The Chief of Staff of the Army asked his Command Sergeant Major, who was both Ranger and Special Forces qualified, which organization he would recommend to form a new counter-terrorist unit. The Sergeant Major responded to the General"s question with this parable:
A hijacked TWA 747, along with passengers and crew, is being held by terrorists, and a counter-terrorist unit formed either by the Rangers or the Special Forces is to be given the Rescue/Recovery Mission. What would you expect to happen?

Ranger Option:

Forces/Equipment Committed: If the Rangers went in, they would send a Ranger Company of 120 men with standard issue equipment.
Mission Preparation: The Ranger Company First Sergeant would conduct a Hair Cut and Boots Inspection.
Infiltration Technique: They would insist on double-timing in company formation, wearing their combat equipment and singing jody cadence all the way to the site of the hijacked aircraft.
Actions in the Objective Area: Once they arrived, the Ranger Company would establish their AA, put out security elements, conduct a Leader's Recon, reapply their face camouflage, and conduct Final Preparations for Actions on the OBJ.
Results of the Operation: The Rescue/Recovery Operation would be completed within the hour. All of the terrorists and most of the passengers would have been killed. The Rangers would have sustained light casualties and the TWA 747 would be worthless to anyone but a scrap dealer.

Special Forces Option:

Forces/Equipment Committed: If the Special Forces went in, they would send only a 12-man A-Team (all SF units are divisible by 12 for some arcane historical reason). However, due to the exotic nature of their equipment, the SF Team would cost the same amount to deploy as the Ranger Company.
Mission Preparation: The SF Team Sergeant would request relaxed grooming standards for the Team.
Infiltration Technique: The Team would insist on separate travel orders with "Max Per Diem," and each would get to the site of the hijacking by his own means. At least one-third of the Team would insist on "jumping in."
Actions in the Objective Area: Once they arrived, the SF Team would cache their military uniforms, establish a Team Room, use their illegal Team Fund to stock the unauthorized Team Room Bar, check out the situation by talking to the locals, and have a Team Meeting to discuss the merits of the terrorist's cause.
Results of the Operation: The Rescue/Recovery Operation would take two weeks to complete and by that time, all the terrorists would have been killed (and would have left signed confessions), most of the passengers would be ruined psychologically for the remainder of their lives, and all the women passengers and stewardesses would be pregnant. The TWA 747 would be essentially unharmed. The A-Team would have taken no casualties but would have used up, lost or stolen all of the "high-speed" equipment issued to them.

The Alternative

In the first hour a 7 man Navy SEAL Team went in...killed the HJ's, escorted all the passengers to their respective homes and then flew the 747 back to the TWA's HQ in St Louis. All without being observed.

The preceeding is not my own writing.
It was circulated to me years ago via interoffice circulation without citation. It hung in my office for a while when I was a REMF. It graced my Barracks wall when I was not. I copied this from that same tattered 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper and as such it has no citation. If you know who wrote it, please notify me and I will add the proper citation or remove it as necessary.

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