Passing Selection is the rite of passage for every Special Operations unit in the world. And that is why we’re here right? The courses are designed to be incredibly hard for a reason and a very good one. The operating environment that Special Operations many times must perform in is often extreme. Carrying a lot of gear on your back in the heat of Iraq or in the mountains of Afghanistan isn’t a walk in the park. And all the while you’ll have a determined, hardened enemy that is trying to kill you.

In past articles, we’ve described at some of the obstacles that you’ll face in the course and the tips and best ways that we’ve come across in our experiences that will help you navigate thru the course and get selected. But this piece is the other side of the spectrum, in this one, we’ll deal with the negative, an area Special Operations people don’t dwell in. These are the things you shouldn’t do, ever if you want to get selected and move on to an active Special Operations unit.

Not Taking Everything Seriously

This will sound crazy perhaps but many of the candidates get off on the wrong foot on Day 1 and it can end up costing them down the road. Many of the young soldiers coming into Selection are focused on the physical side and only that. There is a good reason to, the courses are designed to smoke you and wear you down. But remember “Assessment Never Ends”, you’ll hear this often. Remember it and don’t ever forget it.

You’ll be asked to take a battery of psychological tests and they’re quite lengthy. Some of the questions will seem odd and make no sense. And you’ll get asked the same questions multiple times but it will be worded differently. It is designed that way to see if you’re telling the truth and taking it seriously. It is designed to identify potential psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies in some candidates.

While working at SFAS, there were a few, not a lot of soldiers who took this part of Selection as a joke. This isn’t the time to be cavalier, it matters, everything does. Not answering truthfully will raise its head in the test and it may ultimately cost you.

Being Late, Light, or Last

These three little sins will get a candidate washed out quicker than any other. You’re being assessed on your potential to be in one of the premier Special Operations units in the world. And showing up late ever isn’t the way to impress upon the cadre that you want to be there.

Unless things have changed drastically, at Selection the students are kept in the dark about what event is coming next until shortly before it happens. The cadre will update a dry erase board usually 15 minutes or so before the next event and will have the uniform that the candidates must be in. Most classes learn quickly to have a candidate from each hut placed outside near the board to keep everyone appraised of updates.

Being light is a cardinal sin and there is no excuse for it. Your rucksack has to weigh what they said it must weigh and it is always the weight specified without food and water. The instructors will always use the same scales that the candidates use so there will never be a discrepancy there. If the standard says 45 pounds, then 44 pounds,15 ounces is a fail. That doesn’t mean to go overboard either.