This story was written by Staff Sgt. Anthony Bryant
KALIX, Sweden – A U.S. Army Special Forces team assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) acted as both Observer Coach Trainers and opposition forces for the Swedish Armed Forces Home Guard in Swedish Lapland from May 28 – June 2, 2023, to strengthen Special Operations Forces (SOF) capabilities and enhance partner force readiness.
“My role at the beginning of the exercise was to work with, observe and offer any help I could with company-level training,” said a Special Forces medical sergeant with 1st Battalion, 10th SFG (A). “First, we established a baseline of the capabilities of our partner force …And then we’d offer ways we’d tweak things or ways to make their (tactics, techniques and procedures) a bit more compatible with ours so that we could work together.”
Midway through the exercise, U.S. and Swedish Forces shifted from shooting ranges and combat drills to the scenario where Green Berets trained a simulated guerilla force composed of soldiers from a sister battalion to take on the Home Guard.
“The aircraft we were flying in went down and we landed somewhere we didn’t plan to and made a link-up with our partner force,” said the medical sergeant. “We eventually met up with the rest of our team, minus one [teammate]. We then conducted a hasty personnel recovery mission based on some limited intelligence we got in the scenario.”
Over the next few days, the Special Forces team conducted mission planning alongside their partner force to perform actions that would degrade, disrupt or destroy Home Guard capabilities.
“The scenario gave us time to almost completely rehearse what we’d be doing in irregular warfare – conducting a link-up with a force we didn’t know too much about; working through assessments, hitting a few targets to see what their capabilities are, what we have to work with and what direction we need to go,” said the Special Forces team sergeant. “What it really did was give us the time over five days to work through a very surface-level unconventional warfare campaign.”
The Department of Defense defines unconventional warfare as activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area.
“There was one mission where we conducted a recon on one of the Home Guard positions,” said the medical sergeant. “We took the opportunity to discuss procedures for conducting that recon, and we walked through how we’d do it…to adapt to what the threat was.”
Unconventional warfare is a thinking man’s game, and you will be thrown into scenarios where you have to make quick decisions that have strategic outcomes, the team sergeant said. The team took full advantage of the opportunity to train.