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    Special Forces hopefuls attend readiness evaluation

    Special Forces hopefuls attend readiness evaluation

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Mary Junell | Soldiers participating in the B Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Mary Junell 

    382nd Public Affairs Detachment

    NEW LONDON, N.C. – Eighteen soldiers from across the country pushed themselves to the limit during a Special Forces Readiness Evaluation for B Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in New London, N.C., Sept. 13 - Sept. 15, 2013, in hopes of being chosen as a potential candidate for Special Forces Assessment and Selection with the goal of one day wearing the coveted green beret.

    SFAS is the Army Special Forces Regiment's official evaluation to gain entry into the Special Forces Qualification Course. The course, held at Fort Bragg, N.C., includes training in a foreign language, small-unit tactics, unconventional warfare and specialty skills for either Special Forces officers, weapons specialists, engineers, medics or communication experts and can lasts from one to two years depending on the specialty skill.

    The soldiers were evaluated the entire weekend by completing a series of events designed to test their physical and mental abilities. It also gave them a peak at how challenging SFAS will be, should they be selected to attend.

    Events included a timed road march of an undisclosed distance longer than six miles while carrying a 45-pound rucksack, an Army Physical Fitness Test taken in the dark, a swim test and training event, team events that involved carrying their fellow soldiers and a 350-pound tractor tire, a written test of Army knowledge and constant physical activities that tested each soldier’s endurance.

    The sleep deprived soldiers were not told distances or times for the events and many times were told to turn around and keep going when they thought they were at the finish.

    First Lt. Nicholas Plocar, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry Regiment, out of Wisconsin, said he had been told by others that the SFRE would not be that strenuous.

    “It’s actually a little tougher than I expected,” Plocar said. “They really grilled us hard last night and the ruck march was a little longer than I expected it to be.”

    Sgt. 1st Class John Fisher, with B Company, 1-20th SFG (A), said the SFRE events help ensure that only the best and most prepared soldiers are being sent to the SFAS. But, he said it also is an opportunity to provide training and make great soldiers better.

    “We are trying to tailor SFRE to produce the best outcome and boost the success rate,” said Fisher, who conducted the swim test and water training. “If we can incorporate some training and some classes and not just make it a straight evaluation, but also realize that a lot of these guys won’t make it, why don’t we train them.”

    Approximately two out of every 10 soldiers, who go through the SFAS, will be selected and go on to be a Special Forces soldier, but about 75 percent of the soldiers who go through a SFRE first are selected, showing the benefit of the program said Fisher.

    Of the 18 soldiers who started the SFRE only eight pushed through the muscle cramps, heat and lack of sleep to make it to the end of the weekend and not all of them will be recommended to attend SFAS.

    Most of the Green Beret hopefuls will be going back to their units, but Fisher said they go back as better soldiers.

    “Realistically the potential is that they’re guys probable won’t make it, but they will come back a little better than they left,” Fisher said. “They probably saw some things that they did well, that will boost their confidence and they’ll be able to take it back to their unit and teach other soldiers and inspire them. You’ll get a better product back even if the guy doesn’t make it.”

    Fisher also said they are not just looking for soldiers who are strong; they are looking for the whole package.

    “It’s the whole-person approach, they have to obviously meet the standards that they will be graded by at Special Forces Assessment and Selection, but we have to look for somebody who is able to think under duress. Who is able to perform under stress. [Also] that is able to work individually as well as part of a team. We’re looking for some one who plays chess and not just checkers.”

    The unit is scheduled to conduct another SFRE in December 2013.



    Date Taken: 09.15.2013
    Date Posted: 09.30.2013 09:19
    Story ID: 114473
    Location: ALBEMARLE, NC, US

    Web Views: 3,318
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