Reagan Picks General to Head Elite Commando Unit

Associated Press

President Reagan has selected an Army four-star general with extensive service as a paratrooper, Ranger and Green Beret to become the first commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Assuming he is confirmed by the Senate, Gen. James Joseph Lindsay, 54, would be put in charge of creating a new military unit that would command most of the Special Operations Forces from each of the military services.

Lindsay, a native of Portage, Wis., now heads the Readiness Command. He has served in numerous special forces posts, including operations and intelligence adviser with an airborne battalion in Vietnam in the mid-1960s and with the U.S. military assistance group in Thailand in the early 1970s.

Lindsay also served another tour in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 as an infantry battalion commander.

Last October, brushing aside Pentagon objections, Congress created a new command structure for the military special forces. Its goal is to ensure sufficient financing and policy support for the elite commando units that are expected to deal with guerrilla warfare and terrorism, as well as to streamline the chain of command.

The Reagan Administration maintains it has made great strides in improving the readiness of the Navy's SEALs; the Army's Rangers, Green Berets and Delta team, and the Air Force's First Spec1767992352critics, however, contend that those forces still lose out in the internal Pentagon battles for manpower and money and have problems working together.

As a result, Congress passed a law creating a joint command with authority to direct all Special Operations Forces as well as a new civilian post of assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

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