By Daniel Brown and Paul Szoldra,Business Insider
They're one of the most elite fighting groups in the world. They silently slip into hostile countries to train and lead guerilla forces.
The US Army's Special Forces are known to the public as Green Berets — but they call themselves the quiet professionals.
They work in 12-man teams, known as an "A-Team," with each member having a specific job.
The ranking officer is the team leader, the weapons sergeant knows just about every weapon in the world, the communications sergeant tees up ordnance or extract, and the medics can take lives as quickly as saving them.
Here's what they do:
The US Army Special Forces are known for their exceptional skill and professionalism in modern war.
Alongside the CIA, they were the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan only one month after 9/11.
There they linked up with the Northern Alliance and brought Hamid Karzai into Kabul.
Riding on horses in the beginning of that war ...
... Or on ATV's ...
... They were both feared and respected.
But SF doesn't take just anybody.
Green Berets assigned to the Special Forces Advanced Skills Company Sniper Detachment, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) make elevation adjustments to engage their target during an urban stress shoot on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wa., on 29 June, 2017. The training allows the sniper teams to work on their skills in a stressful and realistic urban shooting environment.
The Army selects this elite few from among the best soldiers that come to Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS).
The training is physically exhausting ...
... And requires exceptional endurance and mental skill.
It's only 24 days at SFAS before they move on to another year of training.
That year includes language training (every SF soldier learns a second language), specialty skills — such as weapons or radios — and finally Robin Sage, the culminating training exercise.
But it's only the beginning of their SF career as they don the Green Beret for the first time ...
... And earn the 'Long Tab' of the Special Forces.
They'll move on to a Special Forces Group and start training within their 12-man teams.
That might mean High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) training ...
... That's jumping out of an airplane ...
... With an oxygen mask, since they'll be up above 30,000 feet.
Or breaching and clearing rooms.
Green Berets assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), enter and clear a room during a Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat (SFAUC) training exercise near Stuttgart, Germany, Nov. 16, 2017.
What SF would call Close Quarters Battle (CQB).
The object being — get through the doorway as quickly as possible ...
... And overwhelm a hostile force with blistering small arms fire.
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All in a matter of seconds, of course.
It's not only Navy SEALs in the water.
SF has their own Dive school.
May 26: U.S. Army Green Berets from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), and Marines from Marine Special Operations Command, crawl across the Red Sea floor on a closed-circuit dive during Eager Lion 2015 in Jordan.
And if their group needs winter training, they'll get that too.
A U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier provides cover fire for a fellow Soldier during a live-fire training scenario in Rovaniemi, Finland on Mar. 16, 2018.
Ultimately, all this training gets them ready for their mission as the masters of unconventional warfare.
That may mean direct action — kicking in doors and going after the bad guys,
Or helping foreign governments with their own defense ...
U.S. Army Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha Soldiers in 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) train Senegal Soldiers on how to clear a room in a glass house during Flintlock 2018 in Tahoua, Niger, April 13, 2018.
... And training their military to help them fight.
One thing is certain when it comes to SF.
They have their pick of the best small arms ...
... And really, really big arms.
They have some of the most highly-skilled shooters in the military ...
... That are both extremely accurate and fast shooters — and can remain so when fired upon.
They have some of the coolest toys ...
... From their Humvees ...
... To helmets.
They are supported by the finest helicopter pilots in the world ...
... And in Special Forces, even the dogs are elite.
In the last few years, they've increasingly been called on to fight ...
... in places like Afghanistan...
... and Syria ...
Screenshot/Twitter via @jenanmoussa
... And will likely continue to be the first ones called in to battle ...
... To live up to their motto: De Oppresso Liber — To Liberate the Oppressed.
SEE ALSO:I took portraits of combat-tested soldiers at Fort Bliss — and they told me their incredible stories
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