Step 2: Decide if you're ready
Special Operations are defined as operations conducted by specially trained, equipped and organized Department of Defense forces against strategic or tactical targets in pursuit of national military, political, economic or psychological objectives. These operations may be conducted during periods of peace or hostilities. They may support conventional operations, or they may be undertaken independently when the use of conventional forces is either inappropriate or infeasible.
The mission of the Special Forces Groups is to plan, prepare for, and when directed, deploy to conduct unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance and direct actions in support of U.S. national policy objectives within designated areas of responsibility.
The Air Force, Army, and Navy each have their own official Special Forces. The
Marine Corps has units that are deemed "Special Operations Capable" (SOC), but
do not recruit any Special Forces soldiers specifically. Here are brief descriptions
of the major Special
Forces group and what they do. If missions above and beyond the "normal"
call of duty attract you, ask your recruiter.
The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D) is one of two units
in the United States Armed Forces assigned primarily to combat terrorism. The
other is the Navy's 'Dev Group.' Delta members are experts at counterinsurgency,
small unit tactics, and various infiltration techniques.
"Rangers lead the way," is the motto of this highly trained strike force. They
are experts at moving quietly into areas in small teams for an attack. They
may also be used for long-range reconnaissance patrols or setting up observation
posts. They are also a great ready-reserve force if other Spec Ops troops get
Received fame during the Vietnam war, these soldiers are specialists at working
with the local population. Their role could be crucial to developing solid intelligence.
Task Force 160 (the "Night Stalkers")
Formed after the failed hostage rescue attempt in Iran and received much attention
during the deadly Somalia raid, this unit provides aviation support to other
Spec Ops warriors. They received their moniker because of their expertise at
flying night operations.
SEALs have a reputation as being the world's premier warriors, which is well
deserved. They are trained to perform in any conditions on all terrains - in/under
water, in the air, and on land. Normally SEALs start from and return to the
sea. SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) teams go through what is considered by some to be
the toughest military training in the world. Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL
(BUD/S) training is conducted at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado.
Special Tactics operators integrate with other air activities supporting the
overall military campaign. Special Tactics can conduct personnel recovery missions,
collect intelligence and provide terminal guidance for attacks against valuable
enemy targets. Their work frees other military assets to strike other priority
targets. Special Tactics operators can strike enemy targets that are beyond
the capabilities of precision munitions. The most famous Special Tactics operators
are the Pararescue Jumpers, better known as "PJs".
Marine Expeditionary Units
The newest of Special Operations Forces, the Marine Corps has just begun, in 2003, to deploy "Special Operations Capable" Marine Expeditionary Units - MEU (SOC). These units are trained to conduct maritime special operations. MEUs each include 2,200 combat-equipped Marines, with helicopters, Harrier jets and armored vehicles, and patrol the worlds' trouble spots in groups of amphibious assault ships.
Learn more about about Special Forces at the Special Operations Center.