The Special Forces of the United States Army, or Green Berets, as they are known, are an elite military force that supports various American goals overseas. They are active on every continent in a wide range of capacities and are widely regarded as one of the finest military organizations in the world, with only the best of the Army serving in the unit.
Officially, the Special Forces were founded in 1952, but in fact, some form of the group had existed since the Civil War, when soldiers from the North helped to train Southern resistors who wanted to participate in the war effort. Operations similar to those carried out by modern forces also occurred during the first and second World Wars, when Army soldiers helped to train and outfit insurgents who supported the Allies.
The mission of the Special Forces is quite complex and very wide in scope. Essentially, the Green Berets specialize in unconventional warfare, also known as asymmetrical warfare, and they bring their expertise around the world to help train native police and military forces. They support movements that the United States believes will be beneficial to its goals, and they also offers advice and diplomatic support during American missions overseas. Most members are bilingual and college-educated, and they receive additional diplomatic and cultural training once they are accepted into training.
The Green Berets also work on informational operations, which range from reconnaissance to disinformation campaigns, and they participate in psychological operations and counter terrorism. They also provide humanitarian aid, putting their cultural training and language abilities to good use in communities all over the world.
Becoming a member of the Special Forces is challenging. Historically, candidates needed at least three years of military service with an excellent record, although the Army offers a special program today that allows soldiers to enter training immediately after boot camp, if they show potential. Potential members must complete the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course, which includes a grueling training program, before moving through the Special Forces Qualification Course, known as the Q Course. Soldiers who make it through the Q Course are officially accepted as Green Berets.
The slang term “Green Beret” for a member of the Special Forces is a reference to the special headgear that members of the Special Forces are entitled to wear. Since 1961, Special Forces soldiers have been explicitly authorized to wear their distinctive berets, which set them apart visually from other members of the Army.