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Old 29 September 2018, 05:19
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Godzilla Godzilla is offline
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MG(R) Sidney Shachnow

I saw the news regarding the passing of MG(R) Shachnow. He lived a unique life, his early years spent in a concentration camp during WWII. Though he retired from active service in 94, he continued to contribute to the SF Regiment post-retirement.

I had very little interaction with him while he was in service, other than he was the CG of the schoolhouse and I recall him giving some briefs. I served with a CDR that was Shacknow's aide at one point and he would often speak accolades of him. Over the years, I often heard men I respected speaking highly of MG Shachnow. It spoke of his character and reputation that others described him in a positive light. It wouldn't be until years later that I got to experience his genuine concern for Soldiers firsthand.

MG(R) Shachnow involved himself with the care of wounded Soldiers following 9/11. At one point, I was the Deputy of a course and several wounded Soldiers were in various treatment centers. MG Shachnow would meet with these Soldiers and they would convey to him how they wanted to remain active and continue training in some fashion. MG Shachnow reached out to the community and enquired about the possibility of providing training while Soldiers were recovering. It would be difficult for some courses, but the one I was involved with was feasible. A couple guys developed a COA and we executed. MG Shachnow called us one day and wanted to stop by simply to meet the guys that made it possible for some wounded soldiers to train while they were recovering in hospitals. What impressed me was his sincerity and care, almost breaking down that we broke protocal and made something I felt was simple and right possible. Him taking the time that day was consistent with what I had heard about him many years prior and it impacted the instructors in a positive way that day.

Since that time, I'd occasionally see the General at a function and he'd take the time to chat.

Sir, you served your Nation well and led men in a superb manner. Your love of America was evident in your service in and out of uniform. Thank you for your service and leadership. RIP sir! DOL

(Bio from the Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment page)

Major General Sidney Shachnow was born in Kaunas, Lithuania. At the age of six,
he was imprisoned for three years during World War II in a German concentration camp
before being liberated by the Soviet army. He lived in Europe until he immigrated to the
United States in 1950. MG Shachnow enlisted in the Army as a private in the Infantry and
later attended Officer Candidate School as a sergeant first class. He was commissioned as
a lieutenant in Infantry in 1960 and served as a rifle platoon leader, executive officer and
company commander with the 50th Infantry, 4th Armored Division, in Europe. In 1962,
he volunteered for Special Forces.
His assignments during more than 34 years of commissioned service have been as a
commander or staff officer with infantry, mechanized infantry, airmobile, airborne, and
Special Forces units. He served as a Green Beret for 32 years.
MG Shachnow attended Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Mass., and graduated
from the University of Nebraska, where he majored in business administration. He also
has earned a Master of Science degree in public administration from Shippensburg State
College, Shippensburg, Pa. He has received an honorary doctorate and is a graduate of the
Harvard Executive Management Program. His military education includes the Infantry
officer basic and advanced courses, the Special Forces Qualification Course, the Army
Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.
MG Shachnow’s decorations and awards include two Distinguished Service Medals,
two Silver Stars, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze
Stars, two Purple Hearts, three Meritorious Service Medals, 12 Air Medals, three Army
Commendation Medals with “V” Device, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master
Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Special Forces Tab and the Republic of Vietnam
Cross of Gallantry. He also received the United States Special Operations Medal for
outstanding contribution to special operations and was placed on the honor roll in the
Infantry Officers” Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Ga.
MG Shachnow retired after 40 years of active service on Oct. 1, 1994. He currently
serves as the chairman of Veterans of Special Forces. In 2004, he published the best
seller Hope and Honor, which chronicles his dramatic upbringing in war-torn Lithuania
through his many years of military service. In 2005, his book was awarded the prestigious
Colby Award.
MG Shachnow is married to the former Arlene Armstrong of Salem, Mass.; they have
four married daughters and 14 grandchildren. He resides with his wife on a horse farm in
Southern Pines, N.C.
Here's to nipples...without them, titties would be pointless

A problem shared is a problem ridiculed
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Old 29 September 2018, 05:55
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Lest we forget........

