USSOCOM’s ‘Typical’ Operator

    Members of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, during a combat search and rescue exercise in support of Exercise Eager Lion 2017. (C. Lange/USAF)

    What do you think of when you think about SOCOM Operators? Beards, Heckler & Koch MK 23s and HK416s? Well maybe you should be picturing multi-lingual, water polo loving dads instead. US SOCOM have just released their 2018 Fact Book,written by USSOCOM’s Office of Communication, inside was an interesting list of charecteristics for SOCOM’s famed operators.

    Inside the new Fact Book are a run down of SOCOM Medal of Honor recipients, Bull Simons Award winners and Commando Hall of Honor inductees as well as breakdowns of SOCOM’s many, many sub-commands including JSOC, MARSOC, USASOC, AFSOC and NSWC as well as the numerous regional commands.

    The Fact Book then lists some of the land, sea and air equipment used by SOCOM before getting to a short, insightful section that piqued my interest: ‘The Typical Operator’. The short section has a number of bullet points describing the demographic of the average ‘operator’:

    – Is married and has at least two kids

    – Average age is 29 years-old enlisted; 34 years-old officer

    – Has eight years experience in the general purpose forces

    – Receives cultural and language training

    – Has attended multiple advanced tactical schools

    – Enjoys games which require problem solving like chess

    – Is well educated and likely to have a college degree

    – Is a thinking athlete – water polo, track, wrestling or football

    The USSOCOM Fact Book has a long tradition, infact you can view Fact Books dating all the way back to 2007 online (simply change the year in the URL) of including this section. Almost every year since 2012 the book has had this same list of traits. I’d be interested to know if the demographic described has remained the same or if any of the details like average age have change at all over the years.

    You can check out the 2018 Fact Book here, its worth a look just for some of the great photos.

    Matthew Moss

    Matthew Moss – Assistant Editor.

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written for a variety of publications in both the US and UK he also runs www.historicalfirearms.info, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of www.armourersbench.com, a new video series on historically significant small arms.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]


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