Running Title: Chosen Soldier – The Making Of A Special Forces Warrior.
In Chosen Soldier, Dick Couch take the reader on an intimate journey through the training process for the Special Forces. This is a much welcomed and spirited read for those of us that are fascinated by and admire the members of the armed forces. Dick Couch, a former Navy SEAL, brings more than just real-time narrative as he interjects a bit of his experience of being part of the special operations community. This adds tremendously to the experience and makes the reading a bit more interesting as Chosen Soldier removes the bloodthirsty, gun-toting, Neanderthal, Rambo-type imagery that is often generated by little alcoves in Hollywood and the scores of wannabes that has never set foot in Bragg or Coronado. From the moment the candidates step off the bus in North Carolina onwards through the four crucial phases, the readers are guided intimately by Couch as he demonstrates nothing more than pure fondness and admiration for these valiant and brave young man … as would a father of an extraordinarily gifted child. The training is rigorous and taxing. And though brawn is required, far more is demanded of the brain as SF candidates are required to learn, in depth, everything from weapons, communications, medical procedures and battlefield negotiations. In a sense, they are not just being trained to be warriors but also … teachers. I’m guessing the wank that came up with the phrase “those who can’t do … teach” has never met a Special Forces member and wouldn’t dare to say it to their face. Good luck on that one, mate.
There are some unexpected moments that appear in a book that seem centered on special forces training such as the expectant birth of SF candidate Miguel Santos’ daughter. To some this may seem soft, but this is what the Special Forces are made up off: ordinary people training to do extraordinary things for the love their fellow man and country. Another fascinating bit learned about the Special Forces: despite the popularity of elite units in the world such as the British SAS and the French Foreign Legion, there are many that come from around the world to be a part of the US Army Special Forces. It is indeed a testimony to its training and its operators. Some came from Africa (Patrick Kwele), Norway (Instructor Micheal Jariss) and even a gentleman that took a pass on the New Zealand SAS regiment waiting list.
On thing that this book does NOT do ( and some just might say so) is glorify war. If anything, it shows the grim and seriousness of it all as valiant men are preparing themselves for the moment they are called to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of a nation and all that is good. This is not Hollywood or any sort of videogame bolllocks. And as candidates pass through the various phases of their training, those that fail are treated with the same accord as those that have succeeded: with respect and dignity. There is no emasculation for those that fail, but (surprisingly) encouragement and advice for those that seek to try again. In the instructor’s minds these men have stepped up to an extraordinary challenge and that alone is admirable.
Dick Couch’s Chosen Soldier is in many ways, an eye-opener which debunks many a myth and lore (often generated by wannabes) about the physical, social and psychological aspects of Special Forces training. It brings to light the intelligence and courage that accompany these men, from all walks of life, that take up that calling to be a Special Forces member. Most of all it adds to the existent adoration that many of share of members of the special operations community. For those that are seriously (and that’s serious with a capital S) contemplating joining the Special Forces, then this is the book to read.