Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces (Green Berets) are elite U.S. armed forces units. There is some overlap in the kinds of missions they carry out but there are important differences between the two.
The Green Berets are the special forces unit of the U.S. Army while SEALs are a unit of the Navy. "SEAL" is derived from their capacity to operate at SEa, in the Air, and on Land – but it's their ability to work underwater that separates SEALs from most other military units in the world.
|Green Berets||Navy SEALs|
|Introduction (from Wikipedia)||The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special recon||The United States Navy SEa, Air and Land (SEAL) Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC).|
|Branch||United States Army||United States Navy|
|Type||Army Special Operations Forces||Navy Special Operations Force, Sea, Air, Land|
|Size||~5,500 Active Duty, ~1,100 National Guard||~2,400|
|Role||Primary tasks: Unconventional warfare, Special reconnaissance, Direct action, Counter-terrorism, Foreign internal defense, Hostage rescue Other roles: Counter-drug operations, Counterproliferation Information operations, Humanitarian missions||Primary tasks: Maritime Special Operations, Special reconnaissance, Direct action, Counter-terrorism. Other roles: Counter-drug operations, Personnel recovery.|
|Part of||United States Army, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)||United States Navy, United States Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSOC), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)|
|Nickname||Green Berets, Quiet Professionals, Soldier-Diplomats, Snake Eaters||Frogmen, The Teams, Greenfaces|
|Motto||De oppresso liber, (U.S. Army's translation: "To Liberate the Oppressed")||"The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday", "It Pays to be a Winner"|
|Garrison/HQ||Ft. Bragg, NC; Eglin AFB, FL; Tacoma, WA; Ft. Carson, CO; Fort Campbell, KY; Okinawa, Japan; Stuttgart, Germany||Coronado, California, Little Creek, Virginia|
|Country||United States of America||United States of America|
|Engagements||World War II, Vietnam War, Multinational Force in Lebanon, Operation Urgent Fury, Achille Lauro hijacking, Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope, Battle of Mogadishu, Operation United Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom||World War II, Vietnam War, Multinational Force in Lebanon, Operation Urgent Fury, Achille Lauro hijacking, Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Restore Hope, Battle of Mogadishu, Operation United Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom|
|Insignia||Arrowhead with saber & three lightning bolts||Eagle, anchor, trident & cocked flintlock pistol|
|Training and Selection||Special Forces Qualification Course Phase I (Special Forces Assessment and Selection). Phase II (Group Training, Specialty and Language Assignment). Phase III (Small Unit Tactics & SERE). Phase IV (Specialty Training, ROBIN SAGE and Graduation).||1.5 years consisting of: BUD/S Indoctrination. Phase I (Basic Conditioning). Phase II (SCUBA Phase). Phase III (Land Warfare). Army Airborne School. SEAL Qualification Training. SEAL Troop Training.|
|Combat diving||Maintains a robust combat diving capability. One Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) per Special Forces Company is trained and equipped to conduct open and closed circuit sub-surface maritime infiltration operations.||Primarily trained as Combat Swimmers/Divers|
The United States Army Special Forces (SF), also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism. The first two emphasize language, cultural, and training skills in working with foreign troops. Their official motto is De oppresso liber (To Liberate the Oppressed), a reference to one of their primary missions, training and advising foreign indigenous forces.
While both Navy SEALs and Green Berets are trained to perform special reconnaissance, fight terrorism, unconventional warfare and combat search and rescue (CSAR); functions like coalition support, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and counter Drug operations are usually handled by the Green Berets.
The selection process for both programs is extremely rigorous. Very few who start the process are able to complete the training and actually become Navy SEALs or Green Berets. Green Berets are usually highly educated; most have a post graduate degree. During Navy SEAL training, a candidate undergoes: During the training the candidate undergoes the following:
- Indoctrination: to mentally and physically prepare them for the training ahead.
- Basic Conditioning: Aimed at conditioning the body and testing the limits of physical endurance.
- Scuba training: two and a half months of water based training in sabotage, underwater demolition, infiltration etc.
- Land-warfare training: roughly three months of on the ground training in weapons combat, hand-to-hand combat and other land warfare.
History and Notable Missions
The United States Army Special Forces were formed in 1952, initially under the U.S. Army Psychological Warfare Division headed by then Brigadier General Robert A. McClure. Since their establishment in 1952, Special Forces soldiers have operated in Vietnam, El Salvador, Panama, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, and, in an FID role, Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa.
Mode of Operation
A Special Forces Group is historically assigned to a Unified Combatant Command or a theater of operations. The Special Forces Operational Detachment C or C-detachment (SFODC) is responsible for a theater or a major subcomponent, which can provide command and control of up to 18 SFODAs, three SFODB, or a mixture of the two. Subordinate to it are the Special Forces Operational Detachment Bs or B-detachments (SFODB), which can provide command and control for six SFODAs. Further subordinate, the SFODAs typically raise company- to battalion-sized units when on UW missions. They can form 6-man "split A" detachments that are often used for Surveillance & Reconnaissance (SR).
On the Green Beret insignia, there are two silver arrows crossed with a silver dagger above them, surrounded by a black ribbon. It bears the motto de oppresso liber (to liberate the oppressed). The crest is the crossed arrow collar insignia of the First Special Service Force (a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942).
The Navy SEALs insignia is officially called Special Warfare insignia, and is also known as the “SEAL Trident”, or "The Budweiser". It was created in the 1960s. It recognizes those service members who have completed the Navy's Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, completed SEAL Qualification Training and have been designated as U.S. Navy SEALs. The Special Warfare insignia was initially issued in two grades, being a gold badge for officers and silver for enlisted. In the 1970s, the Silver SEAL badge was abolished and the Special Warfare Badge was issued thereafter in a single grade.