Interview with Maj. Gen. (R) Sidney Shachnow, Commander of US Army Special Forces - The Green Berets - on its 50th Anniversary
By Henry Levy

On the afternoon of October 3, 2012 I had the privilege of interviewing Major General Sidney Shachnow prior to the Green Beret Foundation's Gala celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Green Berets. The General is a Holocaust survivor who joined the US Army after high school, became the commanding officer of the Green Berets and is held in the highest regard by those who served under his command. He is thoughtful, articulate, has a wonderful sense of humor, and lives on a horse farm in North Carolina with his wife Arleen. Here is his story.

Sidney Shachnow was born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1934. From the ages of seven to ten he was imprisoned in the Kovno concentration camp which was once a ghetto with 40,000 Jews. When it was liberated by the Russians in 1944 only 5% of the people had survived. His father escaped a work detail and joined Russian partisans. His mother arranged for a sea captain to adopt his younger brother and Sidney was smuggled out of the camp to live with a religious Catholic family just days before all the children were forced to march towards their execution. After the war he was reunited with his mother, who picked up his brother and they had to fend for themselves with no job, no income and no organizations to support them. Sidney developed a sixth sense and an ability to read people which made his a successful beggar and smuggler of black market contraband for American GI's. His family endured a 2,000 mile, six month journey, mostly on foot, across Europe ending in Nuremberg, Germany. Finally in 1950 they obtained visas and immigrated to Salem, Massachusetts. He attended school for the first time and after graduating high school enlisted in the army. In 1962, as a young company commander, he heard that the military was looking for Green Berets. He applied, was accepted, promoted to Captain and served in the Special Forces for the next 32 years.

Frustrated Israeli inspects the damage to her home hit by a Hamas rocket in Southern Israel last month. Photo: Eddie Israel/Israel Sun
Photos of Green Berets 50th Anniversary by Gloria Starr Kins

Training was, he said, "It was hard before you start. It's like climbing a mountain. When you are at the bottom it's difficult. When you are on top looking down it's not too bad." He married six weeks before joining the military and had no clear vision it would be his career. He mused, "I had many opportunities in the military and when opportunity knocks you get up off your ass and open the door."

One of his lasting memories took place at the end of the cold war when he was the commanding general of the Berlin Brigade during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Recalling a moment filled with irony he said, "There I was, a Holocaust survivor living in the villa that Hitler's Finance Minister, General Fritz Reinhardt owned and which was Hermann Goering's headquarters. At a dinner with my Russian counterpart and senior KGB officers they were laughing. When I asked them why, they replied, "Here you are, a Jew. You were liberated by us, the Russians. Now you are defending the Germans who had incarcerated you and committed atrocities against your people while you are getting ready to fight us, your new enemy."

When asked if as a child he lost his faith in Kovno, he replied, "In Lithuania I was very religious but I had a lot of questions to which I didn't get the right answers. When I wondered why God allowed the concentration camps, the Rabbis responded that it always boiled down to having faith. That eventually led me to have my own direct relationship with God. I talked to him but I can't say that he answered back. What I can say is that now I am more spiritual than religious. I've spoken at synagogues about the Holocaust. I don't enjoy doing it - it's very difficult. I started out not appreciating the significance but later on I was concerned about the event being remembered. I have 14 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. How much does each of us know about our grandfather or great grandfather? Do we even remember when they were born? What they did? It was even rare we knew they existed." This was a very logical reason for Shachnow to not only speak out, but to write a book about his life. That book, "Hope and Honor", is a gripping memoir that received enthusiastic reviews.

Some guidelines that Major General Shachnow live by are: Don't ask your subordinates to do anything you wouldn't do yourself. Don't be afraid to make tough decisions even though some people may not like them.

