June 01, 2008
For the warrior, the objective of training is to prepare for the known and the unknown. In the case of Naval Special Operations hopefuls, the first official step is passing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. The preparation required to successfully complete this, or any of the other Special Operations Forces (SOF) training pipelines, is the subject of this article.
A picture is worth a thousand words
In the book The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday: Making Navy SEALs, photojournalist Richard Schoenberg, whose photos are featured here and in my previous Pre-SOF Training articles for the CrossFit Journal, successfully captures the magnitude of the physical and mental undertaking that is BUD/S. Those images paint the total picture that the content of this series of articles could not express in words alone. For any of you serious about preparing yourselves, or others, for such a challenge, The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday is an amazing educational, inspirational, and motivational resource. I always recommended it to my own pre-SOF trainees to help them build the "brass ring vision" that is an integral part of our program.
Tomorrow will not be easier
To get an appreciation for what it means to "prepare for the known" in pre-SOF training, let's look at a day in the life of a first-phase BUD/S student. Note that this is not an unusually hard day; it's not a day in hell week; it's simply an ordinary day at BUD/S.