Argentina 91 – SF was doing horse & mule operations long before Afghanistan kicked off

Service History

MSG Paul E. Turpin

  • Entered service September 1978
  • Graduated from the first OSUT (One Station Unit Training) infantry course conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia. Needless to say it was a continuous dog & pony show as the infantry school wanted to sell this concept.
  • Completed jump school and was assigned to Ft Bragg, NC for Special Forces Qualification Course as a PV2 (Now there is a brilliant idea!)
  • Injuries prevented my graduation and I was reassigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. I was picked up by the Recon Platoon, Combat Support Company, 1/508 INF (ABN), Ft Bragg, NC as a scout/observer and later as company sniper. I began my adventures in Central America by deploying to Ft Sherman, Panama for Jungle Operations Training.
  • During my first four years of service I earned the chance to serve as a member of the XVIII Airborne Corps Advanced Marksmanship Training Unit (high power rifle team), the 1st Army Rifle team, and was selected for the US Army Rifle team. I earned the Excellence in Competition Badge during the east coast regional championship at Ft Meade, MA.
  • Transferred to Ft Carson, CO in 1982 were I served as a squad leader in the 1/10 INF (Mech). The most exciting part of this tour was a trip to the National Training Center at Ft Irwin, CA for tank/infantry operations against OPFOR.
  • Reassigned to Korea in 1984 and was selected for service in the United Nations Command-Security Group-Joint Security Area, Panmunjom where I served as a squad leader and later company training NCO. This was where I was able to conduct live combat patrols in the DMZ area surrounding Panmonjom. It was also this year that a Russian defected from the north (Thanksgiving Day 1984) and a huge firefight broke out.
  • Reassigned to Ft Bragg, NC and the 82nd Airborne Division in 1985. Served as an Operations Sergeant, Scout Squad Leader and Scout Platoon Sergeant with the 1/505th INF (ABN). I began my jump master career here and earned my Master Parachutist badge before leaving. This was a very good unit with many senior leaders providing me with guidance and inspiration.
  • Volunteered for Special Forces training in May 1988, graduated in December 1988 and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group (ABN) as a SF Communications Sergeant. We spent a lot of time in the commo vans listening to BTBs in Morse code. And people wonder why I am now a little weird…

After serving 1 year with the Signal Company I was transferred to ODA-751 where I served until 1994. My first ODA was a mountain warfare team in its infancy. We spent a great deal of time and effort relearning the lost skills of mountain fighting: climbing, rope work, mule packing, etc. During my time with 751 we deployed on missions to Argentina, Brasil, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama with plenty of stateside training missions as well. The best of which was mountain warfare training in Jericho, Vermont. I was with 751 during the Panama invasion but managed to piss off the god of war and so was left behind at Bragg to attend Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Course (ANCOC). I tell you, I have shit for luck, and I could not talk my way out of this school slot! The only good news was that after ANCOC I was able to get a slot in HALO school where I had the best time of my military career. Shortly after I was selected to attend Operations and Intelligence school where I earned the 18F MOS

I was requested by Special Forces Branch in 1994 to work a special assignment with the Defense Intelligence Agency with duty in the US Embassy, Guatemala. After a couple of months in D.C. attending the Defense Attaché School, I was actually given an additional 71L (clerk/typist) MOS. Talk about a fish out of water…

Served as the Intelligence NCO for the Defense Attaché Office (DAO), US Embassy Guatemala (GT) until 1995. At the DAO I found ways to be useful as the Colonel was an Infantry officer and had no idea what I was supposed to do besides type the reports the office usually produced. I became the weapons NCO, the motor pool NCO, I met US Navy vessels needing supplies and whatever else I could get my hands on to stay mentally occupied. I managed to get involved with Guatemalan Parachute Battalion where both the Marine Major (Superior Mustang Officer) that I worked with and I both earned our Guatemalan, Master Parachutist badges (HALO) and were able to represent the US in the Pan American parachute competition. The Major and I spent many hours roaming the Guatemalan country side in search of the insurgent forces and in general having a great time. It was during this time that Ecuador and Peru decided to squabble over a stretch of land along their mutual border. USDAO Peru sent out a request for assistance during the fighting and I was soon on my way back to Peru. During my earlier mission in Peru I managed operations out of the US Embassy in Lima, Peru and as such knew many of the personnel and systems. It was an easy fit and the Navy Captain that was in charge of the office was pleased. Another SF success

In 1995 I returned to Ft Bragg and the 2nd Battalion, 7th SFG (A) and was given ODA-746 as the Team Sergeant. 746 was a strategic reconnaissance team that was transitioning to become one of the first High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) teams. My extensive jump master record and HALO experience made me the go to guy for the assignment. This was a great detachment with many exceptional team members but I had cut my own throat earlier in my career by establishing my ability to coordinate large unit operations. Too soon I was put into the Company Operations sergeant role where I did my best to see that ODB 740 and the rest of the company was well looked after. I managed, through much maneuvering, to get my company SMG to send me on deployments to Columbia, Argentina, Bolivia and Puerto Rico, so it really wasn’t all bad. I finished my career of 21+ years in this assignment

Since leaving the US Army I have been employed as a Peace Officer with the State of California


  • MSM
  • JAAM
  • AAM (3)
  • HSM
  • KSM
  • Special Forces Tab
  • Master Parachutist Badge
  • Expert Infantry Badge
  • Excellence in Competition Badge
  • HALO Parachutist Badge


  • 11B
  • 19D
  • 71L
  • 18E
  • 18F
  • 18Z