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author image by kizzmyanthia | 0 Comments | February 27, 2023

Richard C. Lamb

Richard “Rick” Lamb (born February 23, 1959) is a retired US Army Command Sergeant Major with over forty years of experience planning and executing Joint, Combined, and Interagency Special Operations both in and out of uniform. During his twenty-six-year military career, he led soldiers in operations spanning the tactical level to the strategic, in over forty-nine countries, across five Continents, and in six Geographic Combatant Commands. He spent over twelve years overseas and participated in almost every major combat operation encompassing Operation EAGLE CLAW through Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. During a subsequent twelve-year career as a Department of Defense Civil Servant with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), he helped to develop critical capabilities required by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to meet the expanding demands of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). CSM(Ret) Lamb distinguished himself through a lifetime of service to his country as a Soldier, Leader, and Civil Servant. Wounded in combat and twice decorated for valor and gallantry, his contributions to the Nation leave a lasting legacy.

Command Sergeant Major (Ret) Rick Lamb Bull Simons Award 2015


February 23, 1959 (age 61)

Des Moines, Iowa


United States Army

1978 – 2003 (Military) 

2003 – 2015 (Civil Service)

Military Rank

Command Sergeant Major (E-9)


1st Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry

2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry (Mechanized), 24th Infantry Division

United Nations Command Support Group, Joint Security Area – Panmunjom

3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

3rd Ranger Battalion

1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)

1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa

1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

United States Special Operations Command

Special Operations Command – Korea

Battles / Wars

Operation EAGLE CLAW (Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission)

Operations within the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

Operation JUST CAUSE (Panama)

Operation GOTHIC SERPENT (Somalia)


Operations JOINT FORGE and JOINT GUARDIAN (Bosnia and Kosovo)

Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (Horn of Africa)

Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (Iraq)


Silver Star

Legion of Merit

Bronze Star

Purple Heart

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal (4)

Joint Commendation Medal (Valor)

Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Meritorious Civilian Service Medal

Joint Civilian Commendation Medal

Early Life

Born on February 23, 1959, in Des Moines, Iowa, Rick Lamb’s father was a career Law Enforcement Officer and a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Iowa Army National Guard. His mother was a Student Counselor at nearby Drake University. He has two sisters who serve their local communities, one as a career Nurse and the other as a career Public School Teacher. Lamb joined the US Army under the Airborne Ranger Enlistment Option in 1978 after graduating from Herbert Hoover High School. Lamb is fond of saying that every male he loved and respected in his family wore a uniform and carried a gun to work. There was little doubt that he would one day be a soldier.

Military Career

CSM Lamb’s career is a microcosm of post-Vietnam era combat operations and bears witness to pivotal moments in Special Forces and Ranger history. Assigned to Company C (Hard Rock Charlie), 1st Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry in 1978, Lamb would serve under leaders with lasting influence for the rest of his life. As a Corporal in 1980, he was a member of Task Force Black during Operation EAGLE CLAW. Lamb was instrumental in integrating motorcycles, wheeled vehicles, and fixed-wing and rotary-wing aviation assets into developing nascent airfield seizure operations. His pioneering actions helped establish load plans, skill sets, missions, relationships, tactics, techniques, and procedures that survive today as Army and Ranger Doctrine.

After executing the “The Abrams Charter” in 1981, Sergeant Lamb was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment. He trained soldiers in day and night land navigation, communications, fire support, dismounted movement, patrolling, hand-to-hand combat, and demolitions. He established a Commando “MECHANDO” training program and helped run Expert Infantryman’s Badge training and testing for the 1st Brigade. He conducted multiple exercises and deployments, including the movement of the entire 24th Infantry Division under then Major General H. Norman Schwarzkopf to ports of debarkation on the East coast of the United States. This exercise culminated in the deployment of a 1st Brigade Mechanized Task Force to Egypt for training BRIGHT STAR immediately following the assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

In 1984, Staff Sergeant Lamb was assigned to the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom, the most forward-deployed unit on the Korean Peninsula. He received the Silver Star, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge for leading a Platoon sized quick reaction force into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) under intense enemy fire. His actions halted a North Korean incursion, rescued a Soviet defector, and inflicted a resounding defeat on an enemy responsible for the earlier murder of two US Army Officers. During his twelve-month tour, he secured United Nations Armistice Commission personnel, participated in historic Red Cross disaster relief operations, and planned and led over thirty-six combat and night ambush patrols in the DMZ. He earned the Imjin Scout Badge and completed the Republic of Korea Ranger Training.

