Special Forces Underwater Operations

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Diver Badge (USN).jpg
Military Scuba Diver Badge, retired in 2004
Current Army Special Operations Diver Badge

Special Forces Underwater Operations (SFUWO) is the term for United States Army Special Forces combat operations involving the use of underwater infiltration methods. These typically involve the use of closed circuit dive equipment to infiltrate a beach landing site (BLS) undetected. [1] The US Army Special Forces, also known as Green Berets have been conducting maritime operations and underwater operations since their founding in 1952. Currently, each company within a Special Forces Group mans, trains, equips, and deploys a SFUWO Operation Detachment Alpha (SFOD-A). These twelve-man teams train for SFUWO as their primary infiltration method when conducting one of their missions of unconventional warfare, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, among others.


Special Forces Underwater Operations School

The US Army Special Forces founded the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Trumbo Point Annex, Naval Air Station Key West, in 1964. [5] Prior to that SF Detachment-Alphas were receiving disparate levels of dive training at their respective groups. SFUWO makes up C Company of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel have previously attended the Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC), the seven week course that trains special operators to conduct SFUWO in a combat environment. [5] With a cadre of instructors primarily made up of Army Special Forces, along with a smaller number of Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, and Air Force pararescuemen and combat controllers, CDQC was formerly a standard part of the Air Force pararescue and combat control training pipelines (prior to the opening of the USAF Combat Diver Course in Panama City, FL), and both Tactical Air Control Party and Special Reconnaissance (formerly Special Operations Weather Teams) have also attended CDQC to become qualified in special warfare maritime operations.

See also

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  1. "FM-3-05-212 Special Forces Waterborne Operations". US Army APD. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  2. 1 2 "The Big Picture," Pictorial Report No. 29, TV-372; U.S. Army; courtesy of PublicResourceOrg; circa 1956; last accessed 28 November 2022
  3. "OSS Maritime Unit". OSS Maritime Unit. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  4. "Christian Lambertsen and the Secret Story Behind Scuba". CIA Library. Central Intelligence Agency Library. Archived from the original on August 26, 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  5. 1 2 Crippen, Linda. "Combat Diver Qualification Course challenges Special Forces". US ARMY. US ARMY TRADOC. Retrieved 3 May 2019.