Our Mission and Leadership

About our Mission and Us

We, as veterans and supporters of the Special Operations community are committed to identifying and combating the internal and external threats to the functioning of the Constitution of the United States of America, as written.

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Our Mission

Founders

Special Operations Speaks is led by its founders Colonel Richard F. (“Dick”) Brauer Jr. USAF, (Ret.) and Ken Benway, LTC, USA (Ret.), US Army Special Forces.

About Colonel Richard F. (“Dick”) Brauer Jr. USAF, (Ret.)

Colonel Richard F. (“Dick”) Brauer Jr. USAF, (Ret.) is native of Needham, Massachusetts, graduating from Boston University in 1964 as an AFROTC Distinguished Military Graduate. Completing Undergraduate Navigator Training in 1966, he embarked upon a flying career in Tactical Airlift and Special Operations, amassing 5200 hours of worldwide flying, attaining the aeronautical rating of Master Navigator.  His tours of flying duty and deployments include Southeast Asia/Vietnam (1967-68), Europe, Central and South America (1968- 1971) and Australia (1971-1973), where he represented the USAF and the United States as an Exchange Officer, flying as an instructor in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Colonel Brauer has been assigned to a variety of Air Force and Joint Special Operations units during his career from unit to HQ and Joint Staff levels. Significantly, he was handpicked to be a “plank holder” as an Air Force member in the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) (1980-1983). He graduated with top honors from the United States Army War College in 1984 and then served in the Joint Special Operations Agency (JSOA) (1983-1986), the organization that preceded and led to the founding of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and subsequently the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

Following his Pentagon tour he was selected to be the 12th Commandant of the United States Air Force Special Operations School (Hurlburt Field, FL) and served the joint SOF, conventional and interagency communities in that education leadership position from 1986 until his retirement in 1991 having completed 26 years of active duty military service. In 2010 Colonel Brauer was inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame.

About Ken Benway, LTC, USA Special Forces (Ret.)

Lieutenant Colonel Ken Benway is a co-founder of Special Operations Speaks.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a parachute infantryman in 1966.  He was Honor Graduate of his Advanced Infantry Training company prior to completing parachute training.  Ken underwent Army Special Forces training and deployed to Vietnam, serving from 1967-68, as a Special Forces sergeant assigned to the I Corps Mobile Strike Force, 5th Special Forces Group.  In 1970, he completed Infantry Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He then served in leadership assignments in both Germany and Italy with the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion Combat Team.  Ken served as Commandant of the 8th Infantry Division Parachute School in Wiesbaden, Germany.  Over the course of 27 years in uniform, he served with the 5th and 10th Special Forces Groups, with the Special Operations Command (Europe), and as an Army foreign exchange program officer with the Susa Alpine Infantry Battalion (Italian Army) in northwest Italy.  He was Chief of Doctrine at the US Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

On retiring in 1993, Ken served as senior special operations analyst, program manager and corporate director in a variety of contracted support arrangements with the U.S. Army Special Operations community.  Lieutenant Colonel Benway is married, with four children and ten grandchildren.

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