Special Forces Operational Detachment-A, or A-Team, is the fundamental
building block for all Special Forces Groups. There are six A
detachments in each Special Forces company.
A captain leads the 12-man team. Second in
command is a warrant officer. An Operations sergeant, also known as the
Team Sergeant is responsible for all operational aspects of the team. An
Intelligence sergeant, responsible for intelligence collection,
processing and target analysis also serves as an assistant operations
sergeant. Two noncommissioned officers, or NCOs, per functional area:
weapons, engineer, medical, and communications, comprise the remainder
of the team. All team members are SF qualified and cross-trained in
different skills, as well as being multi-lingual.
Capabilities of the highly-versatile A-team
include: planning and conducting SF operations separately or as part of
a larger force; infiltrating and exfiltrating specified operational
areas by air, land, or sea; conducting operations in remote areas and
hostile environments for extended periods of time with a minimum of
external direction and support; developing, organizing, equipping,
training and advising indigenous forces up to battalion size in special
operations; training, advising and assisting other U.S. and allied
forces and agencies; planning and conducting unilateral SF operations;
performing other special operations as directed by higher authority.
In the SF battalion, two of the 18 A-teams are
trained in combat diving and three are trained in military free-fall
parachuting. Both are used as methods of infiltration.
The detachment can serve as a manpower pool
from which SF commanders organize tailored SF teams to perform specific
In general, A-teams are equipped with
communications, i.e. tactical satellite communications, high-frequency
radios, and global positioning systems. Medical kits include laboratory
and dental instruments and supplies, sterilizer, resuscitator-aspirator,
water-testing kits and veterinary equipment. Other key equipment
includes individual and perimeter defense weapons as well as electric
and non-electric demolitions and night-vision devices. Equipment
distribution may be geared to conform to specific missions.
For underwater or waterborne infiltration,
scuba teams are equipped with open-circuit twin 80s SCUBA tanks,
closed-circuit Draeger (rebreather) Lar-V, Zodiac boat and Klepper
kayaks. Military free-fall parachuting teams use MC4 ram air parachutes
and oxygen systems.