WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2004)—In a continuing series of National Geographic Specials that step inside the private worlds of some very public organizations, “Inside Special Forces” looks deep inside U.S. military operations to illuminate the inner-workings of the elite Special Forces fighting units. Following the soldiers from their U.S. training posts to the war-torn battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, the new National Geographic DVD offers an exclusive look at today’s U.S. Special Forces. The film offers a historical perspective on this highly specialized, highly skilled group of soldiers, from their rough beginnings in the French and Indian War, to their rebirth during Vietnam, and finally, to their present-day role in U.S. military operations. The full-length documentary is accompanied a special bonus feature “Desert Warriors.” “Inside Special Forces” is immediately available at retail for the suggested price of $19.98. Consumers can order the film in DVD or VHS directly by calling 1-800-627-5162. Retailers can order the DVD through Warner Home Video.
Since their inception, U.S. Special Forces have been trained in stealth and sabotage to undertake some of the most dangerous missions in warfare. Elite training and close ranks traditionally make Special Forces a secret society, but that is changing in the face of modern warfare. The Operational Detachment Alpha 574, also known as ODA 574, opens up to National Geographic, allowing rare and candid access to the unit’s daily operations. National Geographic cameras follow the soldiers through the streets of Baghdad as they follow up on a tip from an informant regarding an abandoned bomb-making factory, and back to their camp, where they meticulously plan their ongoing missions.
While the existence of Special Forces can be traced back to the mid-1700s, much of their operations lay dormant until they were resurrected by President Kennedy in 1960. “There is another type of warfare, new in its intensity, ancient in its origins,” he stated.
“War by guerrillas, by subversives, insurgents, assassins. War by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him.” Kennedy acknowledged the integral role Special Forces could serve in the U.S. military campaign abroad, and enlisted their help in the Cold War battles to contain communism.
Special Forces’ renewed presence was first felt in Vietnam, as small teams of Green Berets traveled to southeast Asia to help train a local tribal minority to fight against Vietnamese communist insurgents. Other special operations missions in Vietnam proved the Special Forces units’ skill in battle but earned them a reputation — that of renegade loners — that did not always sit well with high command or the public.
Four decades after the creation of U.S. Special Forces, and after a mixed history of success and failure, today’s units are well funded and their brand of warfare is considered indispensable. Today, Special Forces units can be found not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but all over the world. From such diverse locales as Thailand, France and Russia, Special Forces attempt to rescue hostages, conduct counter-terrorism and battle insurgents. Mobile, compact and deadly, the world’s Special Forces are in some ways the mirror image of their enemies: willing to sacrifice for victory.
“Inside Special Forces” was produced by Richard Mackenzie for National Geographic Television & Film. Michael Rosenfeld in the senior executive producer for the Specials; John Bredar is the executive producer.
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“Inside Special Forces”
Street Date: January 6, 2004
Suggested Retail Price: $19.98 SRP (DVD)
Feature Run Time: approximately 60 minutes
Artwork and screeners are available upon request.