December 31, 2012

SERE-C Training at Camp Mackall

About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • FrankKnottyfor

    Do you ever wonder about the type of people who get involved in being Interrogators? After all, they're not assigned to the job without any choice in the matter but are invited to do so, and---more importantly---accept the invitation and seek it out. Once you peal away all the stuff about helping our servicemen resist enemy capture, since that doesn't really exist to any extent anymore, the simple conclusion that a rational person would find is that those Interrogators deep down get some psychic enjoyment from hurting other weakened defenseless servicemen (read some of the posts on this site and on Webb's site about some of the Interrogators). Remember the Stanford University study about this from the 70s?  It had to be stopped because of the over-zealous role-playing that ensued.

  • FrankKnottyfor

    And the other problem is that C-Level POW camps cause life-long problems for some servicemen---War Prisoner 51 in Brandon Webb's narrative, for instance, totally lost it---the Interrogators weren't about to tell Webb how badly they'd messed up 51's mind but a former chief psychologist for the SERE C-Level programs put the percentage of servicemembers permanently harmed by the program at a significant number, given the number of servicemembers who go through the program. One of the posters here mentioned that he continued to have issues with Asian women decades after he'd gone through the C-Level course. It's safe to assume that others have other issues as a result of their experience.

  • FrankKnottyfor

    The first problem is that, today, there are no POW camps--captured troops are generally killed rather than held since the anti-terrorist war is geographically very fluid. Most of us can tick off the ones who have been captured and held because their number is so few, such as Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (see below). May, 2012: "HAILEY, Idaho — The parents of the only American soldier held captive by Afghan insurgents have broken a yearlong silence about the status of their son, abruptly making public that he is a focus of secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/t/taliban/index.html?inline=nyt-org over a proposed prisoner exchange. "The negotiations, currently stalled, involved a trade of five Taliban prisoners held at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of the Army. Sergeant Bergdahl was captured in Paktika Province in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009. " There have been some other servicemen captured and held, but their number is miniscule. The more likely result is their death, fairly quickly. Whatever the merits of the C-Level training in years past, today it's value is in being an object lesson in the Maginot Line type thinking. Something similar would be training for a WWII/Korean War battalion-bases war. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

  • Txazz

    @SEAN SPOONTS LOL to common rumor!

  • SEAN SPOONTS

    Interesting story. It's also the first time I've heard the location of Rangely used in association with Navy SERE school in Maine. I found the school location on Google maps. It's hard to miss. Looks different since I was there, there used to be more buildings. It also clears up the common rumor(back then) that we were actually in Canada. Lol.