By Allison Kirschbaum

Wearing the green beret uniform and joining the special task force is an honor and privilege. But bear in mind that it's more than hundreds of push-ups for you to become one. Some of the things that you might need include an outstanding record of military service, intelligence, and very high motivation. However, some changes have been made if you want to join the Special Forces of any branch of the U.S. military once you have completed your Army boot camp. To get more details on becoming a green beret, ask your local Army recruiter.

Brief History of the Green Berets

The U.S. Army special forces can be traced to the Jedburgh teams of the Office of Strategic Services and the operational groups. During WWII, the OSS was founded to gather information and conduct secret operations behind enemy lines. After the war, Lieutenant Colonel Russell Volckmann, Colonel Wendell Fertig, and Colonel Aaron Bank used their experience to create a Doctrine of Unconventional Warfare, which became the cornerstone on how to become a Green Beret.

In May 1942, at Fort Bragg, the special forces grew, and in June 1952, under Colonel Bank, the 10th Special Forces group was established. The 10th group was deployed to Bad Tolz, Germany, in September 1953. Those remaining forces at Fort Bragg formed the 77th special forces group, which in May 1960 became today's 7th Special Forces Group. The intervening years follow the force's rise and fall.

In the late 1950s to early 1960s, some special forces Soldiers were assigned to Laos to work with the Royal Laotian Army. They worked as advisors to the Civilian Irregular Defense Forces and the Vietnamese Army in Vietnam and stayed in the country for 14 years.

The special forces also showed how to become a Green Beret when they participated in Grenada, Panama, the Balkans, and Haiti. They conducted unconventional warfare procedures to support the regular Army. During Operation Desert Storm, the Green Berets were described as the "eyes and ears" and the "glue that held the coalition together" to the conventional forces.

Lastly, the special forces are masters of training and organizing insurgents, unconventional warfare, surrogate fighters, foreign languages, indigenous forces, and supporting foreign militaries to support the U.S. national objectives.

How to Become a Green Beret in the Army

The Green Berets are the most elite of the U.S. Army and are used for primary missions. Due to their importance and status, competition on how to become a Green Beret is high. Plus, the road to becoming one is tricky. But here are some insights on how to enter this elite force.

1. You must pass some physical fitness examinations, such as scoring 260 on the Army physical fitness test for the 17-21 age bracket. Plus, you must have a sound vision of 20/20 or at least close to it.

2. Get a high school diploma; this is one of the basic requirements for becoming a Green Beret. A high GPA is optional as long as you can pass the assessments. Also, the Army prefers if you have at least a year in college.

3. Aiming for a great score on the aptitude test is one of the requirements on how to become a green beret in the Army; this is always taken upon entering the Army. This is their way to measure where you excel and where they can use your skills in the military. Get a decent score of 110 or better in the general technical section and 100 or better in combat operations.

4. You can join the Army online if you prefer, but a recruiter will contact you once you have submitted your intent to join. To complete your dream on how to become a Green Beret, you'll need to go to the Military Entrance Processing Station to join. You'll need to complete some initial physical exams.

Training and Clearances to Join the Special Forces

Becoming a Green Beret takes a lot of time and effort, and there are a few things you need to keep in mind before joining the special forces.

1. Remember your pre-basic list on how to become a green beret in the Army, which contains everything you need to do before entering the Army. Some of it includes opening a direct deposit account and an Army account. Plus, some training needs to be done, such as anti-terrorism and suicide prevention.

2. Pass the physical test, which is given to anyone who enters the Army. This includes performing a certain number of sit-ups and push-ups in two minutes. The more numbers you can do, the better. After that, you need to run two miles, which has time constraints.

3. Here are some things you need to know on how to become a Green Beret. Remember, you need to do these physical activities based on your age.

  • If you're 18, you need to perform 64 push-ups and 72 sit-ups and run the mile in 13 minutes.
  • For age 27, you must perform 67 push-ups and 72 sit-ups and run a mile in 14 minutes.

Nevertheless, to be considered, you need to do better than pass.

4. Take your advanced individual training, also known as the vocational Army training. This training will cover everything from artillery to engineering. Further, you can seek help from your commanding officer for proper guidance on your chosen path.

5. Get a secret security clearance once you begin the process on how to become a Green Beret. You will need to get this through the Army. Once you have provided the necessary information, the U.S. State Department will conduct a comprehensive background check. There are instances in which an applicant will be denied for several reasons. Some may include lying on your application, issues with your conduct, or even having a bad credit score.

