So, you’ve volunteered to be in Special Forces and you’re getting ready to go to SFAS. This is the time to prepare yourself for the grind that is to come. There are certain tips, such as the PT program which will help you attain the level of physical fitness that you’ll need to not just pass the course but to excel where the course isn’t as tough as you’ll see other people struggling.

In the first two segments, we talked about the fitting of your boots, socks and dealing with hotspots and blisters. Taking care of your feet is paramount in Special Forces and once you get it down, everything will be a little less hard.

Now, we get to the elephant in the room, the Land Navigation course and many students fail at either SFAS or the SFQC because they failed the land navigation course. The course is tough, it is the toughest individual land navigation course you’ll find in the US military.

But the course if far from impassable, thousands of soldiers have passed it and thousands more will continue to get a first time go….the magic word everyone wants to hear. It just takes some hard work, patience and the ability to keep a cool head once you experience the draws and lack of terrain features in lovely Hoffman, NC.

But before we get into the tips and some experiences that many of us have come across, the first thing a candidate MUST do is to come to SFAS prepared. I know, I know, “how many times have we heard that?” But it’s true.

This is another area where the better prepared you are the odds of you passing the Land Navigation course increase tenfold. It begins with Map Reading; become an expert in this necessary skill before you show up at Ft. Bragg. There are plenty of manuals, study guides, and civilian orienteering clubs out there that will get you to where reading a map is a snap and a second nature to you.

This was always my block of instruction at Camp Mackall and at that time is wasn’t overly detailed. It was more of a refresher for skills you were already supposed to know. Those who came from Light Infantry or Ranger Bn. backgrounds were already well-versed in it and if you have any of those type guys in your unit before selection, seek them out and have them help you.

Know map reading to the point that you could teach a class on it before you arrive at SFAS because all of those skills will be tested. Some of (but not all) of the skills you should be intimately familiar with include: