Chapter 7 of the Special Forces Association has a long and treasured history of serving the men and families of those who served “south of the border” over the last several decades. With its beginnings on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal Zone with the men and families of the 8th Special Forces Group and later the 3d Bn, 7th Special Forces Group, the Chapter moved with the unit over the years and continues to do so to this day.
The origins of the Chapter lie in France Field outside of Colon, Panama, and later at Ft. Gulick. After the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, 3/7 moved from Ft. Gulick to Ft. Davis in 1984, but the Chapter remained on Ft. Gulick for two years before following the Battalion to Ft. Davis in 1986. In 1990, the majority of the battalion returned to Ft. Bragg, but the Chapter stayed in support of those that remained in Panama from C/3/7 and the SF Soldiers assigned to the Jungle Operations Training Center at Ft. Sherman. For those that were with the Chapter for the many years on the Atlantic side, the memories of Devil’s Beach, jumping on Gatun and White DZs, fiestas at the Aquativity Center, fishing on Gatun Lake, adventures in Colon, and the unique brotherhood that we enjoyed in Panama will endure forever.
In 1995, C/3/7 again moved, this time to the Pacific side of the Canal and Ft. Clayton. The Association followed, and with the support of the Command Team of MAJ Bob Louis and SGM Frank Browski, established operations on the 2d floor of Building 207, the same building where the unit resided. Joined by the SF Soldiers and their families assigned to SOCSOUTH, the Chapter continued to thrive and serve as the focal point for the small SF community remaining in Panama.
As US forces left Panama in 1999, so did the SF units, moving to Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico. Again, Chapter 7 moved with the unit continuing to be the focal point of camaraderie for the SF Soldiers of C/3/7 and SOCSOUTH and their families. After a stay of four years in Puerto Rico, the SF units returned to the United States in 2003, with C/3/7 returning to Ft. Bragg and SOCSOUTH to Homestead AFB, FL. Sadly, Chapter 7 was closed down upon return the Bragg, and all of the property and mementos of the years in Panama and Puerto Rico stored in the new C/3/7 company area.
With the BRAC move to Eglin Air Force base looming on the horizon, Chapter 7 was revived on 10 Aug 2010 with 15 charter members forming the core of the new Chapter. The new Chapter officers immediately went to work building membership, raising funds, and supporting the men and families of the Chapter and the 7th Group. The first major event ran by the Chapter was the Jingle Bell Jog, an event traditionally run by the former 7th Group Association. It was a resounding success. The Chapter was able to donate $5000 to the families of the 10th SF Group who had lost their household goods in a fire before Christmas, and continues to provide support the Group families with the pending move to Eglin. A new web site has been designed (www.sfa7.com), and many lost souls from the “South of the Border” Chapter are learning of the revival of their old chapter and home.
Plans are in the works for finding a Chapter building in the Eglin area, and for designing and building a memorial wall in the new 7th Group compound to honor all of our fallen comrades from the 7th Group over the years. The Chapter is proud to be back and will again be a focal point for the SFA and SF community just as it was in the old Panama days. It is currently conducting an inventory of property and packing for what should be its final move to the new 7th Group home at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Past Chapter 7 Presidents
Bruce Parkman (XX-XX)
Kevin Morano (XX-XX)
Rolando Ramon (XX-XX)
Jeff Dahlby (XX-XX)
Joel Dawson (XX-XX)
Loland Weems (XX-XX)
Amil Alverez (XX-XX)