Special forces, businesses help each other out
It began less than two months ago as a brainstorm to help special operations forces veterans and raise awareness among local business leaders of what operators do in the field.
Have active-duty and veteran Air Force Special Tactics Squadron members, Green Berets, Marine Special Operations Command members, Rangers and SEALs teach local business leaders how to shoot machine guns and other weapons, then lead them in a competition.
Golf tournaments? Fishing derbies?
Been there, done that, says Scott Neil, a recently retired special forces master sergeant who came up with the idea. Neil, who used to train special forces members on how to shoot in urban combat situations, wanted to offer the amateurs “the same environment used by Green Berets and SEALs to test each other.”
For Neil, the event, called Shooting With SOF, was a natural for several reasons.
Coming on the heels of the anniversary of the demise of Osama bin Laden, the curiosity factor about special operations forces remains high.
Then there is the cool factor.
“People love to tell their buddies stories,” Neil says. “I did something you didn’t.”
After the concept was signed off on by a group of Neil’s fellow SOF veterans, including David Scott, a retired Air Force major general who served as deputy director for Socom’s Center for Special Operations, word quickly and quietly spread through the special ops and business communities. People offered to help. Without any advertising or media coverage, the teams quickly filled up.
“It was all achieved by word of mouth,” says Neil.
Shooting With SOF will not only give business leaders a chance to see how special operators work, Neil says, but it will also give special operators a chance to learn how to become successful in civilian life.
Paralyzed veterans will also get a chance to shoot, Neil says, thanks to Be Adaptive, which makes hunting and fishing equipment for the disabled. The company has a wheelchair device that allows a paralyzed shooter to use a blow tube to fire a weapon.
It all starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bad Monkey, a new bar in Ybor City run by Scott. From there, the shooters will travel by limo bus to the Teneroc Shooting Sports range in Lakeland. After the competition, shooters will head back to the bar for awards, razzing and perhaps an adult beverage or two.
The inaugural Shooting With SOF benefit supports three charities:
- The Green Beret Foundation, which provides financial resources, immediate-need supplies, caregiver assistance, and educational scholarships to wounded or ill Army Special Forces warriors and their families. www.greenberetfoundation.org
- TAMCO Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to helping severely wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. www.tamcofoundation.org
- Black Dagger Military Hunt Club, providing peer-to-peer hunting and shooting opportunities for military men, women and family members. www.blackdaggermhc.org
Though the shooting slots are filled, anyone wanting to make a contribution to the charities or meet the special operators can attend the Cigars and Cars event at Jaguar of Tampa, 320 E. Fletcher Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Thursday or show up Saturday night at Bad Monkey Bar, 1717 E. 7th Ave., Ybor City.
For more information. about Shooting with SOF, go to www.shootingwithsof.com.
- McRaven: Special Operations More Than Just Combat (defense.gov)