On the 18th of November 1998 the United States Army activated the fourth Special Operations Regiment, the Psychological Operations Regiment. This historic event was marked by a ceremony held on Meadows Plaza adjacent to the United States Army Special Operations Command headquarters.
Major General Bowra presided at the ceremony in his capacity as the Regimental Home Base Commander for the Special Operations Regiments. The ceremony featured the formal uncasing of the Regimental Colors, designation of the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment and Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment, and a solemn wreath laying ceremony by Chad Spawr, President of the Psychological Operations Veterans Association (POVA) in commemoration of the Regiments fallen comrades.
"This has been over five years in the making, and it has finally happened, due to the efforts of a lot of folks." said Major General Kenneth R. Bowra at the ceremony.
Retired Col. Alfred Paddock Jr., left, and retired Sgt. Maj. Rudy Whittaker uncase the unit colors as Maj. Gen. Kenneth Bowra, with his back to the camera, looks on.
"This marks a significant milestone, not only for the special operations community, but also for the U.S. Army, Bowra said. It is also long overdue".
Major General Bowra is commander of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, which gives soldiers their initial training in psychological operations, civil affairs and Special Forces. Fort Bragg is home to the 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne), the Army's only active-duty psychological operations unit.
The regimental motto, Persuade, Change and Influence, that you see on those colors is an absolutely fitting one, Bowra said.
The regimental shield is silver gray, white and black representing the three types of psychological operations. White represents overt action. Black is for operations attributed to others. Gray is for activities that are conducted anonymously.
In the center of the shield is adapted from the psychological operations collar insignia. The Trojan Horse represents the ability to act in an unexpected manner and influence all types of warfare. The lightning bolt and sword denote speed and the ability to strike anywhere.
Active and reserve soldiers will wear the same regimental insignia, he said. That insignia should serve as a reminder of the unique affiliation, sense of loyalty, commitment and history that they share, Bowra said. Activation of the regiment will also reflect our Total Army, the integration of the active and Reserve components.
Retired Col. Alfred H. Paddock Jr. of Alexandria, Virginia, became the first honorary Colonel of the Regiment. He served three combat tours in Vietnam with Special Forces units and is former commander of the 6th Psychological Operations Battalion and 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg. Paddock also served as director of psychological operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Retired Sergeant Major Rudy Whittaker of Stockton, California, became the Regimental Sergeant Major. He is a veteran of psychological operations and military intelligence units.
"It is a special day", said Chad Spawr, of Rochester Hills, Michigan, President of the Psychological Operations Veterans Association. "It is special for all of you in the PSYOP community today, but its special for those in the PSYOP veteran community as well. This day is special because it confers something that we've always known, but you've known as well: That PSYOP makes a difference".