Well, there I was, attending the Special Operations Combat Medic Course (SOCM), the Army’s elite combat medic course in Fort Bragg, NC. I had recently graduated SWCC training and I thought I was hot shit thinking that all of the Special Forces students at SOCM had just begun their training pipeline.

The SOCM course was essentially owned by the Army Special Forces, the Navy was allotted just a few slots per class. As SEALs and SWCCs, we were guests in their home. The Navy cadre at the SOCM course had made it very clear that we were not permitted to fuck up, fuck off, or fuck around. Oh, and we had better not fail or they would make it a point to destroy our reputation before we ever even made it to the teams.

Like I said, this was an Army course, so you can be damn sure there was a lot of rucking going on… a lot. By the time I graduated, I couldn’t believe how fast I could move around with a big ass ruck on my back, but that’s a story for a different day.

We often did morning ruck runs as a part of the PT program. On one such morning, we had been instructed to fill our rucks with 45 pounds of weight, no big deal right? We had no scale or any actual measured weights. Our solution was to just load up a bunch of random items into our rucks: spare helmets, boots, canteens filled with water, some books, and whatever else we could find. We got to the schoolhouse the next morning and the Navy guys lifted each other’s rucks to make sure we all felt like we were at the 45-pound mark.

So, there we go, off on our hooah ruck run. Things were going well until I rounded a corner and saw a pickup truck with the cadre standing there, weighing each guy’s ruck. “Shit, hope I put enough bullshit in this bag.”

I took off my ruck and put it on the scale, it read 43.5 pounds. “Motherfucker!”

The instructor with the notepad wrote down my name and my weight deficit. “Alright, keep going,” he said.

Now I really knew I was fucked. From my experiences in the Navy, normally when you screw up you just get your ass-chewing/beating right then and there and then everyone moves on with their life.