FORT BRAGG — Construction of new buildings at Fort Bragg where Special Forces, civil affairs and psychological operations train are named after the first Special Forces soldier killed in Afghanistan and a “father of Special Forces,” leaders said.
The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School revealed the completion of the multi-million dollar buildings during a ceremony Thursday.
The 1st Special Warfare Training Group’s building was chosen by leaders to be named in honor of former Brig. Gen. Russell Volckmann, and an advanced skills building was chosen to be named after Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Chapman.
“These facilities are named after some of our Army’s greatest special operations heroes,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, commander of the Special Warfare Center and School. “I think that’s fitting. Those names, those ideas, those memories are going to inspire both our cadre and our students that walk through here, and their memories are going to be housed in the walls of these buildings forever.”
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Who the buildings honor
Volckmann is considered a founding father of Special Forces along with former Col. Aaron Bank, guests at a building dedication ceremony were told Thursday.
According to Volckmann’s biography, he commissioned into the Army as an infantry officer from West Point in 1934.
During World War II, he became a leader of the Philippine Commonwealth army and an advisor to the guerilla resistance against Japanese forces in the Philippines.
After the war, he developed a doctrine of unconventional warfare that became “the cornerstone of Special Forces operations.”
Volckmann also served as assistant commander of the 82nd Airborne Division before retiring from the Army in 1957, according to his biography. He died in 1982.
Chapman, who was born into a military family at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, was a communications sergeant assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group.
He joined the Army in July 1988 and completed Special Forces training in December 1992.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil, Chapman volunteered for a joint mission with members of an interagency group.
He was killed in action on Jan. 4, 2002, “while conducting a sensitive mission with interagency partners,” guests were told Thursday.
Chapman was the first American soldier killed by enemy fire during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Need for the buildings
Retired Lt. Gen. Bennet Sacolick, who commanded the Special Warfare Center and School from 2010 to 2012, described the project as 12 years in the making.
Sacolick said it initially was a low-priority project, ranking about 96 out of 100 projects for the United States Special Operations Command until he “ambushed” a delegation of congressional leaders to show them the dated buildings that were used.
“All of a sudden, priority went from a 96 to an 8, which meant funding,” he said.
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Brig Gen. Jason Kelly, commander of the Corps of Engineers, South Atlantic Division, said the project is a $91 million investment for soldiers.
Volckmann Hall is three stories with more than 138,000 square feet that will serve as training space for Special Forces, civil affairs and military information soldiers, along with providing space for unit commanders, cadre and support staff, Kelly said.
Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-486-3528.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Special Forces school remembers soldiers with Fort Bragg buildings