When Special Operations guys enter the units that they’ve worked so hard to get into, they all have a burning desire to use that newfound knowledge and go out and do great things. Those type of operations that they’ve envisioned inside the recessed part of their brain but never publicly spoken about for fear that it would ‘jinx” their chances.

But sometimes the operations that you’ll get tasked to do won’t be those “high-speed,” high visibility operations using the state-of-the-art gadgets from Q-Branch, but using very necessary and forgotten knowledge from generations before. And now, with the operators of all the services conducting missions in all kinds of austere environments, those forgotten lessons are once again…thankfully being taught at the schoolhouse.

My first team that I was assigned to was a Mountain team and I was thrilled. After high school and while in college, I took up rock climbing and the Northeast has several superb areas to practice your craft. I spent a ton of time climbing in the White Mountains of NH, the Adirondacks of NY including the world famous “Gunks” as the local climbers call the Shawangunks and Crow Hill State Park in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Crow Hill is just minutes from Ft. Devens, MA, which in those days was the home of the 10th Special Forces Group and they frequently used Crow Hill for training and I ran into quite a few of them back in the day as they conducted their training much to the chagrin of the local climbers who bemoaned (from afar) their use of pitons in the cracks rather than using “nuts” which didn’t scar the rock. The SF guys could care less.