To compile a list of the most elite special forces in the US Military (Army, Navy, Air Force), we had to combine various factors, including several publicly known missions, their mission, unit’s firepower and mobility, and the number of highest awards, including awards for valor. The top 10 elite special operations units in the US military featured in this article are swift and deadly.
All of the units mentioned here are considered one of the best in the world. However, we prepared a brief overview of each and placed them into rankings.
The brief descriptions listed below for each of these specialized units merely scratches the surface of these profound, secretive, and specialized units. They are among the best, trained to acclimate to almost any weather, environment, or situation, making them the top ten most elite Special Operations units in the US Military. American military special forces are the best ones on earth, and among them serve the very best heroes.
* This list is not official and is not representing any official statement. It’s just our meaning and understanding of US Special Forces, so if you are here and think that you might disagree with a list, maybe you don’t need to read further.
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 injured while evacuating them. The conditions sometimes warrant them to act as aircrew gunners and scanners as some missions require enemy evasion.
US Army 75th Ranger Regiment
This elite infantry unit, a.k.a. Rangers, is a Special Operations unit headquartered at Ft. Benning, GA. The unit comprises a single Special Troops Battalion and three special operations battalions, specially trained with a variety of skills needed for several different specialized missions. These three light infantry battalions can be rapidly deployed and take turns rotating into the “Ranger Ready Forces,” where they are in constant readiness with the ability to respond to any crisis, anywhere in the world, in less than 18 hours.
The US Marine Corps Special Forces – ANGLICO – are most noted for their proficiency in controlling Close Air Support (CAS). They are, however, also trained in ground-based fires such as cannon and rocket artillery and precision-guided munitions. The well-rounded training of the Anglico’s makes them the only firepower control team in the US Department of Defense that operates full time and has been fully trained to control and coordinate fire support from the air, on the land, and the sea.
Activated in February of 2006, this specially trained Marine Corps group is a module command of the US Special Operations Command encompassing the USMCs contribution to SOCOM. The primary capabilities of MARSOC include direct action, special reconnaissance, and also foreign internal defense. They are also in charge of counter-terrorism, information operations, and unconventional warfare. These highly specialized trained individuals must be functionally capable of operating in fast-paced, often remote and complex, environments.
US Army Intelligence Support Activity
This top-secret US Army intelligence unit’s primary function is to gather intelligence information to pave the way for a plan of action. Some of the sources for their information include (but are not limited to) local operatives working undercover and monitoring and tracking radio communications.
USMC Force Reconnaissance
Active since June of 1957, the USMC Force Reconnaissance is capable of performing both deep reconnaissances as well as direct action operations. This specialized task force is trained to operate independently behind enemy lines, while unconventional special ops while supporting conventional warfare. Their primary focus is to support the Marine expeditionary and amphibious operations.
Army Special Forces (Green Berets)
Probably one of (if not) the most well-known Special Ops groups, the US Navy Seals are highly specialized and trained in the air, on the land, and the sea. Their roots can be traced back to WWII, when the US Navy realized the necessity to develop secret reconnaissance of landing beaches and coastal defenses. This discovery resulted in establishing of the Amphibious Scout and Raider School in 1942.
US Army Delta Force
The US Army Delta Force unit generally consists of versatile, quiet professionals. They are involved in unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, information operations, and various other roles. Delta Force operators refer to themselves as “The Unit.” Delta Force was first organized in November of 1977 and is known for its versatility in conducting covert operations, such as hostage rescues and raids. That earned them second place in the Top 10 elite special operations units in US Military. The 1st SFOD-D (Delta) is considered a top-secret Tier 1 unit.
SEAL Team 6
This US Naval Special Warfare Development Group has a classified number of teams deployed worldwide. The original Team 6 was initially dissolved in 1987 but then re-established by the US Navy as the Special Warfare Development Group – DEVGRU. Most information about DEVGRU remains highly classified, and neither the White House nor the Department of Defense will comment on the details of its activities.