A Cut Above, the Training Pipeline for a US Army Special Forces Operator MILS330: Special Operations Strategy and Tactics
When it comes to the secret world of the United States Army Special Forces there are a lot of questions that are usually left unanswered. Questions such as the dynamics of certain missions all the way to where much of the classified pre/post mission intelligence and sources are coming from. One thing that remains true and open to the public for the most part is the training that goes into making this special breed of present day war fighters that carrier out these highly top secret and classified missions. According to the Office of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia it is said that this elite force comprises less than one percent of the entire active combat force of the United States Army meaning that in order to survive the cut and make it through some of the most intense mental and physical training the world has offer a soldier must be a cut above the rest. Throughout the follow paragraphs we will take an in-depth look at the training pipeline of a Special Forces operator starting in basic training and moving all the way to when the soldier is awarded his convenient green beret. This process to become fully operational can take up to two years from start to finish depending on the specialty that is selected by the Special Forces Candidate and requires numerous different schools that must be attended as well as qualifications that must be maintained. The process to become a Special Forces operator is a long and strenuous program that requires years of dedication and plenty of blood, sweat, and tears, however the rewards last a life time and the skills learned will transform any individuals into an elite warrior. Colonel Charles Bechwith, who is credited as the original founders of the Special Forces Delta detachment, once said to a class of Delta candidates’ that “I didn’t say it was going to be easy, I said it was going to be worth it” (Delta Force p.64). This holds true to the core for the life style and training that is required to be a Special Forces operator in the United States Army.
The first step in the long and strenuous process of becoming one of America’s most elite warriors starts with basic combat training also known simply as BCT. BCT is attended by all members of the United States Armed Forces and is the passage way to becoming a soldier. During basic combat training individuals learn the fundamentals and basics of the military way of life from drill and ceremony all the way to weapons training and history of their respective service. Recruits are separated by their specialty when they arrive at BCT in a process known as one station unit training where the recruit will stay in one location while receiving basic training, advance (job related) training and then lastly, specialty training. According to Goarmy.com all candidates will first “undergo the ten week process of basic skills located at one of the six installations throughout the United States” (Goarmy.com). Once the recruit completes basic training he will then attend advanced individual training. For the pipeline of a Special Forces soldier this will lead him to Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he will participate in a 4-6 week prep course of advanced skills preparing him for the assessment and selection process. Some of the areas studied during this portion of training are strength and conditioning, history of special warfare, combatives, and techniques used by the operators. In order to even get to this phase of the training pipeline you must meet certain qualifications. According to the department of the Army: Special Forces overview the requirements to be selected to attempt the Special Forces pipeline is as follows, you must “be a male between the ages of 20 thru 30, be a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma, score a General Technical score of 107 or higher and...
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