Green Berets Keep Fallen Soldier's Promise to His Stepdaughter

Army Special Forces soldier Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar died after being wounded in action in Afghanistan. (DoD photo)

EGLIN AFB -- Before he deployed to Afghanistan on Feb. 11, Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar of the Army's 7th Special Forces Group had a talk with his stepdaughter, Octavia Osborne.
The Green Beret asked the 17-year-old, whom he had raised since she was 3, to look after her mother and two younger siblings. There was one more thing, too.
"He told me he'd be back in time for my graduation from Niceville High School," Osborne said with a slight smile. "He promised."
Sadly, that was one promise De Alencar couldn't keep.
On April 8, De Alencar was killed in action in Nangarhar Province. He was 37.

'The key to a better life'

According to De Alencar's widow, Natasha, Mark always dreamed of being a soldier.
"His family has a picture of him dressed up like an Army man when he was like 3 years old," Natasha said with a laugh. "That dream finally came true when he enlisted in 2008."
By that time, the couple had been together since 1996, when they met in Edgewood, Maryland. Both Natasha and Mark had children from previous relationships, and after they married they had two children together.
When Mark enlisted, their blended family became a military family, with all that entails. They moved to their first assignment in Hawaii and then to North Carolina, where Octavia started her junior year of high school.
"And then we gave her the bad news -- the military was sending us to Florida, right in the middle of her senior year," Natasha said. "You can imagine how hard that must have been for her. But she never complained. She took it like a champ and did the best she could."
At Niceville, Octavia worked hard. Her family put a great deal of emphasis on good grades, and she didn't want to let them down.
"That was always a big thing with my dad," she said softly. "He believed education was the key to a better life."

A sea of uniforms

Not long after De Alencar's death, a member of an Army care team contacted Natasha to ask about Octavia's graduation ceremony.
"They asked me if I would ask the school administration if there would be enough room for some of the Green Berets from the 7th Group to attend," Natasha recalled. "I asked how many, and he said 'about 80.' I was like, '80? Really?' "
Octavia had heard that some of her dad's brothers-in-arms planned to attend her graduation ceremony May 25, but the reality of what that meant didn't really sink in at first.
"It dawned on me here and there that they were going to be there, but it didn't really hit me until I got to the graduation and saw all those men sitting there in the stands," she said.
The contingent from the 7th Group included not only the Green Berets in their dress uniforms, but many of their spouses and children as well. When Natasha and her mother, Yolanda Thornton, arrived at the stadium, Octavia's special cheering section was already in place.
"They were saving seats for us!" Natasha said, her voice still filled with amazement at the memory. "I was overwhelmed. Everyone who was there had taken time out of their busy lives because they knew we had that void we were missing. They just wanted to let us know that they had our back."

Scoring the winning touchdown

As the names of Niceville's hundreds of graduates were called, Octavia sat a bit nervously on the football field. She didn't know what to expect when her own name was announced.
"I thought since they were servicemen, they'd be really quiet and just kind of be there," she said of the contingent that came to support her. "But when my name was called and you heard this uproar from the stadium, it caught me off guard. I didn't know if I should be embarrassed, starstruck or what. But it was really like an exciting rush."
Thornton, Octavia's grandmother, said that moment was one of the greatest in her life.
"When her feet touched those steps on the way to the stage, those men began to rise," she recalled. "And then they let out this roar, like she'd scored the winning touchdown. My grandbaby had scored the winning touchdown!"
As she looked around at the sea of men in uniform, Thornton said she shared a silent thought with her son-in-law.
"I thought, 'Mark, you gotta be looking down and smiling down on this one,' " Thornton said, her voice choked with tears. "You had military men who knew what their role was."
"They reached out on behalf on their fallen brother to let his daughter know they were going to be there for her. It made my heart feel so good, because she had been through so much to get to that day."

The 82nd. South Florida All Airborne Chapter is hosting this semi-annual picnic Jun 17th

"Attention All Special Forces Veterans & Association Members"
You and your families are cordially invited to join me and my family on June 17, 2017 at TY Park Shelter #9 in Hollywood FL.  
The 82nd. South Florida All Airborne Chapter is hosting this semi-annual picnic to commemorate all airborne and special 
operations missions for June 6th WW II  D-Day Normandy Invasion We shall honor all     subsequent missions of our groups.
The 82nd All Airborne Chapter is inviting All Special Forces Veterans and their families to join them in honoring those who gave 
their all on D-Day during WW II,  As guest of The 82nd South Florida All Airborne Chapter there is no charge for you and your 
families.   The picnic will began at 11:30 a.m.

