You need the whole bag of spanners of skills to become a special forces soldier. Some traits you will learn on the job – be it through your previous military experience if you’re full-time or during training if you’re a reserves soldier – such as weapons handling and shooting.
You can hone your accuracy with a weapon by more practice and you develop the muscle memory by dry firing before taking yourself down to the range to get your groupings tighter. You can go on a SAT range. A SAT range can tell your instructor anything from the pressure you’re putting on the trigger to the muzzle trace after you’ve fired to see how your positioning could be improved.
But there are some skills that you can’t really practice as much. Some you either have, or you don’t. And if you want to join the elite then you need to have them in abundance or you wont make it through the training.
So What Are the Traits Required for Special Forces?
Of course there are more than these few but these three are vital. You won’t pass without all of these qualities in your locker.
- Self Discipline
- Physical Stamina
- Mental Stamina
Let me break them down a little bit more for you.
There is no bragging. There is no need to brag. Knowing you’re one of the best is enough. You can ask anyone who was actually at Princes Gate in 1980 (not that they will be sitting there gobbing off about it) but they’ve probably met more people who claim to have been there on the day than were actually there.
They don’t want “bar soldiers.” Blokes who want to shout and gob off about who they are and what they do won’t last five minutes. You need a quiet determination to get the job done because you know it needs to get done, not because someone is telling you to get it done.
Now when you first join the military you will have this instilled into you by the bucket load, and it’s fucking shit at first. But when you realise that you just need to get on with it and maintain it you feel that pride inside when you see that you’re getting so much shit done compared to other people.
It starts with making your bed and washing properly – Some lads can’t even clean themselves properly, grown men! They don’t last – but it ends with cleaning your weapon. When you’re piss wet through it needs to be done because if you don’t clean it, it could jam.
Bad Admin Can Kill Your Fellow Soldiers
You know that a jammed weapon could mean you getting shot. Or even worse, the bloke next to you getting shot because you couldn’t keep the enemy’s head down when you were supposed to.
Your fellow soldiers rely on this. You need to make sure you get shit done when it needs to be done. Especially when you don’t feel like doing it.
You will put your body through more pain that it’s probably been in before. You’ll do march after march, with little food, sleep, in dog shit weather and you have to keep going (self-discipline) or you’ll miss the RV. If you miss the RV on operations then you’re stuck. In a shit hole. Where people want to kill you.
That’s why self-discipline combines so well with physical stamina. You need your body to keep moving. It keeps moving by you having high levels…..fuck that…superhuman levels of physical stamina. You need to be carrying heavy weight, for long distances, day after day. You need to be fit when you arrive to ruin a naked breakfast party!
This weight will increase as the training progresses. So will the distance you’re travelling, making it essential to have high levels of physical stamina so that you’re actually physically capable of keeping moving towards the target.
Your mental stamina will always fail before your physical stamina. You’re tired, you want to stop. Your body is hurting, your shoulders are hurting, your blisters are like pins stabbing your feet with every step. Fuck, everything hurts. But the voices you hear telling you to quit because you’ve had enough are just that, voices. You’re a long way from actually being done.
The Navy Seals have a saying that when you think you’re fucked and dead on your feet and you can’t go any further? Well you’re only actually 40% done. You can do lots more. And they’re right. And with the correct combination of mental/physical stamina and self-discipline you will be able to keep pushing.
The instructors don’t want to hear you moan and cry. You can stop and cry, trying to get some sympathy, but you’re just going to fail. Nobody cares. You put the emotion to one side. You keep pushing through the pain and get the job done.
If you’ve ever done long distance events, I am talking a minimum distance of a marathon, then you will know that you go through the different stages of emotions. You feel great, then you want to just sit down and give up, you can’t give in to your emotions if you want to pass.
Switching off to the pain is a requirement, think of something else and keep pushing through and before you know it you’re not thinking about the pain anymore and you’re back to feeling great and toppers with morale.
Which of these qualities do you have bags of? Which one would you like to improve on?