How does the U.S. Navy Seal selection training compare to the following I read on the British SAS candidate selection process. I know little of the actual Seal training other than some television programs on their training. Both these special operations groups would be tough to make in any case.
One of the first things people think about when they hear "SAS"(besides soldiers in black kit storming a building)is Selection. Selection is designed to break people. Only about 10 out of 125 will make it. For any soldier Selection is the ultimate test of endurance and mental strain. Selection is broken down into 3 phases.
The first part is the Special Forces Briefing Course. This is a joint three day class to show potential SAS and SBS recruits what is expected of them. Class room lectures and physical training take place. You MUST pass this course to be allowed onto Selection. They are shown films and are given the chance to get some insight into Selection. For certain reasons this is not considered(by SpecWar Net)to be one of the THREE MAIN phases of Selection. This should be combined with the first part.
The First three weeks of Selection is held mostly in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains in Wales. Soldiers are expected to increase their weight in their bergens (rucks) and distances will also become greater. If a soldier fails a test more then twice is RTUed(Returned To Unit). The soldier is allowed to repeat the course again if he is willing. One of the most notorious parts is the "Fan Dance". This is a march over the Brecons. It should take about 4 hours to complete. Another part and probably the most famous, is the Long Drag. It is held on the last day of the three weeks. It is about 40 miles over the Brecons. The soldier willl now be carrying a 55 pound bergen (if it is under weight a DS will make sure you get the proper weight). Remember this doesn't include water and food! The passing times range from 20 to 24 hours to complete this course. Although TA members get a little slack (about 30 min.). If the weather is good try to get in under 20 hours.
It is important to remember that your bergen weight includes water or food. Bergen weights will vary through out the course. It will range from 30 pounds to 70 pounds, with an average of about 50 to 55 pounds. Blisters are common, and they should be taken care of quickly. By this point maybe about 40 men are left.
Jungle Phase is the next hurdle. SAS and SBS soldiers will be integrated into patrols. You will learn to travel, live, and fight in the jungle. The jungle will have different affects on people. Some will enjoy it, others will hate it. Disease is also another thing to worry about. Everything has to be taken care of (cuts, blisters, and eating equipment)to prevent sickness which may get you kicked off the course. "It is good advice to get yourself into the jungle before you attend Selection", says Barry Davies (18 year veteran of the SAS) in his new book Joining the SAS. In the jungle you will learn to fight and use demolitions. Also the art of making a camp is also taught. Rain is almost non-stop, so equipment must be looked after.
By the end of the Jungle Phase, only about 20 men will be left. It is time to move on to Escape and Evasion and TQ( or Tactical Questioning). E&E is taught my members of the SAS and SBS. The soldiers learn how to catch food and live off the land. Former POWs (or Prisoners Of War)also talk to the classes. They tell them about their situations and how they made it. Escaping is also taught. The Course ends with a final exercise. The men are paired up with other students (no SAS or SBS personel are put together)from other branches and units, such as pilots from the RAF and RN and other units. The men are given only old WWII jackets and some ripped pants, and boots that are barely being held together. They are then turned loose in a large wooded area. The men must check in with various check points. The soldiers are on the run usually for about 3 days. A "hunter force" is always in pursuit. These forces are usually from other Army units, such as the Paras, Gurkhas, or Green Jackets. They are tasked with hunting down the recruits. By the end ALL the recruits are captured. Now they face TQ. TQ is usually considered an easy part Selection. They must stick to the "Big 4" and say nothing else except, "I'm sorry I can't answer that question sir/mam." Women are sometimes brought in, and the men are forced to strip. The women then makes jokes about the man's body parts. It is not usually seen as hard by the SAS although, usually one or two men fail.
After completion the remaining class will go it's separate ways. Royal Marines are given the chance to say whether they want to go onto the SBS and even more training and Selection or whether they would like to stay on with the SAS.