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Special Forces

US Army Special Forces, sometimes known as 'the Green Berets', are a versatile army unit made up of 'quiet professionals'

Special Forces - Roles

  • unconventional warfare
  • foreign internal defense (FID)
  • special reconnaissance
  • direct action
  • counter-terrorism
  • counter-proliferation
  • information operations

Special Forces - Organization

The 1st Special Forces Regiment / U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) is a component of United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), which is itself part of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The 1st Special Forces Regiment is organized into Special Forces Groups (SFG), each focused on a specific geographic area, or Area Of Responsibility (AOR). The regular Special Forces groups (Active Duty) are:

  • 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    AOR - Pacific
    photo / more info : 1st SFG(A)

  • 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    AOR - sub-Saharan Africa
    photo / more info : 3rd SFG(A)

  • 5th Special Forces Group
    AOR - Middle East, Persian Gulf, Central Asia & the Horn of Africa
    photo / more info : 5th SFG(A)

  • 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    AOR - Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean
    photo / more info : 7th SFG(A)

  • 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    AOR - Europe
    photo / more info : 10th SFG(A)

The 2 Army National Guard (ANRG) Special Forces groups are:

  • 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    AOR - South East Asia & Pacific
    photo / more info : 19th SFG(A)

  • 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
    AOR - Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean
    photo / more info : 20th SFG(A)
Special Forces Insignia
Special Forces insignia
Special Forces Motto
De Oppresso Liber
"To free from oppression"
Special Forces Creed
"I am an American Special Forces soldier. A professional!

I will do all that my nation requires of me.

I am a volunteer, knowing well the hazards of my profession."

I serve with the memory of those who have gone before me...

read the rest of the Special Forces Creed
Featured Special Forces Photo
special forces weapons sgt
Special Forces Weapons Sergeant firing M2 heavy machine gun
(click for fullsize)
more Special Forces photos

U.S. Army Special Forces Organization - Chart

us army special forces organization
click for fullsize image
image : U.S. DoD | public domain

Special Forces Group Organization

Each Special Forces Group consists of :

  • Headquarters & Headquarters Company (HHC)

  • Group Support Battalion
    supports the Special Forces Group HHC and consists of 3 companies, providing logistical, intelligence, medical, and signals support.

  • 4 Special Forces Battalions (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th), each comprising:

    • 1 Operational Detachment-Charlie (ODC)
      The Special Forces Operational Detachment Charlie (SFOD-C) is the Battalion Headquaters and is responsible for command and control of the Special Forces Battalion.

    • 3 Special Forces Companies (A,B,C), comprising:

      • 6 Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA).
        ODAs are usually 12-man units, lead by a captain.. The ODA is the primary fighting force of the Special Forces. Each SF Company usually contains 6 ODAs.

        more info : Special Forces ODAs

      • 1 Operational Detachment-Bravo (ODB)
        A SF Company usually contains one ODB, of around 12 men, which provides support and command and control to the SF Company's ODAs. ODBs provide support in:
        • training
        • intelligence
        • counter-intelligence

        more info : Special Forces ODBs

    • 1 Battalion Support Company
      The Battalion Support Company consists of signallers, mechanics, riggers, cooks, intelligence, personnel services, chaplain, legal and others, who support the Special Forces Battalion.

      • The Military Intelligence Detachment (MID) provides intelligence to the Special Forces Battalion. Operational ogranization may vary but will typically consist of:

        • Analysis and Control Team
        • Counter Intelligence / HUMINT Section
          • HUMINT Collection Team
          • CI Analyst
        • SIGINT Section
          • Technical Control and Analysis Element (TCAE or SOTB)
          • 6 Special Operation Teams "Aplha" (SOTAs)
            4-man SOT-As attach to Special Forces ODAs in order to gather signals intelligence

    • 1 Special Forces Company within a Special Force Group is designated as a CIF (Commander's In-Extremis Force) Company. The CIF Company is focused on Direct Action missions.

Special Forces - Video

Officially-released footage of 3rd Special Forces Group soldiers in action in Afghanistan...

more special ops videos

Special Forces - Selection & Training

Soldiers wishing to become a Green Beret must pass the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) course before undergoing the Special Forces Qualification Course.

more info : Special Forces Selection

more info : Special Forces Training

Special Forces - Weapons

Special Forces soldiers carry a range of carbines, pistols, machine guns and other weapons.

more info : Special Forces Weapons

Special Forces - Operations

  • The Cold War
    The 10th Special Forces group prepared for a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. In such a scenario, the Green Berets were to carry out guerilla operations.

  • 1961 - South East Asia
    Special Forces acted as advisors to indigenous forces, first in Laos, then in Vietnam. Throughout the Vietnam war, the Green Berets trained and fought with the South Vietnamese forces, usually operating from fire bases set up by themselves

  • 1970 - Son Tay
    Green Berets attempted to rescue American Prisoners of War (POWs) from a North Vietnamese camp

  • 1980s - El Salvador
    American Special Forces trained Salvadorians to fight against communists

  • Late 80s - Columbia
    Special Forces carried out counter-drug and counter-terrorism operations.

  • 1989 - Panama - Operation Just Cause

  • 1990/1991 - Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm
    Special Forces help train coalition forces as part of the defence of Saudi Arabia (Desert Shield). During the offensive stage of operations (Desert Storm), small 3-man ODAs carried out tactical reconnaissance operations in Kuwait and Iraq, watching Iraqi troop movements. Green Berets also provided troops for Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) operations.

  • 2001 - Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom
    Special Forces ODAs were among the first US military units to enter Afghanistan, October 2001. Worling closely with CIA teams, the Northern Alliance and the 160th SOAR, they formed Task Force Dagger.
    more info : Special Forces - Task Force Dagger

  • 2003 - Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom
    During the US-led invasion of Iraq, Special Forces units, working with Kurdish militia, carried out operations in the North of the country. Since then, Special Forces have created, trained and operated alongside Iraqi special operations units in the fight against the insurgency.

Special Forces Photos

SF Minigun
A Special Forces soldier mans a minigun while on an operation in Afghanistan.
ISAF photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Swafford/released

SF divers
Green Berets training as combat divers. Each Special Forces Comany includes a 12-man ODA that specializes in SCUBA and small boat operations.
US DoD Photo

Special Forces operators ride in a MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course, (SFARTAETC). Special Forces CIF Companies specialize in direct action missions.
US DoD Photo

Green Berets train in close quarters battle (CQB). Special Forces soldiers are highly trained in CQB techniques.
US DoD Photo

Special Forces Resources



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