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How to Become a Green Beret

The Green Berets were made famous in a 1968 movie starring John Wayne and a ballad by the same name produced by Sgt. Barry Sadler. The Green Berets are the U.S. Army’s special forces unit which operate in 12 member units under the mission “to free the oppressed”. For anyone whose dream is to become a Green Beret, it is important to know from the start that only a small percentage of those who try out for this elite squad are selected and even more fail to complete the dangerous and rigorous training required of the Green Berets. Special forces such as the Green Berets have been a part of U.S. military history since the time of the American Revolution and they have a long history of only selecting the best of the best to wear the cap.

Physical Training & Mental Preparation

Any individual who wants to know how to become a Green Beret must constantly be in physical training, keeping both mind and body in top condition. Any candidate for the Green Berets must present themselves in the very finest physical as well as mental condition. In addition, it is extremely desirable for a potential Green Beret to speak more than one language beyond English. Since fluency in certain languages is more desirable than others, a candidate may inquire of an Army recruiter regarding language recommendations which may give them an edge once they apply to become a Green Beret.

Once a recruit is in top physical condition and has pursued fluency in a foreign language, the first step in becoming a Green Beret is to join the U.S. Army, letting the recruiter know that becoming a Green Beret is a career goal so that the candidate’s career choices within the Army can best reflect that goal.

Specialty Training

Applying for paratrooper training as well as Army Ranger training are two specialties that are essential when the recruit’s goal is to become a Green Beret. Avoid wasting time if at all possible in more sedentary Army career choices because these candidates are not likely to even be considered for Green Beret training. At every opportunity, the recruit must strive to be the perfect soldier, applying for advanced training whenever possible and reaching the rank of Specialist or Corporal (E-4).

Green Beret Application

Application to become a Green Beret must be made to the Special Operations Recruiting Company located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Candidates must be U.S. Citizens, a male enrolled in the U.S. Army for at least 3 years, able to pass rigorous medical qualifications as well as successfully pass a special security clearance. The application for Special Forces duty makes specific requirements of all potential candidates, including participation in a 12 mile road march in no later than four and a half hours while carrying a rucksack weighing 55 pounds.

Q Course

Once a candidate has passed the rigorous physical and psychological evaluations necessary to become a Green Beret, the next step in the process is an appearance before the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Assessment and Review Board. Upon acceptance by this Review Board, the candidate then moves on to actual training by attending the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course. Also known as the “Q” or Qualification Course, this special training can last anywhere between six to 12 months.

Many Green Berets liken attending the Q Course to participating in a daily physical and mental marathon which starts before the sun comes up and ends long after sundown. Fatigue and stress are the biggest enemies of candidates participating in this course, so to become a Green Beret requires knowing how to minimize the effects of fatigue and stress on both body and mind.


Once a candidate has successfully climbed up every rung of the ladder toward becoming a Green Beret, they may then be assigned to work almost anywhere in the world in missions that may require diplomacy, physical agility, combat and espionage skills in order to carry out wartime, peacetime or humanitarian missions that help to protect and defend the United States around the globe.