The United States Army's elite Special Forces group is called the Green Berets, and these highly trained and skilled military professionals must meet challenging requirements to earn this honor. It also comes with added pay and benefits compared to other Army service members, like the Army National Guard. The first eligibility requirement is being between the ages of 20 and 30, but the other ones are more extensive. The Army also has qualification requirements for women, and you can find information about that online.
According to the United States Army, Green Berets and other Special Forces soldiers, like Navy Seals, are responsible for highly sensitive missions, like infiltrating enemy lines with strategic, guerilla-war-style tactics and sabotaging enemy supply lines and communications. They work in small-team, focused operational structures and use highly advanced tech, gear and weapons. Each team member is an expert in a specialized field, like weapons, engineering, intelligence or communications and is trained to withstand higher than average stress levels.
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Special Forces, like the Green Berets and Navy Seals, respond to terrorist activities and train in other nations' military special operations. They may have to seize, destroy or recover enemy materials and rescue personnel. Green Berets also enable resistance movements and have been known to disrupt and overthrow occupying powers and governments.
Special Forces soldiers must undergo rigorous training, selective evaluations and physical and mental stamina testing. It starts with a Special Forces preparation course that takes six weeks and focuses on physical fitness and land navigation skills. This course is followed by intense physical and mental training and a test of survival skills, which is part of the Special Forces assessment and selection process.
The Special Forces qualification course is next and takes 53 weeks. It has advanced special operations techniques, like survival, evasion, resistance and escape exercises. A second language is also taught and learned during this time. Afterward, a Special Forces mission in a staged invasion takes place. Those who pass can graduate as Special Forces soldiers.
Green Beret soldiers get all sorts of special duty assignments and training that lead to a higher average salary, such as parachute skills, special skills and combat diver pay on top of their regular salary, which creates a base pay of around $70,000 a year. These soldiers can also receive additional pay and benefits, including $50,000 to be used for education and 30 vacation days each year. The benefits package features complete medical and dental care and initial entry and reenlistment bonuses.
General Army soldiers earn a base duty pay of just over $30,000, and active duty and officers can earn more than that. As the rank increases, the average salary does as well. These highly respected and recognized Special Forces positions allow military members to receive highly specialized training and build strong leadership skills.
Job Mobility and Career Growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, active-duty enlisted personnel includes the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. In 2021, there were 21,873 combat specialty personnel in the Army; there were 61,251 people enlisted in the regular Army in 2020. The salaries generally follow pay scale classifications, and these can increase from year to year.
Retired Army officers who serve at least 20 years can qualify for military retirement pay. This retirement pay is also based on pay grades and rankings. For example, an Army sergeant with 20 years might get 50 percent of their basic salary, while a four-star general in the highest pay grade with 40 years of service could get 100 percent of the basic pay.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer job growth projections for military personnel or special operations forces; it only tracks this data for civilian workforces. However, military personnel among the different branches are constantly retiring or finding new positions within their military branch, so there may be Army Green Beret positions available. To find more information, you can discuss it with local members of the military branch or your local ROTC.
The armed forces of the United States maintain an Army size sufficient to overcome threats and conflicts in multiple regions. More Army Green Beret positions will likely become available if some sort of large-scale conflict occurs.