Blood on the Sand: U.S. Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Forces

August 2, 2011

Geoffrey Thor Desmoulin here to get you primed on one of our most unique match-ups yet, the inspirational experts on this week's show, and some new technology to assess sniper physiology.

To start we are having our first LIVE Deadliest Warrior - Aftermath both during and immediately following this week's show so please send in your questions about the show during the show via Twitter to the good Doctor, our own former U.S. Navy SEAL, or your Scientist to have them answered LIVE, in real time on August 3 at 10/9c.

For those of you that don't know, Deadliest Warrior is based on a format that typically depicts battles between warriors that existed throughout history but never actually met on the battlefield and are unlikely to meet in the future. Well, in typical Spike style we are turning all of that on its head this week and for the first time on Deadliest Warrior we have warriors that are most certainly spying on one another and according to current tensions could very well develop into a full-fledged conflict in the near future. Yes, Deadliest Warrior is going to stop spilling blood on warriors resurrected from the past for one week, look to modern warriors, and attempt to predict the future in a not-so-hypothetical skirmish to the death between the world's premiere light infantry, the U.S. Army Rangers, and the much unknown North Korean Special Operations Forces.

Watch the first 12 minutes of U.S. Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Forces.

The Warriors

North Korean Special Operation Forces: Due to the "protected" regime under Kim Jung Il and his predecessors, little is known regarding North Korean Special Operations Forces. From what I could find through non-vetted sources there are about 200,000 Special Forces operators in use by North Korea and their primary mandate is to breach the defenses of the South and conduct strategic reconnaissance in preparation for war. Hence, they seem obsessed with obtaining control of the Korean peninsula, are therefore familiar with that terrain, and highly specialized but may lack what Mack would call operational experience.

The very real threat…

During the filming of Deadliest Warrior Season 3 it was announced that North Korea had bombed Yeonpyeong Island in retaliation to military exercises being held in the area by Allied Forces in the South which, included U.S. Forces. Yeonpyeong Island lies 12 kilometers from North Korea's coast and three kilometers south of the sea border established by the United Nations after the Korean War, of which North Korea does not recognize. Amateur video of the bombing can be seen here.

What is known…

What's interesting for me as a scientist is public knowledge that is gained from South Korea that could likely be correlated to culture and social structure in the North despite the differences in Political regimes. Similarly to how people in Vancouver have behaviors in common with people in Los Angeles and people in New York have similar commonalities with people in Toronto. This idea is presented in Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers where he presents analyzed voice recordings from Korean Air, the national airline of South Korea, during accidents causing death. In the transcripts it is noted that other crew members realize that the Captain has made grave errors in judgment and threatens the lives of every person on board the plane including their own BUT do not question his/her decisions with direct questions or, more effectively, actions. Hence, the crew follows the Captains orders not only to the flight's demise but also their own. An interesting contrast to that of the American system that allows questioning the Captains authority and utilizes the eyes, ears, and brains of every crew member on board the flight, a model system that is now being studied in detail by Korean Air in order to improve crash statistics and overall flight safety. Translating this information to the battlefield, while discipline is of the upmost importance the following of orders in suicidal situations may or may not be the most effective way to wage war. The beauty is… we're going to find out on this week's show.

U.S. Army Ranger: To wear the coveted Gold and Black Ranger Tab on your uniform is to say that you are not only a member of the U.S. Army's elite light infantry fighting unit but it also says that you have "explored the outer limits of the human spirit" according to Ranger Robert Black. The Ranger Tab also says that you are prepared to become mobile and operational in any climate that God's green earth can muster in less than a moment's notice. Other than this I'm not going to give you a rundown on the U.S. Army Ranger's. Instead I'm going to give you a brief on the experts that came on our show to represent the Rangers as their lives and personalities embody what it means to be a Ranger and what I learned from them is that Rangers, truly, lead the way.

Lieutenant Colonel John D. Lock (retired 2002) is a graduate and former Assistant Professor of the United States Military Academy at West Point. His military career started in 1974 as a private and served commissioned assignments from 1978 ranging from West Germany to Sarajevo. His military and civilian education includes the Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms Service Staff School, Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His decorations include the Ranger Tab, Master Parachutists Wings, and the Legion of Merit. I have had the privilege of receiving signed copies of two of his many published books (Rangers in Combat: A Legacy of Valor; and The Coveted Black and Gold: A Daily Journey through the U.S. Army Ranger School Experience). He continues on multiple projects including writing novels and screen plays.

Text Provided by Biography of LTC JD Lock

Tim Kennedy holds a BA in Criminal Justice and joined the United States Army in 2004. He attended Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, and the Special Forces Qualification Course. He was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, where he served on Operational Detachment Alpha's and with the elite Commander's Inextremis Force (CIF) for four years. During this time he was also a sniper, sniper instructor, and combatives instructor. Kennedy deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom multiple times. Among Kennedy's multiple awards is the Army's Bronze Star medal, which was awarded for valor under fire. If this were not enough Tim started fighting MMA in 1996 and had a 30-1-0 amateur record before his first professional fight in 2001. Tim continues his MMA and military careers.

Text Provided by Biography of Tim Kennedy

Technology to Measure Sniper Physiology

Before I sign off, we have some new technology on this show and I'm told that while you will get a peek at it on the this week's episode you will be able to watch all of the footage from my new fabrication laboratory online after the show airs so I'll be brief here. We will be using multiple synchronized measurements to get inside not only the sniper's bubble but also his body as he prepares for and delivers the perfect shot. We will be monitoring the sniper's heart rate, respiration rate, and depth, electrical activity of key muscles, and using a thin force sensor on the trigger in order to synchronize these measurements to the all important trigger pull and shot release.

That's it for this week's "Blood on the Sand." I hope you're enjoying the more of everything that we are brining you this Season 3 of Deadliest Warrior!

New Episodes of Deadliest Warrior air on Spike Wednesdays at 10/9c and are posted on three days later.