The Making of a Special Forces Warrior
By Dick Couch
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307339386, 416pp.)
Publication Date: March 6, 2007
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IN combating terror, America can no longer depend on its conventional military superiority and the use of sophisticated technology. We are fighting guerrilla wars, against insurgents hidden in remote regions, often deep among the local population. In battles such as these, squadrons of billion-dollar bombers and naval fleets mean much less than on-the-ground intelligence and the ability to organize local forces. That’s why, more than ever before, we need men like those of the Army Special Forces—the legendary Green Berets.
In Chosen Soldier, Dick Couch—a former Navy SEAL widely admired for his books about SEAL training and operations—offers an unprecedented view of the training of the Army Special Forces warrior. Each year, several thousand enlisted men and several hundred officers volunteer for Special Forces training; less than a quarter of those who apply will complete the course. Chosen Soldier spells out in fascinating detail the arduous regimen these men undergo—the demanding selection process and grueling field exercises, the high-level technical training and intensive language courses, and the simulated battle problems that test everything from how well they gather operational intelligence to their skills at negotiating with volatile, often hostile, local leaders.
Green Berets are expected to be deadly in combat, yes, but their responsibilities go far beyond those of other Special Operations fighters; they’re taught to operate in foreign cultures, often behind enemy lines; to recruit, train, and lead local forces; to gather intelligence in hostile territory; to forge bonds across languages and cultures. They must not only be experts in such fields as explosives, communications, engineering, and field medicine, but also be able to teach those skills to others. Each and every Green Beret must function as tactical combat leader, negotiator, teacher, drill sergeant, and diplomat.
These tasks require more than just physical prowess; they require a unique mix of character, intelligence, language skills, and—most of all—adaptability. It’s no wonder that the Green Berets’ training regimen is known as the hardest in the world. Drawing on his unprecedented access to the closed world of Army Special Forces training, Dick Couch paints a vivid, intimate portrait of these extraordinary men and the process that forges America’s smartest, most versatile, and most valuable fighting force.
DICK COUCH is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who has served as a Navy SEAL and as a CIA case officer. He has written six novels and the nonfiction works Down Range, The Finishing School, and The Warrior Elite. He lives in central Idaho.
"Dick Couch has written the definitive book on the making of a Special Forces soldier. It is high tribute indeed that a former Navy SEAL declares U.S. Army Special Forces the single most valuable asset in America's war on terrorism. Couch moved into Camp Mackall with a class of SF candidates for ten months and emerged to pen an insightful portrait of men whose cultural understanding, negotiating skills, and license for creative thinking represent the most sophisticated approach to today's unsettled world of terrorism and murky, backwater conflicts. Chosen Soldier should be read by every American who despairs of finding solutions to current tumult."
--Linda Robinson, author of Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces
"A superb book for any reader interested in just what makes a 'Chosen Soldier'...expertly carries the reader through the rigorous training and mock battles...impossible to put down."
--Robin Moore, author of The Green Berets, The Hunt for Bin Laden and Hunting Down Saddam
"A clear and fascinating description of how the world's best unconventional soldiers are selected and trained. Couch brings the reader inside the arduous process that makes the Green Beret the Olympic-class soldier: disciplined, mature and sophisticated."
--Bing West, author of The Village and No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah
"One of the most impressive and insightful accounts I've seen of Army Special Forces. More accurately and revealingly than any author in recent memory, Couch shows how the finest warriors in the world are selected and trained. Chosen Soldier is a great portrayal of the heroes that defend America."
--James B. Woulfe, author of Into the Crucible: Making Marines for the 21st Century
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