In 1986, following graduation from the Special Forces Qualification Course, Lamb was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Panama. During Operation JUST CAUSE in 1989, Sergeant First Class Lamb was instrumental in leading a Ranger Rifle Company on an operation that captured 188 enemy combatants, forced the surrender of an entire military zone, and earned him a Bronze Star. His concept of operations was subsequently employed in each of the remaining army zones without incident or loss of life. He led a four-person assault team onto the roof of an eighteen-story building and eliminated a radio station critical in coordinating enemy resistance and communications. Using a “Fast Rope” dropped by the infiltration helicopters, he tied it to a roof-mounted air conditioning unit. He lowered himself off the roof onto a seventeenth-floor balcony to enable assault-force entry.

In 1992, Sergeant First Class Lamb was the first Special Forces Non-Commissioned Officer selected to “Crosswalk” between the Ranger Infantry and Special Forces. Assigned to the 3rd Ranger Battalion, Lamb assumed the duties of Battalion Operations Sergeant, a position usually held by a senior Master Sergeant. In 1993 he deployed to Korea for exercise TEAM SPIRIT, and later that year deployed to Somalia for Operation GOTHIC SERPENT. Lamb was part of a savage 12-hour street battle known as the Battle of Mogadishu. Suffering a life-threatening head wound, he would earn a Purple Heart and a Joint Commendation Medal with V Device for Valor for his part in rescuing elements of Task Force Ranger. Following recovery, Lamb returned to duty and deployed to Belgium, where he trained with the Belgian Commandos and earned his Belgian Jump Wings.

Assigned to the 3rd Special forces Group (Airborne) in 1994, Master Sergeant Lamb served as Team Sergeant for Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 331. He deployed with his ODA to Haiti on Operations UPHOLD and MAINTAIN DEMOCRACY in 1994 and 1995. While in Haiti, he helped restore security and re-established the rule of law and good governance for the residents of the Island’s southern claw. He trained US Border Patrol Agents in Texas and assisted in Reconnaissance and Surveillance operations on the US and Mexico Border as part of Joint Task Force Six. He made multiple deployments to Africa and helped establish the US Department of State-led African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI). Lamb helped author a 1,000-page United Nations-endorsed Peacekeeping Manual, trained seven African nations’ peacekeeping operations, and validated the ACRI concept during a regional FLINTLOCK exercise.

As a Sergeant Major in 1999, Lamb led the EUCOM Commander’s Crisis Response Force (CRF) in Germany. He executed short-notice, high-risk operations during Operation JOINT FORGE in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Operation JOINT GUARDIAN in Kosovo. Using the lessons of Somalia, he instituted a tactical assault vehicle capability in the CRF, implemented crew-served weapons by support personnel to augment firepower on the objective, and integrated US Air Force Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen to execute aerial fires and save lives on target. In addition, he integrated mass casualty scenarios into all training, instituted a robust combative program, and supported weekly advanced combat marksmanship live fire training and stress shoots to replicate combat. This would become a harbinger of things to come when the Company was deployed to Iraq and fought bravely alongside Iraqi Special Operations Forces against Al Qaeda.

Appointed to Command Sergeant Major in 2001, Lamb traveled from Germany to Djibouti as part of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. He was selected as the first Senior Enlisted Leader for Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa and tasked with creating the force from US and Theater based forces. He established an enduring lodgment on Camp Limonier. He assembled and trained a joint assault force designed to block the spread of Al Qaeda outside the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) Theater of Operations. The Task Force undertook an aggressive training regimen that integrated air, land, and sea Special Operations Forces and developed a robust logistics and command and control capability to project forces throughout the theater of operations. The Task Force also integrated US Marine Corps assets from Marine Expeditionary Forces afloat in the Gulf of Aden and drastically increased the Task Force’s combat power, reach, and survivability for conducting complex, long-range, special operations.

In 2002, Command Sergeant Major Lamb traveled from Djibouti to Jordan and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He participated in his final active duty assignment executing operations in the western desert of Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Lamb helped to integrate Infantry from the Florida Army National Guard into the task force to provide critical in-direct fire support with Infantry mortars, engineer support to breech Iraqi defenses with dismounted Infantry, and logistics support to process the anticipated large numbers of Iraqi detainees. This effort significantly increased the lethality and survivability of the small, un-armored Special Forces elements, who depended on speed, mobility, and aerial resupply to survive. Moving by ground, the task force pushed as far east as Ar-Rutbah and H3 airfield by the end of the fighting. Following hostilities, Lamb returned to Germany to collect his household goods and his family and to the United States for retirement from Active Duty.

