History Question

Ravage

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I did some resarch regarding SFAS and SFQC but could not find much information about how Special forces Soldiers were selected in the 1960s' (during the Vietnam War era). I understand that the entire process was different from what it is today at the JFKSWCAS ?
 

car

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In conversations with a few "vintage" guys - the selection process in the 60's was:

1. Tag, You're IT!!! based on military record.

2. How do I do that cool shit? (see criteria 1)


ETA: this is not a joke, this is from the guys that got selected this way.

Wasn't that when you were selected?
 

P. Beck

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"1. Tag, You're IT!!! based on military record."

This was still happening as recently as 1980. I know. It happened to me.
I was a support guy in 10th Group. Avionics. With dreams of flight school.

One day I get called into the office by my section sergeant, who says, "Somebody wants to talk to you. I advise you listen to what he has to say."

The guy was a CPT. He asked me flat-out, "How would you like to go to the 'Q' course?"

"Who? Me?", I responded coolly. :)

I was nineteen. But I had a Polish babysitter as a child and spoke and read Polish.
I had told somebody and had ended up getting a 3/3 on the DLPT.

I found out later it was my section sergeant had brought my name to the CPT.
Turned out he had been flying support for SF in VN and knew the CPT from there.
 

Poetic_Mind

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Actually, I read a book Special Ops" by WEB Griffin and I noticed that "tag your it" selection process of SF soldiers. :2c:
 
I

InnovativeScribe

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What about the book "Shadow Warriors"? by Tom Clancy

Is it worth reading to learn about Special Forces? I just started it and have not gotten much into it.

Cathy
 

Viper1

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What about the book "Shadow Warriors"? by Tom Clancy

Is it worth reading to learn about Special Forces? I just started it and have not gotten much into it.

Cathy

I have that one on the shelf...need to pull it off and give it a good read.

I've read "Chosen Soldier" by Dick Couch and "Masters of Chaos" by Linda Robinson. Both are good if you wan to learn more about Special Forces and the men that serve in the Regiment.
 

Trip_Wire

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History as I know it in, early recruiting for SF.:

First, a little of what I know about the early recruiting and volunteering for SF.

SF started recruiting and seeking volunteers, for the SF during the Korean War, (Early 50’s) People with a background of OSS, WWII Rangers, FSSF and Korean War Era Airborne Rangers were sought out and used in early UNPIK operations and the 77th and 10th Group. Of course, many were in or came from the Airborne Divisions 11th, 82nd and the 101st at that time, too.

In Europe, there was the Lodge Act, which allowed the 10th SFG(A) to recruit mostly people from behind the ‘iron curtain,’ countries in Europe. One of the more famous Lodge act heroes is Captain Larry A. Thorne. (BTW: Be sure to google Larry's name, it's great read!)

Link: Thorne:

http://www.taskforceomegainc.org/t375.htm

Lodge Act:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lodge-Philbin_Act

Now I’ll give you my view of past SF recruiting from the Reserve point of view. (I know more about this, as I went through it.)

After I returned from Korea, I went into the Air Force Reserve and later into the WA Air NG. One day, I walked into our LE briefing room, I was reading stuff on the wall.

When, I saw a hand made poster with the ‘electric butter knife,’ on it and this sentence. ‘Paratroopers get back on jump status.’ Join the Army Special Forces Reserve, with a phone number. This was early in 1961, my last jump with the Rangers was in 1951.

All that I really knew about SF, was an article I had read in Readers Digest. So, I called the number, I turned out to be a CPT (SPD Cop) who was in the SF unit. The unit at that time was a detachment with numbers starting with ‘3’ and three other numbers. (CRS)

So, I started the long road of getting released from the Air NG and signed back up in the Army Reserve. I lost a stripe both coming and going. :(

I had to take a physical at the Ft. Lawton Hospital. During the course of the test, one of the Army nurses looked at my paper work and said ‘Oh your one of those spies, huh! I didn’t know what to say to that so I said yeah I guess so.

Next I had to take a whole battery of written and oral tests designed for SF recruits and began the process of getting a secret clearance. I had some problems with it as my ex-wife's mother was born in England. (Hey! I thought they were Allies??)

As I recall there was also a physical fitness test with all the usual airborne exercises and a run. Also a swim test with boots and stuff.

The next thing I knew I was in the unit in June 1961! it was a pretty small group of people mostly ex-paratroopers from the Divisions. Shortly after being assigned to the unit. The 17th Group HQ’s moved into Ft. Lawton from Utah and replaced the unit that I had signed up for we became the 17th SFG(A).

The next thing that happened, was a night equipment jump scheduled! I was on the manifest! (I hadn’t jumped since 1951! This was now 1961.) :eek:

We all, were pretty much in the same boat! So, we practiced a few PLFs and were good to go! (Not!) I did manage to survive the jump! ;)

Recruiting in the SF Reserve, was such that anybody could sign up for the unit. They had to go through the tests, etc. If not airborne qualified, they had to go to BAC within a year. We recruited people right off the street and sent them to basic training, BAC, MOS school and the SF ‘Q’ course.

