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Training and selection

Why is U.S. Army Special Forces training so much longer than SEAL training?

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green berets training - Why is U.S. Army Special Forces training so much longer than SEAL training?

U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) training is “so much longer” because even after a soldier has completed basic combat training/advanced individual training (BCT/AIT) or One Station Unit Training (OSUT), which combines BCT and AIT into one contiguous course vice two separate courses, and Army Airborne School, for a total of approximately 19 weeks of training, a soldier must complete from a minimum of 64 weeks to a maximum 107 weeks (depending upon specialty), of SF training to become SF qualified. This includes Special Forces Preparation and Conditioning (SFPC) and Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) as well as all phases of the Special Forces Qualification Course (SF “Q” Course).

Total training time from beginning BCT or OSUT can be for as long as 126 weeks (over 29 months, again, depending upon specialty) of total training to earn the Special Forces “Long Tab.” The reasons for the very long training time are two-fold: first, all SF soldiers are fluent in at least one language other than English, and second, all SF soldiers are qualified in a specific SF military occupational specialty (MOS) at the “expert-level” in their specialty.

Enlisted SF members (a.k.a. Green Berets) qualify as either weapon (18B), engineer (18C), medical (18D), or communications (18E) sergeant, and are all qualified to recruit, organize, train and advise or command, indigenous combat forces up to company size. Soldiers do not need to “wait five years” to apply for entry into SF (no one “enlists” directly into the “Green Berets”). However, enlisted soldiers must be at least a PFC (E-3) or enlist with an “18X Program” contract to be a candidate for the SF Initial Accession (IA) program. These potential SF candidates must still complete OSUT, Army Airborne School, and SFPC before eligibility for SFAS. Entry into SF is by no means guaranteed.

While the missions and training of Army SF and Navy SEALs (as well as Marine Raiders), do have some similarities and overlap, each one (as well as Air Force Special Tactics) provide unique skills and capabilities that complement each other and provide unparalleled special operations capability to the United States.

There is the primary mission of U.S. Army Special Forces. They are not “shock” troops, like SEALs. Their primary mission is to interact with foreign allies, training them and when necessary, lead them in combat. Often they do this behind enemy lines, without regular contact and supply from command. So, they have to be EXPERT in their specialty as there won’t be another person to handle it or resupply if something gets broke. And quite often their equipment will be whatever the locals can supply.

A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier is among the best-trained soldier that the US produces, bar none!

The reason they wanted experienced soldiers is again a reflection of their primary mission. They need more mature people who are aware of what is involved. And have a commitment to the Army. My understanding now is that you can qualify for SF Q school right out of AIT if you pass some additional tests.

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Assault Rifles / Carbines

Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

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Exercito Portugues substitui a espingarda automatica G3

On the 20th February 2019, FN Herstal was awarded a major contract for thousands of assault rifles,  by NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the Portuguese Army.  The contract is for the 5.56x45mm  caliber FN SCAR L assault rifles. Included in this contrat, FN will also supply other guns, namely the FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 light and medium machine guns respectively, and the designated Marksman Rifle SCAR-H in 7,62x51mm.

C57I5366 4 640x427 - Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

The NSPA, is the main logistics and procurement agency of NATO and is able to handle and support procurement for member nations. NSPA described the contract as a ‘major milestone’ for the agency. The contract was signed by FN’s sales director and NSPA General Manager.

NSPA made a short statement:

“NSPA awarded today a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR® assault rifles and FN MINIMI® machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army’s.

The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR® assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI® 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories.

The Portuguese Army’s standard issue service rifle is currently a Portuguese license produced variant of the Heckler & Koch G3, while the MG3 and HK21 are used in the General Purpose and Light Machine Gun purpose. The exact size of this new contract and its worth have not yet been announced, but In 2017, when the program was released, the acquisition called for 11 000 assault rifles in 5.56x45mm. The value of this weapons package procurement would be €42.8 million ($50.3 million).

This is a major acquisition for the Portuguese Army as the old G3 Battle Rifles are outdated, even in its class, and are obvious not adequate for the assault role. This purchase does not only manage to replace the G3 Battle rifle with one of the best current assault rifles, if not the best, but it will allow that the Portuguese Army to change the fire dynamics of it´s small units, increasing firepower and combat capabilities and being able to have more Hit probability on the enemy.

C57I5761 3 640x461 - Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

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Training and selection

The Murph Challenge Workout

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the murph challenge - The Murph Challenge Workout

Special operations operators are well beyond professional athletes. SFO’s are in extreme physical conditions. they are prepared to react instantly, in defense of our county. One SFO stands out to me. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, Navy Seal. No, I never had the supreme honor of meeting the man, but I have read and followed every piece of information I could find on him. “Lt Murphy” became a Navy Seal in July 2002. After several if not numerous mission combating terrorism, Lt. Micheal P. Murphy was surrounded by Taliban soldiers, along with his three other Navy Seals.

“Murphy was killed on 28 June 2005 after he left his cover position and went to a clearing away from the mountains, exposing himself to a hail of gunfire in order to get a clear signal to contact headquarters for relaying the dire situation and requesting immediate support for his team. He dropped the satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call. While being shot, he signed off saying- “Thank You”, then continued fighting from his exposed position until he died from his wounds.” Michael P. Murphy – Wikipedia

Lt. Murphy left behind a legacy of honor and fitness and preparedness that many strive to archive. Lt. Murphy called this workout Body Armour, after his death, the workout was renamed The Murph Challenge.

  • A 1-mile run.
  • Then 100 pull-ups.
  • Then 200 pushups.
  • Then 300 squats.
  • And ANOTHER 1-mile run.

I’m not saying professional athletes couldn’t do it, but Lt Murphy did this for fun.

That being said, I once met an SFO, in Hampton, VA. He was in his late fifties and ran alongside our platoon one morning during pt. , We finished a five-mile run, and he turned to us, and said… that’s it? cmon let’s do it again. The Master Chief was about 6′1 looked like he weighed about 220. It wasn’t until afterward, When I asked him, what was his weight, and almost fell out learning he was 185.

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