It’s a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It’s a letter meant to share what we know, what we’ve learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.
But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I’ve learned in my time in office, I’ve learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.
Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I’ve pulled strength. I’ve seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers – and found grace in a Charleston church.
I’ve taken heart from the hope of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and wounded warriors once given up for dead walk again. I’ve seen Americans whose lives have been saved because they finally have access to medical care, and families whose lives have been changed because their marriages are recognized as equal to our own. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees, or work for peace, and, above all, to look out for each other.
I’ve seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I’ve seen our future unfolding.
All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work – the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.
I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.
And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ 'We the People.’ 'We shall overcome.’
Yes, we can.
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Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hostage Rescue Team. Law Enforcement’s Tier 1 Counter-Terrorism unit.
The FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) is the counter-terrorism and hostage rescue unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The HRT is trained to rescue American citizens and allies who are held hostage by hostile forces, usually terrorists and/or criminals. The Hostage Rescue Team was founded in 1982 by Danny Coulson, former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI, and completed its final certification exercise in October 1983.
It was originally composed of 50 operators. However, this number has since increased to well over 90 full-time operators. The HRT commonly functions as a high-level national SWAT team in extremely sensitive or dangerous situations. Today, it is part of the Tactical Support Branch of the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) and is based at the FBI Academy at the Quantico Marine Corps Base, in Stafford County, Virginia.
The primary roles of the HRT are hostage rescue and counter-terrorism. Secondary roles of the HRT include:
- Apprehending barricaded subjects - Executing helicopter operations and rescue missions - Executing mobile assaults - Performing high-risk raids, searches, arrests, and warrants - Coordinating manhunt and rural operations - Providing force protection for FBI personnel overseas
To a lesser extent, the HRT may deploy teams or individual operators to act as snipers, or to provide protective service details for certain high-profile federal witnesses or dignitaries. Teams provide support for missions overseas and support Joint Terrorism Task Forces. Teams at home and abroad perform typical law enforcement activities, such as making arrests, processing scenes for evidence recovery, and testifying in court.
The HRT has provided traditional law enforcement during hurricane relief operations, tactical surveys, and special events such as the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations, and political conventions.
Prospective HRT operators are selected based upon their background and experience, as well as their demonstrated performance during the HRT selection course. The rigorous two-week selection process includes long-distance runs, forced marches, obstacle courses, and other tests of physical and mental stamina. Throughout the entire selection process, candidates are evaluated on their ability to think under pressure and to perform while physically exhausted. After a six-month initial training period known as “New Operator Training School” (“NOTS”), they are headquartered at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Both the selection course and NOTS are near mirror images of the 1st SFOD-D (“Delta Force”) selection and training courses, with some minor adjustments for mission differences. Experienced HRT operators assigned to observer/sniper teams are sent to the United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper Basic Course. After successfully completing the course, they receive further instruction from HRT snipers. Maritime platoon operators are sent to a variety of maritime special operations courses, including Phase II of U.S. Navy BUD/S at Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California. HRT operators receive other specialized interoperability training from various U.S. Special Operations Command entities. HRT operators also conduct training with Allied nation counter-terrorism units such as the British SAS and German GSG-9.
When not operationally deployed, the HRT conducts full-time training for its members at various sites across the country. Two to three hours each day are set aside for physical training, a defensive tactics session, and combative training. One day a week is devoted to maintaining either perishable skills (such as fast roping, breaching, and photography) or specialized skills (such as mobile assaults, manhunt and rural operations), maritime operations, helicopter operations, parachuting, weapons of mass destruction training (provided by the United States Department of Energy), and cold weather operations. Three days are spent honing sniping or close quarters combat skills on the various training ranges available to the team. Biweekly, one day is allotted for gear maintenance. Discretionary time to be used by team leaders is built into the schedule. During a routine week of training, it is not unusual for HRT operators to fire 1,000 rounds of ammunition to keep their shooting skills honed. Every 12 to 18 months, the HRT also participates in at least one major combined exercise that may involve a variety of governmental entities, such as the FBI and the departments of Defense, State, Energy, and Homeland Security.
Three teams rotate through three 120-day cycles: training, operations, and support. During the training cycle, the team refreshes its skills and takes part in exercises, attends other courses, or trains with foreign and domestic units. During the operations cycle, the team is available for deployment (domestic or foreign). During the support cycle, the team works on special projects, maintains the HRT’s equipment, and conducts research.
