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

Special Forces Department

JFK Special Warfare Center and School (JFK SWC)


Common skills training includes advanced map reading and land navigation, patrolling, survival air operations, special operations techniques and miscellaneous general subjects. The emphasis is on training which enables the student to navigate, operate and survive in isolated, rugged terrain, day or night, by himself. Common skills training is conducted primarily at Camp Mackall, a training area 35 miles southwest of Fort Bragg.


Specialty training is primarily designed to make students technically proficient in their field. However, rigorous physical training and field exercises are incorporated into the training to ready the students for the physical and mental stresses they will encounter in later phases of their qualification course and in operations when they join their units.

Weapons Sergeant

For the Special Operations Weapons Sergeant, MOS training emphasizes light and heavy infantry weapons, anti-armor weapons and operations training related to the weapons sergeant's duties on the Special Forces A detachment. Students learn to recognize and use a wide variety of foreign-made weapons from both allied and hostile nations, as well as US-made weapons.

Training with United States weapons includes the use of obsolete items that are prevalent among third-world nations which have received military assistance from the United States. Weapons training also includes small-unit tactics of both the United States and foreign armies.

Engineer Sergeant

The student in the Engineer Qualification Course receives instruction in the use of a wide variety of explosives: U.S. military and civilian, foreign-made and "homemade." He learns other destructive techniques for use against targets not readily accessible to attack by explosives and weapons.

He also learns engineer rigging and construction techniques which enable an operations detachment to assist indigenous populations to build housing, schools and hospitals; install practical and safe sanitation and potable water systems, grade roads and build bridges. He learns to use a wide variety of construction materials and tools to accomplish this mission.

Medical Sergeant

The Special Operations Medical Sergeant attends an advanced medical training course at the Academy of Health Sciences, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, before entering training at Fort Bragg. The training at Fort Bragg enables the Special Operations Medical NCO to provide medical and veterinary care in operational situations where usual health care professionals, military or civilian, are not available.

Communications Sergeant

The Special Operations Communications Sergeant learns to operate and maintain several types of radios using a wide variety of antennas and other systems. He learns techniques needed to transmit messages over long distances and avoid detection of his signals by the enemy. He is required to gain a proficiency in the use of International Morse Code and in voice and radio. transmission procedures.

Students learn riot only in the classroom, but in rugged terrain, using "real-world" atmospheric conditions and distances.

Detachment Officer

The Detachment Officer Course qualifies students to serve as Special Forces detachment officers. In addition to learning the planning and leadership techniques necessary to direct and employ the other special operations experts on their learns, students learn the principles, strategies and tactics of unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, strike operations and strategic reconnaissance, which are the missions of Special Forces.

They also learn to support other special operations activities such as psychological operations and civil affairs. They undergo the same rigorous physical training and stress situations as the enlisted students and become thoroughly familiar with NCO skills.

Field Training Exercise

The field training exercise integrates and reinforces both specialty and common skills training. Students are organized into operating detachments to practice, in a realistic environment, all the training previously received. They have the opportunity to deal with simulated "guerrillas" as they would in an operational situation. Students are hunted by "enemy" forces and attack targets manned by live defenders. Upon finishing the field exercise, the students are ready for the operations they will conduct after graduation as members of one of the Special Forces groups.

Special Operations Warrant Officer Technical Certification Course

The Special Forces Department also teaches the Special Operations Warrant Officer Technical Certification Course. The course gives its students, who have served as Special Forces NCOs and have already completed the Army's basic warrant officer course, additional training In special operations command structure, mission, and doctrine. Graduates serve as executive officers on Special Forces operational detachments following their commissioning as warrant officers.


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.

Gunnery Network - SOF