FORT BRAGG, NC – Soldiers from throughout the Army come to Fort Bragg, N.C. with the dream and goal of becoming one of the world’s most elite warriors. To see this dream manifest, the Soldiers must embark on a three-week journey, known as the Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection which is a physically, mentally, and socially rigorous test of a Soldier’s courage, character, and commitment. Within this process is the phase called Team Week, in which the candidate’s behaviors are assessed to determine their potential to be a member of the Special Forces Regiment.
“Team Week is both dynamic and complex, assessing an individual’s ability to navigate uncertainty autonomously as a member of a team,” said Capt. Brian Decker, Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection company commander.
During this week trial by fire, the Soldiers will have to work as a unit to successfully navigate through the deep woods of North Carolina, often times with very little instruction. All they have is there buddy to the left and right to make it though.
The selection process has an attrition rate of 50 percent with normally 20 percent of that average coming during Team Week.
“This has been one of the most physically challenging events of my life,” said a candidate going through the course. “My body and mind have never been pushed like this before.”
With many of the candidates fighting off pain and fatigue, the instructors of the course have to keep a vigilant eye on each candidate to make sure that they are maintaining a proper level of efficiency and those they are remaining in the due bounds of a safe environment.
“Safety is paramount throughout the selection and assessment process. The course has institutionalized over 20 years of the best practices to manage all aspects of risk form environmental hazards to the nutritional and hydration needs of the candidates,” said Decker.
Despite the pain, the candidates all continue to push themselves and each other throughout the process no matter what challenges that they face.
“I know that the pain is going to be there, we (candidates) all know it. But that is not going to stop us,” said a candidate after having rolling his ankle during a road march. “The Cadre will come and check on us to make sure it is nothing serious and then we move on with the mission.
At the end of Team Week the candidates will find out whether or not they have earned the right to begin the Special Forces Qualification Course to earn their Green Beret.
“I just hope that I did everything I could to give me the best chance to be selected,” said one of the candidates during a brief stop. “No matter what, I am never going to quit. Even if I am not selected this time, I will be back.”