[Video] U.S. Special Forces Hostage Rescue Demo in Downtown Tampa

This is how U.S. Special Forces would cope with a hostage rescue situation.

On May 21, the United States Special forces performed a public demonstration of their tactics used in a hostage rescue situation in Downtown Tampa as part of the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.

In an Act of Valor-like scenario, the demo gave the public the opportunity to see a Special Operation unfold in the channel behind the Tampa Convention Center supported by 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) “Night Stalkers” MH-60s and MH-6Ms helicopters.

160th SOAR is the U.S. Army special ops force which provides support for both general purpose and special operations forces flying MH-47G Chinooks, MH-60L/K Black Hawks, A/MH-6M Little Birds choppers and, since Dec. 2013, MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones, (along with MH-X Silent Hawks involved in the Osama Bin Laden raid possibly along with some stealthy Chinooks and, maybe, some stealthy Little Birds).

The above video was produced pro-bono by Right Hand Films for the benefit of the City of Tampa in honor of Memorial Day 2014 “and as a dedication to the men and women who have lost their lives defending our country, whom we honor this memorial day.”

H/T to Al Major for the heads-up


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I never get over how weird it looks when the recording fps of the camera and the rpm of chopper blades make the blades appear to not spin… :D

  2. Civilians have no idea the training and precision it takes to do this. Not a clue. It just looks like Hollywood to them.

  3. Thanks for the feature, guys! Glad to produce this video as dedication to Memorial Day this year. – All the best to you!

  4. So being in the armed forces nowadays is all about screwing around with expensive equipment in front of young couples, families and kids… what a shame. I would feel so depressed.

    • I guess this was a bit of a promotional effort, to get some enthusiastic new recruits. Or perhaps maintain support for their budget (not quite sure about that one).

      • Well, I understand the risk of getting their necks broken to hunt the enemy, but risking their necks to excite some civvies on a Sunday show sounds really depressing.

        • It does. They were probably thinking to themselves, this is not why I joined the armed forces.

        • Marco, nothing in that demo was designed SPECIFICALLY for public consumption, except for arguably the venue which has little to do with the training. I can also promise you that all of the individuals doing this practiced it multiple times prior to ever doing it in combat, if that was ever the case. A two way way shooting range isn’t the place to hone skills for a relatively risky profession. Things like this are practiced on a very regular basis so when the time comes things can get done with as little extraneous prep work as possible. It really is interesting how much the real deal can mimic training scenarios when the training is good, almost so much so that it doesn’t seem real. So f’n what if the public got a rare look at some high speed military tactics and equipment. No one made them or you watch it and REAL training was accomplished.

          The funny thing is that you think you actually got a peek at how something like this would really go down. Good luck with that because it would be in the dark.

          Lots of Haterade being served here by fools that have no clue. Bottoms up…

      • A tiny bit of all three. Although the first two are generally done with high-speed videos to disseminate at local High Schools :P

        While the JSOC and SOCOM community do do dog and pony shows like this, they’re generally for much smaller and more select audiences (although we did on occasion have a “family day” where we showed off for loved ones, or the local communities where we were stationed). This was for, in essence, a Special Ops Trade Show or Convention (for lack of better terms). A much larger one takes place in Jordan every year.

    • That seems to be it, Marco. Americans seem more concerned with using them for public entertainment, than military purposes.

      • Yeah, you’re right. We haven’t been fighting a war for the past 12+years or anything. Every person you see in that clip has copious amounts of time in country.

    • This demonstration is performed specifically for a Special Forces Conference that has been held in Tampa, FL, multiple times in the past. The group of guys who are fast roping from the black hawk are not necessarily American. This was not part of some half-time show during a NASCAR race for a bunch of red-necks to watch.

      • In the above clip, all units are American. Although other countries do their own demonstrations at that conference every year also.

        Edit: In that YouTube vid you posted, all units are American except the part with the HMMWVs, they could have been anyone, couldn’t tell.

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