Squads, sections, and crews generally are the smallest organizations in tactical units. While size can vary greatly, most range from four, as in a tank crew, to ten or twelve soldiers, as in a rifle squad or mortar section. Generally, Staff Sergeants are the leaders of squads, sections, and crews.
The entire history and structure of the U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) is built around the team concept. There are other military special operations units that operate on the team concept, such as Navy SEAL teams. However, none share the compact structure and independence that is unique to Army SF teams. An SF company is comprised of 6 A-Teams and 1 B-Team. Each A-Team is an independent operational unit known as a "detachment", or ODA, for Operational Detachment Alpha. The B-Team is the headquarters or command and control element of the A-Teams, known as the ODB, for Operational Detachment Bravo.
The Company Fire Support Officer (FSO), a Field Artillery lieutenant, leads the Fire Support Team (FIST). He and his team are responsible for planning and coordinating the fires of the infantry or armor company or cavalry troop his FIST is supporting. The Company FSO works with the maneuver company/ troop commander to develop a fire support plan for the units scheme of maneuver. The fire support plan integrates all available artillery fires as well as those of the mortars organic to the maneuver units. When these systems are employed, the FIST calls for and adjusts fires on enemy targets. An important tool of the Company FSO is the Ground/Vehicular Laser Locator Designator (G/VLLD). The G/VLLD can be grounded-mounted or mounted in the Fire Support Vehicle (FSV).
Surveillance Teams consist of a team leader, an assistant team leader, three observers, and a RATELO. The teams obtain and report information about enemy forces within their assigned areas. They can operate independently with little or no external support in all environments. They are lightly armed with limited self-defense capabilities. To be easily transportable, they are equipped with lightweight, man-portable equipment. The teams are limited by the amount of weight that they can carry or cache. Because all team members are airborne qualified, all means of insertion are available to the commander when planning operations.
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