 21-24.

Garner, Joe R., with Avrum M. Fine. Code Name: Copperhead; My True-Life Exploits as a Special Forces Soldier. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

According to McCombie, Parameters, Autumn 1995, the former sergeant major, gives "a view from ground level" of the "modern Special Forces soldier.... He depicts well the individualism of the early Special Forces era and the willingness of SF soldiers to attempt and usually accomplish arduous, sometimes near-impossible missions." The reviewer concludes that "[t]his book of personal high adventure rings true."

Goodman, Glenn W., Jr. "Warrior-Diplomats -- Not Political Warriors: Sound Guidelines for Employing U.S. Special Operations Forces." Armed Forces Journal International 132 (Feb. 1995): 42.

Gray, Colin S. "Handfuls of Heroes on Desperate Ventures: When do Special Operations Succeed?" Parameters, Spring 1999, 2-24.

The author discusses several categories of conditions for success of Special Operations Forces (SOF): Policy demand, enemy vulnerabilities, politics, technological assistance, feasible objectives, tactical competence, strategy, reputation, flexibility of mind, history, and absence of alternatives.

Griswold, Terry, and D. M. Giangreco. Delta: America's Elite Counterterrorist Force. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks, 1992. Expanded ed. Osceola, WI: Zenith, 2005.

Guardia, Mike. American Guerrilla: The Forgotten Heroics of Russell W. Volckmann: The Man Who Escaped from Bataan, Raised a Filipino Army Against the Japanese, and Became the True "Father" of Army Special Forces. Philadelphia, PA: Casement, 2010.

From publisher: "This book establishes how Volckmann's leadership was critical to the outcome of the war in the Philippines. His ability to synthesize the realities and potential of guerrilla warfare led to a campaign that rendered Yamashita's forces incapable of repelling the Allied invasion.... Second, this book establishes Volckmann as the progenitor of modern counterinsurgency doctrine..... In 1950, [he] wrote two Army field manuals: Operations Against Guerrilla Forces and Organization and Conduct of Guerrilla Warfare.... Together, they became the Army's first handbooks outlining the precepts for both special warfare and counter-guerrilla operations."

Goulden, Washington Times, 13 Aug. 2010, and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), notes that the author "argues, convincingly, that Volckmann deserves the title of 'father' of Special Forces." See also, Volckmann, We Remained (1954); and Time, "Volckmann's Guerrillas," 2 Jul. 1945.

Haas, Michael E. [COL/USAF (Ret.)]. Apollo's Warriors: U.S. Air Force Special Operations During the Cold War. Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, 1997. Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2002. [pb]

Crear, AIJ 18.1&2, notes that this account of the activities of Air Commando and Air Special Operations Squadrons "is well organized by time and place.... It is well written and generously illustrated." Seamon, Proceedings 124.9 (Sep. 1998), finds that the illustrations go beyond the merely decorative and "add immeasurably to almost every anecdote." He believes that the author has told the story of the Air Force Special Operations Force "with a novelist's art and the authority of a trained historian."

Harned, Glenn M. "Special Operations and the AirLand Battle." Military Review 65 (Sep. 1985): 72-83.

Harper's Magazine. Panel. "Should the U.S. Fight Secret Wars?" 42 (Sep. 1984): 33-47.

Petersen: "Panel: Daniel Moynihan, William Colby, Ralph McGehee, John Stockwell, Angelo Codevilla, George Ball, Morton Halperin, Leslie Gelb, Ray Cline."

Hastings, Deborah. "Secret Vietnam Group Clings to Past." Associated Press, 13 Nov. 1999. []

This is a report on the Special Operations Association annual convention, held in October 1999 in Las Vegas. Although the writer probably believes that she is presenting these veterans in a fair and sympathetic manner, it is clear that she -- as is the case of all of us who never served in the Special Operations milieu -- does not understand them. A quote from Maj. John Plaster is worth repeating: These "'are the best people I've ever met in my life,' he said. 'There's not many people in this life who would genuinely give their life for yours. The only respect we had was from each other. We were never recognized.'"

Hayden, H.T. [LTCOL/USMC (Ret.)] Shadow War: Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Vista, CA: Pacific Aero Press, 1992.

The author describes this book as "a collection of essays by a number of authors."

Hogan, David W., Jr. Raiders or Elite Infantry? The Changing Role of the U.S. Army Rangers from Dieppe to Grenada. Contributions in Military Studies, No. 128. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1992.

From publisher: This "study examines the nature and purpose of the Rangers over the past fifty years and shows how they have served as scouts, raiders, assault troops, and elite infantry."

Return to Special Operations Table of Contents