A recent study published by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is changing the way leaders look at recruiting for elite units within the military. It was previously believed that most service members tried out for the rigorous selection and training that most operators must endure to challenge themselves and serve their country at a higher level. As the study reveals, that’s not necessarily the case. We reached out to a few operators who are currently serving to get their take on each reason the study cites.

  1. They want to grow a beard. Staff Sergeant Dennis Bumenthal, a weapons sergeant in the Army’s 5th Special Forces Group, said, “Of course that’s why I wanted to go SF. I mean, beards are the single most iconic aspect of being operator as fuck. When times got hard out on the STAR Course during SFAS, I just pulled out the picture of my ‘drive-on beard’ to look at for motivation. I carry it everywhere I go. What really upsets me though, is when I see these damn hipsters culturally appropriating our beards. I mean, if you want to grow a beard, then man-the-fuck-up and go to selection!”

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