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Old 06-06-2009, 03:42 AM   #1
Jeffrey Thorn
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Preparation for SFAS

Hey everyone,

I am aware that there are a few present and former special operators that frequent the messageboard and i would be most grateful for some insight...

Ive been crossfitting for 31/2 years now and am in great shape (scored a 296 on the APFT: p/u 100, s/u 101 run 13:23) I recently enlisted as an 18X and, if all goes well, will be headed for the SFAS and hopefully SFQC come early 2010.

My question is should i continue doing the mainpage WOD along with a rucking and running program on top of crossfitting or should i begin performing the workouts on militaryathlete.com (which i have heard rave reviews from former and current Spec. Operators) along with a rucking and running program. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks guys.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:37 AM   #2
Ryan Whitley
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

I am not an operator...but I have a lot of buddies that have gone through SFAS successfully by doing CF with a lot of additional rucking. I think rucking is the key.

Good luck with 18X...it is, IMO, the worst program the Army has ever instituted. But, my opinion isn't worth too much in regards to these matters. So again, good luck.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:05 AM   #3
Jeffrey Thorn
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

Ryan,

Thank you for your insight. I am just curious as to why you believe it's the worst implemented program the army has developed?

I am, in no way trying to argue your opinion, I actually agree with you to an extent and believe it is a risky program myself for a reason as simple as: it allows people who are just off the streets, ill informed (want to be SF because of movie roles and such...) and ill prepared ( not as physcially and mentally prepared as they need to be) to go through the most rigorous training the army has to offer and most of them wash out and become an 11B and are placed in a unit that fits the "needs of the army"

I have weighed this outcome and still believe, without hesitation, that if you are prepared prior to, you will have a fair chance of passing the SFAS.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:23 AM   #4
Ryan Whitley
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

Jeffrey,

I am not referring to you washing out and becoming an 11B...I think that would be preferable. I am referring to you going from civillian to NCO in ~2 years.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:33 AM   #5
Ed Haywood
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

My advice is a little dated, as I went thru SFAS and SFQC almost 20 years ago, but I just retired from the Army last summer and spent most of my career in SF.

Basically you need a good base of fitness, and some rucking-specific training on top of that. Strong legs, strong lungs, and strong traps. 20 years ago I would have said "strong grip" too, but I'm told that team week is gone.

I'm not so sure you need to do much rucking now, however. As I understand the 18x program, there is an acclimation period before you go to SFAS where you will participate in a structured physical preparation program. That should give you all the ruck training you need. Ruck training is somewhat equipment specific anyways, and doing it with different boots and a different ruck than you will use in SFAS will provide diminished returns.

So my advice is keep doing CF, and throw in some CFE. Your PU and SU scores are indeed excellent, but your run time could use some improvement.

Whatever you do, don't run with a ruck. You don't need it for SFAS and it will tear up your knees, ankles, and backs.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

Non-SF here but I think you would do well to pick up "Get Selected For Special Forces".
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:30 AM   #7
Jeffrey Thorn
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

Ryan,

I was not taking your insight on the program as me washing out of SFAS. That is merely my opinion on the consequences of going the 18X route. I can understand your point though. There is a large gap and time in service missing if someone goes from an E-2 to an E-6 in a little over two years.

Doug,

Thank you for the advice, I have read a few articles by Nate concerning ruck training, that's where i obtained most of the ideas i am incorporating in my training now. He definately knows his stuff! Ill look into the book though....I also picked up the book "Get Selected" Havent read it yet, as it just came yesterday evening. But i am definately looking forward to reading it.

Ed,

Thank you for the insight into the training. Im not rucking too much but ive experimented. Currently i am walking around barefoot ever chance I get to develop callouses (ive heard this can help tremendously) As for my run...I definately need to improve on that, that is for sure. My goal is to run a 5K under 19 mins. and a 10K under 40 minutes by the end of November.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:04 AM   #8
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

Obviously soldiers who make it through the Q should get promoted faster than soldiers who train with their RA unit. You're learning a foreign language, going through advanced skills training as regards a new MOS, completing a battery of small unit tactics training, going through SERE, training in unconventional warfare exercises. All of this for over a year, and up to 2 1/2 years for long-language medics.

As regards 18X-Rays, without them there would be few 18Es and even fewer 18Ds. Very few people from the RA are getting chosen to do the medical courses - 18Ds go through more training than SARCs, SEAL medics, PJs, you name it. Also, the average 18X, past Selection that is, is tougher, fitter, more mature, more reliable, and a lot smarter than the average enlisted soldier. Many have degrees, most have some college, a few have advanced degrees and chose the 18X contract because it's the toughest challenge for somebody coming off the street and into the Army. Option 40 is in many ways just as rough, but nowhere as long a process and does not require the same level of intelligence as is required to get through the Q (not to say there aren't intelligent Rangers - there are). There are a lot of X-Rays who would never have joined (as an enlisted soldier or otherwise) were it not for the 18X contract.
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Last edited by Andrew H. Meador; 06-06-2009 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:13 PM   #9
Ed Haywood
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Re: Preparation for SFAS

By all accounts I've heard, 18X-Rays make great SF soldiers once they have seasoned on a team for a year or so. These days you grow up real fast on an ODA. Most new 18's see combat in their first year, and the majority of deployments are FID/UW missions requiring a good deal of maturity, stability, and responsibility on every member of the team.

The biggest issue with 18x program is retention. By the time they get through the pipeline, the unit only gets them for a year or two. I've heard the reenlistment rate is pretty low, which is not surprising considering that their education level gives them options. Most came in for the adventure anyways, without an initial inclination to become professional soldiers. Once the initial high is over, they realize that getting up at 0530 and being told what to do kind of sucks. The biggest advantage that RA NCOs have, besides the obvious field experience, is that they are 2nd termers. That means they have already gotten a noseful of the Army and decided they want to stick around for a while.

Then again, when I was a team leader and Co Cmdr, some of my best team sergeants started out as "SF babies" back in the 80's.
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