The HRT is known to conduct joint training exercises and participate in exchange programs with US military units such as the US Army’s Combat Applications Group (otherwise known as 1st SFOD-D or Delta Force) or the U.S. Navy’s DEVGRU. The HRT routinely trains with other federal tactical teams such as the DEA’s FAST Team, the United States Border Patrol’s BORTAC unit or the United States Capitol Police’s CERT. Occasionally the HRT trains with French GIGN, British SAS and Special Boat Service, Irish Garda ERU, the Australian SAS, German GSG 9, and other international units. In addition to the HRT’s own facilities, the HRT routinely uses private and 1st SFOD-D Delta Force shoot houses and ranges. The HRT has also been known to train at Camp Peary and Harvey Point.
U.S. Army Rangers, assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, pose for a couple of photos after a training scenario during Decisive Action Rotation 15-02, Fort Irwin, California. Nov. 15, 2014.
A U.S. Army Ranger assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, provides security while assaulting their objective during Task Force Training on Camp Roberts, Calif., Jan. 31, 2014. Rangers constantly train to maintain their tactical proficiency. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock/Not Reviewed)
U.S. Army Soldiers during the Ranger Course on Fort Benning, GA., April 21, 2015. Soldiers attend Ranger school to learn additional leadership and small unit technical and tactical skills in a physically and mentally demanding, combat simulated environment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Paul Sale/Released Pending Review)
All 8 Females recycled Darby Phase, though that is the best phase to recycle. Those weekend Passes are nice.
U.S. Army Rangers of 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, conduct platoon Multilateral Airborne Training (MLAT) exercises at McChord Army Airfield, Fort Lewis, Wash. Rangers conducted MLAT to maintain proficiency in airfield operations. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Matthew Hulett)
Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer B. Domeij, 29, was killed during combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan when the assault force triggered an improvised explosive device.
Domeij was a Ranger Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
He was on his 14th combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of the War on Terror.
Domeij was born October 5, 1982 in Santa Ana, Calif. After graduating from Rancho Bernardo High School in 2000, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in July, 2001 from San Diego, Calif.
Domeij completed Basic Combat Training and Fire Support Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sill, Okla. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program at Fort Benning.
Following graduation from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, Domeij was assigned to Co. C, 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in 2002 where he served as a Forward Observer. He also served in Headquarters and Headquarters Co. (HHC), as a Reconnaissance Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Co., B as the Fire Support Noncommissioned Officer, and again in HHC as the Battalion Fires Support Noncommissioned Officer.
Domeij was also a Joint Terminal Attack Controller - Evaluator and was one of the first Army qualified JTAC’s, training which is usually reserved for members of the Air Force.
Domeij’s military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, the Warrior Leader’s Course, the Advanced Leader’s Course, the Senior Leader’s Course, U.S. Army Ranger School, Jumpmaster School, Pathfinder School, Joint Firepower Control Course, and Joint Fires Observer Course. His awards and decorations include the Ranger Tab, Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge and the U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge.
He has also been awarded the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with three loops, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral three, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Ribbon with numeral four.
He will be posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
He is survived by his wife, Sarah and daughters Mikajsa and Aaliyah of Lacey, Wash.; his mother Scoti Domeij of Colorado Springs, Colo., and his brother Kyle Domeij of San Diego, California.
Pvt. 1st Class Christopher Alexander Horns, 20, was killed during combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan when the assault force triggered an improvised explosive device.
Horns was a Ranger automatic rifleman assigned to Co. C, 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. He was on his first deployment to Afghanistan in support of the War on Terror.
Horns was born Nov. 10, 1990 in Sumter, S.C. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in July, 2010 from his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Horns completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course, he was assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program also at Fort Benning. Following graduation from Ranger Assessment and Selection Program, Horns was assigned to Co. C, where he served as an assistant machine gunner and automatic rifleman.
His military education includes the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program.
His awards and decorations include the Parachutist Badge and the U.S. Army Expert Rifle Marksmanship Qualification Badge. He has also been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Horns will be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal for Combat Service, the Army Commendation Medal for Peacetime Service, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
He is survived by his parents Larry and Tamara Horns, and his sister Tiffany of Colorado Springs, Colo.
As Rangers, Domeij and Horns selflessly lived their lives for others and distinguished themselves as members of the Army’s premier direct action raid force and fought valiantly as they served their fellow Rangers and our great Nation.
A Ranger from joint force pulls security while awaiting exfil at the HLZ. All recovered munitions were destroyed at a safe distance from all buildings and structures, Zanakhan District, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.