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Studies, Observation and Evaluation Group is the official cover of the US Navy's elite special warfare group nicknamed as Ghost Unit. While officially a special warfarce force, SOE Group's mission is to Study, observe, and evaluate technology and maritime, ground and airborne tactics applicable to Naval Special Warfare forces.

Aside from the designation Studies, Observation and Evaluation Group, the Unit has no name and is not present in any official Navy documents hence the nickname Ghost Unit.


Ghost Unit is a highly classified Special Operations Force (SOF) of the United States Navy Special Warfare Command employed in direct action and special reconnaissance operations and an integral element and under direct command of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

Ghost Unit’s primary missions are kept highly classified. It is an extremely versatile group capable of assuming many missions including the blackest of black operations.

The Pentagon tightly controls information about the Unit and publicly refuses to comment on the existence of the unit.

Ghost Unit Operators are granted enormous amount of flexibility and autonomy. They do not maintain any general uniformed presence and civilian clothing is the norm on or off duty. This is to conceal the identities of the operators. When military uniforms are worn, they lack markings, surnames, or branch names. Hair style and facial hair are allowed to grow to civilian standards in order for the operator to be able to blend in and not be immediately recognized as military personnel.

Ghost Operators are allowed a significant degree of latitude in their personal grooming standards. They are allowed to wear their hair longer than what normal military regulations would allow.

Security is kept tight about the Unit’s existence. If it is suspected that an operator or even the wife of that operator is talking about the Unit, that operator would be expelled. The Unit operates throughout the world. The United States government has the ability to deny the existence of the Unit to prevent the onset of international incident.

Organization and Chain of Command

Ghost Unit is a battalion-sized command under the Special Operations Command. The smallest unit is a team, consisting of four to five members. Each team specializes in HALO/HAHO, SCUBA and/or other skill group. The next tier is the platoon level, consisting of four teams.

First Platoon serves as Direct action groups. Four Teams constitute first platoon; Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta. Selection and recruits who passed selection are temporarily assigned to Second Platoon; Green, Yellow and Red. The Unit maintains a separate aviation and maritime platoon using aircraft and watercraft painted in civilian scheme with fake identification numbers different from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) or the SWCCs. Aviation and maritime teams fall under Third Platoon; Archangel One and Two and Orca One and Two. Support and Logistics personnel are in Fourth Platoon.

The Unit Commander (O-6) reports directly to the USSOCOM Commander which in turn reports directly to the Presidentof the United States. Team Leaders are O-3s. Majority Unit operators are enlisted E-5 up and male. Female members of the Unit fill non-direct combat roles.

The Unit compound, located on Fleet Training Center in Naval Amphibious Base Spring Valley, in Angel Cove, Virginia; with a focus on operations at sea. It has firing ranges and kill houses, a section of aircraft fuselage, and other likely hostage rescue locations.

The Unit would occasionally work with the Agency although most Unit operators does not like being ordered by authority other than their own.

Recruitment, Selection, and Training

Most recruits come from the US Navy’s special warfare community. Not just anyone can become a Unit Operator, they are hand-picked; recruits must be in the rank of E-5 or above, a qualified SEAL with at least two operational deployments and attend a Unit Briefing to even be considered for admission. Women are recruited for staff positions only.


Unit Selection

Such recruits are men with skills such as proficiency in foreign language or other desirable traits. If an individual is selected, then a 7 month Operator Training Course begins, push-ups, sit-ups, swimming, and a three mile run. The recruits are then put through a series of land and water navigation course to include an eighteen mile, all-night land navigation course while carrying a thirty five pound rucksack. The rucksack’s weight and the distance of the course are increased and the time standards to complete the task are shortened with every march. The physical testing ends with a forty mile march after a 500 meter swim with a forty five pound rucksack over very rough terrain which must be completed in an unknown amount of time. Only the highest-ranking members of the Pentagon are allowed to see the set limits, but all assessment and selection tasks and conditions are set by the Unit’s training cadre. The mental portion of the testing begins with numerous psychological exams. Advance training includes; free-climbing, Advanced Unarmed Combat techniques, defensive and offensive driving, Advanced Diving, and Advanced Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. The emphasis of the last part of the selection process is on shooting skill. All Unit operators are expected to be expert marksman, trained to hit head-size target at various ranges. Unit instructors evaluate the candidates during the training process. Any candidate that fail or are not performing at the highest level of performance will be returned to his unit.


