April 01, 2008
By the time trainees enter the fourth and inal phase of our pre-SOF training program, they have been subjected to a steadily increasing regimen designed to provide a sample of the physical and mental challenges they will encounter in military special operations training pipelines. Like a vaccine, this stimulus is strategically designed to elicit physical and neurological responses and adaptations that will aid them when faced with the reality of what it takes to become a member of the elite United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The "Land" phase is the culmination of our program, and it is by far the most rigorous of the four phases.
Special considerations - Rucksacks
In the field, when it comes to moving gear and equipment over long distances on foot, the preferred means is the rucksack (backpack). There are literally dozens of different manufacturers and, for the purposes of combat, the design, usefulness, and durability of the rucksack is paramount. In training, however, the most important element in choosing one is not how battle-ready it is, but how comfortable it feels. In training, rucksacks are loaded with everything from sand bags to bumper plates, and the weight can vary from 25 to 70 pounds.
In our pre-SOF training, trainees are required to provide their own rucksacks. The following provide helpful instructions on how to properly it a rucksack.
1) Get the hip belt in the right place. The majority of the weight from a rucksack should be transmitted through the hip belt straight onto your hips.
2) Adjust the shoulder straps. Once the hip belt is comfortably sitting on your hips, the next step is to tighten the shoulder straps (having first ensured that any load adjusters are fully loosened); don't overtighten them, though, or you may lift the hip belt off your hips.
3) Adjust the back length. Many rucksacks (especially larger ones) have adjustable back systems on them; you may need to alter the back length to achieve a precise it. As a rough guide, when the back is set to the correct length, the angle described between the pack and the shoulder straps should be about 30 degrees.