Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior

Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior

3.9 38
by Dick Couch
     
 

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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…  See more details below

Overview

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.
Kirkus Reviews
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.
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307394798
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
03/06/2007
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
148,810
File size:
6 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Definitive . . . insightful . . . should be read by every American who despairs [about] current tumult." —-Linda Robinson, author of Masters of Chaos

Meet the Author

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Chosen Soldier 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
TonyRR More than 1 year ago
Mr. Couch knows how to really put into writing the trials that are endured in the course of training US military special operators for duty, and this book is no exception. His writing is clear and concise, yet moving all the same. You feel as if you also get to know these Special Forces candidates as individuals with hopes and aspirations and not just as names. Likewise, if it's detail you're after, Dick Couch does not disappoint. Those familiar with his writings on SEAL team training will find this book covers different ground, which is expected since the Special Forces mission tasking is a good bit different from that of SEALs. Nevertheless, you'll be taken on the training ranges with these courageous, spirited men and slog through a land navigation practical right along with them, among many other training evolutions. If this is the first taste of Dick Couch's non-fiction, I believe you'll be pleasantly surprised and engrossed. If you're an old hand though, there's no disappointment to be found here. I'm anxiously awaiting to see if Mr. Couch is granted access to other special operations training venues. I think he's certainly found one more calling to add to an already impressive list of lifetime literary and military accomplishments. HOO YAH, Mr. Couch!
CGA More than 1 year ago
Mr. Couch brings exceptional attention to detail, a passion for interacting with the current generation of special operations personnel, and his own perspective as a retired US Navy SEAL officer & CIA case officer to his observations of Special Forces training. He thanks the chain of command for the exceptional access that he was granted, and draws the reader into the story by going beyond the details of the training evolutions & military hardware into the personal lives of the SF trainees and their instructors (while changing names as appropriate). I was slightly disappointed by the subtle change in passion from the author relative to his previous works on SEAL training (i.e., The Finishing School), but I'd still strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about the training and missions of the US Army Special Forces ("Green Berets"). Finally, I'd like to state that I completely support the author's assertion that the "by, with, and through" approach of the SF is critical to our engagements in Iraq & Afghanistan. As a former Marine, I have been very impressed by Mr. Couch's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author is brilliant in recognizing the elements in which he writes of as being an exceptional component to the security of our nation. In this case the men of the US Army Special Forces
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