For those of you who might have missed my recent piece on War is Boring regarding US Air Force missions to Mali in the early 1960s, I now have profiles of these operations available here. Operation Sandy Beach in 1961 was probably the first organized US military operation in Mali, which had only become independent in September 1960. It was also the first overseas operation for 4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron, the progenitor of Air Force special operations elements. Operation Sandy Beach II was a follow-on effort that also included Army Special Forces personnel in early 1963.
These operations are an important part of American special operations history, as well as the history of US operations in Africa. They are important examples of how invested the US military has been in operations in Africa historically. They also represent early special operations missions, most of which were quickly overshadowed by operations in Southeast Asia. Operation Sandy Beach, in fact, was a dry run for 4400th CCTS, which deployed later in the year to South Vietnam for Operation Farm Gate.
These new profiles are in the same vein of a post I made last November on American special operations efforts in Libya in the early 1950s. I find these historical pieces often provide important context for current US military operations in Africa and I hope to be able to continue to add them to Codebook: Africa’s records.