Army West Point football players will honor the special forces soldiers who helped liberate Afghanistan from Al-Qaeda with the “United We Stand” uniforms they wear for the Dec. 11 showdown with archrival Navy.
The Black Knights will don Nike-designed specialty uniforms honoring the Army Special Forces Command, which have have participated in every United States military conflict since the Korean War. Repeatedly since their inception, the soldiers of the various Army special forces have lived up to their motto of De Oppressor Liber or “To Free the Oppressed.”
That motto is stitched on the right chest area of the uniforms, which specifically recognize the Operational Detachment Alphas from the 5th Special Forces Group. In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the ODA soldiers were deployed from Fort Campbell in Kentucky to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Dagger.
Upon arrival in Afghanistan, the ODA detachment rendezvoused with Central Intelligence Agency officers who had infiltrated the country and would coordinate support. Key to success would be partnering with the indigenous anti-Taliban forces, particularly the Northern Alliance and Pashtun tribes in the south.
Resistance fighters from those native armies fought the Taliban in combination with U.S. air power and special operations forces on the ground. Operational Detachment Alpha had four units (534, 555, 574 and 595) involved with Task Force Dagger.
After a rocky start, U.S. forces successfully partnered with the Northern Alliance to coordinate B-52 air strikes with horse-mounted charges to create one of the most iconic chapters in American military history. In the rough terrain of Afghanistan, special forces soldiers, some of whom did not know how to ride, found themselves on horseback alongside their Afghan partners.
After three weeks of fighting, the combined U.S. and Afghan forces were able to seize Kandahar and the Taliban surrendered.
The personnel of Task Force Dagger answered the nation’s call at a time of great uncertainty. Special forces soldiers from Operational Detachment Alpha deployed into an incredibly complex situation even as the fires still burned at Ground Zero.
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They represented the tip of America’s spear aimed at the heart of Al Qaeda and the Taliban.