Colonel Joshe Raetz serves as the Chief of Staff for 1st Special Forces Command. He is a native of Vermont and graduated from Norwich University in 1996. He first served as an Infantry Officer in the storied 503d Infantry Regiment in Korea before transferring to the 5th Special Forces Group in 1998 where he served as a Signal Detachment Commander. After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2002, he returned to the 5th Special Forces Group and served as a Special Forces Detachment Commander and Assistant Operations Officer. In 2004, COL Raetz transferred within USASOC to the Northern Virginia area and served as a Troop Commander, Executive Officer, and Operations Officer until 2011. During this time he planned, participated in, led, and commanded operations and activities throughout CENTCOM and AFRICOM areas of operations.
After graduating from the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Quantico, Virginia in 2012, COL Raetz was assigned to a Special Operations Task Force under Special Operations Command Central at MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL. He served as an Operations Officer and commanded two Regional Task Forces that deployed globally to shape the CENTCOM area of operations. In 2014 COL Raetz assumed command of the 1-1st Special Forces Battalion in Okinawa, Japan and led unilateral and partnered operations and activities throughout North and East Asia in support of Special Operations Command Pacific. In 2016 COL Raetz returned to Virginia where he served as the Operations Officer for the 1st Capabilities Integration Group and commanded the 4th Battalion responsible for Recruiting, Selecting, Training, and the Integration of all unit members.
COL Raetz served as an Army War College Fellow at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. As a Fellow he researched Foreign Officer, Partner Nation attendance at U.S. War Colleges as an element of Great Power Competition and the U.S. strategic framework for War, Peace, and Competition compared to the philosophies and strategies of Beijing and Tehran. More recently, COL Raetz commanded 2nd Training Group, within the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. He was instrumental in educating hundreds of ARSOF special operators.
COL Raetz holds a bachelor’s degree from Norwich University and a master’s degree from Marine Corps University. His awards and decorations include a Bronze Star (with “V” and 2 OLC), Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), and multiple Joint and Army commendations. He has earned the Combat and Expert Infantry badges, Senior Parachutist, Military Free Fall, Pathfinder and Air Assault badges. He has also earned the Ranger and Special Forces tabs as well as numerous foreign awards and decorations.
COL Raetz married the lovely Heather (Chilcote) in 2001. They have two children, Caleb 12 and Sarah 10.