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Special OperationsSpecial Operations

LIBERATE, INFLUENCE, LIVE THE DREAM

Special Forces (SF) operators are the Guard’s most highly trained Soldiers. Their path is unconventional, offering unmatched excitement and variety. SF Soldiers train guerrilla armies, execute direct action missions behind enemy lines, conduct counterterrorism, and more.


The physical demands are as big as the job, including excellent eyesight and top physical conditioning to reach mission objectives via air, land or water. All SF Soldiers are qualified parachutists—and most are also qualified free-fall (HALO) parachutists and combat divers.


Supporting Special Forces, Civil Affairs Soldiers are the field commander's link to the civil authorities in his area. Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Soldiers specialize in cultural expertise, language proficiency, military deception and advanced use of media.


Discover your SF path—if you're up to the challenge. See what it takes to be the best.


Prior Service
If you’ve served in the military before, check out the requirements here.
Non-Prior Service
If you’ve never served in the military, view the requirements here.
Special Forces Missions
Familiarize yourself with the five types of Special Forces missions.
Special Forces History
Follow the path of Special Forces back to WWII.
ARNG vs. Active Duty
Learn about the difference between Guard and active duty Special Forces.
SF Assessment and Selection
Those who think they have what it takes must first pass this grueling test.
Special Forces Qualification Course
Recruits hone core competencies and earn the right to don the Green Beret.
Detachment Structure 
Special Forces teams are structured differently to accomplish each mission.

  • 18B Special Forces Weapons Sergeant

    OVERVIEW
    Special Forces weapons sergeants are the weapons specialists. They’re capable of operating and maintaining a wide variety of U.S., allied and other foreign weaponry.

    JOB DUTIES

    • Go behind enemy lines to recruit, train and equip friendly forces for guerrilla raids
    • Employ warfare tactics and techniques in infantry operations
    • Maintain proficiency with all foreign high-density light and heavy weapons 
    • Read, interpret and prepare combat orders

    REQUIREMENTS
    Being a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant is very physically demanding. Good eyesight and physical conditioning are required to reach mission objectives via air, land or water. All Special Forces Weapons Sergeants are required to be qualified parachutists. Most are also qualified Military Free Fall (HALO) parachutists and combat divers.

    To serve in the Guard, you must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It’s a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identifies which Army job is best for you.


    TRAINING
    Due to the wide variety of missions, Special Forces weapons sergeants are trained swimmers, paratroopers and survival experts, as well as being trained in many forms of combat. Training for the Special Forces weapons sergeant consists of 62 weeks of formal classroom training and practice exercises.

    Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

    • Physical conditioning, parachuting, swimming and scuba diving
    • Using land warfare weapons and communications devices
    • Handling, using and teaching the use of weapons systems

    REQUIRED ASVAB SCORE(S)
    Minimum 50 on the ASVAB with an absolute minimum General Technical (GT) line score of 110 or higher.   


    HELPFUL SKILLS 

    • Ability to work as a team member
    • Readiness to accept a challenge and face danger
    • Ability to stay in top physical condition
    • Interest in weapons and artillery
    • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations


    WARRANT OFFICER TRACK
    180A Special Forces Warrant Officer

    FUTURE CIVILIAN CAREERS
    As a Special Forces weapons sergeant, you’re trained to defend against dangerous forces. The skills you acquire during your training as a Special Forces weapons sergeant will most certainly prepare you for a career in law enforcement.

    The extensive leadership training you’ll receive will enable you to move directly into practically any civilian management position in the corporate world.

  • 18C Special Forces Engineer Sergeant

    OVERVIEW
    The Special Forces engineer sergeant is an expert builder. You will use your construction know-how to create buildings and field fortifications. The Special Forces engineer sergeant is also skilled in all areas of demolition, including land mine warfare and improvised munitions.

    JOB DUTIES

    • Perform and teach tasks in demolitions, explosives, field fortification, bridging, rigging, reconnaissance and civil action projects
    • Read maps, overlays, photos, charts and blueprints
    • Carry out demolition raids against enemy targets, such as bridges, railroads, fuel depots and critical components of infrastructure
    • Employ warfare tactics and techniques in infantry operations


    REQUIREMENTS
    Being a Special Forces engineer sergeant is very physically demanding. Good eyesight and physical conditioning are required to reach mission objectives via air, land or water. You will also be required to have excellent hand-eye coordination for detonating or deactivating explosives. All Special Forces engineer sergeants are required to be qualified parachutists. Most are also qualified Military Free Fall (HALO) parachutists and combat divers. 

