National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Inside the Green Berets Facts

Group photo of SF team at firebase COBRA.

Group photo of SF team at fire base COBRA in south central Afghanistan. There are 23 Americans that stand in the breach between the rule of law and the rule of terror. They navigate an unforgiving landscape and are never certain from one minute to the next if they will make it back inside the wire.

Published
  • The US Army's SF motto "De Oppresso Liber" is Latin for "To Free the Oppressed."

  • US Army special forces' positions are only offered to men.

  • To become a Green beret, there are a series of qualification trainings a candidate must pass. First the candidate must be airborne qualified or volunteer to be airborne trained. Next they must complete various levels of training that include a 30 day course testing physical endurance and land navigation. Many candidates are eliminated during this process. The final phase is the Qualification course of the Q-course, where a two week duty to a fictional country called "Pineland" is enforced. Those that pass this final phase become a Green Beret.

  • These two dozen Green Berets have almost as much fire power on their Humvees as a conventional platoon of 40 men. Each vehicle carries a variety of automatic weapons.  Some vehicles are equipped with M2 .50 Caliber machine guns mounted in a turret while others are equipped with an M247 Automatic Grenade Launcher also mounted in the turret.  All vehicles have M240 Machine Guns mounted in the rear and side mounts for additional weapons such as an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

  • The MP-5 submachine gun is a favorite of the Green Berets. This almost bombproof weapon is compact and lightweight, ideal for confined spaces such as helicopters and personnel carriers, and can be fitted with a sound suppressor. Two or even three magazines of ammunition can be lashed together, making a fresh supply of 9mm near at hand.

  • The Green Berets at firebase Cobra must rely on the locals from the surrounding villages to fill jobs at the base.  Locals work in the kitchen and often provide food to the soldiers, which can be risky if their allegiances are not known. The soldiers do their best to put each man through a background check to ensure the safety of their team.

  • The US Army special forces was established in 1952 but traces its lineage from World War II’s joint Canadian-American 1st Special Service Force that served in the Mediterranean, Europe and Asia between 1942 and 1945.

  • The special forces got their nickname from their distinctive headgear. In 1962, President Kennedy said the green berets were “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom."

  • One of the first Green Beret units to enter Afghanistan in Oct. 2001 was Detachment 595. In order to move effectively on the battlefield, they borrowed horses and mules from the Northern Alliance’s horse-mounted forces. Using this mode of transportation as their primary means of movement, the soldiers achieved a level of battlefield mobility that was superior to any motorized vehicle.
0 comments