In part one of this series, I talked about participating in Robin Sage, the SF qualifications assessment course, as a guerilla role player. After heading out to the hills of rural North Carolina, we met our tribal leader/senior SF assessor named “Habu” and got the site ready in preparation for contact with the Green Beret candidates. On the third day we finally met with the SF team in a location away from the base camp. As we exchanged greetings, Habu expressed his admiration for their help against the repressive “Pineland regime,” and brought them back to the campsite for the missions to officially begin. We marked their arrival with a little pomp and ceremony, with a flag raising in our camp, recital of our anthems, and “blessings” of our successful venture from our group’s “spiritual leader.” Kinda silly, but it went with the scenario.

Lord of the Flies

Despite Habu’s character acting that he was happy to “receive” the United States’ help, he was still there to critique the candidates and come up with ways to make sure operations didn’t go completely smoothly. I referred to his instructions to us to be dismissive and skeptical of the SF candidates early on, and act as if we didn’t trust them. Habu also made it clear that his goal was to push the SF candidates to adapt. Not just in a physical manner, but also in a psychological manner as well. Most of the missions we had lined up were the typical go here and observe this, pick up that, or attack this. Habu told us to keep pushing the candidates to be proactive and take the lead in many of the activities. It could be something as small as seeing if they were willing to haul up more than their share of water each trip from the house, or something as major as planning, leading and executing a mission in its entirety. But we were also instructed to intentionally commit various “war crimes” at times to see if the SF candidates would put a stop to it.

The first prominent example I can think of took place after an ambush where we attacked a convoy carrying regime forces. Under the guidance of the candidates, we successfully “destroyed” the vehicles and  “dispatched” most of the OPFOR, but were able to capture one of them alive. I don’t know if this was done on purpose, but we took advantage of it regardless. After much group discussion, we decided to “execute” the prisoner in a field nearby. I can’t recall if the SF candidates did anything to try to stop us prior to the execution (we were, after all, hell-bent on carrying it out), but I remember them telling us we couldn’t do that again. Habu pushed back, claiming we were only doing what the regime forces did to us. Besides, we were in no shape to keep prisoners. The candidates said although they could see his point, the U.S. couldn’t continue to support us if we executed every prisoner we got our hands on. Habu bristled, but finally agreed.

The second example was Habu picked one of us to be a martyr and suicide bomber. One afternoon, he gathered us all around with the SF candidates and told us he had a volunteer for an important mission. He summoned the volunteer who was wearing a bomb vest (and rather sheepish grin). He announced that he will deliver a devastating blow to the heart of the regime with this martyr. The SF candidates pulled Habu to the side and informed him they couldn’t condone this type of attack, and would not support him in this mission. Habu, after much “convincing” decided to cancel the mission and thanked the would-be martyr for his dedication to the cause.