Now, there was a ‘big event’ or ‘the great adventure’ that was rumored to occur to squadron guys with the experience and seniority that Sam and I both had. The event was yet another selection and assessment format structured to evaluate an operator’s ability to perform in a capacity to deploy ahead of a squadron assault force and prepare the battle space for the squadron’s arrival.

Continual Scrutiny and Selection in The Unit

“Selection is an ongoing process” was a moniker in the Unit in those days, reminding all assigned personnel to never rest on one’s laurels. It eye-poked daily, suggesting that you perform to the best of your ability because you are always scrutinized until the day you depart.

“This place is selecting the hell out of me,” I often thought. The rumor mill hinted that the ‘big event’ entailed a set of complex problems and physical feats that had to be accomplished with little or no monetary support. I could only venture what that might include.

Three delta warriors
Delta guys, ready for trouble. AI imagination of awesomeness created by SOFREP.

The Stealth Shirt: Preparing for the Unpredictable

The event would perhaps begin with a no-notice phone call in the wee hours of the morning when you are likely just a bit off-kilter and flustered. I began to think about it more and more in the evenings at home. Rather than agonize over a plight I had no control over; I finally felt I had to spring into some kind of action.

I grabbed a shirt representative of typical Unit deployment garb. I unstitched the seams in front where the buttons are located. I inserted a carefully folded and compressed $20.00 bill, one on each side. I sewed the seam back up and flopped onto the sofa. I enjoyed a modicum of peace of mind finally. I had done at least something to get out in front of the looming great adventure.

The following day I brought the ‘stealth shirt’ into work and proudly put it on a hanger in my wall locker. When Sam came in, I briefed him on the concept of the stealth shirt. He stared at it, reached up and felt the seams where the bills were, and grinned a satisfied grin.

Sam’s Great Adventure Begins

“The deal is, Sam, whichever one of us gets called out first gets to take the shirt. They won’t take us both at the same time because a five-man assault team losing two men at the same time is absurd.” Sam maintained his ‘ya done good’ grin.

Some weeks later, in passing one morning, a brother asked me: “Hey, so did you hear about Sam?”