What is Special Forces?
Special Forces is a unit of the United States Army.
They are more informally called "the Green Berets" for the hat that they
wear as part of their uniform. There are seven Special Forces groups
of about 2,200 Soldiers. Five groups are active duty and two groups
are National Guard.
The active duty groups are located across the
1st SFG is at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
3rd SFG is
at Fort Bragg, North Carolina
5th SFG is at Fort Campbell, Kentucky
7th SFG is at Eglin AFB, Florida
10th SFGA is at Fort Carson, Colorado
The National Guard groups are located in over 18
states across the country with the headquarters in:
19th SFG in Salt Lake City, Utah
20th SFG in
All of the seven groups fall under the command of
States Army Special Forces Command (USASFC) located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
USASFC falls under the command of
United States Army
Special Operations Command (USASOC). USASOC is the command for all Army Special
Operations Forces and is located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Under
its command falls USASFC, USAJFKSWCS, Ranger Regiment, 160th SOAR, and
Special Forces Soldiers receive their training at the
John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. This school
is known as the Special
Forces "Schoolhouse". In earlier years the school was
called the John F. Kennedy Institute for Military Assistance (IMA).
The Army, Marines and Navy have
other units that are considered to be "Special Operations Forces". While
Army Special Forces can also be referred to as "Special Operations Forces"
or SOF the other SOF units such as Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force
PJs, STS, CTTs, Marines in Force Recon or MARSOC are not "Special Forces".
The Special Forces Soldier
The Special Forces Soldier is a hand-picked
individual who is highly trained in Special Operations. He is
Airborne qualified and has attended and successfully completed a rigorous
training program known as the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC).
The enlisted Soldier has one of five Military Occupational Specialties
(MOS) and is usually school-trained in several more. The Special
Forces MOSs are Weapons, Communications, Medical, Engineer (Demolitions), and
Special Forces Training
Special Forces training is lengthy and
demanding. Only the very best complete the training. Training
includes basic Airborne school, the Special Forces Assessment and
Selection Course (SFAS), the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC), SERE, and
language training. This training takes at least one year. Once
on a Special Forces detachment the SF Soldier undergoes constant training
in advanced skills such as HALO, Combat Dive, MOS cross-training, language, sniper, etc.
Learn more about Special Forces training.
Special Forces Military Occupational
18A - Special Forces Officer. Each SF
detachment is led by a Special Forces officer. On the twelve-man
Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) this is usually a Captain (O3).
180A - Special Forces Warrant Officer. The
Assistant Detachment Commander is a WO1-WO3. The 180A specializes in
operations, intelligence, anti-terrorism, personnel recovery, interagency
coordination, and unconventional warfare. Higher ranking SF warrants serve
at company, battalion, and group level as well as on staff positions
within the greater Special Operations community. Learn more about
Special Forces Warrant Officers.
18B - Weapons Sergeant. A weapons specialist
who can operate and maintain a larger variety of U.S. and foreign light
and heavy weapons.
18C - Engineer Sergeant. A specialist in
engineering, field fortification, construction trades, rigging, sabotage,
explosives and demolitions.
18D - Medical Sergeant. A first-response and
trauma medical technician. Trained in many medical areas beyond trauma to
include dentistry, sanitation, veterinary care, and more.
18E - Communications Sergeant. Knowledgeable
of a host of communications gear from HF to SATCOM and computer networking
For more information on the Special Forces MOS
positions see "SF Team Members" at GoArmy.com.
Special Forces Missions
There are five core missions for Special Forces:
Unconventional Warfare (UW). Special Forces
conduct UW to advise, assist, organize, equip, and train indigenous forces
to conduct guerrilla warfare or other operations such as evasion and
escape, subversion, and sabotage - usually for long durations in denied
areas. See the following link for more information on
Foreign Internal Defense (FID). Advise,
assist, train, organize friendly foreign military units in support of
United States national objectives. Learn more about FID at the link below:
Special Reconnaissance (SR). Reconnaissance
or surveillance in denied areas usually in support of the theater
commander to gather intelligence on the enemy or gather information about
the terrain, local population, or other information. Learn more
about Special Reconnaissance at the link below:
Direct Action (DA). Short duration strikes
and small scale offensive operations to capture or destroy personnel,
equipment, facilities or to recover personnel or equipment. DA
operations are usually in support of strategic or operational objectives
or in support of conventional forces. Learn more about Direct Action
missions at the link below:
Counterterrorism (CT). Offensive operations
to counter a terrorist operation or kill, capture or defeat a terrorist or
terrorist organization. Learn more about CT missions at the link
Other secondary or collateral missions for Special
Forces include counternarcotics (CN), personnel recovery (PR),
humanitarian assistance (HA), security force assistance (SFA), coalition
support and liaison (CST), and other missions as needed or when directed.
More Information about Special Forces Missions
See a video on Special Forces missions at link
Special Forces Missions.
Videos about Special Forces
Special Forces National Guard
National Guard 18 Series Special Forces
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