Former United States special operations units are disbanded or otherwise inactive unconventional warfare units of the United States military. Most units were created to fulfill specific duties within a particular conflict, and were disbanded once that conflict ended. All branches of the United States armed forces – the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force have fielded special operations units. For existing special operations units, see United States Special Operations Forces.
The Civil War
World War I
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World War II
- Fast Patrol Craft Patrol Craft Fast (PCF), also known as Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, 50-foot (15 m) long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.
- Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRPs or "Lurps"); Vietnam War-era deep reconnaissance and raider units
- MIKE Force Mobile Strike Force Command; Corps I, II, III, IV
- Tiger Force (Vietnam War); reconnaissance commando (recondo) platoon in the 1/327th Infantry
- Project "Leaping Lena" (Vietnam War); Recondo course for South Vietnamese teams, trained by U.S. Special Forces, became Project DELTA.
- Project DELTA (Vietnam War); 5th Special Forces group long-range reconnaissance unit; precursor to MACV-SOG
- Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), a joint covert Vietnam War-era task force composed of 2,000 American soldiers and over 8,000 indigenous mercenaries
- Project Sigma and Project Omega (Vietnam War), MACV-SOG recon units that operated in Cambodia
- Phoenix Program; joint CIA and US military project based around the identification and elimination of the civilian supporters of the Viet Cong.
- Project 404/Palace dog was a USAF program that supplied support personnel in civilian clothing to the Royal Laotian Air Force. Long range goal was production of a self-sufficient RLAF.
- Raven FACs were USAF pilots in civilian clothing assigned to support the Royal Laotian Air Force by directing air strikes from small aircraft.
- 39th Special Forces Detachment (1952-1984), in Berlin, Germany, a classified unit that conducted unconventional warfare during the cold war
- 69th Special Forces Group (1963–1971), 8th Special Forces Group (1963–1972), 11th Special Forces Group (1961–1994) and 12th Special Forces Group (1961–1994) (disbanded Army Special Forces Groups)
- "Blue light", a counter-terrorist unit created among the 5th Special Forces Group in the late 1970s
- Special Operation - Reconnaissance, joint Marine-Navy reconnaissance units in the late 70s
- Task Force Bayonet, a Joint Task Force specialised in Foreign Internal Defense (FID) duties for Latin American countries; mainly composed of Special Forces, but also included United States Navy SEALs, Delta Force and Intelligence Support Activity operators
- US Army Special Operations Division
- SEASPRAY, an aviation unit for military covert operations during the 1980s
- Red Cell, U.S. "Tiger team" active in the 1980s
- Task Force Ranger (Operation Gothic Serpent), joint Army/Navy task force deployed to Somalia between August and October 1993
- Task Force 11 (Operation Enduring Freedom), joint Army/Navy task force created to capture or kill senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Afghanistan
- Task Force 20, Task Force 121 (Operation Iraqi Freedom), multinational joint task forces created to capture or kill senior leadership of the former Baathist regime in Iraq, including Saddam Hussein; also tasked with capturing or killing the leadership of the Iraqi insurgency as well as senior al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq; Task Force 20 later merged with Task Force 121, and is now believed to be active under the designation Task Force 77.
- Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment One (MCSOCOM-Det 1) (Operation Iraqi Freedom), pilot project active from 19 June 2003 to 10 March 2006 to assess the establishment of a permanent U.S. Marine Corps unit under Special Operations Command (SOCOM); replaced by the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC)
- Observer Group
- Marine Corps Test Unit#1