Reserve Officers Association’s Department of Texas recognized the Special Operations Detachment –Africa (Airborne) as the Unit of the Year (small unit category). This prestigious award selected the SOD-A amongst all Army Reserve Component units in the State of Texas. Its commander and senior enlisted leader, Colonel Douglas O’Connell and Command Sergeant Major Ben Bitonel, accepted the award on behalf of the SOD-A. The 71st Troop Commander, Brigadier General Sean Ryan and the State Deputy Adjutant General BG Orlando Salinas represented the Texas Military Forces during the award ceremony. An additional honor was bestowed to the unit when Captain Adam Moore (J4) was honored as the ROA Department of Texas Junior Officer of the Year.
The Special Operations Detachment – Africa (Airborne) is a newly-formed unit in the Texas Army National Guard, responsible for conducting expeditionary command and control of joint and combined special operations in support of Special Operations Command – Africa. In addition, the SOD-A conducts sensitive interagency liaison missions in support of State and Federal Homeland Security Operations.
The Soldiers of the SOD-A played a critical role in the successful support and command and control of over 1,700 military and security personnel from 18 countries and participated in several joint special operations exercises in Africa within the first year of its formation.
Colonel O’Connell praised the members of the unit for their enduring professionalism and devotion to duty during a hectic and challenging stand up process. Although he was pleased with the unit recognition, he pressed the members to enhance their mission capability readiness as they do their part to support the State and SOC-Africa.