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Discussion Starter #1
I note there are a number of members here who identify themselves as Special Forces
veterans and who take umbrage at criticism of SF. I will state that while I never served in an SF unit I DID complete Special Forces training in 1969, Special Forces Training Group-renamed Military Assistance Training Group while I was there-WAS a Clusterf***, or, if you prefer, an Abomination.
I spent 7 1/2 months on "Stink Bomb" Hill in the Spring and Summer of 1969 undergoing
Special Forces "training", of which time I spent exactly FOUR months in so-so training, THREE AND A HALF months on Casual Status-Detail Man in Soldiers' parlance, scutwork and busywork in Plain English. A typical week consisted of getting up at 0400 SIX days a week
just to clean the barracks, the Mess Hall opened at 0600, training-if you were in training-lasted only 6 hours a day, otherwise you were a Detail Man. I found Phase I-Patrolling and
Methods of Instruction-to be very hurried and rushed, of the Fieldcraft i will state that I had better training in the Boy Scouts-I was an Eagle Scout. Phase II -guerilla operations, etc., likewise hurried and rushed. In the MOS training-in my case, 12B-Combat Engineer (the MOS codes are different now)-I distinctly recall the NCOIC-a MSG Zimmerman (?)-tall, bald, telling us that we were getting an "accelerated course"-"12 weeks training in 8 weeks". I have since learned that "accelerated" is Armyspeak for "abbreviated", "inadequate", "indifferent"-as an E-6 told me in Germany "They cut out a
lot so you could spend more time on Guard Duty and KP."
There was absolutely NO training conducted outside the clasroom-no Combat Water Survival Test, no Mountainerring or Rapelling, no hand to hand combat or knife fighting, no marches with pack, no PT of ANY kind-most of the permanent party NCOs and many of the
officers were fat, too much beer guzzling. But lots and lots and LOTS of janitorial duties-we called our berets "buffer rags". The attitude was that we were there to perform scutwork and busywork and training interefered with that oh so important mission. I in turn found them-the officers and TACs-to be the lamest, sorriest, phoniest, most incompetent bunch of good for nothings I met in my 4 years of AD (1967-1971) and subsequent reserve
service 1976-1998.
In a recent issue of Soldier of Fortune I read an article by an SF veteran of Vietnam urging expansion of SF for the War on Terror. He noted that in 1969 recruiting was no problem, and he was right. But retention was-people were quitting in droves. Practically all the Vietnam veterans quit because they wouldn't put up with the constant harassment. I recall being the Mess Hall one day and talking to an E-7-he had the First Cav patch on the right shoulder-like me, and he was Ranger qualified-fairly rare for an EM back then. He had quit, said he'd rather go into combat with a platoon out of basic instead of these jerks. As to why so many others quit, I remember being in Brigade HQ one day, looking down and seeing a document on a desk listing the reasons why people were quitting. The first one said it best-"Doesn't want to be Detail Man". There were more Article 15s handed out in a
month than a regular outfit handed out in a year, most for the same heinous offense-skipping out on detail. I was told one whole class had their promotion orders torn up, so
individuals who though that SF put them on the fast track for promotion found out otherwise. I recall a man named Purcell-like the composer. He was Honors Graduate of
his ONI class, then the powers that be decided that as a lowly PFC he couldn't function in
Operations and Intelligence. When I met him he had been on casual status for FIVE months
while they decided what to do with him.
I received orders for DLIEC in D.C. for German with eventual assignment to the SF detachment of the Berlin Brigade. In my class was an SGC Ray Whittington, and and an SFC-then MSG-Harold Bigler. Sgt Bigler was very caustic about Training Group, I recall him saying none of those people were worth anything, and I gather than Training Group was a
dumping ground for the duds and jerks the regular groups didn't want. Says a lot about the
Army's standards.
While I was at D.C. my order were changed from Berlin Brigade to the 10th SFG at Bad Toelz, then the 10th SFG detachment at Ft. Devens. Sgt. Bigler said "You don't wan to go
there." I tried to get reassigned to Vietnam, was told no, whereupon I quit SF, threw away
my beret-to the chagrin of another soldier who wanted it for his collection. I finished up in the 12th Engineer Battlaion, 8th Infantry Division. While I was there I recieved a call from Berlin Brigade asking where I was. ? I was also joined by a buddy from Fort Bragg and DLIEC
who left Berlin Brigade, he did not speak well of it. Another individual arrived from Bad Toelz, he told me I didn't miss anything.
 

