One of the tiny details very many people miss these days regarding U.S.–and allied–SOF, is that there are a shit load of ‘Weekend Warriors’ (though they serve far more than the typical one weekend a month, two weeks every summer). Every branch of the United States military has Reserve Component (RC) SOF units. From Navy Special Warfare to Air Force Special Tactics to US Army Special Forces to Marine Force Recon.
In today’s lesson, we will be covering units known as SODs (Special Operations Detachments). These are all unanimously USASOC units, and though they are ‘owned’ by the National Guard and populated primarily by troops from the two Guard SF Groups (19th and 20th), they are plugged in and operationally controlled (OPCONed) all over the MAJCOMs, and elsewhere. There have been 10 such units scattered throughout 10 states’ Guards. These SODs, “which support a specific U.S. Special Operations Command component headquarters or theater headquarters, world-wide,” field approximately 30 soldiers, with three having bulked up manning documents due to their responsibilities. (SOD-G, for example–G is for GLOBAL–run several more troops than the “typical” SOD.) Those responsibilities include functioning as a sort of core node within a SOC, around which other SOF missions and personnel may be shifted to best support the MAJCOM and Theater commanders. Additionally SODs provide support in the planning, directing, and executing of Special Operations by providing C2 capabilities to the supported commanders.
So here’s the list. Don’t worry, these were all yanked off the respective recruiting websites, so they’re as open source as the shit gets.
Special Operations Detachment – Africa, SOD-A. Located in Austin, TX. Owned by the 71st Troop Command, Texas Army National Guard, but works for SOCAFRICA (along with gangs like JSOTF-TS and NSWU 10).
Special Operations Detachment – Central, SOD-C. Located in Tampa, FL. Owned by 83rd Troop Command, Florida Army National Guard, but works for SOCCENT, adjacent to units like SOJTF-A.
Special Operations Detachment – Europe, SOD-E. Located in Kingwood, WV. Owned by Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ), West Virginia, but works for SOCEUR. Just like 1st Battalion, 10th SFG(A) and USAF 352nd SOG.
Special Operations Detachment – Global, SOD-G. Located in Coventry, RI. Owned by JFHQ, Rhode Island, but plugs into USSOCOM proper, cohesive to each respective Service SOC (AFSOC, MARSOC, etc.) and JSOC.
Special Operations Detachment – Joint, SOD-J. Was located in Laurel, MD. Owned by 58th Troop, but plugged into the former Joint Forces Command.
Special Operations Detachment – Korea, SOD-K. Located in Aurora, CO. Owned by JFHQ, CO, but I’ll give you two guesses where they go when they do work. (This unit is related to what is known as the ‘resident team’ in Korea, Det-K.)
Special Operations Detachment – North, SOD-N. Located in Los Alamitos, CA. Owned by JFHQ, CA, but folds into SOCNORTH.
Special Operations Detachment – Pacific, SOD-P. Located in Tacoma, WA. Owned by the 96th Troop Command, WA Army National Guard, but reports to SOCPAC (with 1BN, 1 SFG(A), and NSWU 1).
Special Operations Detachment – South, SOD-S. Located in Jackson, MS. Owned by the 66th Troop Command, MS Army National Guard, but plugs into SOCSOUTH.
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 JFHQ, NC. This is the SOD that kicks it with JSOC. So, they fall in adjacent to units like 1SFOD-D and 24STS on that org chart.
So that’s the basic OB (Order of Battle) breakdown of SODs. Over time, I’ll continue to drop nuggets here and there regarding other Reserve Component SOF units, missions, and history–for the U.S., as well as globally.
SODs have a very specific mission slice, and I personally think it’s fantastic that they’ve shredded that out to RC units and personnel. Despite everyone’s delusions that M-Day (drill weekend) troops are somehow substandard to the soldiers in regular units. DoD-wide.
Featured Image courtesy of warisboring.com