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Special Operations Overview

Called upon to perform the toughest duties in the armed forces, Special Operations Forces directly affect the protection of America's freedom.

Army

Army Special Forces
Learn More About the Green Berets

75th Ranger Regiment
Learn More About the Army Rangers

160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
Learn More About the Night Stalkers

Marines

Marine Force Reconnaissance
Learn More About Marine RECON

Marine Corps Special Operations Command
Learn More About Marine MARSOC

Marine RECON Missions
Learn More About Marine RECON

Air Force

Air Force Special Tactics
Learn More About Special Tactics

Army Special Forces Training

US Army Rangers

Like all soldiers, SF candidates begin their career with nine weeks of Boot Camp. Upon completion of Basic Combat Training you will attend Advanced Individual Training. For Special Forces, you will go to Infantry School to learn to use small arms, anti-armor, and weapons like howitzers and heavy mortars. Basic Combat Training lasts 9 weeks, AIT lasts four weeks, and Airborne last 3 weeks. All take place at Fort Benning, Georgia.

After graduating AIT your training will continue with the following schools:

  • Army Airborne School – 3 weeks in Ft Benning GA
  • Special Operations Preparation Course (SOPC)  - 4 weeks in Ft Bragg NC
  • Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) – 3 weeks in Ft Bragg NC
  • Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) – 34 -76 weeks depending upon MOS Specialty
  • Live Environment Training (LET) -  Immersion Training in foreign countries – varies in time.

Depending upon your MOS within Special Forces Training, the process of completing these schools can take 14-18 months. Details about each phase of training are listed below:

Army Airborne School
Your next step will be to complete Airborne training. Airborne School is a unique experience requiring special dedication and a desire to be challenged mentally and physically. This three-week course, also known as Basic Airborne Training, teaches you the techniques involved in parachuting from airplanes and landing safely. The final test includes a non-assisted jump.

Airborne school is broken down into 3 weeks. The following explains the training you must complete for each week.

Ground Week:
You start with an intensive program of instruction to build individual airborne skills. These skills prepare you to make a parachute jump and land safely. You will train on the mock door, the 34-foot tower and the lateral drift apparatus.

Tower Week:
Tower Week completes your individual skill training and builds your team effort skills. To go forward to Jump Week, you must qualify on the Swing Lander Trainer (SLT), master the mass exit procedures from the 34-foot tower, and pass all physical training requirements.

Jump Week:
During Jump Week, you must successfully complete five jumps at 1,250 feet from a C-130 or C-141 aircraft. If you successfully meet the course requirements you will be granted an additional skill identifier and will be authorized to wear the coveted "Silver Wing" on your uniform.

Special Operations Preparation Course
When you graduate from Airborne School you will be sent to the 30-day Special Operations Preparation Course taught at Fort Bragg. This course will help you prepare for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course. It focuses on physical training and one of the most important skills an SF soldier can have-land navigation. This course does not guarantee you will pass the Special Forces Assessment/Assignment and Selection (SFAS).

Special Forces Assessment/Assignment and Selection
SFAS is 24 days of training like you've never experienced. And it's all about survival. Your intelligence, agility and resourcefulness will all be tested. If you make it, you can continue on to the SF Qualification Course.

Special Forces Qualification Course
The SFQC consists of five phases (II-VI). If you complete this training, you will be a Special Forces Soldier, one of the Army's experts in Unconventional Warfare.

Individual Skills - This phase is roughly 13 weeks and includes training in Small Unit Tactics, SF Tactics, Survival Skills and Language and Cultural Training.

MOS Qualification - You will receive MOS training for your Special Forces MOS. This phase is about 15 weeks long and includes additional language training, SF Common tasks, Advanced Special Operations Techniques (ASOT), and Interagency Operations.

The Special Forces has six enlisted Military Occupational Specialties (MOS's):18B - SF Weapons Sergeant; 18C - SF Engineer Sergeant; 18D - SF Medical Sergeant; 18E - SF Communications Sergeant; 18F - SF Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant; and 18Z Special Forces Operations Sergeant.

Language Training - Based your language skills, you will advance through language training to get ready to serve in the SF. Additionally, while receiving language training you will be trained in warrior skills, such as Combatives. This phase may take up to 14 weeks.

Collective Training - You will hone your SF skills in a realistic Unconventional Warfare (UW) practical exercise. This phase takes about 4 weeks.

SERE Course - In the extremely realistic Survival, Escape, Resistance, and Evasion (SERE) course, you will learn combat survival tactics.

Live Environment Training
As an SF Soldier, you might receive training that completely immerses you in another culture. You'll learn to be fluent in that country's language, customs and traditions, becoming a virtual citizen of that country.

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Special Operations Forces Army Special Forces
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