Special Forces Communications Sergeant (18E). The Special Forces communications sergeant employs conventional and unconventional warfare tactics and techniques in communications.
* Senior Special Forces Communications Sergeant (18E4). Skill Level 4. Performs all duties of preceding skill level. Advises and provides tactical and technical guidance to the detachment commander, indigenous and allied personnel. Responsible for the planning, execution and supervision of cross training of detachment members in Special Forces communications skills. Prepares the communications electronics portion of operations orders, area studies and area assessments. When directed, conducts operational and intelligence in the planning, preparation and execution of detachment missions, Serves at SF battalion or higher level as frequency manager.
* Junior Special Forces Communications Sergeant (18E3). Skill Level 3.Trains and maintains proficiency in all major duties. Organizes trains, advises and supervises indigenous and allied personnel in the installation, utilization and operation of radio equipment, radio nets, standard and expedient antenna systems and wire communications. Proficient in and the instruction of the installation, operation and employment FM, AM, VHF, UHF, and SHF radio communication systems to transmit and receive radio messages in voice, continuous wave (CW), and burst code radio nets. Responsible for the establishment and maintenance of detachment tactical and operational communications and communication equipment. Plans, prepares and assists in the communications targets portion of the area study, prepares and assists in briefings, briefbacks and debriefings. Supervises the communication functions when in split detachment configuration for special operations or missions. Conducts C-E duties when task-organized in preparation (isolation) for missions and during operations, and advises the detachment commander on all communications matters.
My career in Special Forces began in 1972 when I enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves at the age of 18, just over three months before my 19th birthday. My roommate at the time had taken up skydiving and invited me to one of his jumps. I met his instructor, SSG Fred Hoffman who, it turned out, was a Reservist with Company F, 11th Special forces Group(Abn).
My draft number in 1972 was 8. That made it fairly likely that I’d probably end up getting drafted for a two year stint. Not something I relished. I didn’t want to be drafted into something I didn’t want to do and at the same time enlisting for four years wasn’t on my mind either. I was just starting college and probably could have been granted a deferment but something about being part of The Best There Is appealed to me.
Joining the Reserves seemed like a perfect solution. Less than a year of training and then home and back to a mostly civilian lifestyle. Well... sort of.
I enlisted on May 5th, 1972. That September, I reported to Fort Jackson, SC for Basic Training. Before doing so, I spent monthly drills at the company being prepped for what was to come. As much as possible in two days a month, I suppose. It was PT and more PT. There I was, less than a year after graduating from Miami Coral Park High School, 143 lbs soaking wet and getting ready to head off to Basic, AIT (O5B at Ft. Gordon, GA), Airborne School at Ft. Benning, GA and the the Special Forces Qualification Course at Ft. Bragg, NC.
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