The Green Berets are the special forces of the Army with a number of primary missions. They include unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism. The Green Berets are the most elite branch of the U.S. Army so the competition to get in is high. To qualify for the Green Berets, you must be a man between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. You must have 20/20 vision or very close to it. You have to take the Army’s aptitude test upon entering the army, which measures where your strengths lie and what position you would do best in the Army. Next you need to join the Army and you must be over 18 to enter. You’ll go to the Military Entrance Processing Station where your initial physical will happen. You can also choose a specialty.
Then you must pass the Army’s basic physical test which is given to everyone who enters the Army. This requires a timed set of sit-ups and push-ups and a two mile run. The next step is to take Advanced Individual Training, similar to vocational training, in the Army. It covers anything from engineering to artillery. Next you must apply for and receive secret security clearance, which can only be done once you’ve begun the process for entering special forces. The U.S. Department of State will do a thorough background check on you, after you have provided information on your background up front. You can be denied this clearance for any number of reasons.
Next, apply for and complete airborne training to qualify for special forces. In airborne training you learn how to jump out of airplanes using parachutes, which is a basic skill special forces need to know. After qualifying for special forces training, you take the Special Operations Preparation Course (SOPC) – two week long course which prepares you for the rigorous physical requirements of the Green Berets. You also need to be adept at land navigation which is taught at Fort Bragg. Next, go through Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS). The SFAS course is both a training session and an assessment to see if you’re able to continue. It will test if you are physically and mentally able to deal with what special forces will require of you. In fact, this assessment is the first official part of Green Beret training.
After the assessment, take the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). This course lasts almost a year. It trains you in everything from small unit tactics and survival skills to language and culture. One of the primary phases of this course is the Collective Training phase where you will be divided into units as you would be in a combat zone, and deployed in a made-up country – Pineland – an area in North Carolina. This phase will simulate what it’s like to be on an actual mission and can separate out those who are not able to cope. If you pass SFQC, then you graduate from the program and become a Green Beret.