From the Publisher
"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
Among America's Special Forces, the Green Berets stand out because they can "do it all," according to this enthusiastic account of their training. Ex-SEAL Couch (Down Range) explains that Green Berets not only fight, they teach: living in the world's hot spots, they speak the language, win the trust of the locals, and train and fight alongside them to defeat a common enemy. They are the "Peace Corps with guns" and the key to winning the war on terror, he asserts. Only the most fit, smart, stable and multilingual need apply, but training is so rigorous that recruits first undergo 25 days of pretraining, from which only one-third proceed to Green Beret school, where attrition continues. Military buffs will enjoy the descriptions of exhausting marches, realistic combat simulations, high-tech weapons and dramatic instructor/student interactions. Though Thomas Ricks showed in Making the Corpsthat one can write an admiring account of an elite military unit without neglecting its warts and missteps, Couch loves the Green Berets too much to look beneath the surface; still. he tells an entertaining story. 16-page full-color insert. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Former Navy SEAL Couch redeploys the you-are-there approach of The Warrior Elite (2001) to depict the grueling training undergone by Army Special Forces Class 8-04. Popularly known as the Green Berets, this elite program has a graduation rate of less than one in five. Beginning in August 2004, the author stayed for ten months at Camp Mackall in North Carolina, following the men closely as they were winnowed and hardened by the Special Forces Qualification Course and subsequent specialized training programs. First, however, Couch gives civilian readers some basic information about the mission and organization of Special Forces, a group that he believes is essential to winning the global war on terrorism. Standards are high, and candidates undergo mental and psychological screening as well as physical and professional assessment. The Green Berets, Couch stresses, are soldier-teachers who must be able to connect with and train local people to battle insurgents in their own country. Using lots of army acronyms and lingo, the veteran novelist (Silent Descent, 1993, etc.) creates an on-the-spot picture of the men's tough, dirty and exhausting daily life. Couch not only observes and reports on the exceptionally demanding classroom- and field-training, he interviews many students and their instructors. Class members, here given pseudonyms, seem to talk freely about their reasons for being in the program and their reactions to the training; staff comments about the men (including those who leave, voluntarily or involuntarily) are also frank. Macho prose full of praise for would-be warriors and the men who train them, seemingly designed to enthrall young men, boost recruitment and please the army.