Special Operations by National Security Info

Main Menu

NSI Home

SOF Menu

SOF Home
Foreign SOF
SOF History Timeline
SOF Site Map


This website is an Amazon Associate
and earns money for qualifying purchases.

US National Security






SOF History

Home > SOF > History

U.S. special operations forces (SOF) history can be traced back to the French and Indian War.

World War II SOF

U.S. Army Rangers. There were a number of Army Ranger battalions formed during World War II. Many of the Ranger battalions saw service in the European theater. However, some were employed in the Pacific theater. The 6th Ranger Battalion was part of a combined force (including the Alamo Scouts and Philippine guerrillas) that rescued over 500 POWs from the Cabanatuan POW camp on January 30, 1945.

Merrill's Marauders. On October 3, 1993, the 5307 Composite Group was established. The unit, also known as Merrill's Marauders, conducted deep range combat operations against Japanese forces in the Pacific theater.

Cold War Era

OCPW. The Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare was established in 1950 by the Department of Defense in response to the onset of the Korean conflict. The OCPW had the mission of psychological operations and special operations. The DoD then established the Pschological Warfare Center and the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

News Articles about SOF History

October 20, 2023, "How War in Grenada Built U.S. SOCOM", by Forrest L. Marion, National Interest. In the aftermath of Iran-Grenada, several congressional leaders took the initiative to reorganize the Pentagonís special operations forces, culminating in the creation of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1987.

February 12, 2023, "SEASPRAY: Clandestine Air Operations and Covert Activity", by Alec Smith, Grey Dynamics.

January 6, 2021. "Anniversary of the deactivation of the 6th Ranger Battalion", USASOC History Office.

Psychological Operations

"Special Operatons Force Structure: Strategic Calculus or Organizational Power", by Cole Livieratos and Ken Gleiman, War on the Rocks, February 6, 2024. The authors describe the long history of PSYOP over the past several decades since World War II.



Return to Top of Page

Home > SOF > History


Related Pages







Books about Special Operations Forces

Books about Special Operations - SOF


We are an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

All external sites open up in new window.
Please report broken links or inaccurate content to webmaster at john @ north-point.org
© Copyright 2020-2024