Compiling a list featuring the most elite special forces in the United States military (Army, Navy, and Air Force) was a complex process requiring consideration of various elements. We evaluated their publicly known missions, primary objectives, the unit’s capabilities in firepower and mobility, and the number of prestigious awards they have received, particularly awards for acts of bravery. This article showcases the US military’s top 10 elite special operations units that exhibit exceptional agility and lethality. These units represent the cream of the crop in terms of training, skill, and experience, making them some of the most formidable forces in the world.
The units included in this list are among the world’s finest. We have ranked them based on various factors to provide a comprehensive overview.
The brief descriptions for each of these highly specialized units merely offer a glimpse into their secretive and profound nature. These units are considered the top ten most elite special operations units in the US military and can adapt to various environments and conditions. American military special forces are widely regarded as some of the best in the world, and among them are some of the bravest and most accomplished heroes.
Please note that this list is not official and does not represent any official statement. It reflects our understanding and interpretation of US special forces. If you disagree with our ranking, you may choose not to continue reading.
USMC Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team
Also known as FAST, it is ready for rapid deployment when US Government installations worldwide require additional security. They are stationed at different naval command posts across the globe. This unit of close to 500 Marines is specially trained using state-of-the-art weapons.
USAF Pararescuemen, PJ
The primary mission of the US Air Force’s Pararescuemen is to recover aircrew members who are either downed or injured in harsh environments. They also provide on-the-scene emergency medical treatment to stabilize the wounded while evacuating them. The conditions sometimes warrant them to act as aircrew gunners and scanners, as some missions require enemy evasion.
75th Ranger Regiment
The Rangers, a highly trained infantry unit, serve as a special operations unit headquartered at Fort Benning, Georgia. This elite unit consists of a single Special Troops Battalion and three special operations battalions trained in various specialized skills to carry out various missions. These three light infantry battalions can be swiftly deployed and take turns being designated as the “Ranger Ready Forces,” ensuring they are always prepared to respond to any crisis anywhere in the world within 18 hours or less.
The US Marine Corps Special Forces, also known as ANGLICO, are recognized for their expertise in controlling Close Air Support (CAS). In addition, they receive training in ground-based fire support, such as cannon and rocket artillery, as well as precision-guided munitions. This comprehensive training makes ANGLICO the only firepower control team within the US Department of Defense that operates full-time and is fully equipped to coordinate fire support from the air, on land, and at sea.
MARSOC, a specially trained Marine Corps group, was established in February 2006 as a component of the US Special Operations Command, representing the USMC’s contribution to SOCOM. Their primary capabilities encompass direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, counter-terrorism, information operations, and unconventional warfare. These highly specialized individuals must possess the functional ability to operate effectively in fast-paced and often remote and complex environments.
Army Intelligence Support Activity
The primary purpose of this highly secretive US Army intelligence unit is to gather intelligence that serves as the basis for action plans. The unit obtains this information from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to, local covert operatives and monitoring and tracking of radio communications.
USMC Force Reconnaissance
The USMC Force Reconnaissance, established in June of 1957, is a highly specialized unit known for its exceptional capabilities in deep reconnaissance and direct action missions. This elite task force is trained to operate autonomously in hostile territories and execute unconventional operations supporting conventional warfare. Their central mission is to provide support to Marine expeditionary and amphibious operations.
Army Special Forces (Green Berets)
The United States Army Special Forces, commonly called the Green Berets, are often considered one of the world’s most elite special forces units. Known for their unconventional warfare skills, they are trained to operate in various environments and execute missions such as unconventional warfare, counter-insurgency, direct action, and special reconnaissance. The Green Berets are highly selective and undergo intense training, including the Special Forces Qualification Course, considered one of the toughest military training programs in the world.
They are also equipped with advanced weapons and technology, allowing them to carry out missions with a high degree of stealth and precision. Their reputation for excellence has earned them a place among the top tier of special forces units. They are often called upon to execute some of the most challenging and high-stakes missions to support US national security interests.
The US Navy Seals, one of the most recognizable Special Operations groups, are a highly specialized and multi-faceted force trained to operate in various environments, including air, land, and sea. The roots of the Navy Seals can be traced back to World War II when the US Navy recognized the need for covert reconnaissance of landing beaches and coastal defenses. In response to this need, the Amphibious Scout and Raider School was established in 1942.
US Army Delta Force
The US Army Delta Force is a unit comprised of highly skilled and discreet professionals. They are involved in various missions, including unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, information operations, and more. Delta Force operators refer to themselves as “The Unit,” reflecting their strong sense of unity and cohesiveness. The unit was first established in November 1977 and is recognized for its versatility and expertise in conducting covert operations, such as hostage rescues and raids.
This versatility has earned Delta Force a reputation as one of the top 10 elite special operations units in the US Military, and it is considered a highly classified Tier 1 unit. The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) is known for its commitment to mission success and its ability to execute complex and high-stakes operations with precision and stealth.
SEAL Team 6
The US Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as DEVGRU, is a highly classified unit with several teams deployed across the globe. The original Team 6 was disbanded in 1987 but later re-established by the US Navy as the Special Warfare Development Group – DEVGRU. The exact number of teams and details of their operations are highly confidential and are not disclosed by the White House or the Department of Defense.
