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Army Enlisted Job Descriptions and Qualification Factors

18X - Special Forces Enlistment Option


Army Special Forces

18X isn't actually an MOS (Military Occupation Specialty). Instead, it's an enlistment option. Until recently, the only way to join the Army Special Forces was to apply after achieving the grade of E-4.

Under the 18X enlistment option, recruits are guaranteed the opportunity to "try out" for Special Forces. It does not guarantee that the recruit will be accepted into the Special Forces program. It only guarantees that the recruit will be given the opportunity to see if he "has the stuff."

A recruit who enlists in the 18X Special Forces enlistment program will attend Infantry OSUT (One Station Unit Training), which combines Army Basic Training and Infantry AIT (Advanced Individual Training), all in one 17-week course.

Upon graduation, recruits attend Airborne Training at Fort Benning, GA. After "jump school," recruits attend a 4-week Special Operations Preparation Course (SOPC) at McKenna MOUT Site, Fort Benning, Georgia. Following graduation from SOPC, recruits are scheduled for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) program. This is a very tough course, and has an extremely high wash-out rate. The Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) program assesses and selects Soldiers for attendance at the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). This program allows SF an opportunity to assess each Soldier's capabilities by testing his physical, emotional, and mental stamina. The SFAS also allows each Soldier the opportunity to make a meaningful and educated decision about SF and his career plan.

Soldiers attend SFAS on a temporary duty status. You should plan to be at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for up to 30 days. You will be trained in all military subjects used in the assessment. The course is individual cross country land navigation based covering distances from 18 kilometers up to on or about 50 kilometers. The distances and weight carried increase during the course, but being prepared mentally and physically for the events cannot be over emphasized.

If the recruit passes the SFAS, he moves onto the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). The SFQC teaches and develops the skills necessary for effective utilization of the SF Soldier. Duties in CMF 18 primarily involve participation in Special Operations interrelated fields of unconventional warfare. These include foreign internal defense and direct action missions as part of a small operations team or detachment. Duties at other levels involve command, control, and support functions. Frequently, duties require regional orientation, to include foreign language training and in-country experience. The SF places emphasis not only on unconventional tactics, but also knowledge of nations in waterborne, desert, jungle, mountain, or arctic operations.

The SFQC is currently divided into three phases: Individual Skills, MOS Qualification, and Collective Training. The enlisted applicant's SFQC training will be scheduled upon successful completion of SFAS.

a. Individual Skills Phase. During this period, Soldiers inprocess, and are trained on common skills for CMF 18 skill level three. Training is 40 days long and is taught at the Camp Rowe Training Facility. The training covered during this phase includes land navigation (cross-country) and small unit tactics. This phase culminates with a special operations overview.

b. MOS Qualification Phase. For the enlisted Soldier, the decision concerning the four specialties will be made based on your training background, aptitude, and desire and the needs of CMF 18. Training for this phase is 65 days and culminates with a mission planning cycle. During this phase, Soldiers are trained in their different specialties:

(1) 18B - SF Weapons Sergeant. Training includes: Tactics, anti-armor weapons utilization, functioning of all types of U.S. and foreign light weapons, indirect fire operations, manportable air defense weapons, weapons emplacement, and integrated combined arms fire control planning. Training is conducted at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and is 24 weeks long.

(2) 18C - SF Engineer Sergeant. Training includes: Construction skills, field fortifications, and use of explosive demolitions. Training is conducted at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and is 24 weeks long.

(3) 18D - SF Medical Sergeant. Training includes: Advanced medical procedures to include trauma management and surgical procedures. Training is conducted at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is approximately 57 weeks long.

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