The Special Forces Association dates back to 1964 when Sergeant Major Mateo and a group of Noncommissioned Officers at Fort Bragg, NC presented the idea of forming a club for Special Forces members to Colonel Sully de Fontaine. Within months, the 18th Airborne Corps accepted the first By Laws of the Special Forces Decader Club. It was incorporated under the laws of North Carolina in 1971 as the “Special Forces Decade Association”. In 1976, the word “Decade” was dropped.
Today, The Special Forces Association is 501(c) Veteran Service Organization that serves as the voice of the Special Forces Community; Perpetuates Special Forces Traditions and Brotherhood; Advances the public image of Special Forces and promotes the general welfare of the Special Forces community. In order to do this effectively, The Special Forces Association comprises of chapters located all over the US and across the world in the nations where members of the Special Forces are stationed. All of these chapters operate under local leadership.
The Rocky Mountain Chapter 4-24 (Charles "Snake" Hosking Jr. and Alexander "Al" Fontes) history is deeply intertwined with those who have served in Special Forces, along with the regions in which they lived, trained, fought, and sometimes died. Our Chapter is dedicated in memory of two extraordinary Green Berets and a result of early start-ups, resolve, moves and mergers.
Chapter 4, Fort Devens, Massachusetts, 1974: In 1968, the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), minus 1st Battalion, relocated from Bad Tolz, Germany to Fort Devens, Massachusetts. With a growing population of Special Forces Decade Association members in the Fort Devens area, it was decided that a Chapter was feasible, sustainable and needed. Under the first Chapter President James Gayler, Chapter 4 (Charles “Snake” Hosking Jr.) was established in 1974. It became the official Chapter of 10th Special Force Group (Airborne), but open to any Decade member and held meetings on Fort Devens. The Chapter was dedicated to Master Sergeant Hosking’s for his dedication to service, long history as a member of 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)/5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. For over 20 years, the Chapter increased in membership and continued to support the Special Forces community.
Chapter 24, Fort Carson, Colorado, 1976: Even though the number of Special Forces veterans in the Rocky Mountain area were small in the mid-1970’s, a need for a Chapter was identified. For those Special Forces Association members in the area, a Chapter represented a place where Green Berets could gather, reminisce about the past, and share a brotherhood. Under the first Chapter Presidents Frank Stewart and Mark Sullivan, and 30 or so members, the Rocky Mountain Chapter 24 was established in September 1976 and held meetings on Fort Carson. For almost 20 years, the Chapter added and lost members, and at times, struggled to stay relevant during the lean years. After almost a decade, 1979 – 1987, of inactivity due to a small number of Special Forces veterans spread over a large state, creativity was needed to meet the needs of it’s old members and bring in new ones. In 1988, a group of old members decided to make the Chapter relevant again and devised a plan. The plan consisted of rotating Chapter meetings between Colorado Springs, Denver, and Pueblo, hold annual picnics and Christmas parties along with other social functions. As a result, membership rose and new interest gained. In recognition for Al Fontes’ status as the founding member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter 24 and his efforts in keeping the chapter viable during lean years, the chapter voted and was renamed the Alexander "Al" Fontes, Rocky Mountain Chapter 24 in 1996.
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1994 – 1995: In September 1994, the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) moved from Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to Fort Carson, Colorado, followed by 3rd Battalion in July 1995. The Group Headquarters moved in September 1995 ending a twenty-seven year presences in Massachusetts. A Group Support Battalion was activated January 2006 and a forth-Special Forces Battalion was activated August 2010.
5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Army National Guard, 1996: Colorado is also home to 5th Battalion’s Headquarters and Battalion Support Company located in Watkins, Colorado and B Company located at Fort Carson, Colorado.
Chapter 4-24, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1997: In 1997, several major events happened to both Chapter 4 and 24 to celebrate arrival of 10th Special Force Group (Airborne), preserve Chapter histories and maximize economy of force.
First, in 1995, the Special Forces Association voted to have the 1997 National Convention in Colorado Springs. With Chapter 24 as the lead Chapter, the Convention was held in June 1997 at the Red Lion (currently know as the Double Tree Hotel). 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) sponsored the Convention Picnic at Butts Army Air Field, Fort Carson and assisted with the final banquet. At the Convention, several request were presented, 1) Officially move Chapter 4 from Fort Devens to Fort Carson, 2) Merge Chapter 4 and Chapter 24 with the understanding that if 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) moved again, so would Chapter 4. Both request were given the green light to proceed.
Second, even though Chapter 4 unofficially moved to Fort Carson with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), members of Chapter 4 voted to officially move the Chapter from Fort Devens to Colorado Springs. Then gained approval for the National Special Forces Association. The members who remained behind at Fort Devens and chose to remain Chapter 4 members, became “At Large” members, or joined other Chapters such as the Boston, Massachusetts Chapter.
Third, due to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) recently moving from Fort Devens to Fort Carson, still being heavily employed around the world, and two Chapters in the same city, it was decided to merge the Chapters. Chapter 24 members, retired veterans, that were currently running Chapter 24 volunteered to continue running the merged Chapters. This gave the Chapter 4 members, currently active duty with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), time to get established and then run for official positions. For the merger of Chapter 4 and 24 to take place, both current members of each Chapter had to agree and National gave its approval. On 20 September 1997, the Rocky Mountain Chapter 4-24 (Charles “Snake” Hosking and Alexander “Al” Fontes) was established, under the first Chapter President Joe Frey.
Not soon after the Rocky Mountain Chapter 4-24 (Charles “Snake” Hosking and Alexander “Al” Fontes) was established, one of Chapter 24’s founding members, Alexander “Al” Fontes passed away.
Special Operations Command North, 2013: In 2013, United States Northern Command established a Theater Special Operations Command known as Special Operations Command North at Peterson AFB, Colorado.
Today, Chapter 4-24 is based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, but holds several monthly meetings in Denver to meet its mission as the voice of the Special Forces Community; Perpetuates Special Forces Traditions and Brotherhood; Advance the public image of Special Forces and promotes the general welfare of the Special Forces community.
There are over 350 Chapter 4-24 members that support over 4,000 Active Duty/National Guard Green Berets and Associates, their families and numerous veterans of Special Forces located in Colorado.
The Chapter does this by monetary donations to Special Forces families in need, the Chapter 4-24 “CSM Frank A. Socha” Educational Assistance Grant, support to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) functions, Memorial Day Remembrance, Colorado Special Forces license plates, Annual Chapter Picnic and Heritage Ski-In, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps/Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and Veterans outreach, fundraisers and much more.
Special Forces Association
Rocky Mountain Chapter 4-24
(Charles “Snake” Hosking and Alexander “Al” Fontes)