Read Part 3 here

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.

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.

We talked in the last segment about Map reading and touched upon some of the tasks that you’ll have to be proficient in. Now let’s get into more of the nuts and bolts of navigation.

Pace Count: Knowing your pace is very important because there are going to be times, that you’ll need to know how far you’ve traveled, even if you can read a map like a pro. At times the terrain will dictate that.

First set up a 100-meter course on flat terrain. Walk it three times and every time your left foot hits the ground count it. Take the total number of steps you’ve walked and divide by three. That is your baseline pace count. If you’re on a track or a football field, take a spool of 550 cord and mark out 100 meters. You’ll thank me later.

Now wait until dark and walk the flat course again, three times. Your pace count will probably increase in the dark, keep a notation in your notebook that should always be in your pocket. Mark down what your pace count is for daylight on flat terrain and your night pace count.

Now take your 550 cord out in the woods and try to find some rougher, hilly terrain. Lay out the 550 cord and walk the course again three times in the day and three times in the dark. Did your pace count increase with the difference in terrain? It should have.