Salute to Service - MG(R) John K. Singlaub

Salute to Service - MG(R) John K. Singlaub

Our Salute to Service, this week, is another celebration of life for a true hero and a legend in the Special Forces community.

Army Major General (Retired) John “Jumping Jack” Singlaub, who many considered a legendary commando and participated in almost every military campaign since WWII, has died at 100 years old.

Surrounded by his wife and children, Singlaub died at 0700, Saturday, Jan 28.

Singlaub joined the Army as a 2nd Lt. in 1943. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Almost immediately, Singlaub stood out and was selected to join the Office of Strategic Services, which was the precursor to the Army Special Forces, nicknamed the “Green Berets”, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency.

John Singlaub fought the enemy head on in Normandy after the D-Day landings, he fought behind enemy lines in Japanese-occupied China, to locate and rescue POWs, and after those conflicts, he joined the Strategic Services Unit that was absorbed by the CIA in 1952.

The man fought the enemy head-on, covertly and every way possible. A true American warrior.

When the Korean War started, Singlaub served again with the Joint Advisory Commission, Korea and conducted covert operations against Korea and China. He also commanded an infantry battalion during his time there.

Another precursor, Singlaub joined the Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group, also known as MACV-SOG, which took the fight to the enemy during the Vietnam War.

SOG was highly classified and sent into Cambodia, Thailand and North Vietnam, where U.S. troops were not supposed to go.

The SOG was formed with Army Green Berets, Navy SEALS and Air Commandos; and they fought alongside local mercenaries. These small teams of covert operators conducted strategic reconnaissance, direct actions and unconventional warfare behind enemy lines.

In 1966, Singlaubwas chose to lead the covert organization as Chief SOG.

“During the eight-year secret war, there were five OICs [officers-in-charge] for MACV-SOG, dubbed Chief SOG. Jack served as Chief SOG from 1966 until early August 1968, replaced by Col. Stephen Cavanaugh. As Chief SOG Jack fought the bureaucracy to get close air support for SOG teams. He fought with the State Dept. to have our teams better armed in Cambodia in the early days of the operation,” said John Stryker Meyer, a former Green Beret and friend of Singlaub.

“Jack will be remembered as a tough, fearless operator. Highly respected by all. His book documents how he combated communism throughout his military career, whereas as a student at UCLA before the start of WWII he ran into and disliked/distrusted communists he met there. During WWII in France, behind enemy lines he had serious concerns about them, ditto Korea, as Chief SOG, and during his time fighting communism in Central and South America. He is a role model for all of us,” Meyer added.

During his career, Singlaub earned the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, and Bronze Star. He played a key part in the establishment of the Ranger Training Center. Honoring his legacy and contribution to the U.S. special operations community, in 2016, the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) established the MG John K. Singlaub/Jedburgh Award in order to recognize exceptional members of the Army commando community. 

Rest in Peace, Sir! We will take it from here.

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