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U.S. Army Special Forces: "The Green Berets"

Special Forces Hero: Colonel Aaron Bank

Colonel Aaron Bank

Colonel of the Regiment - Father of the Army Special Forces

Aaron Bank, U.S. Army Colonel (Retired), is truly a legend in his own time. Indeed, if life were like fiction, Colonel Bank would be the leading character in one of the most dramatic stories of the 20th century. He is "Father of the Special Forces."

Colonel Bank was born in New York City in November of 1902. As a young man he lived in Europe and learned French and Russian. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in late 1939 and graduated from OCS in 1940. He was commissioned in the Infantry and served as the Tactical Officer of a railroad battalion at Camp Polk LA. In 1943 when the Army called for linguists to join the newly formed Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Colonel Bank stepped forward. 

Under the Command of Colonel William B. ("Wild Bill") Donavan, Colonel Bank parachuted into occupied France in the Rohne Valley to train and fight with the French resistance. He was then Chief of Guerilla Operations. He operated in the area of Avignon and Nimes, along with other OSS Jedburgh Teams.

Colonel Bank was involved with some of the most intriguing operations and personalities of that era. He was actively involved with the famous Operation "Iron Cross" - the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler, and later in a different theatre of operations he knew and trained with Ho Chi Minh.

Following W.W.II, he served as Commander of Counter-Intelligence in Bavaria until 1950. In Korea he served as the XO of a Regimental Combat Team. From 1951-1952 Colonel Bank was assigned to the Special Operations Branch, Psychological Warfare Staff at the Pentagon. 

It was here that the idea for the First Special Forces Group took form. On 19 June 1952 the idea became reality, when Colonel Bank activated the 10th Special Forces Group, the original Special Forces unit. Colonel Bank commanded the Group at Bad Tolz, Federal Republic of Germany until 1954. After, he served on the 7th Army General Staff and again at the Pentagon, until his retirement from active duty in 1958.

In 1986 Colonel Bank was honored by assuming the title of Colonel of the Regiment for all U.S. Army Special Forces.

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