I am currently in college, a couple years left. However, my questions is whether or not I want to go through into civilian life, or go military. I would ideally love to be an SF officer. Realistically, how hard is it to become special forces? I know it would help that I have a degree for sure. I am just trying to get a feel, considering our nations current war time status, if it would be a good idea to join. What are your thoughts.
Special Forces? The training is probably three parts mind game and five parts physical endurance - you will
have a burnout challenge sometime during training. Either the training itself is designed to wash people out outright, or you'll get to something like Hell Week during BUD/S - not that the rest of the training is a cakewalk (it isn't!) but I think the figure is that some 65-70% of DORs from BUD/S drop out during Hell Week.
SF training of whatever sort is relatively easy to get into (if you can pass the requirements,) very
easy to quit (all you have to do is ask!) and an incredible boost to your psyche if you pass.
That said, there is no dishonour in finding out you can't make it.
Probably the most common thing I heard in my class (note the moniker - not BUD/S, but Rangers) was "I'm gonna graduate this class in a g****** phone booth!" We started with something north of 150, we ended up with down around forty (the number that we graduated isn't something I recall readily. The class number is effectively burned into my brain.)
If you join up, you are best trying to get into something at least deployable (wartime status of the nation notwithstanding, the primary purpose of an armed force is to break things and kill people. Anything else is a WOFTAM.)
Get into a combat arms unit, and you will:
- Find out just how far some people can be trusted.
- Probably form lifelong friendships.
- Learn a great deal about yourself.
- Learn what your limits really are (and find that you start "wearing down a bit" about the time that 50% of the people are "dropping from exhaustion.")
Get into SOCOM, and you will:
you are better than fully 95% of everyone else out there (whether you are vocal about it or not is up to you - most of us are and are not, depending.)
- Definitely form lifelong friendships.
- Find your limits and burn past them no less than three times during training.
- Know that the phrase "that's impossible" will only apply when something is against laws of physics. Usually.
- Learn how to do anything that is
possible, and learn how to spot something that is truly
impossible to do.
- Learn to trust someone else utterly
. Operators work in pairs at the most basic level - Ranger Buddy, Swim Buddy, or whatever he's called.
Much of this is probably why my wife and I do so well together - we're both used to having a partner we can trust utterly. She went through the Police Academy in the late 1970's, when they still rolled in pairs. I went through Ranger school in 1990 - and we always
move in pairs. (Yes, there's a significant difference in our ages. "Age is only a number.")
It's been years, but I may still be able to give you useful tips. But, you must
be highly motivated to make it through whatever SOCOM element training you choose - you have to make up your mind that you will not quit
, and the instructors will definitely recognise that! Even if you come in last, it's important that you finish
SOCOM element training will mark you for the rest of your life. Other operators will usually recognise you as such (it's in the eyes,) other soldiers will note you as something special, and even civilians will know you're different. This, I have noted.
NB: "SF" is often confused with "Security Forces" in various services - to eliminate ambiguity, you should probably refer to it as SOCOM, SpecOps, SpecWar, or SW (Specialised Warfare.) Just sayin'... I was AFSOC, and calling us SF would get us confused with Air Force Cops (they were also called AP - sometimes "Apes.")