U.S. Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, are among the world’s most elite fighting forces. Green Berets go behind enemy lines seeking forces friendly to U.S. causes and train them to fight on their own. Special Forces teams consist of team leaders, medics, communications, intelligence and weapons specialists. The Special Forces weapons sergeant is an expert in all types of small arms and tactics from around the world. The position of Weapons Sergeant is demanding and only the best will meet the requirements.
All Special Forces applicants must be male and between the ages of 20 and 30. They must score at least 60 points on each event of the Army Physical Fitness Test and have an overall score of at least 229. Applicants must also have a minimum General Technical score of 107 and a Combat Operation Score of 98, according to goarmy.com. Special Forces Applicants must also qualify for secret security clearance and qualify for and complete airborne training. Applicants who meet all the requirements may attend the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course (SFAS), which is Phase I one of Special Forces training
Before a Special Forces soldier can be assigned to his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), he must first pass the Special Forces Qualification Course, or Q-Course. The Special Forces Qualification Course consists of five additional phases, numbered II through VI (again, SFAS is Phase I). The Q-Course is designed to make the soldier an expert in unconventional warfare. In Phase II, Individual Training, the applicant sharpens his skills in land navigation, small unit tactics and live-fire training. In Phase III, the soldier moves on to his particular MOS training. For the Weapons Sergeant, this would be the 18B school.
Weapons Sergeant School
As of May 2010, Weapons Sergeant School was 43 weeks long. According to Special Operations.com, Weapons Sergeants learn to use a variety of U.S. and foreign weapons. When Special Forces soldiers go into an area, they must be able to adapt to any situation and often improvise in the field. The Weapons Sergeant may adapt for the lack of mortar ballistic computers (a device that computes the proper trajectory for firing a mortar round) by using a M16 plotting board, which requires manually computing an azimuth, or angle, for firing the round. Weapons Sergeants are also trained in the use of anti-armor and “manportable” air defense weapons.
After completing the Weapons Sergeant School, the soldier will go on to Phase IV or Collective training. Here is where Special Forces soldiers put their individual training together and learn to work together as a Special Forces unit. Special Forces training culminates in a role-playing scenario called Robin Sage that simulates conditions a Special Forces unit would likely encounter during real-life operations in the field. The Special Forces soldier will then go on to foreign language training (Phase V), followed by the Army’s Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training (Phase VI).
Language and Culture Studies
Special Forces Weapons Sergeants, like all Special Forces soldiers, are not just experts in their MOS. They are also experts in a given area of the world. They may be assigned to a team, for example, that is trained to fight primarily in Eastern Europe or the Horn of Africa. To operate effectively, Special Forces soldiers, including Weapons Sergeants, must be experts in the languages and cultures in which they operate. Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish are just a few of the languages Special Forces soldiers study.
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