Wars and battles were fought and won before the cool gloves that can work a smartphone. Special Operators are gear junkies. For that niche product line of tactical gear and clothing, SOF personnel are the ultimate consumers. It’s a kind of fashion for operators. Even the kind of gloves you buy and wear can distinguish you. In turn, some of the things you buy and wear becomes a personal statement. But, when you’re at selection it will not be the boots or gloves that fail you. You’ll do that all on your own. The gear makes it easier and can help you. Honestly, the SOPC Sole felt like a lifesaver for me. But, I wasn’t going to finish last in a ruck or in the bottom half. The gear cannot replace your training and preparedness.

I’ve so many guys approach gear like it’s an evangelical tool that can save them from themselves. But it won’t add a whole minute to your ruck mile time. Rucking mile repeats with your ruck is the best way to improve your overall time, as much as it sucks. Learning to “suck” is fundamental to being an operator. If you think you’re walking into a life akin to a professional athlete you’re both right and wrong. In the states, there are some elements of that lifestyle. However, you must be prepared to live as the people do of whatever country you inhabit.

We torched a wheelbarrow to turn it into a grill in Afghanistan. We were consistently air dropped frozen food but at no point had a freezer that could house them. Those are easily the best moments of my experience, the austere ones. But, if that’s not something you’re interested in, do not go to selection. Because, once you’ve learned to not only embrace but love the “suck”. You can rightfully accessorize with flashy gear. By that time, you’ll know what you like and what you need, too.

Worry about the basics: shoot, move, communicate.