U.S. Army Special Warfare

Its Origins

Revised Edition

Alfred H. Paddock, Jr.

Special warfare was a key component of American military operations long before Afghanistan and even before the heroic deeds of the Green Berets. Alfred Paddock's revised edition of his classic study—for two decades the definitive word on the subject—honors the fiftieth anniversary of the organizations responsible for Army special warfare, and serves as a timely reminder of the likely role such forces can play in combating threats to American national security.

Based on exhaustive research in formerly classified documents, Paddock examines the U.S. Army's activities in psychological and unconventional warfare during World War II, Korea, and the early Cold War to determine the impetus for, and origins of, the "special warfare" capability established at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He describes the key role played by Major General Robert A. McClure, the "father of Army special warfare," to convince often reluctant military and civilian leaders to rebuild psychological warfare forces dissipated after World War II and to create Special Forces—the Army's first formal organization to conduct guerrilla warfare. Paddock also clearly establishes the influence of concepts pioneered by the Office of Strategic Services on the original design of Special Forces.

“This very readable book provides prime professional knowledge not only of the foundation of Psychological Operations and Special Forces but also of the workings of military bureaucracies.

—Special Warfare

“Paddock’s updating of his formidable history on U.S. Army Special Warfare comes as a timely blessing for those who will direct these unique forces in the troubling times Americans now face. More than simply an impressive history, it is also an invaluable guide to understanding the mistakes of the past as well as the promise of the future.”

—Colonel Mike Haas, author of In the Devil's Shadow: UN Special Operations during the Korean War

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This revised edition draws on the newly available papers of Major General McClure and provides additional information on his role as Eisenhower's chief of psychological warfare in North Africa and Europe, his service as chief of information control in occupied Germany, and his assignment as chief of the New York Field Office of the Army's Civil Affairs Division. Paddock also includes new sections on American psychological warfare in the Pacific, the Army Rangers, the 1st Special Service Force, and American-led guerrillas in the Philippines.

In a reflective new epilogue that draws partly upon his own experience, Paddock also provides keen insights into the use of special warfare during Vietnam.

About the Author

Alfred H. Paddock, Jr., was on active duty in the U.S. Army, 1957-1988, and served three combat tours in Laos and Vietnam with Special Forces. He also commanded psychological operations units at the battalion and group level and was the Director for Psychological Operations, Office of the Secretary of Defense, retiring as a colonel. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University.

Additional Titles in the Modern War Studies Series