Army Enlisted Job Descriptions and Qualification Factors

18X - Special Forces Enlistment Option

Army Special Forces
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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.

(4) 18E - SF Communications Sergeant. Training includes: Installation and operation of SF high frequency and burst communications equipment, antenna theory, radio wave propagation, and SF communication operations procedures and techniques. Training culminates with an around-the-world communications field performance exercise. Training is conducted at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and is 32 weeks long.

c. Collective Training Phase. During this 38-day period, Soldiers are trained in Special Operations (SO) classes, Direct Action (DA) Isolation, Air Operations, Unconventional Warfare classes, Isolation training, and culminates with ROBIN SAGE.

d. Language Training. After completion of the Collective Training Phase all Soldiers will attend Special Forces Language school at the Special Operations Academic Facility, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Languages are assigned in relation to the score from the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, (DLAB), which is taken either prior to or at the beginning of SFQC. Soldiers will not receive their MOS until successful completion of the language course. Each Soldier must score at least a 0+/0+ to be considered language qualified. The language course in which the Soldier is selected to attend will most likely reflect the SF Group in which he will be assigned. Example language course lengths are: Arabic; Korean; Polish; Russian; Czech; Tagalog; Persian; Thai; Serbo; Croat; (6 months training), and Spanish; Portuguese; French (4 months training).

e. Survival Training. All Soldiers, officer and enlisted will attend the Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape (SERE) course for three weeks at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Individuals who fail any of the above training courses will have their enlistment contracts renegotiated to the 11B ( Infantryman) MOS and will be reassigned to an Infantry unit. However, under the current policy, they will be allowed to retain any 18X enlistment bonus, unless disqualification is due to misconduct.

Physical demands rating and qualifications for initial award of MOS.

  • (1) physical demands rating,--N/A.

    (2) A physical profile, of 111221.

    (3) Minimum scores, of 107 in aptitude area GT, and 98 in aptitude area CO.

    (4) A Security Clearance, of SECRET.

    (5) Must complete Special Forces Qualification Course formal training course.

    (6) Must meet requirements listed in AR 614-200.

    (7) A U.S. citizen.

    (8) Must be able to swim 50-meters wearing boots and battle dress uniform (BDU) prior to beginning the Special Forces Qualification Course. All Soldiers will be given a swim assessment during SFAS to determine whether he has the aptitude to learn to swim.

    (9) Must score a minimum of 229 points on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), with no less than 60 points on any event, using the standards for age group 17-21.

    (10) Must be a high school graduate or have a general equivalency diploma (GED).

    (11) Must not be barred to reenlistment or be under suspension of favorable personnel action.

    (12) Must not have been convicted by court-martial or have disciplinary action noted in their official military personnel fiche under the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Article 15). This provision can only be waived by the Commanding General, United States Army Special Warfare Center and School on a case-by-case basis.

    (13) Must not have been terminated from SF, ranger, or airborne duty, unless termination was due to extreme family problems.

    (14) Must not have 30 days or more "lost time" under USC 972 within current or preceding enlistment.

    NOTE: This job closed to women.

    Much of the Above Information Courtesy of U.S. Army Recruiting

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