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Good post. Damn, my rose colored glasses are fogged up again.

Just wait until the boys that speak in acronims and abreviations read this.

Incoming.
 

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Good read. The training is a bit differant now at Bragg. I left in 2005 so I have to talk to the new guys. I can't think of anything that is the same from 3 years ago. Selection went from 24 days to 14 days, the language course is broken up into 3 or 4 phases now and just as stressful as ever, MOS training is basically basic again, SERE training is done RIGHT after SUT (small unit tactics). The good side, most if not all of the instructors have combat time in Iraq and/or Afghanistan and are sitting at SWC to get a rest from the fast paced life of SF living. The instructors at Robin Sage can play with the play book a lot and let the students see and react to some very unconventional stuff.
 

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I think you have spewed this sour grapes BS ad nauseum for quite a while.

You unfortunately never got far enough from the flagpole to see SF in real world applications.I also think group was fortunate that you were prevented from this.

The main failure of your thinking when applying it to SF in general is your limited experience and bad atitude.

SF was being withdrawn from RVN in 69-70 and there was a big cluster of guys out of training group with nowhere to go. Some understood their unfortunate situation. Others snivelled around and added to the delemma with their negativism.

Training group prepared you for an active group where training existed and continued as long as you were part of it.

You sound like you feel training group was something more. Basically it prepared candidates to stand in the door for better things.

You have the quitter mentality that was rare among graduates, but soon manifested itself when allowed to blossom. You'd have been sent packing from an operational team in about as long as it took you to pack up.

The peanut gallery here may fall for your petulant nonesense, but a few of us who rode out the "small sh--" are laughing at you.
We weren't issued any pity.

My time in group was 66-70 with two tours in an A Camp in RVN.
There were some things that truly sucked, but we liked that, too. Most of us realised that there are things you like and things you don't-just different days.
Thing is we didn't "quit" or cut and run when things were not to our liking.
We sure don't go around shovelling sh-- on things we barely know anything about.

Tough luck you weren't Rambo, but it was not the fault of any opportunity you failed to profit from.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As Elmer Keith might say "I was there!", as Paul Krueger of South Africa liked to say "I speak of what I have seen with my own eyes." Yes, Training group was NOT what I expected, I thought I would be going through rigorous demanding training from the best and the bravest, that I and my fellow soldiers would have to meet high standards, instead it was the exact opposite.
I got to know a commo man in the 7th SFG-red flash. He said it was strictly a garrison outfit. I also recall the story of the civilian female worker at Fort Bragg who recieved the
"S" qualification through correspondence courses-we asked why we couldn't do the same thing.
On another board an SF type said that what you get from training is what you put into it.
Army training is like Army chow-you get what they put on your tray, if they give you slop or it's inadequate or badly prepared, you're stuck with it. That same individual said that when you throw mud you only lose ground. I replied that it's not engaging in mudslinging to point out dereliction of duty, dishonesty, and incompetence. And I think of the many people
who quit and I think I'd have been in good company.
 

