Special Operations Recruiters Prepare Soldiers for Rigors of ARSOF

Preparing Soldiers to be successful in the Special Forces, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and 160th Special Operations Assessment and Selection courses is an important mission of the recruiters in the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion (Airborne). In fact, physical readiness is one of the barriers recruiters must break through to send Soldiers to the Special Operations Assessment and Selection courses.

There are many ways for Special Operations Recruiters to help prospects prepare. They conduct physical training sessions locally for their prospects and they also perform PT tests. However, guided PT, while rigorous, does not create the extended stress situations that ARSOF Soldiers can experience in training and in real-world situations. So, the recruiters use competitive events.

The Special Operations Recruiting Team at Fort Bliss, Texas has hosted the SSG Joshua M. Mills Commando Competition for three years. Soldiers from units in the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss compete in teams to represent their units. The competition creates real-time situations and conditions that allow prospects to experience the rigors of a career in Special Operations. The events in the competition constantly test the Soldiers physical and mental capabilities. They demonstrate their physical capabilities in an Upper Body Round-Robin (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, bench press, kip-ups, shuttle run).

There are also run and night ruck march events that range from 2-6 miles. Their mental toughness is then tested. With limited downtime, they move to target observation exercises and also a moving stress shoot where they must accurately engage targets on a timed course. Competitors also complete an obstacle course. A team is only as strong as its members.

The Special Operations Soldier has to function as an individual, but more importantly, they have to function with their teams. ARSOF competitions incorporate events that test the body physically and events geared to see how competitors react under mental stress and pressure. This means running events through the night while not allowing much time for rest and eating in between events. Competing gives the Special Operations prospects an idea of what skills they have and what skills they need to improve.
In addition, the recruiters running the competition also teach. The recruiters provide competitors with feedback about how they can improve their skills. Everyone learns ways to improve their operational skills, physical fitness, and mental toughness for a Special Operations career.