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Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFOD A)

The Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA), also known as an SFOD-A or an 'A-Team', is the primary fighting force of the Green Berets.

ODA - Composition

ODAs are made up of 12 men, each with a separate Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Each ODA member is cross-trained in other specialties.

A typical 12-man ODA comprises:

  • 1 x Detachment Commander (18A)
    (Captain)
    The Commander is the team leader and is responsible for outfitting his ODA, organizing missions and briefing the unit on mission objectives.

  • 1 x Assistant Detachment Commander (180A)
    (Warrant Officer 1 or Chief Warrant Officer 2)
    The Assistant Detachment Commander assists the ODA's Commander, ready to take over command if needed. If the ODA splits into two teams, as happened in Gulf War I, then the 180A commands the second team.

  • 1 x Operations Sergeant (18Z)
    (Master Sergeant)
    The Operations Sergeant is responsible for the overall organization, functionality and training of an SF team. He makes sure the team is outfitted correctly and supports the ODA commander (18A).

  • 1 x Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant (18F)
    (Sergeant First Class)
    This team member ensures that the team has all the equipment and supplies needed for the mission. He also gathers and analyzes mission-critical intelligence.

  • 2 x Weapons Sergeants (18B)
    (Sergeant First Class / Sergeant)
    Weapons Sergeants are experts in a wide range of U.S. and foreign weapons systems, from pistols and to light artillery and anti-aircraft missiles

    photo/more info : Special Forces Weapons Sergeant

  • 2 x Communications Sergeants (18E)
    (Sergeant First Class / Sergeant)
    SF Communications Sergeants are proficient in the gamut of radio communications equipment and techniques used in the field, everything from morse code to encrypted satellite transmissions and IT technology.

    photo/more info : Special Forces Communication Sergeant

  • 2 x Medical Sergeants (18D)
    (Sergeant First Class / Sergeant)
    Special Forces Medics are first-class battlefield trauma medical technicians as well as being proficient in more general medical care. The ability of SF medics to treat the medical problems of local populations is a valuable component of counter insurgency 'hearts and minds' operations.

  • 2 x Engineering Sergeants (18C)
    (Sergeant First Class / Sergeant)
    The Engineering Sergeants are the guys you go to when you want something built or destroyed. They are experts in explosive demolitions and can blow bridges, buildings and other structures to kingdom come. SF Engineers are also proficient in military and civil construction and can carry out a range of projects from fortifications to civil engineering tasks such as digging wells or building a schoolhouse.

ODA Teams

Several ODAs within a given Special Forces Group have a specialized designation that reflects its particular skill set with regards to infil/exfil method or specific role. These ODA team designations include:

  • Military Free-Fall (MFF) Team
    Free-Fall ODAs are trained to high standards in military parachuting, including High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) oxygen-assisted parachute insertion. All members of a MFF ODA will have gone through Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course (MFFPC). 2 members of a MFF Team will also have gone through the Military Free Fall Jumpmaster (MFFJM) course.

    photo / more info : Free-Fall Team

  • Combat Diver Teams / SCUBA Teams
    Special Forces Combat Diver Teams / SCUBA Teams / Dive Teams are trained in amphibious inflitration / exfiltration, including small boat ops and SCUBA diving. All members of a Combat Diver Team will have passed through the Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course (SFCDQC) pipeline. SCUBA Teams will also include at least 2 members that have gone through the Special Forces Combat Diving Supervisor Course (CDSC) and 2 that have completed the Special Forces Combat Diving Medical Technician (CDMT) program.

    photo / more info : Combat Dive Team

  • Mountain Team
    Mountain ODAs have been trained in mountaineering and associated disciplines such as horsemanship and cold-weather operations.

    photo / more info : Mountain Team

  • Mobility / Mounted Team
    Mounted ODAs specialize in the use of the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV).

    photo / more info : Mounted Team

Both Active Duty and National Guard ODAs are required to have a minimum of
three jumpmasters, two SOTIC (level 1) Soldiers, two Advanced Special Operations Techniques
ASOT (level III) Soldiers. Also, all SF Soldiers will be SFAUC and ASOT (level II) qualified. Additionally, each Special Forces detachment will have a qualified Air Movement Officer (AMO) and a Soldier qualified in handling hazardous materials (HAZMAT).

Of the 6 ODAs in a typical Special Forces Company, 1 will be a SCUBA team, 1 will be a MFF team. The remaining four will either be non-specialised 'Ruck' teams or designated as Mountain ODAs, Mobility ODAs etc.

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