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City of Camden celebrates Special Forces Day
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Ross Beard, Jr. talks to several Green Berets about the various items in his collection housed at the Camden Archives and Museums.

Thursday, the city of Camden welcomed more than 200 Green Berets and their guests for a tour of the city and an all-American luncheon. This visit was part of the U.S. Special Forces Association’s National Convention, held last week in Columbia.

Some of the activities planned for the city’s esteemed guests included touring Historic Camden Revolutionary War Park, visiting the Battle of Camden site, viewing the Ross Beard collection at the Camden Archives and museum, meeting and talking with Beard about the collection and enjoying a hotdog lunch with music at the Mullikin Law Firm at 1308 Broad St., in Camden.

The Mullikin Law Firm hosted and sponsored the event and invited the public to attend. The lunch reception included a special presentation and proclamation by Camden Mayor Tony Scully.

Tom Mullikin said the firm was "honored to host these great Americans who have given so much to ensure our freedom and prosperity," and described the Green Berets as "some of the world’s all-time best war fighters."

The special forces also had the opportunity to visit downtown merchants, artisans and antique shops during their trip.

Major Michael Mika, president of the South Carolina Chapter of the Special Forces Association and assistant operations officer in the S.C. State Guard said the visit to Camden was "a major highlight on the convention’s calendar this year. It is the perfect venue for our Green Beret veterans -- active, retired, reserve and former -- supporters and their families."

Archives Director Katherine Richardson said it was an honor to have the Green Berets visit the archives.

"I invited them to see the (Beard) collection and to meet Mr. Beard. I’m very pleased they’re able to fit it into their schedule. I think they can identify with the weapons, especially the carbines which are still used," Richardson said. She added that she also appreciated that Beard was available to "mingle with the Green Berets."

Recognized by their distinctive green berets, the elite Special Forces are the United States Army’s experts in unconventional warfare.

Special forces operators are unique combatants, as both military advisors and independent fighters, each specializing in a focused area of expertise. As advisors, Green Berets train resistance troops in other countries. They are typically required to speak at least one language other than English.