After a couple of years the 12th Group took over and the 17th SFG(A) was deactivated. We became a ‘B’ Company. I finally got on an ODA after qualifying for my ‘S’ in my MOS. Got to wear a full flash, no more ‘Candy Bar.’

We of course got into the Vietnam era and recruiting got easier for both Reserve and NG units. As a matter of fact, it got so that there wasn’t any slots open in the leg units, so people had to suck it up and look at being SF. Most of this type, never made it through the tests for entrance to SF.

So, if you wanted to be in the SF Reserve and you were prior service you had to do all the entry stuff and become airborne qualified and eventually SF qualified to stay in the unit. During Vietnam, any SF school was very hard to get, because they were busy turning them out for combat in ‘Nam, to include the ‘Q’ Course. }:-):2c:
 

pardus

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I had a friend of mine in the 187th in Korea, he jumped twice there.

Years later he applied for SF (11th group) and was going through the process when they told him he was going to jump again, (like Trip this was after over a decade since his last jump), he said "No way, I'm done with jumping" and that was that lol.
 

Trip_Wire

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I had a friend of mine in the 187th in Korea, he jumped twice there.

Years later he applied for SF (11th group) and was going through the process when they told him he was going to jump again, (like Trip this was after over a decade since his last jump), he said "No way, I'm done with jumping" and that was that lol.

I can understand that, since his two jumps were most likely Combat Jumps! :eek:

The other thing is that I liked parachuting, and took every opportunity to make extra jumps, whenever, I had the chance.

I also went through the early HALO school at the Yuma Test Center, AZ when the school was at Bragg. We were jumping Para-Commanders, in those days.

I really liked free fall jumping and did it on the civilian side first, to see if I wanted to do the military version. I liked it and still do ... but my wife doesn't want me jumping anymore! She thinks my bones are to brittle now.

She would also like me to quit SCUBA diving as well. So far, I have refused to do that, although I don't do cold water dives now. :D

A lot of Paratroopers that I knew really didn't like to jump and sweated out every jump until it was over! I have to respect the fact, that they went out the door when the time came though! :2c:
 

x SF med

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Wasn't that when you were selected?

Actually - I volunteered, but instead of SFAS it was called 'Pre-Phase' and could last from 2 weeks to 3 months (or shorter than 2 weeks if you got tossed) in this little 'waiting' period you were PT'd to exhaustion - went to the range, took classes and were then PT'd to exhaustion - on certain days you were lent out to other units on Ft Bragg as BIFI labor (BIFI = Brute Force and Ignorance) or crash test dummies... My prePhase only lasted 1 month and 1 week - because I had to recert my jump status (one week mini jump refresher on the Hill). And then I was shipped to CMK for Phase I...
 

pardus

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I can understand that, since his two jumps were most likely Combat Jumps! :eek:

They were indeed,he had some hairy stories as I'm sure you do!

The other thing is that I liked parachuting, and took every opportunity to make extra jumps, whenever, I had the chance.

I also went through the early HALO school at the Yuma Test Center, AZ when the school was at Bragg. We were jumping Para-Commanders, in those days.

I really liked free fall jumping and did it on the civilian side first, to see if I wanted to do the military version. I liked it and still do ... but my wife doesn't want me jumping anymore! She thinks my bones are to brittle now.

She would also like me to quit SCUBA diving as well. So far, I have refused to do that, although I don't do cold water dives now. :D

A lot of Paratroopers that I knew really didn't like to jump and sweated out every jump until it was over! I have to respect the fact, that they went out the door when the time came though! :2c:

Very cool! :cool:

As for your last paragraph I agree 100%, thats commitment!
 

AWP

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A lot of Paratroopers that I knew really didn't like to jump and sweated out every jump until it was over! I have to respect the fact, that they went out the door when the time came though! :2c:

I LOVE jumping and I LOVE parachutes, but after I broke my back under a -1B I didn't want anything to do with military rounds under any conditions. However it was my job so I did it. One of my few regrets in life is boloing the JM course at Benning.

I was far less eager to jump in the military after busting myself up though I never let up on the civilian side.
 

x SF med

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Ah yes, the Pinto and the Yugo of parachuting - the MC1-1B and the T-10... Thank the beings that run the universe - I never got badly injured - dings and scrapes - but I know a lot of people that did - backs, legs, thighs, necks, arms... not all of the injuries were attributable to the parachutes - some to CARP, some to operator headspace and timing malfunctions, and some to wind/weather/light conditions. Trust me - foggy Night Tactical Combat Equipment jumps are dangerous - and triply dangerous if its CARP with an IR spot set up by 'others' on a postage stap DZ on the side of a 'hill' that you've oly ever reconned by map and photos...

and when I was jumping - pro-pay was originally $55 a month and went to $110...
 
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