So, what are special forces? According to NATO, special forces are “specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment.” Basically, if you want something destroyed overnight, call special forces. Each of the military branches has special forces, some more recognized than others, but in all cases, the special forces are personnel highly trained for unique military/enforcement operations.
Development of Ranger forces dates to the mid-1700s when Robert Rogers learned guerilla warfare tactics from the Natives, formed Rogers’ Rangers and used those tactics in the French and Indian War. Rogers wrote the first rules of engagement known as the “28 rules of ranging.” Today’s Rangers are an elite light infantry unit tasked with missions like direct action raids, airfield seizure, reconnaissance, and personnel recovery.
Army Green Berets
Green Berets are the U.S. Army unconventional warfare apparatus involved in Combat Search and Rescue, psychological, and peacekeeping missions. The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) wear green berets because of their link to the British Commandos of World War II, and had many veterans of World War II and Korea in its ranks when it was formed in 1952. On April 11, 1962, in a White House memorandum to the United States Army, President Kennedy reiterated his view, “The green beret is a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”
Navy Sea, Air and Land Forces (SEALs)
Prior to the SEALs, established by President Kennedy January 1, 1962, the Navy’s special forces teams were known as Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) whose mission was to blow up anything underwater. During JFK’s “putting a man on the moon” speech to Congress, he also discussed unconventional forms of warfare to put out any “hot spots,” thus the inspirations for the SEALs. Now they blow up anything in sea, in air, and on land.
The U.S. Marine Raiders were formed in February 1942, as the Allied war in the Far East reached a difficult phase. The Marine Raiders were meant to replicate the work done by the British Commandos and other special forces units within the Pacific theater of war. When used in special operations the Raiders fill the niche between the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.
Air Force Air Commandos
The Air Force Special Operations Command, affectionately known as “Air Commandos,” was established February 10, 1983. Its purpose is to provide specialized air power, and its motto says it all, “Any Place, Any Time, Anywhere.”
Coast Guard Deployable Operations Group, DOG Teams
Because of law enforcement responsibilities, USCG special forces operate differently than the other branches of military service. Dog Teams, established July 20, 2007, operate in the following groups: Port Security Units, Tactical Law Enforcement, Maritime Safety and Security, Maritime Security Response, and National Strike Force.
Support Our Troops—Arizona proudly honors our special forces and all service personnel by placing 300 U.S. flags along the principal roadways in Robson Ranch on 10 holidays throughout the year. For more information on this article, contact Ross Dunfee at [email protected] For more information on SOT-AZ contact Stephen Reeves, president, at [email protected]