Questions about US military special forces units

So my understanding of the 5 branches of the military (Army, navy, coast guard, marines, air force) there are certain units that do more dangerous and more involved missions. Marine Recon, Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Air Force Commandos, Green Berets, etc.

Does the coast guard have a special forces unit? I have never heard of them having one.

My understanding is you have to be a member of the branch of the military in question to qualify as a member in a unit. As an example, you have to be in the Navy to become a SEAL, and you have to be in the Marines to join Recon. Is that the case or can someone in the Army try out for the SEALs and someone in the Marines try out for the Green Berets?

What about even higher special forces units like DEVGRU (Seal team 6) or Delta? My understanding is the best soldiers in the Army try to end up in the green berets or Rangers, and the best members of those units try to end up in Delta force. Same with Seal team 6, they pull the best members of the other Seal teams.

Are people able to join Delta or DEVGRU w/o belonging to another special forces unit? Can anyone in the army try out for Delta or do you need to be a member of a different special forces unit (Green Berets or Rangers) within the army before you can apply? What about cross applications? Can a SEAL apply for Delta, and can someone in Marine Recon try out for DEVGRU?

If the best members of the military try out for special forces teams (Seals, Rangers, Recon, AF commandos, etc) and the best members of those teams end up in counter-terrorism and hostage rescue teams (Delta, DEVGRU), are there any teams consisting of the best members of Delta and DEVGRU or are they the peak?

I was told a few years ago by a military guy that there was a group called ‘the Virginia boys’, which consisted of intelligence gatherers and spies. I’m guessing that may have been ‘the activity’ unit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_Support_Activity

Are those members pulled from the best in Delta or DEVGRU?
Being a guy rocks. Anyone else want to talk about guns and military things from the comfort of their own homes or is it just me?

Well, the Coast Guard does have special drug interdiction units. They also have very elite rescue forces.

Looks like members of the Coast Guard can join the Navy SEALs.

I don’t know what the Air Force has going these days, but 30 years ago it was the pararescue guys who were considered elite. They had to train for pilot recovery for every conceivable environmental condition, be it in peace or wartime. I never saw one who didn’t impress me.

I was talking to one of the Security Police (the guys who man the gates & whatnot) one time & he told me that the worst assignment he ever had was at some stateside AF base where training was going on that involved the elite teams of the various services. He said the Navy Seals used to amuse themselves by ambushing & disarming the SPs assigned to guard the perimeter. I’m glad I didn’t have his job.

Looks like that SP found a way to amuse himself. The described amusement wouldn’t be so amusing seconds after the “amuser” got sent up for court-martial.

Maybe he was BSing me, but he seemed sincere about it. I saw & heard a lot of weird shit when I was in.

There’s absolutely no way a base commanding officer is going to let that stunt go unpunished.

And the hallmark of a good storyteller is sincerity in the presentation.

Like the Colonel we had who enjoyed buzzing the hangers in his A-10? He didn’t stop until he killed himself during an air show.

You’ve got it almost right.

In the Army anyone can try out for Special Forces(Green Berets) at anytime by going to selection. Same for Delta Force. Anyone of any MOS can try out for selection. As for Rangers first you need to be the proper MOS and second they need to have a slot for you. The bulk of Rangers are Infantry then you have your Forward Observers(They call in artillery and air strikes) and… that’s probably it.

I know that SF and Delta prefer to recruit from the non-combat MOSs as they are easier to mold. Also, the non-combat MOSs have more time to hit the gym and get in shape than the combat ones. Us Infantry guys tend to get stuck in our ways of tactical thinking and spend too much time in the field to get ripped.

And yeah, if anyone, even a SEAL, was to disrupt the post’s Force Protection like that they would get court-martialed.

Snite, you’re way off.
Rangers have just about every MOS in the Army*, minus the rare ones like Tug Boat operator, Firefighter, Astronaut, etc.
Ranger Regiment is self sustaining. They have cooks, mechanics, truck drivers, riggers, career counselors, supply, personnel clerks, you name it. To suggest that the entire regiment consists of only infantry and FOs is absurd.

And your statement about SF and Delta preferring non-combat MOSs is ridiculous as well as the reasoning behind it.
*Complete list:
11B 11C 13F 13Z 21B 21H 21R 21U 21W 25B 25C 25F
25P 25S 25U 25W 25X 27D 35F 35G 35L 35M 35P 42A
44B 44C 45B 45K 52C 52D 56M 63B 63X 68J 68S 68W
68X 74D 79S 88M 88N 89B 92A 92F 92G 92L 92R 92W
92Y 94E 94F 94W

My guess is some other SP shared that with him, and he believed it. The SP who told him, probably heard it from another SP and so on… all the while none of them ever actually witnessed anything of the sort.

I found that story easier to believe than another one…

One of the first stories I heard after arriving at RAF Bentwaters was about the NCO who stole a C-130 & was subsequently shot down over the water by USAF fighters. I thought it was total BS.

Flash forward two years. I’m on TDY in Germany & hook up with some RAF guys. They find out what base I’m from & immediately offer that it was pilots from their squadron that intercepted the bloke what stole the C-130. They declined permission to shoot him down & waited for our guys to show up & do the deed.

Like I said, weird shit happens.

Hell, that was 40 years ago! Who knows what craziness went on back then :wink:

Who knows indeed!

Is that link for my benefit, or for those following along at home? The fact that I knew when it happened should be a clue that I don’t need a link. You never did say “when” it happened or what time period you’re talking about. Just like your friend’s gate gaurd story. I now assume that story also takes places several decades ago and in that case “Who knows what craziness went on back then”.

Like I said, it was Forty years ago. If you’re talking about shit that happened FORTY years ago, I could believe it. I wouldn’t doubt that some elite personnel would harrass some poor gate gaurds at a training camp just for fun forty years ago! Nowadays, they would be punished as Monty suggested.
When you don’t specify a time period, people will assume you’re talking about the present, or at least the last two decades.

Based on my experience of elite forces and their officers, he’d punish them for getting caught.

Nothing personal intended. I remembered finding an internet cite for the story a few years back & was able to locate it. Your post made a good segue for the link.

I was in the USAF from 1977-1981. That makes the C-130 story was almost 10 years old when I first heard it. The SP related his story as having happened to him at his prior base.

Doh! Guess I had already forgotten this line by the time I moved on to the second paragraph.
As far as PJs go, they are still considered the elite. They attend the same medical training school at Ft Bragg as all the other Special Operations medics in the military–SEALs, Force Recon Corpsmen, Ranger Medics, etc. Plus, all the other training and parachuting schools they get.
There’s also the close air support guys. Combat Air Controllers are pretty essential right now. They get attached to SF A-Teams and stuff, but nobody would consider them elite except themselves!

How many of those MOSs actually get to go through Ranger school and wear the tab? I seem to recall that POGs don’t get to go through Ranger school, they just get assigned to the unit, much like SF units have POGs doing all the POGish stuff for them without going through selection. More than likely, it’s more than Infantry and 13F that go through the school, but the damn paper pushers and mechanics sure as fuck aren’t.

And as for SF and Delta preferring non-combat MOSs is shit that has been told to me by the damn SF recruiter. He wasn’t trying to discourage anybody, just explaining that Infantry dudes are so set in their ways that it can frustrate the cadre and was lecturing on how to be flexible and all that.

I don’t see why there’s any reason to doubt this story, if it happened during training. The SEALS used to have a team called “Red Cell” that tested security by infiltrating various bases and whatnot.