CRESTVIEW — Capt. Thomas Cieslak, the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)’s newly appointed public affairs officer, said the group’s size, for now, is expected to stay steady.
That’s between 3,500 and 4,000 soldiers and support personnel, he said.
The 7th Special Force’s members and their families have become integral to the Crestview community since the base opened in October 2011. Cieslak — acknowledging a lapse of accessibility that occurred when its former public affairs officer transferred — assured Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce members Thursday that the group is "pushing to get back into the community."
One of the best ways the community can support the 7th Special Forces is to understand that the group's low-key, often covert operations preclude releasing too much information, Cieslak said.
That, he said, limits opportunities for homecoming celebrations when troops return from missions.
"There's certain things we just can't discuss," he said. "It protects the soldiers that are down there (on missions in Latin America) and their families back here."
Cieslak, who assumed his new duties less than a month ago, decided to live in Crestview because of its proximity to the south county beaches and the north county countryside’s peaceful calm.
"We have never experienced a support group like we've found here in Crestview," Cieslak said. "It's opened my eyes a lot about how supportive the area is."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.