Crossroads Man Once Part of Top Secret Special Forces Unit
VICTORIA-Sit down with a veteran you will likely hear a story or two about their experience in the military. However, that was not the case for Seadrift resident, Rodney Grow, it was not that Grow didn’t have stories, he just could not share them.
“I couldn’t tell them what I really did, I couldn’t tell them about myself” said Rodney Grow.
Hands that now flip pages of a book once held a Remington 700 rifle, Rodney Grow was an army sniper. He was also a sniper instructor and a demolition sergeant which made him the perfect candidate for a unit that was trained to sabotage infrastructure and enemy communications at a time when a third world war seemed likely.
“If World War III ever kicked off we would have blown holes through the Berlin Wall” said Grow.
The Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after world war two between the powers of the Soviet Union and its satellite states and the United States, It’s NATO allies and others. The Special Forces Berlin unit was trained to destroy vital infrastructure in west Berlin to disrupt soviet efforts of controlling the city and allow time until the counter offensive began, that was the plan.
“The snipers would take out guards in the towers as far out as they could, up to 1,000 meters. We’d shoot out to the countryside and blow up bridges
and communication centers primary” said Grow.
But it was a plan that was never executed by the unit made up of 60 of the U.S. Army’s Elite. Rodney Grow was part of that unit from1978 to 1984.
“I consider myself blessed to have done the things I go to do” said Grow.
In 32 years there were only 800 hundred members that were able to be part of this top secret unit. According to Grow once you left Special Forces Berlin you had to sign a secrecy agreement.
“Dark operations, no one is suppose to know about it this unit managed to keep that anonymity” said Grow.
Grow and 59 members were ready to lay their lives down on the line.
“I’m not gonna kid anybody I was scared getting turned to atoms at any second gets on your nerves” said Grow.
But fortunately The Cold War did not go nuclear and for almost 30 years Grow remained tight lipped about all the things the unit did.
“We were part of the operation to get the hostages out of Tehran Iran” said Grow.
A book tilted Special Forces written by Grow’s former comrade, James Stejskal, allowed him to open up.
“We put away Russian mobsters that were dealing heroin all across Europe” said Grow.
Grow said he was not physically wounded but he does have post traumatic stress disorder. He pleads to other veterans to find the right combination of medicine and therapy to help them through dark times.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, so don’t give up. We have 22 of our veterans committing suicide each single day and PTSD is in no small part in that mix. Don’t give up, never say quit, and never say die you will come through it okay” said Grow.
While Grow did share many stories, there were still some he could not share.