Empathy is a valuable trait � being able to put yourself into someone else's shoes and see things from his perspective

When asked which people had the greatest influence on his life, he said, "My greatest counsel was my wife - always solid and she made sure I had both feet planted firmly on the ground and saw things in perspective. She is a good listener. She lets me blow off steam and eventually I come up with my own solution - she just had to give me airtime."

Shachnow concluded that he has had tremendous luck. He never had his life's path planned out and with so many uncertainties and twists and turns he "sort of dealt with it day by day." He said that without education there is "a concrete ceiling, never mind a glass ceiling." He credits the military for giving him the opportunity to go to Officer Candidate School and get a Masters Degree and a PhD. He believes he has had tremendous luck but his legacy is based on far more than luck. The admiration, respect and devotion that were evident in the speeches, comments and ovations of his colleagues and soldiers under his command, were a well deserved testimony to that.
"And the fallen Angels took to flight transformed into fierce beasts, and fell upon their prey" Dante

Last edited by agonyea; 29 September 2018 at 06:05.
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Old 29 September 2018, 06:12
8654maine 8654maine is offline
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RIP to a fine SF soldier.
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Old 29 September 2018, 07:35
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RIP. His legacy lives on.
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Old 29 September 2018, 07:52
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Old 29 September 2018, 07:58
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Rest in Peace Sir. See you in Valhalla. DOL
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Old 29 September 2018, 08:50
Fu King Lawyer Fu King Lawyer is offline
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This news really touched me this morning. I worked for General Shachnow for a couple of years in the early 90s. I mourn his passing, he was a great leader. Two years of issues with DS/DS, SF personnel issues and working with him on special projects. No matter how serious, going to work every day back then was fun. Thank you, Sir! I will never forget his love for his soldiers and this country, his heavy eastern European accent, his uncanny ability to work a Halloween party in his Dracula project, and his sense of humor. Made it all the way to SFC (E-7) before he went commissioned. He was a true-anti Communist, and had one hell of a career. Saw him several times after he retired and he never forgot any of us who worked for him.

My fondest memory though is the year the Canadians came down for their rotation of Menton Day The Canadians posted the colors with a bagpipe player rattling snares, and this General Shachnow had the podium and as soon as the colors were posted wiped a tear from his eye and in his heaviest accent said, “Boy, I’m a sucker for Hawaiian music.” We fell in the aisles laughing.

RIP, Sir. May God bless you and yours. I hope you’re my senior rater again. v/r fkl
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Old 29 September 2018, 09:08
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Rest in Peace Sir and thanks for your dedicated service. DOL
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Old 29 September 2018, 09:32
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Rest In Peace.

“It's not a good idea to allow an unknown enemy force to attack your compound. Ever, really.” -MixedLoad

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." -HST

Secrets don't sleep til they're took to the grave. -BMTH
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Old 29 September 2018, 09:35
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Rest easy.
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Old 29 September 2018, 10:04
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Rest I. peace Sir....
BTDT Just marking time to Retire again....
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Old 29 September 2018, 10:26
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Rest In Peace Sir.

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Old 29 September 2018, 10:46
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Rest easy, Sir.

I had a few limited interactions with him early in my career. A very impressive man. Also the first guy to ever use the "suck one xxxx and you're a xxxxxxxxxx for life" phrase in my earshot (he was speaking to my SFQC class about building one's reputation). Times have changed.
Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.
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Old 29 September 2018, 12:45
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RIP. He spoke at a NDIA SOF forum years ago. Didn't realized he was small but impressive.
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Old 29 September 2018, 13:58
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RIP Sir!
"error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it." Thomas Jefferson
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Old 29 September 2018, 15:38
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Impressive, RIP Sir.

Side note: my GF was born in the same town as the MG.
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Old 29 September 2018, 16:08
Attila175 Attila175 is offline
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Rest in Peace Sir
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Old 29 September 2018, 16:39
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Rest in Peace Sir.
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Old 29 September 2018, 17:06
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Old 29 September 2018, 18:33
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