Special Forces Chapter 78
Combat mindset is a more holistic concept then simply having the intent to use deadly force.
The warrior mentality is far more encompassing and translates into just about every aspect of daily life.
This last weekend Artemis Defense Institute was host to the Special Forces Group Chapter 78. This is a group of warriors, most of them retired… that were (or rather “are”) Green Berets. Some are relatively young… others, well… they’ve reached a more advanced chronological standing.
While their bodies may have succumbed to age, their minds are still young and razor sharp. They also have not lost that quintessential combative mindset that first marked them as Special Forces Candidates those many years ago before Q school.
I’m not sure if these men are a product of their training, or if their training was oriented around the unique individuals that they already were… regardless, the quality of these warriors have not diminished with age.
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We had been asked to develop a competition for these guys that would force them to perform combative tasks, cognitive skills, and put them under the stress of time constraints. Our instructor Craig stepped up to the challenge and developed a course that included everything from defusing an IED, to navigating a booby trapped entrance in low light conditions.
We treated this as an actual mission, presupposing that the operators would have a chance to practice prior to being deployed. Of course, we also ensured that once they went on the actual mission there would be exigent circumstances that would necessitate changes in pre-planned operational strategy. (Translation: They would have to call an audible and change plans on the fly).
One of the more interesting aspects was the initial IED. We let the participants “look” at the bomb during their dry run, but they were forced to listen to me talk about operational principals during their brief time that they were allowed to look at it.
Each participant essentially ignored me as these two man teams took the brief moment that they had to study as much about the IED as they could. I would then asked them if they had understood what I had just communicated, and to a person they all had. These are the ultimate multi-taskers. They took the opportunity that was presented to gain as much operational intelligence as they could whether it was from me, or from being in the presence of the IED and they ran with it. They were “active” participants… taking advantage of all the opportunities they had to learn. Other non SF guys that we have done similar things with simply act passively, listening respectfully and waiting for “permission” to move forward.
These guys don’t wait for permission.
Richard and Tilt ended up winning the competition. Richard is a very successful businessman and one of the original Green Berets. In his acceptance speech he thanked Artemis for providing him the opportunity to learn more updated combative skill sets and the ability to hone his fighting skills.
This is indicative of these guys. They thank others for the opportunity to shine, they don’t gloat about their victories, they share the glory with all those who made things possible.
They also never ever ever give up.
This is key.
Richard came in on Sunday with his wife to “hang out” while she went through her class. While we were talking Richard imparted to me some sage advice:
Yep it’s that simple.
He told me that he had the opportunity to meet the individual a few years back that was responsible for the development of the SOG under Kennedy. It was a formal awards dinner program, and he was asked to speak. He got up and thanked the individual not for the contribution he made to the American Military community… that had already been done. He thanked him personally for what he had achieved in business, which is quite substantial.
He was told in his early training that quitting or failure was simply not an option. He took that to heart and it became a mantra for his professional life.
These warriors that came through on Saturday may have aged, but they have endured. They are a rare breed of leader, and an even rarer breed of warrior. We have so much we can learn from them.
It is a humbling honor to be a training provider to the heroes of Chapter 78.