The Army Chief of Staff was recently asked by the President to form an elite counter-terrorist unit. The General went to his Sergeant Major, who was both Ranger and Special Forces qualified, and asked him which organization he would recommend to form this new counter-terrorist unit. The Sergeant Major thought about this for a few minutes and then responded to the Generals question with this parable:
Sir, if there were a hijacked Delta 747 being held by international terrorists along with its passengers and crew, and a counter-terrorists unit formed either by the Rangers or Special Forces were given the rescue/recovery mission, this is what you could expect to happen:
Forces/Equipment Committed: If the Rangers went in, they would send a single Ranger Company of 120 men with standard U.S. Army issue equipment.
Mission Preparation: The Ranger company first sergeant would conduct a haircut, uniform and boots inspection.
Infiltration Technique: They would insist on double-timing, in company formation, wearing their full combat equipment, and singing Jody cadence all the way to the site of the hijacked aircraft.
Actions in the Objective Area: Once they arrive, the Ranger Company would establish their objective rally point, put out security elements, conduct a leader’s recon, reapply their face camouflage, and then conduct final preparations for actions on the objective.
Results of Operation: The rescue/recovery operation would be completed within the hour, all of the terrorists and most of the passengers would have been killed in the ensuing intense firefight, the Rangers would have sustained light casualties and the Delta 747 would be worthless to anyone except a scrap dealer.
SPECIAL FORCES OPTION
Forces/Equipment Committed: If Special Forces went in, they would only send a 12 man team, (all SF units are divisible by 12 for some arcane historical reason), and however, due to the exotic nature of their equipment the SF team would cost the same amount to deploy as the Ranger Company.
Mission Preparation: The SF team sergeant would request relaxed grooming standards (long hair, and beards) for the team and uniforms would not be required.
Infiltration Technique: The team would insist on separate travel orders with max per diem, and each would get to the site of the hijacking by his own means. At least one-third of the team would insist on jumping in.
Actions in the Objective Area: Once they arrive, the SF team would cache their military uniforms, establish a team room, and use their illegal team fund to stock the unauthorized team room bar, check out the situation by talking to the locals, and have a team meeting to discuss the merits of the terrorist’s cause.
Results of Operation: The rescue/recovery operation would take two weeks to complete and by that time all of the terrorists would have been killed (and all would have signed confessions), most of the passengers would be ruined psychologically for the remainder of their lives, and all of the women passengers would be pregnant. The Delta 747 would be essentially be unharmed, the team would have taken no casualties, but, would have used up, lost, or stolen all the highly expensive exotic equipment issued to them.