The norm for operator are to wear civilian clothes on and off base. Senior leadership within the Unit Command and support personnel wear "sanitized" combat utility uniform in old Woodland BDU and Desert DCU. Personnel in direct support of Unit Operators (aviators and SWCCs) wear sanitized combat utility uniform/flight suits on base and civilian clothes during black ops missions.

On rare occassion when operators must be on uniform when working closely with, combat utility uniforms, other branch of the military (US Army: ACU, US Air Force: ABU, US Marine Corps: MCCUU; and sometimes combat uniform in MultiCam camo pattern)is authorized to be worn but is also completely sanitized. Often, operators conduct operations without any uniform or identification that may otherwise indicate their affiliation to the United States Navy, the United States military or the United States.

Class As are the only uniform where members of the Unit are authorized to displayed identifying badges and insignias but are seldom used. Because the Unit has no identifying insignia, Unit Operators can still be disguised even when wearing Class As.


See also: List of Ghost Unit weapons


H&K 416 with SOPMOD kit

The Unit’s unconventional nature allows it members to carry highly customized weapons. Like any other military unit, Ghost Unit has dedicated mission tasking including snipers and squad machine gunners. The flexibility of Ghost Unit means that weaponry is quite varied and often depends on the mission at hand or personal preference of the individual operators.

A common weapon of choice may be the M4 carbine and more recently the H&K 416 often in use with various accessories including the M203 and M320 grenade launcher, and other accessories of the SOPMOD kit. Unit operators often decide to pick up or use weapons that are in use with the indigenous forces or the enemy in the Area of Operations. This is to help them blend in with the locals, to use local ammunition scavenged during the mission, or to conceal their country of origin if weapons are lost or captured. Unit snipers use M14 or the M14 SOCOM in urban environments due to their semi-automatic ability, allowing for a follow-up shot much more quickly than with a bolt-action rifle. More recent upgrades to the M14, such as the M21 and M25 rifles are commonly in use, and often misidentified as M14s. In addition, the SR-25 rifle, a 7.62 mm platform that is based on the same semi automatic operating system as the M4 and M16 rifle is also currently in use.

Back up weapons varies with every Unit operator. Sidearms usually is determined by the operator's preference or by location they are operating in. In most cases, the sidearm may be the only weapon used during operations where they have to be discrete. Because of these, operator's sidearm are also modifiable to suit their needs on most missions.

Aviation, Maritime and Vehicle Assets

See also: List of Ghost Units Transport Assets


UH-1 Iroquois

Because of the nature of the mission of the Unit, military assets are rarely used in black ops missions. To compensate, the Unit employs a variety of civilian air, water and land vehicles complete with civilian markings and paint scheme. Although civilian in nature and purpose, these assets are often modified to military specs while retaining their original configuration so as to not arise suspicion.

Main military aviation assets includes but are not limited to HH-60H Seahawks, UH-1N Twin Huey and the older UH-1 Huey. Maritime assets would include SDVs and rigid hull riverine crafts. Humvee are also used for land transportation.

Civilian assets for air and maritime transportation includes but are not limited to civilian transport aircraft, helicopters and rigid hull inflatables and small crafts. Land transportation has the most varied selection, often operators take what is in the area of operations so as to not stand out and rise suspicion on the team. Civilian aircraft operated by the Unit includes; Short SC.7 Skyvan, Cessna 208 Caravan, and Short 330. Rigid Inflatable Boats are the major maritime transport of the Unit.

Operational Deployment

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