In December 2001, the New Zealand Special Air Service deployed to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, under the code name Operation CONCORD. During Operation CONCORD I, there were three NZSAS Squadron rotations deployed consecutively from December 2001 to December 2002. A Squadron was the first Squadron to deploy and formed part of Task Force K-Bar.
On 7 December 2004, Task Force K-Bar participants were awarded the US Navy Presidential Unit Citation for ‘extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action’ by President George W. Bush.
Her Majesty the Queen approved the wearing of the citation by members of 1 NZSAS Regt who served with the CJSOTF-SOUTH / Task Force K-Bar on the right breast of their uniforms permanently. Her Majesty also approved personnel who are subsequently posted to the Regiment to wear the citation emblem while they are serving with the Regiment.
Narrative History of
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force SOUTH / Task Force K-BAR
In October 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Commander, U. S. Central Command directed the establishment of a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) to conduct special operations in Southern Afghanistan to destroy, degrade, and neutralize Taliban and Al Qaida forces.
Captain Robert Harward, U. S. Navy, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group ONE/Commander, Task Force K-BAR, began conducting Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) in the Arabian Sea with assigned forces. Ground combat operations began on November 22, 2001 when attached units conducted a 96 hour clandestine special reconnaissance in advance of a U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) assault on Landing Zone (LZ) RHINO in Southern Afghanistan, while other units conducted advanced force operations, reconnaissance, and assessment of alternate LZ’s. On November 24 and 25, his Naval Special Warfare Task Force provided terminal guidance for the USMC assault on LZ RHINO.
After the seizure of LZ RHINO, Captain Harward stood up CJSOTF-SOUTH on November 26 and assumed operational control of LZ RHINO and assigned U.S. and Coalition Special Operations Forces (SOF). By December, the combined task force participated in the seizure of Qandahar, establishing it as their base of operations in Afghanistan.
Beginning on December 30 and continuing through the middle of February, 2002, CJSOTF-SOUTH forces conducted a series of special reconnaissance, direct action, and sensitive site exploitation missions to detect, apprehend, and destroy Taliban and Al Qaida forces. The task force provided critical special reconnaissance in support of conventional forces during Operation ANACONDA in March 2002.
From October 2001 to March 2002, CJSOTF-SOUTH conducted 42 special reconnaissance missions, 23 direct actions and site exploitations, directed 147 close air support missions, intercepted and searched 12 ships, apprehended 112 detainees, and inflicted over 115 enemy casualties. These impressive accomplishments were achieved at the cost of three friendly casualties: one death and two wounded.
On October 26, 2004, Navy Secretary Gordon England, on behalf of the President of the United States, awarded Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force SOUTH/Task Force K-BAR the Presidential Unit Citation.
The Secretary of the Navy takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to
COMBINED JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS TASK FORCE-SOUTH
for service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy in Afghanistan from 17 October 2001 to 30 March 2002. Throughout this period, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-SOUTH/Task Force K-BAR, operating first from Oman and them from forward locations throughout the southern and eastern regions of Afghanistan, successfully executed its primary mission to conduct special operations in support of the United States’ efforts as delegated to Commander, U.S. Central Command through the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command, to destroy, degrade, and neutralize the Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership and military. During its six-month existence, Task Force K-BAR was the driving force behind myriad combat missions conducted in Combined Joint Operations Area Afghanistan. These precedent setting and extremely high-risk missions included search and rescue, recovery dive operations, non-compliant boardings of high interest vessels, special reconnaissance hydrographic missions, apprehension of military and political detainees, and destruction of several known Al Qaeda training camps, explosion of thousands of pounds of enemy ordnance and successful coordination of unconventional warfare operations for Afghanistan. The Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and coalition partners of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-SOUTH/Task Force K-BAR set and unprecedented 100 percent mission success while operating under extremely difficult and constantly dangerous conditions. They established benchmark standards of professionalism, tenacity, courage, tactical brilliance, and operational excellence while demonstrating superb esprit de corps and maintaining the highest measures of combat readiness. By their outstanding courage, resourcefulness and aggressive fighting spirit in combat against a well equipped, well trained, and treacherous terrorist enemy, the officers and enlisted personnel of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-SOUTH/Task Force K-BAR reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Armed Forces.
Secretary of the Navy