Special Forces A Teams by Tom Davis
ODA 232 SCUBA Team Ft. Devens, MA
My main problem was blisters. As always, the first place that blisters appeared was between my toes. I would pop them with the needle I always carried, but within an hour the blisters would fill back up and hurt like hell. Years later a member of the Danish Special Forces would show me a trick to address this problem. But that would be later, and this was now. I rubbed Vaseline between my toes, but that only helped a little bit. Eventually, the blisters started to bleed. This caused concern with infection. Others were having similar problems.
ODA 223 Mountain Team Ft. Devens, MA
We trained in class one through five climbs. Our training included not only repelling off cliffs but also from out of helicopters. We not only trained in free climbing where we always maintained three points of contact with the wall and climbed without a rope, but also in technical climbing which involved the use of rope, belays, and pitons, metal spikes, usually steel, that we hammered into a crack or seam in the rock. Our mission was not only to become proficient in the art, but also to teach basic mountaineering to other Teams as needed.
Testing Dry Suits Under Extreme Conditions
After a few swims, we discovered we had to wear ¼ inch neoprene mittens rather than five finger gloves. When the water hit our faces, it immediately froze. So, for protection, we coated our faces with gobs of Vaseline. This way the ice freezing on our face didn’t touch the skin. Of course, our eyebrows caked with ice. Even though we wore heavy woolen socks, the cold was so numbing that when we completed a couple of hours swimming with fins, we weren’t able to stand, much less walk, for several minutes. Swimming under these severe conditions proved a challenge, to say the least.
Special Forces A Teams is a portion of the author’s memoir, The Most Fun I Ever Had With My Clothes On: A March from Private to Colonel. COL Tom “The Squid” Davis recounts his experiences serving as commander of four Special Forces A Detachments during the 1970s. These teams specialize in Underwater Operations (SCUBA), Mountaineering, Small Atomic Demolitions Munitions (SADM), and High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Parachuting. In addition to serving in the United States, he and his team of Green Berets tromped the lands of Germany, France, England, and Denmark. The narrative with the accompanying photos gives incite into the type of training missions carried out by the various specialized Operational A Detachments belonging to a US Army Special Forces Group.
Tom Davis’ publishing credits include Poets Forum, The Carolina Runner, Triathlon Today, Georgia Athlete, Proud to Be: Writings by American Warriors Vol. 3, A Loving Voice Vol. I and II, Special Warfare., and Winston-Salem Writers’ Poetry in Plain Sight program for May 2013 (poetry month). He’s authored the following books: The Life and Times of Rip Jackson, The Most Fun I Ever Had With My Clothes On, The Patrol Order; and The R-complex. Tom lives in Webster, NC.