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  • Writer's pictureTodd Handler

How To Join A Special Forces Unit: A Step-by-step Guide


So, you think you have what it takes to join the elite brotherhood of special forces?

Well, grab a seat, troop, because I'm about to drop some knowledge on you.

In this step-by-step guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about joining a special forces unit.

Here are the three things you'll learn:

  • What special forces are and why they're worth joining

  • The rigorous selection and training process you need to go through

  • How to become a special forces soldier and earn the coveted green beret or the trident if you prefer the deep full of shark sea

Special forces are the badasses of the military, the guys who go where no one else dares to venture.

They're the ones who take on the toughest missions, the most dangerous assignments, and the most challenging environments.

And if you're looking for a career that's thrilling, rewarding, and utterly badass, then special forces might just be the perfect fit for you.

But before you can don the green beret and earn the title of "quiet professional," you need to go through a rigorous selection and training process that will push you to your physical and mental limits.

But don't worry, I'm here to guide you through each step of the way.

From the basic requirements to the training pipeline and beyond, you'll learn what it takes to become a special forces soldier and how to make it through the grueling selection process.

So, lock and load, and let's get started!

Step 1: Meet The Basic Requirements

Before you can embark on the journey to join a special forces unit, you must first ensure that you meet some basic requirements.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Citizenship: To become a special forces soldier, you must be a citizen of the United States.

  • Age: The age range for joining a special forces unit is 20-30 years old. However, waivers may be available in certain circumstances.

  • Education: To qualify for a special forces unit, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).

  • Physical Fitness: Joining a special forces unit requires a high level of physical fitness. You must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which includes push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2-mile run.

  • Security Clearance: To join a special forces unit, you must be able to obtain a security clearance.

Meeting the basic requirements to become a special forces soldier can be challenging.

For example, passing the APFT may require months of dedicated training and physical conditioning. Nonetheless, if you are willing to put in the effort and commit yourself to the rigorous selection process, you can succeed.

By meeting the basic requirements, you will be one step closer to achieving your goal of becoming a special forces soldier.

Step 2: Choose A Special Forces Branch

Now that you've met the basic requirements, it's time to choose a special forces branch that fits your interests and goals.

Here's what you need to know:

Army Special Forces

The Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, are the most well-known special forces unit in the world. Their mission is to conduct unconventional warfare, which includes guerrilla tactics, sabotage, and intelligence gathering. They are masters of small-unit tactics and operate in some of the most remote and hostile environments on the planet.

Navy Seals

The Navy SEALs are known for their amphibious warfare capabilities, but their missions go far beyond that. They specialize in direct action warfare, such as hostage rescue and high-value target elimination. They are highly trained in underwater operations, marksmanship, and hand-to-hand combat.

Air Force Special Tactics

The Air Force Special Tactics team is made up of highly trained airmen who specialize in reconnaissance, air traffic control, and combat search and rescue. They are the go-to unit for joint terminal attack controllers, who direct precision airstrikes in support of ground forces.

Marine Corps Special Operations

The Marine Corps Special Operations unit, also known as MARSOC, is the newest addition to the special forces community. They specialize in direct action missions, such as raids and ambushes, and have a reputation for being among the toughest warriors in the military.

Choosing the right special forces branch can be a tough decision.

To make the best choice, do your research and think about your personal interests and goals.

Consider factors such as the branch's unique missions and capabilities, training requirements, and career opportunities.

Talk to current and former special forces soldiers to get their perspective on the different branches.

Remember, you'll be spending a significant amount of time training and serving with your unit, so it's important to choose one that aligns with your values and aspirations.

Step 3: Prepare For Special Forces Assessment And Selection (sfas)

Before you can become a special forces soldier, you must first pass the rigorous SFAS selection process.

Here's what you need to know:

Sfas Overview

SFAS is a 21-day assessment and selection course that tests your physical and mental toughness, as well as your ability to work as part of a team. The course includes ruck marches, land navigation, obstacle courses, and other physically demanding exercises. Candidates are also evaluated on their leadership skills, decision-making abilities, and communication skills.

Physical Preparation

To succeed in SFAS, you must be in top physical condition. This means focusing on strength training, cardiovascular endurance, and rucking (walking with a weighted backpack). You should also work on your land navigation skills, as this is a key component of SFAS.

Mental Preparation

SFAS is designed to push you to your limits and test your mental resilience. To prepare, you should practice mental toughness exercises, such as visualization and positive self-talk. You should also work on your problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities.

Overcoming Challenges

SFAS is one of the toughest selection courses in the military, and many candidates don't make it through on their first attempt. It's important to stay motivated and focused, even when faced with setbacks. One of the keys to success is to take things one day at a time and focus on the task at hand.

Preparing for SFAS can be a daunting task, but with the right mindset and training, you can succeed. Remember to focus on your physical and mental preparation, and seek out advice and guidance from those who have been through the process before. By overcoming the challenges of SFAS, you'll be one step closer to achieving your goal of becoming a special forces soldier.

