Special operations is arguably the most elite level of military service. Each of the military branches have special operations forces units.
Units such as the Army’s Green Berets, Marine Corps Raiders, Air Force Special Warfare, and Navy SEALS are well known both in and outside the military world. These groups are known for their strength, leadership, focus, intelligence, and, of course, their bravery.
Note: Although the Coast Guard is not part of the DoD’s Special Operations Command (SOC), they do have an elite special tactics team known as the Deployable Specialized Forces. The DSF’s mission focuses on maritime law enforcement, force protection, and anti-terrorism intervention, stateside and around the world.
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Special operations forces service members have also been known to go after high-value targets such as Osama Bin Laden. They are involved in reconnaissance missions, humanitarian assistance, counterinsurgency, as well as other highly specialized activities.
They are evaluated on their ability to lead as well as how they work with others. They need to show that they have courage, integrity, and humility to get the job done.
Jobs After the Military: Special Operations Forces
There are a lot of skills that those serving in the special forces can bring to post-military career. Specific careers can also be a perfect fit and would be worth pursuing. Here are a few of them:
The Healthcare and Medical Fields
The Air Force Special Warfare teams include Pararescue (PJ) specialists who are uniquely qualified medics that have been trained for special warfare rescue work.
The medical field can be perfect for special forces service members with medical training as well as those who want to go into that for the first time. There are indeed a lot of options from becoming a nurse to a Physician Assistant, a medical doctor or even a surgeon.
During your time in the special forces you might have learned about how to treat battlefield injuries, how to do minor surgery, how to deliver babies, to treat infants and children, bandage wounds, and set broken bones. You might have had to do some of this is a stressful situation under a lot of pressure, and those skills will help you in a civilian medical field.
You can use your GI Bill to go to nursing school, work towards becoming a doctor by going to medical school or even do a certificate program to become a medical assistant. There are plenty of options depending on what you want to do as a career and what experience and education you already have.
Personal Security Guard
Working as a personal security guard can be the right choice for someone who has served in special forces. As a personal security guard, you will be protecting people as well as property from criminal activities and events. You might work for a celebrity, CEO, or anyone who needs personal security.
You would escort people to and from different locations, monitor activity, do surveillance, contact law enforcement as needed, and always be on alert. You would also need to be in good physical shape to be prepared for anything that can happen.
You will need to be licensed in your state, and that can vary based on where you live. You can also get certified through ASIS and obtain your Certified Protection Professional or your Physical Security Professional certificates. These can put you ahead in the job market and you may be able to receive reimbursement for the certification exams through the GI Bill.
Having a special forces background will look good when applying for this type of job. People want to feel safe with their security guard and knowing you have a background in special forces will help with that. You already know what it is like to have to be on guard and aware of what is going on around you at all times and can bring that skill to the job.
Becoming an intelligence officer after special forces can be the right fit. In this type of job, you would be employed by an organization and then work to collect, compile, and analyze information for them. You can work in a variety of different fields from working with the police, with the CIA or FBI, or even private corporations.
The discipline, strength, training, sense of mission, and dedication to duty will all be traits you have learned while in the special forces that can help you with a career in intelligence.
You will need to have a four-year degree if you don’t already have one. While you probably don’t need to have one specific major, getting a degree in politics, international relations, law, and criminology can be a good choice. There are a lot of different ways to go to school after serving in the military and using your GI Bill, or other VA funding to do so is a good idea. There are also scholarships for veterans to use to help pay for school.
The Business World
After serving as a special forces service member, you might want to go into the world of business. While you won’t be doing the same types of things you did while in the service, the leadership skills you learned during your time there will help.
There are different ways to be involved in business from getting a job and working your way up in a well-known company or starting your own business. If you have been in the special forces, you should have the drive to be able to be successful as an entrepreneur in your own business.
There are a few different ways you can get the education you would want to be more successful working in the business world. You can go to school to receive a two or four-year degree in subjects such as business administration, human resources, communications, or finance.
You can also go to business school and receive your MBA (Masters in Business Administration.) You can go to school online or in person or a combination of the two using your GI Bill and other VA funding options.
Many schools recognize the leadership and experience veterans bring. Some schools provide GMAT waivers for the military in recognition of this.
Whatever you decide to do, you can bring the skills you learned during your time in the special forces to the civilian workplace. A lot of what you have experience with can help you in civilian careers, no matter what you want to do. These listed above are a good starting off point if you are trying to decide what direction to go into after military life is over.
More about details on Special Operations Army and Marine Corps MOS, Air Force AFSC, and Navy and Coast Guard Ratings:
Army Special Forces (Green Beret) MOS include:
Special Forces Officer – 18A: The Special Forces Officer is a captain who is responsible for planning, coordinating, directing and participating in Special Forces operations. He has several duties, including training, resource management, mission and logistics planning, and working with U.S. and foreign government agencies.
