Army activates Special Forces battalion at Fort Lewis

More Green Berets are headed to Fort Lewis.

The Army announced Thursday the planned activation of a new battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne).

The activation will bring another 430 Green Berets to Fort Lewis. It also calls for six civilian positions: four at Fort Lewis and two at the Yakima Training Center. The activation is scheduled for completion by August 2011, according to an Army news release.

Maj. Gabriel Ramirez, a spokesman for 1st Special Forces Group, said the activation is part of overall planned growth within the ranks of special forces.

Fort Lewis already is home to two 1st Special Forces Group battalions, 2nd and 3rd, and a support battalion. The new unit will be the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group.

The 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, another of the Army’s elite combat units, also is stationed at the Army post.

A battalion of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment activated at Fort Lewis in 2006. Known as Night Stalkers, the regiment is known for covertly carrying Green Berets, Rangers and other elite units and supporting them in combat areas.

Green Berets and Rangers are trained with many of the same skills, but their primary missions are different. Rangers are skilled at raids, reconnaissance and other similar missions, while Green Berets are versed in unconventional warfare and assisting and training the security forces of foreign countries to bolster their defenses.