Recently, various National Guard units have been mobilized to respond to emergencies within their home states. Having served in more than one branch of the United States military, I’m very well aware of what kind of traditional reputation active duty Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines might assign the National Guard — and it’s completely wrong. The National Guard trains and fights to the same standard as their active duty counterparts. Sometimes, you may be surprised to learn, they are honed and ready to vastly exceed that standard…
One of the tiny details many people miss these days regarding the United States’ Special Operations Forces, is that there are actually a lot of special units within the Reserve Component. Every branch of the United States military has Reserve Component special operations units. From Navy Special Warfare to Air Force Special Tactics to Army Special Forces to Marine Force Recon. They are all out there.
Today we will be covering Army National Guard units known as Special Operations Detachments. These are all unanimously United States Army Special Operations Command units, and though they are “owned” by the National Guard and populated by Guardsmen, when activated they are “plugged into” and operationally controlled by their respective Major Command. There have been ten such units scattered throughout ten states’ Guards. According to North Carolina’s 382nd Public Affairs Detachment, these Special Operations Detachments, “which support a specific U.S. Special Operations Command component headquarters or theater headquarters, world-wide,” field approximately 30 soldiers, usually. Their responsibilities include providing support in the planning, direction, and execution of Special Operations.
So here’s the list. Don’t worry, these are all open source. No operational security has been breeched, but if you want to learn more about OPSEC (Operational Security), click here.
Special Operations Detachment – Africa, SOD-A. Located in Austin, TX. Owned by the 71st Troop Command, Texas Army National Guard. Works for Special Operations Command Africa.
Special Operations Detachment – Central, SOD-C. Located in Tampa, FL. Owned by 83rd Troop Command, Florida Army National Guard. Works for Special Operations Command Central.
Special Operations Detachment – Europe, SOD-E. Located in Kingwood, WV. Owned by Joint Forces Headquarters, West Virginia National Guard. Works for Special Operations Command Europe.
Special Operations Detachment – Global, SOD-G. Located in Coventry, RI. Owned by Joint Forces Headquarters, Rhode Island National Guard. Works for United States Special Operations Command.
Special Operations Detachment – Joint, SOD-J. Was located in Laurel, MD. Was owned by 58th Troop, Maryland Army National Guard, and worked for the former Joint Forces Command.
Special Operations Detachment – Korea, SOD-K. Located in Aurora, CO. Owned by Joint Forces Headquarters, Colorado National Guard. But I’ll give you one guess where they work.
Special Operations Detachment – North, SOD-N. Located in Los Alamitos, CA. Owned by Joint Forces Headquarters, California National Guard. Works for Special Operations Command North.
Special Operations Detachment – Pacific, SOD-P. Located in Tacoma, WA. Owned by the 96th Troop Command, Washington Army National Guard. Works for Special Operations Command Pacific.
Special Operations Detachment – South, SOD-S. Located in Jackson, MS. Owned by the 66th Troop Command, Mississippi Army National Guard. Works for Special Operations Command South.
Special Operations Detachment – X, SOD-X. (Sounds so secretive and cool, but the X here is the Roman numeral 10. It was the 10th SOD to stand up.) Located in Raleigh, NC. Owned by Joint Forces Headquarters, North Carolina. Works for Joint Special Operations Command.
So that is the basic org chart breakdown of the Army National Guard’s Special Operations Detachments. Reserve Component special operations units, missions, and history is many and varied. Special Operations Detachments have a very specific mission slice, and I personally think it is fantastic that they have been divvied out to the Reserve Component. These facts should help alter some people’s delusions that drill weekend troops are somehow substandard to the members of regular units.