160th special operations aviation regiment


America’s Response Monument

“De Oppresso Liber”

(“Liberate the Oppressed,” motto, U.S. Army Special Forces)

Within hours of the cowardly attacks of September 11, 2001, America’s Special Operations Forces were called to action, formulating an unconventional warfare response to the acts of terrorism inflicted on our country. Not since the patriots’ actions of Concord and Lexington in our Revolution has first priority been given to such an unconventional approach. The force of choice, eventually known as Task Force Dagger, was a multiservice, inter-agency task force built primarily around the Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group. Key to the task force’s success was a partnership formed between Army Special Operations and civilian professionals brought together to accomplish their assigned mission: destroy the Taliban regime and deny Afghanistan as a sanctuary for Al Qaeda. On the night of October 19, 2001, braving severe weather conditions and a ruthless enemy, the “A” Teams of the 5th Special Forces Group began infiltrating throughout Afghanistan. Helicopter infiltration and fire support was provided by the world’s finest helicopter aviators, the “Nightstalkers” of the Army’s 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment. Operating together with their CIA counterparts and Air Force combat controllers, the teams made contact with the various ethnic indigenous forces still holding out against the Taliban regime. Collectively, these integrated “A” Teams fought heroically under incredibly dangerous and austere conditions alongside their Afghan counterparts and accomplished what so many said could not be done … overthrowing the Taliban regime in that most dangerous of countries, Afghanistan. America’s Response Monument, “De Oppresso Liber,” features a Special Forces soldier representative of the many operational detachments “A” who operated across Afghanistan. Some of these A-Teams uniquely fought mounted on horseback alongside their Uzbek counterparts, successfully blending both ancient and 21st century state of the art methods of warfare against our enemies. These operators, informally referred to as “Horse Soldiers” or “Afghan Mounted Rifles,” were the first Americans to fight on horseback in over 50 years. This image was selected because it typifies the courage, adaptability and resourcefulness that are the hallmarks of America’s Special Operations community. The steel girder protruding from beneath the rocks is an actual piece of the World Trade Center Towers and as such is considered a national treasure. It symbolizes the connection between the events of 9/11 and the actions of the Special Operations heroes this monument honors. You are welcome and encouraged to touch it. This monument is intended to honor the incredible courage, initiative, and resourcefulness of all members of all branches of the armed forces who went and fought the battle of 9/11. It recognizes all of the men of Special Forces, all the great men and women of our joint Special Operations Forces, the intrepid officers of the Central Intelligence Agency and the entire inter-agency teams whose dedication, courage and commitment to the people of the United States of America were called upon in those terrible early days following the attacks of 9/11 to bring justice to those who would attack us. This monument serves as a most grateful recognition by the American people of their extraordinary service and sacrifice.


October third and fourth of 1993…

The Battle of Mogadishu took place on October 3rd and overnight to the 4th. This mission was apart of Operation Gothic Serpent. Members of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Air Force Rescue and Air Force Combat Controllers, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, and pilots from the 160th Spec Ops Aviation Regiment. The overall goal was to swarm in to a meeting in the city between Mohamed Adids lieutenants. Shortly after large groups of armed militants attacked the U.S. Forces and shot down two Black Hawk helicopters. In the end, 18 service members died, along with 80 injured. Many personnel were awarded for their actions. Two Delta Force snipers received the Medal of Honor after fighting and perishing while defending one of the crash sights.

Lest we forget the deceased

** - SFOD  Delta - **

MSG Gary Ivan Gordon - Killed defending Super 6-4   - Received Medal of Honor and Purple Heart

SFC Randy Shughart - Killed defending Super 6-4 - Received Medal of Honor and Purple Heart

SSG Daniel D. Bush - Crashed with Super 6-1, mortally wounded defending the crew - Received Silver Star and Purple Heart

SFC Earl Robert Fillmore, Jr. - Killed moving to the first crash sight - Received SIlver Star and Purple Heart

MSG Timothy “Griz” Lynn Martin - Mortally wounded by an RPG on the ‘Lost Convoy’, and died en route to Germany's Field Hospital - Received Silver Star and Purple Heart

- 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment - 

CPL James “Jamie” E. Smith - Killed around the crash sight of Super 6-1 - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, and Oak Leaf Cluster as well as a purple heart

SPC James M. Cavaco - Killed on the Lost Convoy - Received a Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple heart

SGT James Casey Joyce - Killed on the Lost Convoy - Received a Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

CPL Richard “Alphabet” W. Kowaleski, Jr. - Killed on the Lost Convoy by a RPG - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

SGT Dominick M. Pilla - Killed on Strueckers Convoy (1st Convoy to move back to base) - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

