Why the US Green Berets are the smartest, most lethal fighters in the world

Though the US Army celebrates its birthday on June 14, 1775, it didn’t have the special operators with their distinctive “green beret” until much later.

Army Special Forces got its start on June 19, 1952, and since then, its soldiers have been at the forefront of fights in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and today, are advising US-backed forces inside Syria.

They call themselves the quiet professionals, and they are one of the most elite fighting groups in the world.

Their mission is unconventional warfare — taking small SF teams to train and lead guerrilla forces.

SF soldiers usually work together in a 12-man “A-Team,” with each man holding a specific job: The ranking officer is the team leader, the weapons sergeant knows just about every weapon in the world, the communications sergeant tees up ordnance or extract, and the medics can take lives as quickly as saving them.

It may seem crazy to send only 12 guys into a hostile country, but it’s not crazy when they are Special Forces.

The US Army Special Forces are known for their exceptional skill and professionalism in modern war.

Alongside the CIA, they were the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan only one month after 9/11.

There they linked up with the Northern Alliance and brought Hamid Karzai into Kabul.

Riding on horses in the beginning of that war ...

... Or on ATV's ...

... They were both feared and respected.

But SF doesn't take just anybody.

Special Operations Command

The Army selects this elite few from among the best soldiers that come to Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS).

The training is physically exhausting ...

... And requires exceptional endurance and mental skill.

It's only 24 days at SFAS before they move on to another year of training.

That year includes language training (every SF soldier learns a second language), specialty skills -- such as weapons or radios -- and finally Robin Sage, the culminating training exercise.

But it's only the beginning of their SF career as they don the Green Beret for the first time ...

... And earn the 'Long Tab' of the Special Forces.

They will move on to a Special Forces Group and start training within their 12-man teams.

That might mean High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) training ...

... That's jumping out of an aeroplane ...

... With an oxygen mask, since they will be up above 30,000 feet.

Or breaching and clearing rooms.

What SF would call Close Quarters Battle (CQB).

The object being -- get through the doorway as quickly as possible ...

... And overwhelm a hostile force with blistering small arms fire.

All in a matter of seconds, of course.

It's not only Navy SEALs in the water.

SF has their own Dive school.

And if their group needs winter training, they will get that too.

Ultimately, all this training gets them ready for their mission as the masters of unconventional warfare.

That may mean direct action -- kicking in doors and going after the bad guys,

Or helping foreign governments with their own defence ...

... And training their military to help them fight.

One thing is certain when it comes to SF.

They have their pick of the best small arms ...

... And really, really big arms.

They have some of the most highly-skilled shooters in the military ...

... That are both extremely accurate and fast shooters -- and can remain so when fired upon.

They have some of the coolest toys ...

... From their Humvees ...

... To helmets.

They are supported by the finest helicopter pilots in the world

As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the US Special Forces will continue to train for the next fight ...

... And will likely be the first ones called in to battle ...

... To live up to their motto: De Oppresso Liber -- To Liberate the Oppressed.

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.