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Biden Unveils Special Forces ‘Horse Statue’

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2011 – Vice President Joe Biden praised the dedication and capabilities of U.S. special operators yesterday as he unveiled a statue in New York honoring the Special Forces soldiers who rode into the mountains of Afghanistan on horseback in pursuit of the Taliban after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The vice president made a Veterans Day appearance at the World Financial Center, where he unveiled the “de Oppresso Liber” statue – its name translating to “Free the Oppressed.”

The 16-foot-tall statue, the work of artist Douwe Blumberg, depicts a soldier on a mountain horse riding into combat in Afghanistan. Ultimately it will be moved from its current temporary position to a permanent one near the World Trade Center site.

“You will not find in all of history a group of men with more courage, with more conviction, with a greater sense of patriotism and more absolute outright damn skill than the men who are being honored by that statue,” the vice president said at last evening’s ceremony. “You, our special forces, were our nation’s avenging angels.”

Biden, who also visited the 9/11 site yesterday, offered high praise for the men and women in uniform who continue to fight terrorism around the world.

“There has never in history been a greater group — a more lethal group, a better trained group, a more cohesive group — than the 9/11 generation,” he said.

Defense and military leaders have long recognized the critical capabilities special operators bring to U.S. national defense.

“I believe special operations forces have never been more valuable to our nation and to our allies,” Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said during recent testimony before the House Armed Services Committee.

“You have my promise that we will continue to fight as long and as hard as you need us to in order to protect this great nation and the principles we hold so dear,” he said.

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Navy Adm. William H. McRaven

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