Special Forces Weapons Sergeant – 18C: Special Forces Weapons Sergeants employ U.S. and foreign small arms, light and heavy crew served weapons, anti-aircraft and anti-armor weapons. They are also relied upon to control and supervise tactical offensive and defensive operations as well as perform various airborne operations.
Special Forces Engineering Sergeant – 18D: The Special Forces Engineer Sergeant is a construction and demolitions specialist. As a builder, the engineer sergeant can create bridges, buildings, and field fortifications. As a demolitions specialist, the engineer sergeant can carry out demolition raids against enemy targets, such as bridges, railroads, fuel depots, and critical components of infrastructure.
Special Forces Communications Sergeant – 18E: Special Forces Communications Sergeants operate many kinds of communications gear, from encrypted satellite to high-frequency burst communications systems. They also have advanced computer and networking skills. The communications sergeant is responsible for establishing and maintaining tactical and operational communications.
Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant – 18F: The Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant collects and processes intelligence, plans force protection, conducts threat vulnerability assessments, and is trained in photography, digital intelligence systems, biometrics, forensics and digital media exploitation.
Marine Corps Raiders (MARSOC) MOS Details:
Critical Skills Operator – MOS 0372: All Marines, regardless of MOS, must successfully complete MarSOC Assessment & Selection (A&S), Individual Training Course (ITC) and must request and be granted a lateral move from their original MOS to the new Critical Skills MOS – 0372.
Air Force Special Warfare specialty classifications (AFCS) include:
Combat Controller (CCT) specialists who operate in remote, often hostile areas. Acting as a one-man attachment to other special forces teams, these highly specialized Airmen are trained in a wide range of skills, including scuba, parachuting and snowmobiling, as well as being FAA-certified air traffic controllers in order to establish air control and provide combat support on missions all over the globe.
Pararescue (PJ) specialists rescue and medically treat downed military personnel all over the world. These highly trained experts take part in every aspect of the mission and are skilled parachutists, scuba divers and rock climbers, and they are even arctic-trained in order to access any environment to save a life when they’re called to do so.
Special Reconnaissance (SR) deploy by any means – from airborne, maritime, or land-based platforms – deep behind enemy lines to collect and exploit key information, develop targets, and tilt the battlespace in our favor. Performing on the cutting-edge of technology, SR surveil and prepare the battlespace to provide global access, air, space, and cyberspace superiority.
Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) specialists imbed with Army and Marine units on the frontline with the incredible responsibility of calling in an air strike on the right target at just the right time. These highly trained experts go through intense physical, mental and technical training in order to withstand the demanding conditions of battle and provide their team with the firepower they need for continued success on the battlefield.
Navy Special Warfare Teams a.k.a SEAL ratings include:
Special Warfare Operators (SO) perform maritime and land-based Special Operations in urban, desert, jungle, artic, and mountain environments. Duties include combat diving, paradrop operations, small boat operations, tactical ground mobility, small arms and crew-served weapons, fast roping, rappelling, explosives, communications, trauma care, intelligence gathering and interpretation, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Explosive (CBRNE) defense measures.
Special Warfare Boat Operators (SB) support and perform maritime Special Operations in open ocean, littoral, and riverine environments; provide maritime insertion and extraction of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and others; possess unique skills in the operation, maintenance, and repair of specially configured combatant craft; operate small arms and crew-served weapons, operate, maintain and repair tactical communications equipment, and use paradrop techniques to insert combatant craft. Other skills include small boat tactics, tactical ground mobility, trauma care, intelligence gathering and interpretation, and chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear defense measures.
The Coast Guard’s Deployable Specialized Forces are open to a variety of Coast Guard Ratings including:
Maritime Enforcement Specialists (ME) are a cadre of professionals well grounded in knowledge and skills pertaining to law enforcement and security duties. ME are responsible for protecting America’s ports, waterways, and interests at home and abroad. Maritime Enforcement Specialists are trained in Maritime Law Enforcement, Anti-terrorism, Force Protection, and Physical Security.
Gunner’s Mate (GM) is one of the oldest ratings in the Coast Guard. GMs work with all types of ordnance, from 9mm small arms to ship board 76mm cannons. As a GM, you will be responsible for training personnel in proper handling of weapons, ammunition, and pyrotechnics. Additionally, GMs receive training maritime law enforcement.
Boatswain’s Mate (BM) rating sits at the operational core of every Coast Guard mission. BMs are the service’s experts in all aspects of deck seamanship and navigation. Additionally, BMs can receive training maritime law enforcement.
Machinery Technician (MK) offers opportunities for assignment at every Coast Guard cutter, boat, and shore station. Many MKs are also called on to act as federal law enforcement officers.
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