While there is a considerable amount of information available on how to become a member of America’s special operations forces, what often remains a mystery to those outside the military is how all those commissioned officers wound up leading these elite warriors, or at least absorbing the blame when things go wrong.

While there are great programs that allow civilians to essentially process directly into US Army Special Forces or the Navy SEALs, officers who wish to serve in these units have a less direct, and less sexy, route to take.

Army officers who wish to attend Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) for eventual service as a Green Beret, must first serve their lieutenant time (the first 3-5 years of service) in one of the Army’s many conventional branches.

For many officers within the Army Special Forces community, they begin their career as an infantry officer.