Attrition: February 22, 2004



: SOCOMs (Special Operations Command) highly trained Rangers, Special Forces and commandoes have a reputation for inflicting heavy casualties, and not taking many in return. Over 5,000 SOCOM troops were operating in Iraq during 2003, and ten were killed in action (five Rangers, two Special Forces, two Air Force and one Army support troops). There was a larger number of wounded, but this number was not released. SOCOM troops avoid casualties through thorough planning, high training levels and excellent team work. Throughout history, the more skilled and better trained troops have consistently won lopsided victories and taken fewer casualties than their opponents. SOCOM deliberately follows in that tradition. But because of the selective nature of such units, you can never have many troops of this quality. SOCOM has about 10,000 "operators" (combat troops) and has a hard time recruiting enough qualified new people to replace those retiring or moving on to other military or civilian jobs. SOCOM also has 35,000 support troops, most of whom were also carefully selected and trained.

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