Special Operations Medicine




Army 18 Deltas

Army Rangers

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Air Force Special Operations

A unique form of military medicine is that which is practiced in support of Special Operations.
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This support might take the form of:

  • Humanitarian assistance missions
  • Casualty care in isolated settings
  • Preventive medicine in garrison
  • Civilian and public health care in developing nations
  • Medical care of strenuously-trained individuals, working with extreme stresses in hostile physical environments.

The basic principles of Special Operations Medicine are the same as in conventional military medical settings.

The way in which those principles are applied may be quite different, because of unique mission requirements, extremes of environment, and availability (or non-availability) of resources.


FastRope250.jpg (21321 bytes)All active and reserve Army, Navy, and Air Force Special Operations Forces based in the United States are assigned to the US Special Operations Command. USSOCOM is located at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida.

USSOCOM's service component commands are:

  1. U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC, at Fort Bragg, NC)
    • Special Forces (SF)
    • Rangers
    • Special Operations Aviation
    • CA
    • PSYOP
  2. Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM, at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California)
    • NSW Group One and Special Boat Squadron One in Coronado
    • NSW Group Two and Special Boat Squadron Two in Little Creek, VA
  3. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC, at Hurlburt Field, Florida).
    • Three Special Operations Wings
    • Two Special Operations Groups
    • One Special Tactics Group

In addition, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC, at Fort Bragg, NC) studies special operations requirements and techniques, ensures interoperability and equipment standardizations, plans and conducts joint exercises/training, and develops tactics.


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Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
Department of the Navy
2300 E Street NW
Washington, D.C

Operational Medicine
 Health Care in Military Settings
CAPT Michael John Hughey, MC, USNR
  January 1, 2001

United States Special Operations Command
7701 Tampa Point Blvd.
MacDill AFB, Florida

*This web version is provided by The Brookside Associates, LLC.  It contains original contents from the official US Navy NAVMED P-5139, but has been reformatted for web access and includes advertising and links that were not present in the original version. The medical information presented was reviewed and felt to be accurate in 2001. Medical knowledge and practice methods may have changed since that time. Some links may no longer be active. This web version has not been approved by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense. The presence of any advertising on these pages does not constitute an endorsement of that product or service by either the US Department of Defense or the Brookside Associates. The Brookside Associates is a private organization, not affiliated with the United States Department of Defense.

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