We were fortunate enough here at SpecialOperations.com to sit down with Gary Humphrey former Royal Marine Commando and SBS over the weekend. Gary or better known as Gaz to his friends gave us some nice insight on the selection courses of the Marines and the SBS. He relayed some of his experiences as well and it makes for a fun and intriguing look back at one man’s journey.

Gaz makes his home in the states now and lives on the Florida coast, but he’s not there very often as he’s constantly on the go with film projects, and just got back from one in Panama (yes, I’m jealous) but we’ll get to more of that later.

Humphrey started his career as a young man in the Royal Marine Commandos. “They always say 99 percent of the people fail, just to get in the Marines,” he said. “It is a state of mind,” he added. He did a total of 17 years of service between the Marines and SBS.

The test to get into Marine training consisted of a three-day course, Gaz was one of only two candidates out of 50 who passed. So, the odds are stacked against you to even get into the 32-week training course of the Marine Commandos.

The Commando Training Center is located near the villages of Lympstone and Exton and has been the site of training since 1960 and successful candidates will be awarded the Green Beret upon successful completion.

Humphrey began Marine training at just 19 years of age, but he was far from the youngest. “Some of the guys were just 16,” he remembers. “We had quite a range of ages, between 16 and 25, that’s how old the oldest guy was.”

“We started with 50 guys in the class and finished with 11. But some guys get injured in training and get put back into the next class but there were 11 out of the original 50.”

The first 15 weeks was basic training and then the Commando training begins. It consists of weapons handling, climbing, and ropework, patrolling and amphibious warfare training. It is the only course where officers and enlisted men are trained at the same location in the British military.