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U S Army John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center  and School Seventy Years  and Counting

☷U S Army John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Seventy Years and Counting

U.S. Army
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   The U . S . Army John F . Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School ( USAJFKSWCS ) is the Army’s Special Operations Center of Excellence , serving as the proponent for all U . S . Army Civil Affairs ( CA ) , Psychological Operations ( PSYOP ) , and Special Forces ( SF ) doctrine and training . This year , USAJFKSWCS celebrates its seventieth anniversary . What follows is a concise history of this storied organization . For more information , visit www . ARSOF - History . org . In April 1952 , with war raging on the Korean Peninsula and Cold War di......vides deepening globally , the U . S . Army formally established the Psychological Warfare ( Psywar ) Center at Fort Bragg , North Carolina . Assigned to the Third U . S . Army , the Psywar Center absorbed all psywar - related functions and personnel previously located at Fort Riley , Kansas . Then - Brigadier General Robert A . McClure , the Army’s Chief of Psywar , selected Colonel Charles H . Karlstad as the Center’s first commander . A combat veteran of two World Wars , and former Chief of Staff of the Infantry Center at Fort Benning , Georgia , Karlstad was the right man for the job . The Psywar Center distinctive unit insignia ( DUI ) , first approved in 1952 , remains the DUI for the U . S . Army John F . Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School seventy years later . Colonels Charles H . Karlstad ( Psychological Warfare Center & School Commandant ) and Aaron Bank ( Center Executive Officer ) , along with Lieutenant Colonels Lester L . Holmes ( 6th RB&L Group commander ) and John O . Weaver ( Chief of the Psywar Division of the Army General School at Fort Riley , Kansas ) pose by the Headquarters sign on Smoke Bomb Hill , Fort Bragg , NC . 1 Brigadier General ( BG ) William P . Yarborough talked with President Kennedy following the 12 October 1961 special warfare demonstration at McKellar’s Pond . The visit had been arranged by the president’s aide - de - camp , Major General ( MG ) Chester V . ‘Ted’ Clifton , a West Point ’36 classmate . Brigadier General ( BG ) William P . Yarborough , the Commanding General , U . S . Army Special Warfare Center and School , Fort Bragg , NC , talked with President John F . Kennedy on 12 October 1961 at McKellar’s Pond following the Special Warfare demonstration . The visit had been arranged by the president’s aide - de - camp , Major General Chester V . ‘Ted’ Clifton , a West Point ’36 classmate . SC594462 12OCT1961President John F . Kennedy talks with Brig . Gen . William P . Yarborough , Comdt . of the Special Warfare Center . Gem . Yarborough wears the green "beret" , distinctive headdres of the Special Forces . The President is attending the Combat Readiness Demonstration held at Fort Bragg , NC . Please credit "John F . Kennedy P Brigadier General William P . Yarborough , U . S . Army Special Warfare Center Commander , met with President John F . Kennedy during the President’s October 12 , 1961 , visit to Fort Bragg , NC . This moment inspired the statue of the two men that currently stands outside Kennedy Hall on the USAJFKSWCS campus . Early Psywar Center missions included conducting individual training and supervising unit training for Psywar and SF; testing and evaluating equipment; and developing doctrine , tactics , techniques , and procedures for Psywar and SF , the Army’s unconventional warfare ( UW ) specialists . Assigned units were the 6th Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet Group , the Psychological Warfare Board , and 10th SF Group . The latter was the first of its kind , having been activated June 11 , 1952 . That October , the Center added the Psychological Warfare School , consisting of Psywar and SF departments . The Army approved the Center and School’s insignia design on November 28 , 1952 , which is still in use today . In December 1956 , the Army renamed the Psywar Center and School as the Special Warfare Center and School . During the early 1960s , the Special Warfare Center and School grew in response to the massive expansion of SF and increasing U . S . involvement in Vietnam . Much of this growth occurred under the leadership of Brigadier General William P . Yarborough . The Center added counterinsurgency operations courses and created an Advanced Training Committee to develop methods of infiltration and exfiltration , such as military freefall and underwater operations . In 1964 , the Center was redesignated as the U . S . Army John F . Kennedy Special Warfare Center . This was to memorialize the recently slain President , who was an avid supporter of Army Special Operations Forces ( ARSOF ) . A year later , the Center consolidated all unit - level dive training into the SF Underwater Operations course , conducted at Key West , Florida . In May 1969 , the Center was renamed the U . S . Army John F . Kennedy Center for Military Assistance , and the School was renamed the U . S . Army Institute for Military Assistance . On September 15 , 1971 , the U . S . Army Civil Affairs School transferred from Fort Gordon , Georgia to Fort Bragg , coming under the Center , alongside SF and PSYOP . A year later , the Center was assigned to the new U . S . Army Training and Doctrine Command ( TRADOC ) , becoming the Army’s proponent for ARSOF . Meanwhile , SF regrouped amid post - Vietnam War force reductions , refining its mission and how it trained . One result of this was the implementation of the Robin Sage UW exercise in 1974 , which replaced earlier UW exercises such as Operation Snowdrop , Cherokee Trail , and Gobbler’s Woods . The 1980s were a period of revitalization and transformation for ARSOF , and the Center was deeply involved in this process . In 1982 , it became an independent TRADOC activity , under the name U . S . Army John F . Kennedy Special Warfare Center . Concurrently , the Army activated 1st Special Operations Command , which assumed command of operational ARSOF units , allowing the Center to focus on special operations training and doctrine . In 1986 , the Center was redesignated once more , taking its current name of U . S . Army John F . Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School . It reorganized into six training departments: SF; Special Operations Advanced Skills; Survival , Evasion , Resistance and Escape ( SERE ) , based on the Vietnam - era POW experience of SF officer James N . ‘Nick’ Rowe; Foreign Area Officer; CA; and PSYOP . It established a Noncommissioned Officer Academy ( NCOA ) in 1987 , later named in honor of Master Sergeant David K . Thuma . The following year , the Center initiated a three - week Special Forces Assessment and Selection ( SFAS ) course to test SF candidates physically and psychologically , prior to entering the SF Qualification Course . In 1989 , 1st Special Warfare Training Group was activated , initially consisting of three training battalions and one support battalion . In June 1990 , USAJFKSWCS was reassigned from TRADOC to the U . S . Army Special Operations Command ( USASOC ) , activated on 1 December 1989 to control of all components of ARSOF , less forward deployed units . During this decade , the Special Operations Academic Facility ( now Bank Hall ) opened , military freefall training relocated from Fort Bragg to Yuma Proving Ground , Arizona , and foreign language training was instituted as part of CA , PSYOP , and SF qualification . In the two decades since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States , USAJFKSWCS expanded and evolved to meet the growing demand for ARSOF , imposed by the Global War on Terrorism . Organizational changes included the activation of the Special Warfare Medical Group ( SWMG ) ; the creation of the Special Warfare Education Group and SF Warrant Officer Institute ( SFWOI ) ; and the activation of additional battalions under 1st SWTG . Additionally , CA and PSYOP instituted their own assessment and selection courses , modeled off SFAS . In 2012 , the Army designated USAJFKSWCS as the U . S . Army Special Operations Center of Excellence . Today , USAJFKSWCS consists of the Special Warfare Center , SFWOI , NCOA , and three training groups: 1st SWTG , 2nd SWTG , and SWMG . Combined , they offer over one hundred separate courses to CA , PSYOP , SF , Allied , and Sister Service students , from assessment and selection and military occupational specialty qualification , to foreign languages , advanced skills , and leader development . After seventy years , USAJFKSWCS continues to provide the Nation with highly trained , educated , disciplined , and adaptive ARSOF Soldiers , capable of operating in a complex , multi - dimensional world .


03 May 2022 ( May 03 2022 )



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U S Army John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center  and School Seventy Years  and Counting
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