    To serve in the Guard, you must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It’s a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identifies which Army job is best for you. 

    REQUIRED ASVAB SCORE(S)
    Minimum 50 on the ASVAB with an absolute minimum General Technical (GT) line score of 110 or higher.

    TRAINING
    To become a Special Forces engineer sergeant, you’ll attend 62 weeks of formal classroom training and practice exercises. Plus, Special Forces engineer sergeants are trained paratroopers and survival experts, as well as being trained in many forms of combat due to the wide variety of their missions.

    Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

    • Physical conditioning and parachuting
    • Using carpentry and construction tools and equipment
    • Handling and using conventional explosives and improvised explosives
    • Bomb and mine disposal


    HELPFUL SKILLS

    • Ability to work as a team member
    • Readiness to accept any challenge
    • Ability to stay in top physical condition
    • Interest in construction and demolitions
    • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • 18D Special Forces Medical Sergeant

    OVERVIEW
    Special Forces medical sergeants are considered to be the finest first-response/trauma medical technicians in the world. Though they’re primarily trained with an emphasis on trauma medicine, they also have a working knowledge of dentistry, veterinary care, public sanitation, water quality and optometry.

    JOB DUTIES

    • Provide initial medical screening and evaluation of allied and indigenous personnel
    • Provide examination and care to detachment members
    • Supervise medical care and treatment during missions
    • Operate a combat laboratory and treat emergency and trauma patients
    • Develop and provide medical intelligence as required

      REQUIREMENTS: Being a Special Forces Medical Sergeant is very physically demanding. Good eyesight and physical conditioning are required to reach mission objectives via air, land or water. All Special Forces Medical Sergeants are required to be qualified parachutists. Most are also qualified Military Free Fall (HALO) parachutists and combat divers.

    To serve in the Guard, you must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It’s a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identifies which Army job is best for you.


    TRAINING
    Due to the wide variety of missions, Special Forces medical sergeants are trained swimmers, paratroopers and survival experts, as well as being trained in many forms of combat. Training for the Special Forces medical sergeants consists of 98 weeks of formal classroom training and practice exercises.

    Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

    • Physical conditioning, parachuting, swimming and scuba diving
    • Using land warfare weapons and communications devices 
    • Handling and using explosives
    • Bomb and mine disposal

    REQUIRED ASVAB SCORE(S)
    Minimum 50 on the ASVAB with an absolute minimum General Technical (GT) line score of 110


    HELPFUL SKILLS 

    • Readiness to accept a challenge and face danger
    • Ability to stay in top physical condition
    • Interest in medicine and science
    • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations


    WARRANT OFFICER TRACK
    180A Special Forces Warrant Officer

    FUTURE CIVILIAN CAREERS
    As a Special Forces medical sergeant, you’re trained to defend against dangerous forces. You will also receive valuable training in the field of medicine.

    The skills you acquire as a Special Forces medical sergeant will most certainly prepare you for a career in medicine, especially as an emergency medical technician. With additional medical training, you might consider a career as a physician assistant.


  • 18E Special Forces Communications Sergeant

    OVERVIEW
    Special Forces communications sergeants can operate every kind of communications gear, from encrypted satellite communications systems to old-style high-frequency Morse key systems.

    JOB DUTIES

    • Organize, train, advise and supervise in the installation, utilization and operation of communications equipment
    • Establish and maintain tactical and operational communications
    • Supervise the communications functions for special operations or missions
    • Plan, prepare and assist in the communications targets portion area of study

    REQUIREMENTS
    Being a Special Forces Communications sergeant is very physically demanding. Good eyesight and physical conditioning are required to reach mission objectives via air, land or water. All Special Forces Communications sergeants are required to be qualified parachutists. Most are also qualified Military Free Fall (HALO) parachutists and combat divers. 

    To serve in the Guard, you must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It’s a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identifies which Army job is best for you.

    TRAINING
    Due to the wide variety of missions, Special Forces communications sergeants are trained swimmers, paratroopers and survival experts, as well as being trained in many forms of combat. Training for Special Forces communications sergeants consists of 60 weeks of formal classroom training and practice exercises.

    Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

    • Physical conditioning, parachuting, swimming and scuba diving 
    • Using land warfare weapons and communications devices
    • Handling and using explosives
    • Bomb and mine disposal

    REQUIRED ASVAB SCORE(S)
    Minimum 50 on the ASVAB with an absolute minimum General Technical (GT) line score of 110


    HELPFUL SKILLS 

    • Readiness to accept a challenge and face danger
    • Ability to stay in top physical condition
    • Interest in medicine and science
    • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations


    WARRANT OFFICER TRACK
    180A Special Forces Warrant Officer

    FUTURE CIVILIAN CAREERS
    As a Special Forces communications sergeant, you’re trained to defend against dangerous forces. You will also receive valuable training in the field of communications.

    The skills you acquire as a Special Forces communications sergeant will most certainly prepare you for a career in law enforcement. The extensive leadership training you’ll receive will enable you to move directly into practically any civilian management position in the corporate world.


  • 37F - Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Specialist

    OVERVIEW
    As a member of the Army special operations community, the psychological operations specialist is primarily responsible for the analysis, development and distribution of intelligence used for information and psychological effect.

    JOB DUTIES

    • Research and analyze methods of influencing foreign population from a variety of information sources
    • Operate and maintain equipment such as ground tactical vehicles and shelter systems, loudspeaker systems, state of the art computers, analog and digital recording and playback devices and communication systems
    • Travel to overseas locations in peace, crisis and conflict to assist U.S. and foreign governments, militaries and civilian populations

    REQUIREMENTS
    Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.

    TRAINING
    Job training for a psychological operations specialist requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 14 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, where you’ll learn the skills of a psychological operations specialist. For active-duty Soldiers, graduation from Advanced Individual Training will be followed by three weeks of airborne training and then four to six months of language training. For Reserve psychological operations specialists, airborne and language training are not required for qualification.

    HELPFUL SKILLS

    • Interest in foreign countries, cultures and languages
    • Ability to analyze and organize information
    • Skilled at building rapport in unfamiliar surroundings
    • College-level aptitude in the social sciences

    REQUIRED ASVAB SCORE(S)
    General Technical (GT) : 107
    Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.

    COMPENSATION
    Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

    EDUCATION BENEFITS
    In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

    FUTURE CIVILIAN CAREERS
    The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career with the Department of Defense, State, other federal government agencies or related fields in the commercial industry.
    The training you receive may prepare you for other fields, such as public relations, sales, marketing and advertising. Because of the time you’ll spend studying foreign cultures and social systems, you can explore a future career in the diplomatic service or as an anthropologist, journalist, social scientist, statistician, market analyst, advertising consultant or sales manager.

    PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH SUCCESS (PAYS) PROGRAM
    Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. 

    • AT&T, Inc.
    • Hewlett-Packard Company
    • Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
    • Sears Holdings Corporation
    • Time Customer Service, Inc.
    • Walgreen Co.
  • 38B - Civil Affairs Specialist

    OVERVIEW
    Civil affairs specialists identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in combat or crisis situations. Civil affairs specialists are primarily responsible for researching, coordinating, conducting and participating in the planning and production of civil affairs related documents, while enabling the civil-military operations of the supported commander.

    JOB DUTIES

    • Help plan U.S. government interagency procedures for national or regional emergencies
    • Assist with civil-military planning and support
    • Coordinate military resources to support reconstitution or reconstruction activities
    • Support national disaster, defense or emergency assistance and response activities
    • Foster and maintain dialogue with civilian aid agencies and civilian relief and assistance organizations

    REQUIREMENTS
    Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.

    TRAINING
    Job training for a civil affairs specialist begins with 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 13 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, where you’ll learn the skills of a civil affairs specialist and be assigned to an Army Reserve civil affairs unit.

    Airborne-qualified active duty noncommissioned officers can reclassify as a civil affairs sergeants after successful completion of an intensive 20-week training program that includes language, negotiations and regional training.

    HELPFUL SKILLS

    • Organize and analyze information
    • Write clearly and concisely
    • Interest in working with foreign militaries or government agencies
    • Ability to learn a foreign language and adapt to a foreign culture


    REQUIRED ASVAB SCORE(S)
    General Technical (GT) : 107
    Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.

    COMPENSATION
    Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

    EDUCATION BENEFITS
    In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

    FUTURE CIVILIAN CAREERS
    The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career with educational institutions, government offices, social services and commercial businesses. You’ll also be qualified to pursue a career as a historian, caseworker, educational specialist, office manager, field representative or intelligence research specialist.

    PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH SUCCESS (PAYS) PROGRAM
    Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. 

    • AT&T, Inc.
    • Hewlett-Packard Company
    • Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
    • Sears Holdings Corporation
    • Time Customer Service, Inc.
    • Walgreen Co.
  • 18 Special Forces Officer

    OVERVIEW

    The  Special Forces officer is the team leader of an operational detachment alpha, a highly trained 12-man team that is deployed in rapid-response situations. The officer organizes the mission, outfits the team and debriefs them on the mission objective. 

     

    JOB DUTIES

    Typically, officers lead the team in the following types of missions:

    • Counter-Terrorism: prevent, deter and respond to terrorist activities and train the military of other nations
    • Direct Action: short duration strikes that are used to capture, recover or destroy enemy weapons/information, or recover designated personnel/material
    • Foreign Internal Defense: organize, assist and train the military and national defense forces of foreign governments
    • Special Reconnaissance: intelligence gathering to monitor enemy movements and operations
    • Unconventional Warfare: the use of unconventional warfare (a.k.a. guerilla warfare) to train, equip, advise and assist forces in enemy-held or controlled territory

     

    REQUIREMENTS

    Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.

     

    TRAINING

    Special Forces officers go through an extensive, demanding training cycle. You will learn skills in the many areas of combat by completing airborne training, Ranger School and Special Forces Qualification Courses. 

     

    HELPFUL SKILLS

    • Self-discipline, confidence and intelligence
    • Physically and mentally fit to perform under pressure
    • Ability to make quick decisions
    • Capable of bearing numerous responsibilities
     

    COMPENSATION

    Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time.

     

    EDUCATION BENEFITS

    In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses.

     

    FUTURE CIVILIAN CAREERS

    The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career in fields such as business management. An Officer in the Army is closely related to managerial positions in corporations.

     

  • 180A Special Forces Warrant Officer

    DUTIES
    Special Forces (SF) warrant officers are combat leaders and staff officers. They are experienced subject matter experts in unconventional warfare, operations and intelligence fusion, and planning and execution at all levels across the operational continuum. They advise commanders on all aspects of special operations and are responsible for the integration of emerging technologies. Warrant officers in the rank of WO1, CW2 and select CW3s serve on a Special Forces Operational Detachment–Alpha (SFOD-A) primarily as the assistant detachment commander and can also serve as the detachment commander (in the absence of a commander) or commander of specialized teams. CW3 through CW5 SF warrant officers serve as staff operations warrant officers within the SF group and at higher commands within SF, Army SOF and joint SOF staffs. They may lead task-organized SOF elements as directed. They serve as senior warrant officer advisors (SWOAs) to the commander for all warrant officer matters and other interests as directed. Select CW5s serve as the Command Chief Warrant Officer (CCWO) for the Commander, United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), CCWO for the commanders of the SF groups, and SWOA to Commander, United States Army Special Operations Command, as an integral part of the commander’s personal staff.

    MINIMUM PREREQUISITES

    • Must hold a CMF 18 MOS.
    • Must be a SSG (E-6) or above.
    • Must have a minimum of 3 years documented (NCOER) experience assigned to a Special Forces Operational Detachment–Alpha (SFOD-A).
    • Must have a current DA Form 330 (within 1 year) with at least a 1/1 language proficiency.
    • Must meet the medical fitness standards for SF duty and commissioning within 24 months of application submission. A completed USAREC Form 1932 (Physical Cover) must be included.
    • Must be Achilles Dagger (AD) qualified or Level III qualified. If AD qualification is older than 2 years, the SM must have employed Level II tasks or received refresher training in the last 2 years and be verified by the Group Commander in his LOR.

    Must have at least the minimum Letters of Recommendation (LORs) from the following:

    • SF Group Commander
    • SF CCWO
    • SF Battalion Commander
    • SF Company Commander


    Individuals serving outside an operational Special Forces Group must receive a letter of endorsement from the current Group Commander of the gaining Special Forces Group. Individuals requesting to change Special Forces Groups must have a letter of release from their current Group Commander and a letter of acceptance from the current Group Commander of the gaining Special Forces Group.

    Army National Guard applicants must meet the prerequisites listed above, but submit their packets through their state CCWO or strength manager.

    NOTE: YOU MUST BE SPECIAL FORCES QUALIFIED TO APPLY FOR THIS FIELD

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