Only those mentally and physically tough enough will pass Australian SAS Selection. This course is more than just yomping, tabbing or humping a heavy pack whilst navigating from checkpoint to checkpoint, it also requires you to demonstrate leadership, courage, determination and a lot of lateral thinking.

To be eligible for selection you must first pass a 3 day barrier or pre-selection course that involves a series of written tests, navigation, fitness, confidence activities, memory tests and a timed pack march.

Once on SAS selection the duration is 21 days of never knowing what is around the corner. This in itself is enough to screw with some soldiers’ minds that generates doubt, quickly leading them to talking themselves into voluntary withdrawing from the selection process.

Numbers attending differ from year to year which can be anything from 140-170 candidates, most of these drop out within the first week! I wish I knew what was going on in some of these blokes minds when they turn up for selection unprepared. I’m sure they think it is going to be easy!!

A very strict and clear line is drawn in the sand from day one: step outside of those parameters and you’re off the course and RTU’d (returned to unit). This does help the course move along smoothly from a staff point of view but it also puts deliberate added pressure onto the candidates.

Course content does vary every year to prevent soldiers from becoming too familiar with the daily schedule and activities that would give them a psychological advantage.

During my course day 1 started with stores issue, kit check and paperwork formalities. Because everyone is so amped with anticipation no one gets any sleep…apart from the snorers!!

At an early hour in the morning you are woken by the deafening buzz of lights turned on and shouting, very few can understand what exactly is going on at that stage. So everyone is scrambling for socks and boots. In complete darkness we started with a timed 15km pack walk carrying 30 kilos.