SGT Lorenzo M. Ruiz - Mortally wounded on the Lost Convoy and also  and died en route to Germany’s Field Hospital - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart

** - 160th SOAR - **

SSG William “Wild Bill” David Cleveland, Jr. - Killed on Super 6-4 (Crew Chief) - Received Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

SSG Thomas “Tommie” J. Field - Killed on Super 6-4 (Crew Chief) - Received Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

CWO Raymond “Ironman” A. Frank - Killed on Super 6-4 (Copilot) - Received Silver Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

CWO Clifton “Elvis” P. Wolcott - Killed in Super 6-1 Crash (Pilot) - Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Valor Device, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

CWO Donovan  "Bull" Briley - Killed in Super 6-1 crash (Copilot) - Received Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart

** - 14th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division - **

SGT Cornell Lemont Houston, Sr. - Killed on the rescue convoy - Received Bronze Star with Valor Device, de Fleury Medal, Purple Heart

PFC James Henry Martin, Jr. - Killed on the rescue convoy - Received Purple Heart

** - Malaysian Army - **

LCPL Mat Azan Awang - Killed when his vehicle was struck by an RPG - Received Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa


Peruvian cross training.

In support of SOC South, a MH-60 from 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), prepares to land providing aerial support during a combined U.S. and Peruvian training exercise at a training installation near Lima, Peru.

Members from Peru’s elite law enforcement unit called the “Sub-Unidad de Acciones Tacticas,” commonly referred to as “SUAT,” and Green Berets assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) participated in the combined training mission.

The training exchange enabled U.S. and Peruvian special operations forces to share military tactics, improve interoperability and strengthen partnerships between the two nations.

(U.S. Army photos by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Robert Villarreal, Special Correspondent to SOCSOUTH, 25 MAR 2015.)


On this date in U.S. Army SOF history…..11 Jun 1988 – Operation MOUNT HOPE III recovers Soviet helicopter in Africa.

Operation Mount Hope III was a secret American operation to capture a crashed Soviet-made Mil Mi-25 “Hind-D” attack helicopter. The aircraft had crashed and been abandoned in the conflict between Libya and Chad. In 1988 two U.S. MH-47 Chinooks of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment flew almost 500 miles (800 km) at night to the site and retrieved the helicopter without being detected. The mission was conducted entirely within Chad, with the approval of the government of Chad.

SIKORSKY MH-60M Black Hawk

A MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter flown by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR), carries U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Guyana Defense Force soldiers during a joint training exercise (Fused Response), 2012.

Remember the Fallen.

US Army Major Stephen Reich. 28 JUN 2005.
Died in eastern Afghanistan when his MH47 Chinook was struck by an RPG during asset retrieval operations. Reich was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, out of Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.

I serve with the memory and pride of those who have gone before me, for they have loved to fight, fought to win, and would rather die than quit.


Death waits in the dark.

A formation of MH-60M Black Hawks from the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) perform a ceremonial Missing Man flyover of the Night Stalker Memorial during the annual Week of Night Stalker Activities Memorial Ceremony held at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The ceremony was held to honor fallen Night Stalkers of the regiment and their families.

(U.S. Army photo by Maj. Allen Hill, 160th SOAR Public Affairs, 21 MAY 2014.)


Jackal Stone Nightstalkers.

Special operations soldiers from Croatia, Hungary and Poland form a defensive perimeter after departing from a U.S. Army MH-47 Chinook helicopter, assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, during fast rope insertion/extraction system training as part of the Jackal Stone 2009 exercise held in in Kovachevo, Croatia. The international special operations exercise, co-organized by the Special Operations Battalion of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces and U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, enhanced the capabilities and interoperability of the participating soldiers.

(Courtesy photos, 9 SEP 2009.)


Rangers ride on the benches of a MH-6M Little Bird flown by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). The MH-6 can accomodate up to 6 people on its external personnel pods (EPS).

Antics arguing semantics.

U.S. Air Force airman from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron jump out of the back of a MH-47 Chinook helicopter at Wynnehaven Beach, Florida. The 23rd STS partnered with 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) to conduct personnel recovery training using alternate infiltration and exfiltration techniques.

The 160th SOAR, also known as “Night Stalkers,” is a special operations force of the U.S. Army that provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose and special operations forces. The 23rd STS performs austere airfield control, terminal attack control, personnel rescue and recovery, assault zone assessment, battlefield trauma care, direct action and special reconnaissance.

(U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Christopher Callaway, 9 APR 2013.)


Rangers from B Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, practice Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction (FRIES) out of an MH-47 & MH-60 from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment during 2nd Battalion’s Task Force Training at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash., March 27, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Connor Mendez)