RESERVE COMPONENT SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES

Raymond E. Bell Jr.


The most prominent and best known U.S. Special Operations Forces are the U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) or “Green Berets” and the U.S. Navy Sea Air and Land (SEALs) naval personnel. Less known is that special operations forces also include Army light infantry rangers, civil affairs, and psychological operations units. About one half of special operations personnel are in the Army, the remainder being in the other armed services.  Both the National Guard and reserve components also have large special operation force contingents.

In the history of the United States of America before they gained their independence, colonists who can be considered reservists performed special operations tasks. The first colonists, civilians, took their muskets and went forth to defend their homes. Some times combat was necessary but other times parleys with the Native Americans achieved more in finding peaceful solutions to conflicts between people of vastly different cultures.