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My new campaing is going to brush up against the Special Forces world. My question is, what ranks do these people have? I mean, a team is composed of a bunch of "grunts" and a leader, right? But somehow I don't think they are PFCs lead by a sarge... I think I heard somewhere that to be in the SEALs, you have to already be a lieutenant? So are they all Lts led by a captain?
the Rangers are the only specops team i know of that accepts soldiers below E-5. most specops teams, you're looking at a few E-5s, a lot of E-6s, and some E-7s and E-8s. i'm not sure about officers, but if there are O-2s in the mix, they very probably went green to gold; not your usual leg lieutenants. i wouldn't be surprised to find out that officer slots have non-waivable time-in-service requirements, meaning that most of them are O-3 or above.
Army SoF are all Sergeants (E-5+) lead by a Captain (O-3).
Austere Emancipator
Depends on the Special Forces unit. The following is mainly from the GURPS: SpecOps book. You can find a lot more data from the SpecialOperations.Com website. I'm guessing you'll be most interested in the US Armed Forces Special Operations Units section.

The US Army Special Forces (the "Green Berets")
Pperational forces consist of Operational Detachment Alphas, which have 2 Officers and 10 NCOs:
Detachment Commander (Captain)
Executive Officer (Warrant Officer)
Team Operations NCO (Master Sergeant)
Intelligence and Operations NCO (Seargeant 1st Class)
Weapons NCO (SFC)
Medical Specialist (SFC)
Engineer NCO (SFC)
Communications NCO (SFC)
Assistant Weapons NCO (Sergeant or Staff Sergeant)
Assistant Medical Specialist (SGT or SSG)
Assistant Engineer NCO (SGT or SSG)
Assistant Communications NCO (SGT or SSG)

The next highest unit structure in Special Forces is the Company (probably lead by a Major?), then the Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel?) and then the Special Forces Groups (Brigade-sized, lead by Colonels maybe?).

1st SFOD-Delta
Three operational squadrons, each about 75 soldiers, divided into 4-6 man teams. All members are SFCs or higher. Dunno about squadron leader grades, but the one who lead the C-Squadron in Mogadishu was, apparently, a Lieutenant Colonel.

Couldn't confirm grades. [Edit]But N[M]ath did, see below. The officers leading the Platoons and Squads are likely to be Lieutenants or Lieutenants (Junior Grade), O-3 or O-2. Waiting on confirmation about this, I'm sure someone knows...[/Edit]

The smallest operational unit is the 8-man Squads (1 Officer, 7 Ratings). Platoons are 14 Ratings, 2 Officers. SEAL Teams consist of 8 Platoons and a HQ Unit. Naval Special Warfare Units consist of 17 officers and ratings and function as Command&Control elements. Each Naval Special Warfare Group (of which there is two) consists of 3 SEAL Teams and 4 NSWUs.

Ex-SEAL Team 6, current Naval Special Warfare Development Group, consists of ~200 operators and ~300 support personnel. All volunteers must have served two years in a SEAL Team. I doubt these are all Officers either, however.

The UK SAS (and probably the SAS of Australia and New Zealand as well) consists of Squadrons of 10 Officers and 64 Enlisted men, each commanded by a Major. Each troop has 2 Officers and 10 Enlisted men. I'm guessing all volunteers must be Sergeants, but the limit might as well be Corporal.

The German Kommando Spezialkräfte demans all volunteers to be of Feldwebel (Staff Sergeant) rank or higher, all officers are Lieutenants. Brigade-sized (~420 combat troops). 6 companies, 4 of which 80-men Kommando companies further divided into a HQ group and 4 platoons, each platoon training for different mission profiles. I do not know the specific ranks here, but I'm guessing 2-4 officers per Platoon, the rest (12-16) being Feldwebels or higher.

The French GIGN consists ~90 operators: A command cell, a support/training detachment, a negotiation cell, and 4 mission groups. The mission groups consist of 1 NCO and 12-15 Gendarmes (1 SFC+ and 12-15 SGTs+?).
Couldn't confirm grades. The "Ratings" could mean that SEALs can be of as low a Rate as Seaman, or must be as high as Chief Petty Officer. They certainly are not Lieutenants, though. If I had to, I'd bet on a minimum Rate of Chief Petty Officer for the Ratings. The "Officers" are most likely Captains, maybe Lieutenants (Junior Grade).

The smallest operational unit is the 8-man Squads (1 Officer, 7 Ratings). Platoons are 14 Ratings, 2 Officers. SEAL Teams consist of 8 Platoons and a HQ Unit -- probably lead by a Captain. Naval Special Warfare Units consist of 17 officers and ratings and function as Command&Control elements. Each Naval Special Warfare Group (of which there is two) consists of 3 SEAL Teams and 4 NSWUs.

It's the Navy, so there are no "captain" in the SEAL (without a ship at least). SEAL Teams are led by a Commander, O-5. To enter, the requirement for enlisted is E-6 (Petty Officer first class) or below.
Austere Emancipator
Yeah, sorry about that. Originally I mixed the officer grades with the Marine Corps ones, then I caught that and corrected the Lieutenant-bit, but didn't catch the Captain.

Anyway, I'm sure you know a lot more about the other SpecOps units as well. Don't let other people suffer from my ignorance, share your knowledge. wink.gif
Just googling fast nyahnyah.gif
No special forces units that I am aware of are exclusively comprised of officers, or even mostly comprised of officers and it wouldn't make sense to create a Special Operations unit today with only Officers. The Army is the only force that I am aware of that has all sergeants or above in their special forces teams.

Marine Reconnaissance units are comparable to the rest of the Marine Corps in terms of rank structure. Most Marines in a Recon unit will be Lance Corporals, Corporals, (E-4) will usually lead teams with Sergeants (E-5) leading squads and on up.

This said, it may make sense in the Shadowrun world to have Special Operations units that consist only of officers if the skills needed for the particular SpecOps unit are particularly difficult to obtain. An example would be a Special Operations unit consisting of trained magic users.
GIGN also only have NCOs and above in its ranks ("gendarme" are all NCOs), but that's particular case since the Gendarmerie is a lot closer to a police force. The GIGN would be "just" a SWAT if all its members weren't certified parajumpers that could be sent in foreign operations.
Thanks that answers my question pretty well.
Not completly sure, but know of no rank restriction in the SAS (and am not willing to look through the internet or read any andy McNab to check).
Just remember that on 'special' operations, officers are admin, comand and control, and would only go in with the rest of the group when the team is acting as normal infantry platoon- seargents are the highest rank leading a patrol (or squad or whatever) which means no officers at all would be on a run.
Dont know about the yank forces, they may feel the need to send in officers with grunts to babysit, but then the septics useually need that.
perhaps it's more that the brits feel that sending officers in with the enlisted would just be throwing the bad out with the worse!
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