Sometimes it is weird how a picture or something you see on television can trigger a memory. The odd thing is that many times, these things can be totally unrelated to the memories that they trigger and yet, they all come back in a flash. And this one memory about being a student in the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) resurfaced precisely like that.

This is what happened on Sunday night: My wife and I were watching the Super Bowl and I made a ton of Buffalo Wings and was hoping that the sauce would loosen up my stuffed up sinuses as I’d been sick as a dog all weekend. 

So, here we are watching the game and the commercials, which are always pretty good every year, and I see Bryan Cranston (Seinfeld, Breaking Bad) doing a Mountain Dew commercial and quick as a flash when I see that maniacal grin of his as he breaks through the door, I get a flashback to the Q-Course. I immediately laughed out loud. 

My wife said that she liked the commercial too. I said, “I really liked it, but it jogged a memory and that’s what made me laugh out loud.” She asked which one it was, and when I told her, in-between scarfing down more wings, she got an incredulous look on her face…” That commercial jogged that memory of the schoolhouse?” When I said that it did, she laughed again. “You guys are soooo weird,” she said. I couldn’t agree more. 

“Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, the old guy SF class rides again.” 

The infamous Team Week.

When SF candidates graduate from the SFQC or the Q-Course as we called it, guys were given an MOS of 18E and of course their Green Beret. Most guys pictured themselves as barrel-chested freedom fighters, who carried those Rambo knives that resembled a Roman gladius and would be slinging death to whoever crossed our path, hopefully, one of those evil Commies that we trained for a generation to fight… and never did. Our battles would lie elsewhere, but only Rambo, John J. would go toe-to-toe with the Ruskies… oh and Bill Murray too.  

But commo guys should have been given a secondary MOS as 18P (Pack Mule). Because the rucksacks were weighed down with a shitload of heavyweight crapola that didn’t work half as well, nor have as much power as our allies had. And even though we pictured ourselves firing those nuclear-tipped arrows that Rambo had, it would have been tough hitting anything more than five feet away walking hunched over with an enormous green tumor on your back like that.

Back then, the SF commo guys had to know Morse code and it was a big part of the course. Because near the end of the MOS phase of training, Phase II for us fucking dinosaurs, we’d either jump into Pisgah National Forest or Camp Bullis, Texas to make commo shots back to Bragg and use burst and manual Morse. I heard that is Morse code no longer a requirement… dinosaurs.