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U.S. Army Special Forces: "The Green Berets"

Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha
SF-ODA (A-Team) (A Detachment)

The Building Block of Special Forces Groups

The Special Forces Operational Detachment-A, or A-Team, is the fundamental building block for all Special Forces Groups. There are six A detachments in each Special Forces company. A Major or a Senior captain leads the 12-man team. Second in command is a warrant officer. Two noncommissioned officers, or NCOs, are trained in each of the five SF functional areas: weapons, engineering and demolitions, medicine, communications, and operations and intelligence, and comprise the remainder of the team. All team members are SF qualified and cross-trained in different skills as well as being multi-lingual.

Capabilities of the highly-versatile A-Team include:

  • Plan and conduct Special Forces Operations separately or as part of a larger force;
  • infiltrate and exfiltrate specified operational areas by air, land, or sea;
  • conduct operations in remote areas and hostile environments for extended periods of time with a minimum of external direction and support;
  • develop, organize, equip, train and advise or direct indigenous forces up to battalion size in special operations;
  • train, advise and assist other U.S. and allied forces and agencies;
  • plan and conduct unilateral SF operations;
  • perform other special operations as directed by higher authority.

In the SF company, one of the six A-teams is trained in combat diving and one is trained in military free-fall parachuting. Both are used as methods of infiltration.

The detachment can serve as a manpower pool from which SF commanders organize tailored SF teams to perform specific missions. In general, A-teams are equipped with high-powered communications systems such as tactical satellite communications, burst transmission devices, high-frequency radios, and global positioning systems. Medical kits include, among other things, field surgical kits, laboratory and dental instruments and supplies, sterilizers, resuscitator-aspirators, water-testing kits, and veterinary equipment. Other key equipment includes individual and perimeter defense weapons as well as night-vision devices, and electric and non-electric demolitions. Equipment distribution is geared to conform to specific missions.

For underwater or waterborne infiltration, SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) teams are equipped with open-circuit twin-80s SCUBA tanks, closed-circuit Dragger (re-breather) Lar-V, Zodiac boat and Klepper kayaks. Military free-fall parachuting teams use ram-air (square) parachutes and oxygen systems as well as "Stand Off" systems for HAHO (High Altitude High Opening) parachute operations.

Special Forces ODA Team Structure
 (Operational Detachments Alpha)





Detachment Commander - CO

Captain / Major O3/04 18A

Executive Officer - XO

Warrant Officer WO1-4 180A

Team Sergeant / Ops NCO Master Sergeant E-8 18Z

Intelligence & Operations NCO

Sergeant First Class E-7 18F

Weapons Sergeant

Sergeant First Class E-7 18B

Assistant Weapons Sergeant

Staff Sergeant E-6 18B

Engineer Sergeant Sergeant First Class E-7 18C
Assistant Engineer Sergeant Staff Sergeant E-6 18C
Medical Sergeant Sergeant First Class E-7 18D
Assistant Medical Sergeant Staff Sergeant E-6 18D
Communications Sergeant Sergeant First Class E-7 18E
Assistant Communications Staff Sergeant E-6 18E


This page is an unofficial document and does not represent information endorsed by the United States Government, the United States Special Operations Command or the United States Army Special Operations Command. However, most information is derived from those sources and has been checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and suggestions, please go to the Communications Center.

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