To prepare for the rigors of combat in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Africa and other conflict zones, the U.S. Special Forces visit the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, for several weeks of hyper-realistic training. Bryan William Jones paid a visit to see the training first-hand.
by BRYAN WILLIAM JONES
The 3rd Special Forces Group was at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, preparing for a deployment to an undisclosed location. With its fine dust, low- and high-altitude desert, unrestricted airspace and relative isolation, NTC can simulate both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Center was founded back in 1980, with the goal of providing opposing force training initially consisting of troops emulating armored Soviet-style forces. In recent years the “enemy” has evolved to focus the training on low-intensity and counter-insurgency operations.
One major described his Special Operations Forces soldiers as “experts in the application of violence.” But he also noted that “the role of the SOF soldier is to train, engage and carry out operations that do not fall under the normal guise of military operations. These operations may include reconnaissance, direct action, counter-terrorism and other unconventional warfare and are commonly clandestine, high-risk operations in support of national or foreign policies.”
SOF starts with the human element. Your typical SOF soldier is highly intelligent and a team player. Candidates for training are vetted through a highly selective process made even more rigorous by the demanding training. More on that in the next post.
(Photo: Bryan William Jones)