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Thread: Selection of Special Forces

  1. #1 Selection of Special Forces 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I'm becoming curious about this. Is the real purpose of "Hell Week" during SEAL training mostly just to weed out people who don't have the right genetic makeup to handle the rigors of SEAL life? I'm sure it screens out weak minds too. I'm just curious which is more important to the process.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    go join up and find out.
    And what makes you think seals have different genes?

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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Grand Prairie, TX
    I can't speak so much about the Navy's "Hell Week," but I suspect its serves much the same purpose as similar initiations in the Army.

    Hell Week is physically and mentally challenging and there are a lot of things a candidate has to have going right in order to get through it. They have to be physically and mentally up to it, but they also need to be able to work with a team, adapt to novel situations, demonstrate the ability to take orders quickly, willingly and without question. They need to be able to react quickly and decisively.

    Those that ring the bell (or get their bells rung) aren't necessarily poor sailors or marines. Indeed, the very fact that they made it that far shows they're the cream of the crap -the best of the best.

    But they need to be more than that to get through it.

    The US Army special forces works in a similar fashion. First, candidates are selected physically: you have to pass a physical training test that includes situps, pushups, and two mile run while in full uniform (BDUs, not shorts and t-shirt) as well as a swim test with BDUs and boots on.

    Once that's done, candidates are then required to get a full phsyical. Passing that, they go to the assessment course. At this point, they are assessed for their ability to work as part of a 12-man team, switching off leadership/follower roles. They're assessed on their ability to put on a heavy pack and get from point A to point B in a certain amount of time. The candidate is never told how much time they have. But, rest assured, there's a ruck march each day and if you don't make it on time, you're out.

    Once the Assessment course is passed, the candidate for SF goes on to the Qualification course (or "Q" Course) where they get qualified for Special Forces duty. The learn advanced weapons techniques, close quarters combat, demolitions, advanced navigation and communication, advanced emergency medical (its the closest thing you can get to being a doctor without 8 years of schooling), and airborne training if not already qualified. Among other things.

    If it sounds like fun, sign up! I never made it to the Q-Course myself... turns of events didn't line up that way, but it was a fun process up to the Assessment course. I had a close friend that went to the Delta Force selection, and their assessment is completely different in focus. Instead of team-oriented candidates, they were looking for soldiers who functioned well in the absence of support, teams or detailed orders. People who not only think for themselves, but stay calm, cool and collected in the absence of constant or consistent guidance and yet still make the right decisions. Much tougher selection.
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