Information about DEVGRU remains shrouded in secrecy, making it one of the world’s most enigmatic and mysterious special forces units. Despite the lack of publicly available information, the unit is widely regarded as one of the most elite and highly skilled special operations forces, with a reputation for executing complex and sensitive missions with unparalleled precision and stealth.
12 thoughts on “Ranking the Top Tier: The 2022 List of Elite US Special Forces”
This looks more like picking random cards from SOF deck to decide the order rather than actual fact based justification for why one is placed over another.
Especially hard to take serious when Army SF isn’t even included. I’m sure if it was, it looks like you’d have them ranked under force recon anyways. SMH
Of course, there are many lost listed here, considerably less known by the masses, but nevertheless out there doing their mission.
How does the green berets not even make the list?
Keep up the good work guys/ Charlie Mike!
It takes an extremely lowlife bozo to not only own an internet domain called “ sPeciAL oPs . oRg” but also thoroughly and actively talk about the absolute top tier most secretive units in the US military. Chances are you bozos are such insecure clowns that you cannot function in a normal society without writing garbage online haha. Increased chances are also that you even partake in the 21 century subhuman subculture known as “social media” and that you are actively on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, tik tok, and whatever other trash media you’re on. I would like to drop down on my knees and bow down to you absolute gold plated gods. Why haven’t we created monuments and written holy scripts on you beautiful geniuses yet ? Nothing says secretive or classified about any of this garbage while doing the epitome of the exact opposite by discussing it. “ heLLO fRiEnds, weLcuM tO mY JEWtUbe cHannEl tOdaY weRe gOnnA tAlk AbouT uS sPeciAl fOrCes” lmfao. The only contribution you asshats have in life is becoming a rotting compost for larvae and maggots after your inevitable death. Nothing more pathetic, or should I say poetic Than watching an already dumbass YouTube video on special forces. And looking for training tips in the comments sections and seeing a bunch of “I or me” head ass comments. Thousands of faggots talking about their own experiences lmfao “ I wAs iN tHe mAriNes iN 1980” “SEMPER Fi bRotHerS “ or “I MaY nOt bE a MarIne bUt I wAs Army FoRest RanGerS” or “I WenT tHru BooT cAmP” self righteous head ass comments. 😂 and you got like random fuckernaut grandparents or random fuckhead aunts and uncles talking bout “mY SoN iS cuRreNtly Us MarIne” “tY 4 SuRfAcE” fucking bozo faggots lol. “pOst More ViDeOs AbOut DeLta fOrcE” “TaLk aBouT RussiAn SpeTsnAz” “bRitIsH SaS aRe BeTTeR” “rEaL qUieT prOfessIonaLs aRe RanGeRs” “kEEp uP gr8 cOnteNt “ “nObOdY cAreS aBouT kEeping ThesE sPeciAl fOrces SecRet, tHeyRe aLreAdy WelL kNown” yeah cuz shit breaths like yourselves love talking about and exploiting all their tactics instead of doing the right thing of simply contacting a mf recruiter for info or direct email to DOD tools. Deeply rooted within capitalism is communism, if you don’t see that you have Down syndrome or glaucoma. Time to introduce some of it to you worthless internet nematodes.
Lets start off by saying there is only one Org that is Special Forces, and that’s the Army’s
Special Forces. Marine Force Recon and Fleet AT Security Teams is not part of Special Operations Command, as well as ANGLICO who are no more special than an ARMY FO or JATAC. Looks like someone just wants to make Marines more “Special” than they are. (You get a Special, He gets a Special, they all get a Special!)
Don’t get me wrong, these members are true professionals and should be highlighted in a separate article. I do love our MARSOC brothers and would be proud to have them to my left and right flank down range. Oh! BTW Ranger’s have done more DA missions than any of the folks on this list. Additionally, there’s no mention of RRC, 160th, or our AFSOF brothers.
One last thing, ACE does not call themselves the Unit, people who write about things they don’t know about do.
YOU ignored the USAF in your list. I was 21 SOS. We worked directly under orders from the govt. We did not exist !! But we got “IT” done.
Yall forgot the Seabees, Father of seals. OG UDT UCT
Yeah there is no mention of 2-152 LRS ( long range servailence ) 219th sqdrn. My brothers
Yo what is this crap marine recon are marine special forces not socom or jsoc they are special forces ready but not special forces and you left out coast guard and USAF SOF GET YOURSELF STRAIGHT OR GO SOMEWHERE AWAY FROM HERE BECAUSE SOMEONE NEEDS TO WATCH SOME GENERAL DISCHARGE
If we all stop to think about it. It, it takes all of us to get the job done. We are trained to to do a special job, so we work together. I was with 1st, and 2nd, ANGLICO, yes USMC, but I worked with 101 Airborne, 82 Second Airborne, 173 Airborne and the 25 Army Division. Its the men who are willing to do the dangers job for his country that make him Elite. ANGLICO had to work with NATO Country’s as well. ANGLICO was disbanded in the 90s. There was only four at that time. They were reinstated, now they have six ANGLICOS. What ever army we were with, we also and to learn their system of training. The only thing about a man is the one that stands with you when things get hot.
I personally do not know any operators or what groups they are from.
however I did serve In the USMC.
I am grateful for all of our service men who have traind and in any branch of service!
It takes an entire military to get the job done!
with that being said I am still very proud I AM A MARINE!
and I am very proud to call all of you my brothers in arms.
Thank you all for your service!!!