Awards and Decorations

Awards and Decorations

In 2003 Command Sergeant Major Lamb retired from Military Service and joined the Department of Defense Civil Service. He was recruited by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to participate in a program called Special Operations Forces (SOF) for Life. He was nominated to cross-train as a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst and placed within a small team of experts in an innovative effort to gain actionable intelligence for emergent man-hunting operations rapidly. Assigned to the USSOCOM Center for Special Operations (CSO), he helped synchronize the activities of Plans, Operations, and Intelligence with a specific focus on SOCOM’s expanding role in fighting the Global War on Terror (GWOT). While at SOCOM, he helped operationalize the Global Mission Support Center (GMSC) by developing detailed staff processes to respond to emerging terrorism threats. He also helped facilitate sharing battlefield biometric data across an expanding Inter-Agency network. He helped to establish an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to facilitate post-911 information sharing and coordinate a new whole of government approach to the GWOT. He was instrumental in creating a multi-national directorate within USSOCOM that successfully integrated twenty-four Allied Officers from seventeen Partner Nations into coordinated trans-regional counter-terrorism initiatives. Commended by the Director of National Intelligence, this groundbreaking activity directly impacted Operation INHERENT RESOLVE in Iraq and Operation GALLANT PHOENIX in Jordan.

In 2015 Lamb volunteered for early retirement in support of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s (DIA) efforts to control the impact of sequestration. Following retirement, he immediately deployed to Korea as a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton and performed the Global Force Management Technician duties for Special Operations Command – Korea. While in Korea, he worked with USSOCOM to implement the Special Operations Force Structure required to respond to changing threats from North Korea. He pushed to integrate Special Operations Forces from United Nations Sending States into select Special Operations planning initiates and significant exercises. He helped assign the first Republic of Korea Exchange Officer to USSOCOM. He assisted the Republic of Korea Special Warfare Command (ROKSWC) on several high-profile transformation initiatives. He returned to the United States in 2017.

Semi-retired and living in Tampa, Lamb assists the Global Special Operations Forces Foundation (Global SOF Foundation) as a Military Liaison. The Global SOF Foundation (GSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to build and grow an international SOF network of military, government, commercial, and educational stakeholders to advance SOF capabilities and partnerships to confront global and networked threats. The GSF conducts activities in the United States and Overseas to build the required networked capacity. For more information on the Global SOF Foundation, click here.

Round Canopy Parachuting Team – USA The Round Canopy Parachuting Team-USA performs World War Two-style parachuting activities as commemorative airborne operations to honor Allied Paratroopers and all Veterans who fought to defeat despotism in Europe and around the world. They humbly reinforce a worldwide memory of the priceless deeds of valor and the selfless sacrifices so many made in brutal battles against tyranny to restore peace on Earth. Here CSM (Ret) Lamb represents Veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during Airborne Operations in Normandy, France, on the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Liberation of Europe during Operation Overlord, June 06, 2019. CSM (Ret) Lamb volunteers the as the Military Liaison for Round Canopy Parachuting Team – USA and serves his second three-year tour.

Professional Recognition

USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor – 2015

The USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor was established by the Commander of USSOCOM in 2010. The Award recognizes individuals who have served with distinction within the Special Operations Forces community. Inductees embody the skills, values, spirit, and courage of the Special Operations Warrior, and their actions must leave an extraordinary and enduring impact. Additionally, the Award gives a notable place in history to those whose efforts and careers remain unknown. CSM (Ret) is inducted into the USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor, Class of 2015.

USSOCOM Colonel Arthur “Bull” Simons Award – 2015

The Bull Simons Award is a lifetime Special Operations Forces achievement award and USSOCOM’s highest honor. It was first awarded in 1990 and is an annual tradition. The award recognizes recipients who embody the true spirit, values, and skills of Col. Arthur “Bull” Simons, considered the epitome of these attributes. The award is named in his honor. Here CSM (Ret) Lamb received the “Bull” Simons Award for lifetime achievement in 2015.

US Army Ranger Hall of Fame – 2017

The Ranger Hall of Fame is held annually in July at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Ranger Hall of Fame was formed to honor and preserve the spirit and contributions of America’s most extraordinary Rangers. Inductees are selected impartially from Ranger units and associations representing each era of Ranger history. Each nominee is subjected to the scrutiny of the Selection Board to ensure the most extraordinary contributions are acknowledged. CSM (Ret) Lamb is inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, Class of 2017.

Honorary Sergeant Major of the Special Forces Regiment – 2022

The Secretary of the Army appoints the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Special Forces Regiment (HSGMOR). The HSGMOR is a distinguished retired NCO in the rank of Sergeant Major with prior service in a Special Forces unit. The appointment is for three years, with a possible second 3-year tour granted by the appointing authority. The duties of the HSGMOR are primarily ceremonial and do not conflict with the chain of command. The HSGMOR provides the experience of a veteran noncommissioned officer and assists in perpetuating the regiment’s history. The HSGMOR visits the Active Duty units and attends all Regimental First Formations where new Special Forces Qualification Course graduates receive their diplomas and don their Green Berets for the first time.    

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