What's so special about Special Forces?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by cisco, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. cisco

    cisco Member

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    Being in High School, I always tend to ask my peers what they would want to do as a career. Whenever they say that they wish to be in the military, I ask what branch and field. For some reason, well over 95% of them say "Special Forces". Usually Navy SEAL. Followed by Marine Recon, Green Berets, Army Ranger.

    A lot of the times, they don't really have a "back-up". They don't want to do anything else but become a SEAL, but what if they don't complish it? It's not exactly an easy career path. So I always ask myself, why does everyone want to be in Special Forces?

    This came into my head earlier this afternoon after I asked some friends of what they want to do in the future.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    First and foremost, there is only one Special Forces. The US Army Special Forces. This has been a recent trend that has gotten so bad the Army Times wrote an article on it.

    SEALs are not Special Forces. MARSOC (snicker) are not Special Forces. Rangers are not Special Forces. The US Army Special Forces are Special Forces. They are all "special operations forces" but only one is Special Forces.

    99% of why kids want to be in those units is because of what they THINK they're about.
     
  3. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    People see that special operations types are extremely proficient at their jobs, well-trained, well-equipped, and generally physical specimens. They also get the "cool" missions, like kicking down doors, blowing stuff up, etc.

    Obviously, there are several potential downsides. The physical and mental requirements are fairly demanding. Training injuries are a factor. The deployment schedules are usually grueling. Special operations tend to be high-risk, so there is a good potential for injury/death, or seeing your buddies maimed or killed.

    It is a demanding profession, and very high-risk/high-reward. I've been able to do some firearms training with current and former SOF types, and they tend to be highly motivated and capable people. That said, it's certainly not the job for everyone! (including myself)
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    With all deference to USA "Special Forces," the term has become a moniker for a variety of entities within the military. Rangers, Green Berets, SEALs, etc. (the USAF and the USCG have their versions as well).

    People want to do this b/c these are considered the elite of the elite. It's tough to make it into the groups, they do really cool missions, etc.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    And it's an incorrect moniker. Hence, the correction.
     
  6. 50stars

    50stars Member

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    Yeah, I think USASF has 4 phases of brutal training and what makes it special is the training itself, assessment and qualifications are very high.

    And what makes a lot of people wanting to be in the force? The name itself is cool, their missions, and knowing to be one of the Elites is what makes it special
     
  7. Eagle 1

    Eagle 1 Member

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    I find that this is the aspect that most people concentrate on, especially the types of missions. In my experience, most don't recognize the physical and mental requirements as quoted below, they just want to skip that part and be the awesome cool guys that movies and video games are made from.

    Having said that, those who do make it are the best of the best, and when I talk with people who say they want to go spec ops, I can usually tell if you have the heart and physical fortitude to push on and do it. Those who do eventually make it have my utmost respect.

    ========================================================================

    Agreed. Personally I'd like to be a CRO or STO because of the types of missions they do, but recognize that the demanding lifestyle as a whole just isn't for me. On the other hand, because I still want to be a part of the mission and believe my skill set is better suited as a pilot, I am aiming to be a Pavehawk pilot for CSAR, and still work beside those same guys.

    For me I find that a lot of people aren't suited for the on the ground, kicking down doors, blowing things up part of spec ops, but can still contribute in roles that directly support them. In my opinion I think those kinds of alternatives are what most interested in the field should concentrate on.
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    :biggrin:

    Sounds like SUPT-H at Ft. Rucker may be in your future.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Look at that old toy helicopter! :wink:
     
  10. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Old, but rebuilt...
    New engine, rotor system, nose, tail, glass panel, etc...
    What's not to like? :smile:
     
  11. futureusna

    futureusna Member

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    I figured id offer my two cents. MOST (not everyone) want to be on these sorts of teams just to be a badass. God willing i get accepted into West Point, i plan to attend RANGER school. If i am able to make it through it,(after spending a couple years with the RANGERS, and if my heart is in it 100%) i will volunteer for SOF training
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Just to be fair, the Coast Guard is not a member of the Special Operations community.

    It has teams called MSSTs that are like SWAT, and one team called an MSRT that is more advanced. That said, they are not members of SOCOM, the Special Operations community etc.

    Would I want to be in a special ops unit? No. Not because they aren't good at what they do, but because it's not for me. Maybe in the thick of a PS3 Modern Warfare game.... I get that feeling.... the same that makes me want to be a spy after I read a spy novel.

    I met with some SOCEUR guys in Germany a year or two ago. Before Sept. 11, 2001, they said it was a pretty boring ops tempo. Guys went through an entire career without "real" action.

    Beyond that, special operations folks tend to "break down". They're hard on their bodies, don't listen to docs, and beat themselves down. As has been said on other threads, officers, at least in the SEALs find their way to staff assignments.

    I talked to a Navy SEAL rear admiral out of San Diego in 2008 or 2009 about the Coast Guardsmen who went into the SEALs and what the draw would be to have them return to the Coast Guard after their time with the Navy (beyond the fact I don't think SEAL training translates into doing a rec. boat boarding). He seemed to think that those JOs who had completed SEAL training might want to switch back after they realized it was mostly staff tours after making Lt. Cmdr.

    The Special Operations community is special. They have some good people, and do some very interesting things, many that you'll never hear about, but it's not some "other world" group of folks.... it's not the movies, at least, not from what my special ops friends have told me (two SEAL friends and a retired SF relative).
     
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Ranger school does NOT get you into a Ranger battalion. Not even close. And the Ranger Regiment is SOF.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012

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