The US government has tried to do its best to keep all the details about their Special Forces secret because their missions must be secret as well. But we all know that many of the Special Forces have somehow managed to be under the spotlight, starting with the Navy SEALs that raided the compound where Osama Bin Laden was. But what if we told you that many of the things you knew about the SEALs were not quite true and that there are many other facts that we haven’t noticed?
Here are some things you might have missed about the US Special Forces.
20. Navy SEALs’ “Hell Week”
What makes the SEALS so great? It is the selection process that turns trainees into members of Special Forces groups only after they complete a series of tasks. The training is tough, and the final part lasts five and a half days, called the “hell week.” Here are some of the things these guys must go through to become SEALs.
19. It Is Indeed Hell on Earth!
During ‘hell week’, trainees only sleep about 4 hours per night and must stand in cold ocean water, perform training drills, carry boats over their heads, and must also be good at making decisions. They go through all of that while instructors yell through bullhorns at the to quit – mimicking the voice in each trainee’s mind telling them the same thing. Negative encouragement does help them overcome ‘Hell week’!
18. The Secretive Delta Force
We’re not supposed to know that this unit actually exists. Yet here we are… However, Delta Force members are not allowed to tell people that the unit exists or else they can go to prison. Even when that member of the secret special force unit dies, the US Army won’t admit it was a member.
17. A Strange Elite Special Force Unit
This is indeed a strange Elite Special Force unit, the most elite one and secretive. While it is highly classified, we do know that they were behind the capture of Saddam Hussein, and other top leaders in Iraq. They’re considered a shadow force that operates in the army in long-term operations. While the SEALs go through fast missions and get all the glory, it also protects the Delta Force from unwanted attention and lets them continue their secret missions.
16. The American Green Berets Inspired By the British Soldiers
The Green Berets are among the most famous special forces units in the world, along with the US Army Rangers. They first formed as a unit and fought in Vietnam, with guerilla tactics, training their allies to do the same. But their classic green beret is actually inspired by the British soldiers…
15. Who Designed the Green Beret?
Former Special Forces Major Herbert Brucker designed the green beret. He knew that the British Commandos in World War II wore green berets. At first, they were worn to build morale while in combat training. Later, President Kennedy asked the Special Forces to wear the green beret. Every year since Kennedy died, the Green Berets place a wreath at the gravesite to show they remember he treated them with respect.
14. The “Night Stalkers”
The Special Forces division of the Army flies helicopters, and they are great at it, getting into places undetected during the night and being stealthy no matter the hour! These big helicopters carry a lot of people and even have a Night Stalker medic with them!
13. “Night Stalkers Don’t Quit”
That is their motto! Their job is to make sure they get through the hostile territory without being detected so that they can bring reinforcements, supplies, or help evacuate. They’re also great, no matter the weather, terrain or location, backing up the US military. While the SEALs are famous, let’s remember that the Night Stalkers took them in and out of Osama Bin Laden’s hiding.
12. Growing Awesome Beards
Those that are good enough to join the US Special Forces can even get to keep and grow their beards or hair! That is because the best people do not want to easily obey these orders, and the lax discipline allows them to be more creative, which is essential during the mission. Also, having a beard is a strategic tactic that really goes in the soldiers’ favor. Here’s why…
11. A Strategic Beard!
In the Middle East, people that have a full beard are very respected. If you want to talk with the people in those towns, you must blend in and be respected, so the soldiers in the Special Forces are allowed to grow a beard. However, the US military only let the ones that interact with people in the towns to let their beards grow, ordering the rest to shave.
10. Tracking Confirmed Kills?
The late SEAL sniper Chris Kyle published a book about his life, and it didn’t help the special forces secretive role. What made him so popular in certain places was that he claimed to have had the most confirmed sniper kills in history, but the military does not keep a kill tally, so nobody can prove they broke this record.
9. Keeping the Kill Tally
Let’s face it; the military does not waste time in keeping a kill tally for soldiers to brag about it. And if a soldier tells you they had this amount of kills, you’d trust them because they are a military man.
8. Not Just Combat Capabilities
The US Special Forces are not just trained killers that are great at surviving. They must also be mentally sound and physically fit. While we all think of them only as warriors, we must also remember that they are great leaders and intelligent. And that’s not all!
7. Learn Foreign Languages
It is a mix of these traits that helps them take vital decisions when they’re under pressure. Special Forces training also includes learning a new language. The trainees must be bilingual so that they can blend in and communicate with the locals. Most often, they learn a language spoken in the region they are deployed.
6. The US Pararescue Force
One of the most elite special forces in the US military is the US Pararescue Force that is skilled at combat. There are only around 500 men in this unit, and their intensive training in parachuting from different distances, in certain conditions is completely impressive!
5. They Recovered Astronauts!
These guys are skilled survivors, also skilled in tending to injuries of those that they rescue. In the past, the Pararescue were volunteer medics in the army that would drop in the jungles to help wounded people near the Chinese border. They even rescued Neil Armstrong and astronaut David R. Scott after the unexpected landing in 1966.
4. Predicting the Weather
The US military even has a special unit that predicts the weather. They need fast and accurate weather calculations to know how the weather will affect their missions. This team is usually deployed in remote places where weather service doesn’t exist or is too inaccurate, and could be lethal in cases of rescue missions.
3. Not Your Regular Weather Man!
They are called Special Operations Weather Technicians, or SOWT. They must go on missions when the weather is bad and give the helicopter pilots input on how to avoid dangerous weather. We might not have heard of them, but they are a vital part of the Special Forces!
2. SOCOM Was Established in 1987
The United States Special Operations Command, also known as SOCOM, was established in 1987. They must coordinate the Special Forces units and make sure the different units work properly and don’t bump into each other during operations. Unfortunately, before SOCOM was founded, there were some unfortunate events…
1. A Failed Rescue Effort
In the 1980s the Iranians held hostages and because several Special Operations groups couldn’t coordinate, Delta Force, failed their rescue effort. Even though the Army’s most elite units were sent there, the lack of organization and coordination was what led to failure. The disaster was why SOCOM was created.