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Training and selection

How to train after you retire?



Fitness App Reveals Names, Locations of Thousands of Western Troops and Spies

Our training for Force Recon in the ‘60’s involved the fitness tests and times listed below. These were not training exercises. These were tests. You were expected to meet these times before deployment.

Author: James Evans (former SSgt, Force Recon, Vietnam, USMC, Ph.D. Univ Prof)

Our First Sgt was 46. He often trained with us, matching us step for step. 20 years later, in my mid-40’s, my test times were nearly the same as they had been in my 20’s. My former First Sgt was now retired and lived nearby. We stayed in touch and often trained together. His test times at age 65 were just shy of the times listed below.

As impressive as this is, he wasn’t unique. A good friend of mine owned and operated a local gym. He was a former Special Forces officer (Green Beret), and a Vietnam Vet. A couple of retired SEALS and a Ranger on TDY with Force Recon trained at his gym along with myself and my former First Sgt.

Occasionally, all of us got together and did some trail running, and soft sand beach running. A really fun part of this is when we’d go to MCRD and run the obstacle courses. One of the SEALS’ Grandson was a distance runner at SDSU. He liked to run with us. He especially liked the obstacle courses.

When we began running together, our ages ranged from the early ’20s to mid-’60s. We continued running together for another 15 years.

Today, in my mid-70’s, I can still do the test runs. However, I can’t equal the times. As for the strength tests, I can do them, just not as many reps.

The following are the performance times for my Force Recon team just before Vietnam deployment. To reiterate, these were tests, not training exercises.


  • 10-mile trail run—Boots, Utes, Rifle, Ammo, and 50-pound pack—75 minutes.
  • 10-mile trail run—Boots, shorts, and T-shirt—65 minutes
  • 5-mile run—soft beach sand—Boots, shorts, and T-shirts—40 minutes. NOTE: We ran on the soft sand about 50 yards from the water, not the hard pack sand near the water.
  • 5-mile run—soft beach sand—Boots, Utes, Rifle, Ammo, and 50-pound pack—50 minutes.
  • 50 pull-ups, palms forward, full extension, slow and continuous, no bouncing—90 seconds.
  • 100 bent knee sit-ups, feet secured—3 minutes.
  • 100 push-ups, chest touching floor, no bouncing—3 1/2 minutes.
  • 30-foot rope climb, hands, no feet, from a sitting position—10 seconds.


The four strength tests were performed with no rest between them, i.e., you finished one and moved immediately to the next one. Force Recon Operators averaged 5′8″ to 5′10″, 150–175 lbs. SEALS were 5′10″ to 6′2″, 170–210 lbs.

In general, we could outrun and out power-walk the SEALS, but they could swim circles around us. They were better at push-ups. We were better at pull-ups and rope climbing. We were about equal in sit-ups.


  • 10-mile trail run, Boots and Shorts—75 minutes.
  • 5 mile run in the soft beach sand—45 minutes.
  • 25 pull-ups, palms forward, full extension, no bouncing—60 seconds.
  • 50 bent knee sit-ups, feet secured—2 minutes.
  • 50 push-ups, chest touching floor, no bouncing—2 minutes.


  • Power Walk up hills. Come down slowly. DO NOT RUN DOWN! (You can injure your joints running down).
  • Run up hills. Come down slowly. DO NOT RUN DOWN!
  • Power Walk on the soft beach sand.
  • Run on the soft beach sand.
  • Power Climb the stairs in tall buildings. DO NOT WALK OR RUN DOWN! Take the elevator down (it’s too easy to trip coming down the stairs, especially when you get tired).
  • Lift Weights and do Flexibility exercises.
  • If you can afford it, hire a fitness trainer.

Assault Rifles / Carbines

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



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



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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