Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior
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An unprecedented view of Green Beret training, drawn from the year Dick Couch spent at Special Forces training facilities with the Army’s most elite soldiers.
In combating terror, America can no longer depend on its conventional military superiority and the use of sophisticated technology. More than ever, we need men like those of the Army Special Forces–the legendary Green Berets.
Following the experiences of one class of soldiers as they endure this physically and mentally exhausting ordeal, Couch spells out in fascinating detail the demanding selection process and grueling field exercises, the high-level technical training and intensive language courses, and the simulated battle problems that test everything from how well SF candidates gather operational intelligence to their skills at negotiating with volatile, often hostile, local leaders. Chosen Soldier paints a vivid portrait of an elite group, and a process that forges America’s smartest, most versatile, and most valuable fighting force.
world, the technology changes every year, every class. Even if the radios don’t change, there may be a modification to an existing radio or antenna system or a software application that changes. Since we’re a part of an evolving military communications system, there are changes within that system as well. On the positive side, the systems keep getting smaller, more reliable, and more user-friendly. Still, the 18 Echo communications sergeant has to learn each new system, incorporate this into his
assistants. The second predictor is a foreign language. A second language does not guarantee success, but those who speak more than one language seem to have the interpersonal skills that are essential to the mission of Special Forces, or the ability to acquire them. Having a language usually means that a man will have the ability to navigate in another culture more easily. Finally, there’s the issue of diversity. There’s the inherent diversity found in a Special Forces detachment that comes
point with a good chance to get to his fourth. Two others come for only their second point; one has time for a chance at his third. The first man to arrive at my location to get his fourth point has over three hours to spare. He carries his load easily, tired but not as exhausted as I’d seen other candidates on the course. “Congratulations,” I say, offering him my hand. “Good job, and you had a good time.” “Thank you, sir,” he replies as he shucks his pack and takes out a canteen. “I’m very
education. In the late 1980s, he was with 7th Group and in El Salvador. He was a qualified 18 Echo and 18 Foxtrot—communications sergeant and intelligence sergeant—and a qualified sniper. Courtland is a mild, neutral man and looks like what he is studying to become: a high school math teacher. The day after the candidates move into their team barracks, the cadre sergeants take them out for a four-mile ruck march—a brisk shakedown walk to reacquaint them with moving under their rucks. Under
doing things, or that they’re too green to train for Special Forces duty. I remind them I’m an X-Ray, sort of, and ask them if they have a problem with me wearing a Green Beret. That quiets them down in a hurry. “When they get out here to Camp Mackall,” Wyman continues, “they do it all, and they do it strictly to federal building code—pour foundations, set joists, frame in windows, set trusses, hang doors, and pull wires. Some of these kids have never handled a saw or used a level. I’m not sure