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I will throughly dispute your version of Training Group!!! Any name change for TG had to have been after Jul 69 - altho I've never heard of it doing so. I've also never heard anyone else say that the courses were abreviated in any way in that time frame. Mine sure as hell weren't! NO reason to do so since things were beginning to wind down in VN and there was NO rush for replacements.
7½ months of Spring & Summer, Wow - that only left 4½ months for Fall & Winter. I sure don't remember Winter, Spring Or Summer being of those durations and I was there for the first two and a good part of the 3rd!
4 months of training? That says you did not finish and graduate from Phase III, but spent 3 months in casual status, waiting for reassingment after washing out/quitting, to get your 7½ months on the hill. That also doesn't sound legit because SFTG was real good about getting wash outs/quitters gone very quickly.
I hit TG in Nov 68 and finished in Jul 69 - Weapons. NOTHING of what I saw matches your discription! Our intsructors were ALL VN vets. We pulled almost NO details - NO students in Training Group ever pulled KP - and were in class or in the field at least 8 hrs a day from Phase I thru graduation.
I personaly think you are a wild assed wanna be who couldn't cut it and want to make the SF system look bad!
Sarge
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I stand by what I have said, I was there. I should have been more precise in my chronology, I arrived the in 2nd week of February a few days before the big storm that
blanketed the Northeast and cause so much grief for Mayor Linday of New York-that was
on February 15.
For Phase I was in D Company, I forget the 1SG's name, the CO was a CPT Griffins or Griffiths (?), he succeeded by a 1LT (then CPT) C. Emmett Mahle-I remember that name. Then we were moved to C Company, the CO's name was 1LT (then CPT) Dennis T. Becker, the XO was a 1LT Briggs, the 1SG's name was Klinker, among the TACs I remember were ones named DeLeon, Juhasz, Vines and Zinkhen. Then to E Company, I forget the CO's name, the 1SG was an E-7 with somewhat Oriental features. It was in E Company that I had the only civil/professional conversation with a TAC that I had there. It was with a SSG
Morace, he talked about jumping out of the various types of aircraft, I learned from him that the static line cable in a C-47 is on the floor. I also recall the 1SG of E Company giving us a "pep" talk, he said the reason why we were spending so much time on janitorial duties was because the IG and then the CMMI were coming up.
The BDE CDR was a COL John Ringler, the BDE XO was an LTC Allen-he was a "leg" who went to jump school while I was there, I distinctly recall being in BDE HQ one day and hearing he declare in a loud voice :
"I'll be glad to get out of this dingaling outfit and back to the real Army!"
I forget the CSM's name, though I spoke with him once, there was a SGM Childers or
Childress, he was a Personality of Note, I recall him razzing in me in what was meant to be a good natured way because I wore a pin on CIB and jump wings on my field jacket.
I recall several of my fellow Vietnam vets being indignant because they were told that
"students" could not wear jungle fatigues or boots, even if they had served in Vietnam.
The only instructors whose names I recall clearly are from Phase I-there was an MSG
Melvin-known as "Ranger Melvin" and an SFC Pawlyk, he was our instructor-evaluator for the last week of Phase I. At that time Phase I was 2 weeks in garrison, 2 weeks at Camp
MacKall. In 1975 I was at Fort Bragg for ROTC Advanced Camp, I met MSG Pawlyk, he said
many of the problems from 1969 were still a problem.
I went through Phase I with a SGT Brotherton, just back from Vietnam, 82nd patch on his
right sleeve, CIB above his left pocket. He quit. He told me they spent 90 minutes trying to talk him out of it, he pointed to his CIB and said:
"This is the reason why."
 

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I have never had any issues on this and previous posts you made reference your
training group experience.
You no doubt were there.

The issue is that you choose to take a single time period, which was a bad one for SF training and color a complex organization and a lot of incredibly outstanding people with your narrow view.

I did it in '67 and it was a lot different.
I restate that SFTG was only "basic training" for group and only gave one the bare bones preperatons Wierd you don't get that.
Sorry you didn't get your cape or decoder ring-Oh wait..you're a quitter, I forgot.

Sarge-there was a bunch of KP, guard duty and post support in training group.

If you were between cycles, phases, or somesuch, you were on the duty roster.

I'm sad they did away with KP and stuff like that.
It was good training in letting you knowyou were a little cog on a big wheel.
 

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Wierd story you say you got from SSG Morace! I've got 12 jumps from a C 47 and the only one that had the cable close to the floor was one where it had begun to pull out of the foreward bulk head. I was pushing the stick on that one and the cable was down about my shoulders as I left the A/C.
Sounds like you had a variety of problems - like not being able to follow required dress code for students among them.

Mike -
I don't remember what/how long my time was between Phases in TG, but don't think it was very long. It may be the fact that I was a SSG that I didn't know of any KP, guard duty or what ever, but I don't remember ever hearing about it.
I agree about the loss of KP, did at least my share, both in the Navy and the Army, but I still thought its loss was a mistake. Very much like doing away from open bay/squad bay barracks - lost unit integrity by preventing required inter action in the open/squad bay environment.
Sarge
 
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