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United States Army Special Forces shoulder sleeve insignia

The United States Army Special Forces, also known as Green Berets, is a Special Operations Force (SOF) of the United States Army tasked with five primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism. The first two emphasize language, cultural, and training skills in working with foreign troops. Other duties include combat search and rescue (CSAR), security assistance, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian demining, counter-proliferation, psychological operations, and counter-drug operations; other components of the United States Special Operations Command or other U.S. government activities may also specialize in these secondary areas. Many of their operational techniques are classified, but some nonfiction works and doctrinal manuals are available.

The original and most important mission of the Special Forces had been "unconventional warfare", while other capabilities, such as direct action, were gradually added.

Their official motto is De Oppresso Liber (Latin: To Liberate the Oppressed), a reference to one of their primary missions, training and advising foreign indigenous forces.

As a special operations unit, Special Forces are not necessarily under the command authority of the ground commanders in those countries. Instead, while in theater, SF operators may report directly to United States Central Command, USSOCOM, or other command authorities.

The Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) recruits operators from the Army's Special Forces. Joint Army Special Forces and CIA operations go back to the famed MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War. This cooperation still exists today and is seen in War in Afghanistan.

History

Special Forces traces its roots as the Army’s premier proponent of unconventional warfare from the Operational Groups and Jedburgh teams of the Office of Strategic Services.

The OSS was formed in World War II to gather intelligence and conduct operations behind enemy lines in support of resistance groups in Europe and Burma. After the war, individuals such as Col. Aaron Bank, Col. Wendell Fertig and Lt. Col. Russell W. Volckmann used their wartime OSS experience to formulate the doctrine of unconventional warfare that became the cornerstone of the Special Forces.

In 1951, Major General Robert McClure chose Colonel Bank as Chief of the Special Operations Branch of the Psychological Warfare Staff in the Pentagon.

In June of 1952, the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was established under Col. Aaron Bank. Concurrently with this was the establishment of the Psychological Warfare School, which ultimately became today’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) deployed to Bad Tolz, Germany in September 1953. The remaining cadre at Fort Bragg formed the 77th Special Forces Group, which in May 1960 became today’s 7th Special Forces Group.

The man who would become the legendary G.I. Joe graduated top of his class at West Point's United States Military Academy in 1960. He joined Special Forces and quickly distinguished as an outstanding Green Beret. In 1963, Lt. Colton's special forces team was overrun by North Vietnamese troops in the central highlands of Vietnam. Only Colton, his first Sergeant "Top" Wenzel and Specialist Angel Vasquez survived the attack. On the extraction chopper, Colton was given orders to report to the President immediately, but he refused to go, demanding to stay with the injured Vasquez, who died shortly afterward.

Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Vincent Falcone is the son of a Green Beret, his father having served with the 10th SFGA (Special Forces Group Airborne). "Falcon" spent his boyhood emulating his father and preparing to be the toughest of the tough. He soon followed in his father's footsteps and served as an executive officer in the 6th SFGA "Blue Light" counter-terrorist unit.

Since their establishment in 1952, Special Forces soldiers have operated in Vietnam, El Salvador, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, and, in an FID role, Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa, which was transferred to United States Africa Command in 2008.

Special Forces MOS descriptions

A 7th SFG Special Forces medic in Kandahar Province in September 2008.

  • 18A – Special Forces Officer[1]
  • 180A – Special Forces Warrant Officer[2]
  • 18B – Special Forces Weapons Sergeant[3]
  • 18C – Special Forces Engineer Sergeant[4]
  • 18D – Special Forces Medical Sergeant[5]
  • 18E – Special Forces Communications Sergeant[6]
  • 18F – Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant
  • 18X – Special Forces Candidate (Active Duty Enlistment Option)[7]
  • 18Z – Special Forces Operations Sergeant

References

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
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