Step 4: Complete Special Forces Qualification Course (sfqc)

After passing SFAS, you'll move on to the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC).

Here's what you need to know:

Sfqc Overview

The SFQC is a year-long training course that teaches you the skills you need to become a special forces soldier. The course includes a series of phases that cover everything from small unit tactics and foreign language training to advanced marksmanship and unconventional warfare.

Tips For Success

The SFQC is designed to be challenging, both mentally and physically. To succeed, you'll need to be mentally tough, adaptable, and able to work well in a team.

Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  • Stay motivated: The SFQC is a long and demanding course, and it's easy to get discouraged. Stay focused on your goal and remember why you wanted to become a special forces soldier in the first place.

  • Be a team player: Special forces soldiers work in small teams, and the SFQC is designed to test your ability to work well with others. Make sure you're always looking out for your team members and communicating effectively.

  • Stay flexible: The SFQC is a constantly evolving course, and you'll need to be able to adapt to changes in the curriculum or schedule. Stay flexible and be ready to adjust your approach as needed.


If you successfully complete the SFQC, you'll earn the coveted Green Beret and become a fully qualified special forces soldier. This is a proud moment, but it's important to remember that the learning never stops. Special forces soldiers are constantly training and learning new skills to stay at the top of their game.

Completing the SFQC is a major accomplishment, but it's not easy.

Remember to stay focused, stay motivated, and stay flexible, and you'll be one step closer to achieving your goal of becoming a special forces soldier.

Step 5: Serve As A Special Forces Soldier

Congratulations, you've made it! You're now a fully qualified special forces soldier. Here's what you can expect as you begin your career:

Special Forces Roles And Missions

Special forces soldiers have a wide range of roles and missions depending on their branch and specialization. Here's a deeper look at some of the most common roles and missions:

Direct Action: This role involves conducting offensive operations against enemy targets, such as raids, ambushes, and other types of attacks. Direct action missions require quick thinking, precision, and the ability to work as a team under intense pressure.

Special Reconnaissance: This role involves gathering intelligence on enemy activities and movements. Special reconnaissance missions often take place in hostile territory and require a high degree of stealth and situational awareness.

Unconventional Warfare: This role involves working with foreign military or paramilitary forces to achieve strategic objectives. This can include training and advising foreign troops, conducting joint operations, and building relationships with local communities.

Counterterrorism: This role involves conducting operations to prevent and respond to terrorist threats. Counterterrorism missions require a high degree of training and coordination, as well as the ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations.

In addition to these primary roles, special forces soldiers may also be called upon to perform a variety of other tasks, such as:

  • Hostage rescue operations

  • Humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions

  • Intelligence gathering and analysis

  • Training and advising foreign military forces

Personal Experience

As a special forces soldier, you'll have the opportunity to take part in some of the most exciting and challenging missions in the military. Whether you're jumping out of airplanes, conducting close-quarters combat, or working with foreign allies, every day will bring new challenges and opportunities to test your skills.

Humorous Examples

Of course, not every day will be filled with excitement and danger. Special forces soldiers also spend a lot of time training and preparing for missions. This can involve everything from doing push-ups in the mud to spending hours sitting in front of a computer analyzing intelligence reports.

Being a special forces soldier is a challenging and rewarding career.

Whether you're serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, you'll be part of an elite group of soldiers who are among the best-trained and most highly skilled in the world.

So, stay focused, stay motivated, and be ready for whatever challenges come your way.

So What Sir

Alright, listen up troops!

You've made it to the end of this article, and I hope you're feeling motivated to kick some butt and become a special forces soldier.

Here's the deal, becoming one ain't no cake walk - it takes grit, guts, and a whole lotta HOOAH!

So, let's recap the steps to becoming a special forces soldier:

  • First things first, make sure you meet the basic requirements. You gotta be a US citizen, meet the age and education requirements, and be in tip-top physical shape. No couch potatoes allowed, soldiers!

  • Next up, choose your branch. Will it be the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines? Each has their own unique role and mission, so do your research and pick the one that fits you like a glove.

  • Time to prepare for SFAS - the selection process that'll separate the wheat from the chaff. You gotta be ready to push yourself to the limit both physically and mentally. It's like the Hunger Games, but with more push-ups.

  • Once you make it through SFAS, it's on to the SFQC - where the real fun begins! This is where you'll learn all the skills you need to become a special forces operator. It's like boot camp, but with cooler gear.

  • And finally, the moment you've been waiting for - serving as a special forces soldier. You'll be part of a badass team, taking on some of the toughest missions known to man. It's not just a job, it's a calling.

So there you have it, troops.

If you've got the grit, guts, and HOOAH to become a special forces soldier, go for it!

And if you need some support along the way, don't hesitate to reach out.

Remember, as the saying goes, "pain is just weakness leaving the body."

So embrace the suck, and let's get to work!

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