By William S. Frisbee Jr.
Usually, the more elite a unit is, the more specialists it has. Every military unit has different specialists, people with special training and special jobs. Here is a list of some of the duties a unit may have. It is by no means complete but it might help you figure out exactly what that one character is doing in a team besides carrying a rifle. Riflemen come a dime a dozen and a special operations group is not going to waste time with deploying a rifleman. A special Operations group will frequently train specialists as riflemen or riflemen as specials because riflemen are usually easier to train. For instance, on a Special Forces team everyone has one or more specialties. A bridge crew is full of different specialists, each one with a highly technical job. As combat becomes more complex so will infantry units.
Administration: This individual is responsible for the mundane aspects, the bean counting and logistics, maybe even the personnel records. This is not a combat specialty but it may be a job assigned to someone for various reasons.
Advisor: This individual is usually assigned to a team or unit to advise them on something that may affect the mission. This may be anything from identifying the body of the target to assisting in the execution of the mission.
Chemical War: This individual is responsible for knowing about chemical, nuclear and biological warfare. This specialist may also be tasked with insuring the unit is properly protected against the threat.
Combat Engineer: This is basically a destructive job. Combat Engineers specialize in blowing things up, creating paths through minefields and removing barbed wire and other obstacles.
Comm Specialist: This individual is trained and tasked with maintaining and monitoring the team (unit's) communication equipment. He insures everyone has the proper codes and call signs and their everyone's communicators work.
Counter Intelligence: This individual is tasked with deceiving and preventing enemy intelligence gathering efforts. The CI specialist tracks and terminates enemy spies and plans methods to deceive the enemy.
Demolitions Specialist: This individual is highly trained in the use and application of explosives. On a mission he will likely carry and emplace the explosives. On a Special Forces team he will likely train others in how to make and use explosives.
Drone/Remote: This individual is well trained in the use and repair of robotic craft for reconnaissance or attack. This specialist may also be responsible for knowledge on enemy drones and robots.
ECM: This individual is well trained in Electronic Countermeasures. He is tasked with defeating enemy electronics.
Electronics: This individual is well trained in the use and application of electronics. Since electronics is such a broad field, the individual is likely to have one or more specialties.
Engineer: This individual is well trained in the construction of structures, from bunkers to bridges. He is usually more concerned with building things than destroying them.
Environmental: This specialist is knowledgeable about planetary environments and or the local ecology. He may be tasked with briefing the team on dangerous local fauna and flora.
Forward Air Controller: This individual is usually highly trained in flight operations. He knows the language and capabilities of friendly (and maybe enemy) aircraft. A FAC is often used to direct air strikes against enemy missions. Sometimes a FAC is a pilot serving time with a ground unit.
Grenadier: This individual is frequently tasked with employing a grenade launcher or hand grenades.
Heavy Weapon Specialist: This individual is well trained in the use of heavier weapons like machine guns, rocket launchers and mortars. On a Special Forces team he is usually tasked with training others in the use of Heavy Weapons.
Intelligence: This duty deals with collecting and analyzing information about the enemy. There are many subspecialties including photo analyst, interrogator, ect.
Light Weapon Specialist: This individual is well trained in the use of light weapons, from assault rifles to knives and maybe bare hands. On a Special Forces team he is the Light Weapons Instructor.
Logistics: This is a critical job. The Logistics specialist is tasked with making sure everybody gets what they need, when they need it. It is far more difficult than it sounds. While a logistics specialist may not serve on the front lines he may be part of guerrilla unit or team.
Medical: This is an individual trained in the medical arts. It is usually a very important job and found in all units at nearly every level.
Naval Guns: This specialist is an expert on the capabilities and uses of Naval Gunfire. He frequently knows the terminology and uses of Naval Guns so that they are employed most effectively.
Navigator: This individual is responsible for insuring the vehicle or unit stays on course. He may also be responsible for plotting the course.
Netrunner/Hacker/Spider: This individual is highly trained in defeating enemy computer systems for the purpose of stealing or destroying information. This individual may also be responsible for taking over enemy computer nets for various reasons.
Pilot: As the name implies this individual is the guy who flies or drives or swims the craft.
Planning/Operations: This individual coordinates and helps plan missions and other operations. The Planning/Operations officer is responsible for knowing what is going on and where. It is a daunting task keeping track of what friendly forces are up to.
Political: This position is usually found in more oppressive regimes and Political 'officers' are used to insure that the other members are politically correct in their manner and activities. Defying a political Officer is a quick way to get a midnight visit from the secret police.
Psywar Specialist: This individual is trained and tasked with attacking the enemy's morale through propaganda and specialized missions. This job should not be underestimated since morale can have a powerful effect on an enemy's combat effectiveness.
Radar/Sonar/Sensor: This individual is a specialist in operating their sensing device. They should know exactly what it can and cannot do and they frequently require high security clearance for that reason. They may also be tasked with repairing their equipment.
Religious: Similar to a Political Specialist, a Religious 'Officer' is responsible for insuring the religious correctness of a militaries activities. The Religious Officer may also be responsible for providing religious guidance and assistance for those in his command. The responsibilities and power of the Religious Officer vary according to the government.
Robotics: This individual is responsible for the teams robots and may be responsible for knowing about and dealing with enemy robots.
Sapper: This individual is armed with a satchel charge explosive and tasked with getting it into the enemy's position. In Vietnam the VC would strap charges to their body and act like mobile bombs, killing themselves in the act.
SAW Gunner: This is the Squad Automatic Weapon specialist. This position is very important in combat units because the machine gun is one of the more effective weapons.
Security: This individual is responsible for preventing unauthorized access, responding to unauthorized access and protecting places or things. This person may be anyone from some soldier pulled back from the front lines to guard a motor pool, to a computer specialist who monitors and protects a network.
Sniper: This individual usually works closely with another sniper when deployed away from the unit. A sniper is highly trained in stealth, observation and accurate fire. Snipers will likely be deployed in such a way as to cover the advance or actions of the main unit. The effectiveness of a sniper should not be underestimated.
Tactical: This individual is tasked with analyzing and countering the enemy's tactical plan. This individual may also be responsible for maintaining the tactical monitoring system (like a hologram). Or this individual may be a specialist on enemy tactics and techniques.
Team Leader: This individual is responsible for the proper deployment and actions of his team. He is responsible for insuring his team accomplishes the mission. A team leader may command anything from a fireteam to a division (although a Divisional team leader may not be called a team leader!).
Tracker: This individual is usually a native who is an expert at tracking in a specific area. This individual may also double as a translator and a local ecology expert.
Translator: This is a critical job that the movies often overlook. A translator is often more than just someone who speaks the language, this individual is also responsible for understanding the local culture and making sure nobody causes grave insult to their allies. The translator can be critical for communicating with locals, translating enemy communications and understanding the culture.
ã By William S. Frisbee Jr. All Rights Reserved.
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