Green Berets – The first battalion of the 10th Special Forces group

green berets

Ever since their founding in 1953, Green Berets have been epitomizing the qualities expected from Special Forces and universal soldiers. They are most often employed as the invisible advance for any major armed conflict that the U.S takes part in. Their green berets with an emblem consisting of an upwards turned dagger crossed by two arrows with the words “De opreso liber” (freedom to the oppressed), have become a trademark known throughout the world. Their uniforms bear the markings of Special Forces and Airborne, a dagger and three lightning bolts, which is meant to symbolize their ability to effectively act on ground, water and in air.

There are five active groups of Special Forces/Airborne, 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10. Each of these groups deals with a specific part of the world. The 1st is focused on the Pacific region and Northeastern Asia, 3rd on sub-Saharan Africa, 5th on Southeastern Asia and the Indian Ocean, the 7th on Latin America and the 10th on Europe and Northern Africa.

The 10th group, stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado has had its first battalion located in the German spa Bad Tolz for decades, but it had been recently moved to another German city, Boblingen. Apart from the active groups, there are two SFGs within the National Guard, the 19th and 20th SFG, the members of which are just as trained and capable as those of active groups. Those seven groups belong to the United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) which is located in the well-known military base Fort Bragg in North Carolina. This base also holds one of the world’s best known special warfare training schools, John F. Kennedy. One SFG has somewhere around 1,300 soldiers organized into Headquarters, Headquarters Company, which is some 90 men strong; Group Support Company with more than 140 soldiers and three SF battalions, each of them containing more than 380 soldiers.

The Green Berets ODC (Operational Detachment Charlie) consists of command with some 14 soldiers, command squad with 37 soldiers, three units of soldiers (operation squads) and one backup unit, where each unit counts 83 soldiers. The backup unit is meant to take care of provisioning in the areas of operation, provides technical  assistance and handles the communication devices. One squad, Operational Detachment Bravo – ODB consists of the command squad with 11 people and 6 battle teams which are known as the Operational Detachment Alpha, each of these teams has 12 senior soldiers with different specialties.

green berets

Each of the ODBs deals with a different type of specialization, for instance, one ODB consists of the parachute squad, other has scuba divers, and the third has guerilla warfare experts. When it comes to the first battalion of the 10th SFG, one ODA team is specialized for acting in mountainous regions. OD Alpha, as the smallest tactical unit of the Green Berets counts 12 operatives, 2 officers and 10 subordinates with different expertise.

When it comes to their internal organization, Master Sergeant is in charge of planning and reconnaissance, Weapons Sergeant is in charge of training the men in the use of light and heavy weaponry, while the Engineer Sergeant deals both with explosive devices and the building of the civilian infrastructure objects. The Communication Sergeant is trained in the use of both modern communication devices as well as shortwave radios and improvised antennas. Two Combat Medics are charged with the health of the people in the unit, and apart from treating lighter ailments or wounds and injuries they are also capable of performing light emergency surgeries, and have a basic dentistry and veterinary knowledge.

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Each of the members of the ODA has to attend courses in several foreign languages, and they need to have intimate knowledge of the language, history, tradition and customs of the area that they are operating in. Apart from their basic specialty in the team, they are trained in an additional specialty, so that they can fulfill multiple roles within the team. This is achieved by the constant cross-training between the members of the team. One of the usual tasks is organizing and training guerilla units in the operation region, and preparing them for confronting the enemy forces.

Some of the typical ODA tasks include direction actions, sabotage, diversions, counter-terrorist operations, laser targeting of the enemy objects or forces, reconnaissance missions deep behind the enemy lines, and gathering important intel, as well as wining the hearts and the minds of the local populace the through offer of medical and humanitarian aid. This is one of the reasons that they are also sometimes called “Armed Diplomats”.
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