The U.S. military is full of rough and ready soldiers. But within the ranks are special operations -- the most elite warriors whose specialties are impressive, to say the least.
Among the most famous: The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets. In the 1960's President Kennedy requested they wear the distinctive head gear that they are named for.
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The Night Stalkers
Better known as the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), these Army folks are known for providing the choppers used in Operation Neptune Spear, which involved killing a guy named Osama bin Laden.
Credit: Sgt. Christopher Prows/U.S. Army
The Marine Corps' Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team, part of its Security Force Regiment, guards sensitive naval installations -- the kind that involve nukes -- and other high-value locations.
A FAST team also was sent to Libya in response to the 2012 U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi.
Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Lewis/U.S. Navy
75th Ranger Regiment
These infantry warriors were involved in the infamous Black Hawk Down incident in Mogadishu in 1993. They also were among the first U.S. forces on Afghan soil during Operation Enduring Freedom.
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Best Rangers competition
A "best Rangers competition" is held annually at Fort Benning, Ga., to determine the best two-man team over a grueling, 60-hour event. Day three includes an obstacle course and a helicopter jump.
Credit: U.S. Army
This group includes SEAL Team Six, which took down Osama bin Laden. The Navy SEALs seen here are working with a Belgian Malinois, the same kind of dog that accompanied Team Six during its crucial mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Credit: Joe Skipper/Reuters
This highly secretive Army group, also known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, is based in Fort Bragg, N.C. Photos of the group are hard to come by, and with good reason: Their missions are often clandestine, and, to conceal their identities, they rarely wear a uniform.
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These Marines are known for gathering intel behind enemy lines, particularly via scout swimming or other water-based operations.
Credit: Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke
Force Recon: Geared up
They're trained in high altitude techniques, skiing and amphibious techniques, including working with SCUBA gear.
Credit: Cpl. Christopher Q. Stone/U.S. Marine Corps
Maritime Safety and Security Teams
These Coast Guard troops specialize in anti-terror, specifically, protecting our country's maritime assets from the enemy. They even know how to arrest a submerged diver.
Credit: PA3 Nathan Henise/USCG
The Special Operations Command umbrella group comprises several elite elements within the U.S. Marines; they played big roles in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Credit: Senior Airman Nicholas Pilch/U.S. Air Force
Air Force Pararescue
The "PJs" are so versatile that they not only rescue people in combat missions, they also support NASA astronauts after water landings.
Credit: Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughes/U.S. Air Force
PJs: Heroism in Mogadishu
One PJ, Master Sergeant Scott Fales, got the Silver Star for his heroic action in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu.
Credit: Courtesy USSOCOM Public Affairs
Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen
The Navy's "Swick" force maintains a fleet of small craft to support missions, particularly those spearheaded by the Navy SEALs. They focus not only on weapons tactics, but also infiltration and exfiltration; they've served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michelle Kapica/U.S. Navy
Swick forces specialize not only on weapons tactics, but also on infiltration and exfiltration. Here, an SWCC candidate handles a floatation check.
Credit: MC2 Michelle Kapica/U.S. Navy
Special Operations Weather Technician
Get this: Weather forecasters. With combat training. Yep: The job of the Air Force SWOTs is to interpret meteorological data, often in hostile territory, and deliver the intel to air and ground forces. Their motto: Eyes Forward.
Credit: U.S. Air Force
These Marines are into long-range firepower and know how to deliver it, anytime, anywhere. No wonder their motto is, "Lightning from the Sky, Thunder from the Sea."
Credit: U.S. Marines
5th ANGLICO training
Here, Marines with 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company practice exiting a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan.
Credit: Lance Cpl. Jessica Etheridge
Air Force Combat Controllers
All the skills of a soldier in peak condition, combined with top-flight air traffic control training. They're flexible enough to support other special forces, such as Navy SEALs, during tricky missions.