Terminology: SOF vs SF

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Terminology: SOF vs SF

Post by jimothy_183 » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:12 am

This thread is to clear up the confusion between the terms Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Special Forces (SF).

One must first understand that there are two different definitions of SF:
1. A generic term used to refer to a highly trained military unit tasked with performing unconventional and high risk missions. (Worldwide)
2. A specific unit of the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) specialising in Unconventional Warfare (UW) and Foreign Internal Defense (FID). (US Military)

As the US military began to activate more special operations units across multiple branches they are all collectively referred to as SOF because the name and term Special Forces was already taken by the unit mentioned above when it was activated in the early 50's.

Bottom line: What the US Military refers to as SOF, everyone else refers to as SF.
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Re: Terminology: SOF vs SF

Post by tacticalguy » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:32 pm

Fairly good definition, Jimothy. SOF is basically an "umbrella" term that covers the wide range of US Special Operations groups including but, not limited to; US Army Special Forces, US Navy DEVGRU (SEALs), US Army Rangers, US ARMY 160th SOAR, US Air Force Para Rescue and USMC MARSOC. Any country that fields a special operations type unit can refer to them as "special forces", though. There are many really good special operations units out there that get a lot of respect in the global spec ops community that use that appellation.
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Re: Terminology: SOF vs SF

Post by Ryan » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:01 am

What about USSF? :? Some non-American teams have SOF in their name.
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Re: Terminology: SOF vs SF

Post by tacticalguy » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:22 am

Ryan wrote:What about USSF? :? Some non-American teams have SOF in their name.
tacticalguy wrote:Any country that fields a special operations type unit can refer to them as "special forces", though. There are many really good special operations units out there that get a lot of respect in the global spec ops community that use that appellation.
LOLOL. See above, sir.
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