TY Park Location Map  Park fees are as follows:Admission is charged to enter regional parks on weekends and holidays only.$1.50 per person (ages 6 and up)$8 maximum charge 
per car or van (six to nine occupants)$20 maximum charge per commercial vehicle/school bus (10 or more occupants).  Regards,William H. Eades SFC (R) (786) 426-1174
Park fees are as follows:
Admission is charged to enter regional parks on weekends and holidays only.
$1.50 per person (ages 6 and up)
$8 maximum charge per car or van (six to nine occupants)

$20 maximum charge per commercial vehicle/school bus (10 or more occupants).

Please RSVP To:  for the head count

William H. Eades SFC (R)

First Annual All Airborne Market Garden Jamboree

Attention All Special Forces Association Members!!
     We need you and your Associations help & participation at the Operation Market Garden Jamboree!!

The 82nd Airborne Divisions South Florida All Airborne Chapter needs your help.  We are coordinating the First Annual All Airborne Market Garden Jamboree to be                              held in Sebring, FL on Friday and Saturday, September 22 and 23, 2017
Event Coordination Meeting
On Friday, March 31st, we are inviting your group representatives to meet with us in Sebring, FL.  Maria, the Manager of the Sebring Quality Inn, has offered us a special rate  of $76.64 per day, tax 
included.  This will afford us the opportunity to visit all event locations and scheduled meetings with vendors and finalize or modify plans for this event.
HOST HOTEL:  Sebring Quality Inn & Suites   
                              6525 US 27 North, Sebring FL 33870 
                              Reservations: (863) 385-1345

Schedule For Fri/Sat - 03/31-04/01/2017
Friday, March 31, 2017 5:30 PM - Dinner at the Elks lodge and meeting with Manager, Darlene, to finalize the Jamboree menu and see the venue firsthand.
Saturday, April 1, 2017 Free breakfast at the Quality Inn and meet with Maria to finalize all details for our September 22-23, 2017 agreement.
Saturday, April 1, 2017 Lunch at Homers and meeting with manager and give them a date for our final head count. You will have an opportunity to obtain detail for your members and this will afford us time to promote the event.

Friday/Saturday March 31, 2017 - April 1, 2017    (Hotel 1 Night March 31)
Individual Cost (1) person:               Cost with Guest (2) People:
Hotel   $ 76.64 per room                   Hotel    $ 76.64 per room
Lunch  $ 10.00 per person                 Lunch X 2 = $ 20.00 With Guest
Dinner $ 12.00 per person                 Dinner X2 = $ 24.00 With Guest          
 Total   $ 98.64 Tax included              Total cost     $ 120.64, Tax included

RSVP to:
William H. (Bill) Eades                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                (786) 426-1174

Special Forces Association Chapter 76 --- South Florida Chapter, "The Green Berets"

During Pool Party on August 27th, a check in the amount of $1000 
was presented to "Special Operations of S. Florida" from Special Forces Ch 76 

L-R : Non-SF person, 7th Group Mbr in Black Polo is Jim DeMatteo, Al Hernandez, Cy Mermelstein, Ed Pijuan, Joe McCormack, Jim Trice, Lou Carrion, Bill Eades, Tom House, Bob Buffington

               Sunday ,June 5th, All Airborne Chapter Picnic 

At TY Park , Hollywood

Welcome to the new Blog for
Special Forces Association Chapter 76

South Florida Chapter

To send email  to chapter for input of information  in Blog use following e-mail address:

Remember this blog is for your chapter
It only works when you do, send in Photo’s, articles
General information about Special Forces that you want to share with your fellow members.

SFA 65th International Conference June 11-17

            South Florida Chapter 
           “The Green Berets”

May 7, 2017

Hello SF Members and Friends of the Association,
Following is from Cliff Newman at SFAHQ:
Please put out to your members, friends, etc. If you plan on coming to the Conference in Fayetteville, PLEASE REGISTER.  So far there are more hotel rooms booked than registrations for the event.  The Committee can't adequately make plans without knowing how many members and guests will be there.  It is an easy process - you can download and print the forms from our website; or go right to the Chapter website; Preferably register on line. It is easy to do. The contact information for the Committee is on the site.