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If Churchill would have been able to imagine the next five years of World War II, perhaps he would have added desert, and jungle to his list of battle environments. By the end of the war soldiers of all armies would fight in virtually every environment on earth. Today military units still specialize in particular skills, and work in concert to achieve overall success. Military units are not created equal, and they often have overlapping capabilities to maximize their flexibility. When the bell tolls, units are then selected for their particular skills, and bundled together as a mission specific team. This method of customizing the force to the mission is extremely effective in how America responds to threats around the world.
Military branches are very large and include thousands of servicemen of all specialties. When a package is put together, it is usually built around a main terrestrial combat force. For simplification purposes we are going to divide those combat units into "tiers" of readiness and flexibility. The higher the tear doesn't mean the higher the combat strength (special operation's forces are extremely aggressive and capable, but hardly constitute "combat" strength). It is very important to note that these combat units form just the core of a team, and are complemented by other units that have critical roles in their protection. It doesn't matter how tough you might be on the ground, you will not survive without the rest of the team. All rivalry jokes aside, nobody loves the support elements more than grunts. We often depend on them with our lives, when we are at our worst.
1 - Special Operation Forces: Small mobile teams that are highly
trained and specialized to conduct missions that cannot be readily
accomplished by larger forces. Examples are the Army's Special Forces,
the Navy's SEALs, the Air force's air commandos (PJs, CTs, CR), the
Marine Corps's Force Recon teams, and the Army's Rangers.
Tier 2 - Readily Deployed: Forces with forced entry capability and well trained soldiers available to deploy to anywhere on the planet with little to no notice and able to conduct missions of short but intense duration. Examples are the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUSOC).
Tier 3 - Staying Power: Heavier forces designed for heavy combat, able to engage all enemy forces with overwhelming force. Examples are Marine and Army combat forces like infantry and armor.
|Left: An F18
fighter releases an air to air missile.
Support: Military jokes aside. All grunts on the ground clearly understand that they are the ones to pay a heavy price if it wasn't for their brothers who support them. I've always felt safe under the distant sound of friendly aircraft. Some supporting elements, especially aerial and naval, are able to operate independently of ground combat forces and execute their own independent missions.