6. Enlisted aspirants must be in the E-4 to E-7 pay grade; however, there are some qualifiers for E-7. You must not have nine months in the grade or have served for more than 12 years. Once you have finished the forces training, you should have at least three years left on your time. You must get permission from your branch if you're on assignment.

E-4 refers to your rank, so you must be at least a specialist or a corporeal to be considered in the special forces. However, a staff sergeant or sergeant can also be considered.

7. Time in service is the number of years you have served, and time in grade is the number of years you have held a particular position. In line with this, promotions are based on these two critical factors.

For other officers, you need to have a pay grade of 0-1 or 0-2 to be a good officer. You must also be included in the targeted year group of the Captain's Board. Also, you need to have completed all the special forces training and have at least three years of time of service. Lastly, a score of 85 or higher is required on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery or a 1/1 score on the reading and listening test.

The Green Beret Special Training

This is the last stage on how to become a green beret and your dream of wearing that uniform. Here are the things you need to look out for.

1. The special operations preparations course is constantly held at Fort Bragg, N.C., and usually lasts for two weeks. This part of the course trains you physically, essential for becoming a green beret. Plus, at this point, you need to be adept at land navigation, which is helpful in special operations.

2. To move forward to the next level, you must pass the special forces assessment and selection. This will test your mental and physical capability to handle the things special forces will require of you. Actually, this part of the assessment is the first official stage of the Green Beret training.

3. One of the last stages of becoming a Green Beret is to take the Special forces qualification course which lasts for one year. This provides survival training tactics, language, and culture. One of the highlights of this course is the Robin Sage training or Collective Training. At this stage, you will be divided into two groups and deployed in a made-up country pineland in North Carolina. The simulation will test your likelihood of coping with real-life combat and distinguishing those who can't keep up.

If you complete and pass all the training on how to become a Green Beret, you will graduate from the program. You will be given about a week to phase out of training at the end.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Green Beret?

All special forces troops are well-trained and equipped for ground combat. Their original purpose is to overthrow threats to the government and conduct unconventional warfare activities. Over time, their responsibilities expanded, including surveillance, counterterrorism, combat search and rescue, and even hostage rescues.

To succeed in their dangerous missions, they undergo rigorous training that begins with a six-week focus on land navigation and physical fitness. The next stage on how long it takes to become a Green Beret is a three-week assessment of the physical and mental stamina held at North Carolina’s Fort Liberty.

Once you pass this stage, you must join a one-year qualifying course that includes tactical combat skills, regional cultures, survival techniques, and foreign languages. Lastly, the “Q Course” is a four-week training exercise in the forest of North Carolina. In this stage, candidates must complete a mission to overthrow an illegitimate government.

So this is the rundown on how to become a green beret and the timeline of courses you need to pass.

Benefits of Joining the Special Forces

Joining the Green Berets entails some perks and benefits that you can enjoy, including:

1. The special forces have a different job routine from the rest of the Army's counterparts. Most of them are busy with their top-secret missions or sometimes just having an ordinary day. This means they are not required to do formations like most military units; some have as many as three formations daily.

2. Most of the special forces don't even look like Soldiers, which is why it is tough to identify them. Plus, they aren't required to look like one when deployed, so grooming is more relaxed. That is why one perk for them is not having a uniform inspection.

3. Another benefit of learning how to become a green beret and a part of the team is better training and pay. In addition to their stipends, they also receive extra pay for any special training they receive. This includes high altitude, low opening pay, scuba certification, jump pay, and any other training you can think of to get paid for. Further, they even receive more reasonable per diem rates, as they mostly live off the local economy while deployed.

4. One of the best perks of joining Green Berets is the privilege of choosing the equipment to use on a specific mission. For example, they will have a different kit for carrying an M4, M12, or SAW.

5. Regardless of the mission, they don't always have to use military aircraft for transportation. In some instances, they can fly commercial air, as they don't want to imply that they are part of the military, and this can also conceal their real identity.

Joining the Green Berets is not a walk in the sand. However, you can do a few things to prepare and increase your chances. It would help if you conditioned your mind to your challenges and try to condition yourself by reading the process and other assessments. Physically, you should focus on building your strength and stamina since, most of the time, you will be needing these two. Lastly, always make sure to double-check that you have the requirements on how to become a green beret.

Once you have completed the training and sacrifices, you will enjoy many benefits and gain access to unique opportunities.

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