Admittedly, I am a rabid reader of books covering aspects of our military. Specifically, the various special forces. One of the reasons is due to be very curious as to what type of individual that willingly signs up for this occupation and with that said, what it takes for them to succeed. I like to consider myself somewhat in shape until I read what these soldiers have to do and it motivates me to do more. It has been awhile since I had the time to actually read a book, but a few weekends ago our dogs were showing in the Teacup Dog Agility Nationals in Racine Wisconsin. If you know anything about this event, you are aware there is a lot of down time between the runs. This was a perfect opportunity to finish a book on my list.
Today’s book review is Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior by Dick Couch. Without hesitation, I can declare this book is right up there with Lone Survivor which is my favorite book (if you have not read or listened to that book, do it immediately). It also has the distinction of being a 100 fold better than the last military book I read called Warrior Soul. A big reason for this is the author. Mr. Couch is a former Navy Seal who was offered the opportunity to observe and write about the process of becoming a Green Beret (contrast that with the Warrior Soul which felt more like a look at me I’m great work). It was honest, frank and most of all very informative. I had no idea of the diverse backgrounds this military branch pulled from or its focus as “head of the spear”, tasked with going in ahead of our military might and disrupting the establishment. They infiltrate, link up and organize local fighters and train them to take control once the military goal is achieved. Unlike the Seals and Marines who are primarily attack forces, this branch stressed language, culture teaching, medical, engineering and adaptive thinking. This, of course, is in addition to the elite fighting skills of the other groups. Even Mr. Couch admitted the stunning difference which means a lot from someone trained as a Seal.
I could barely put this book down to catch the dogs’ runs. I am completely impressed by the approach taken by the instructors and have a lot more respect for every individual to make through this ordeal and earn their tabs. To be honest, I even respect those who try their best but find they can’t get to the required level. As Dick quotes in the book, the Green Berets may lose a candidate in their ranks, but the reassigned branch gains a better soldier. Those that do make it through are in my opinion as good as it gets both in conditioning, judgment and very apparent in leadership. Once their job of protecting the interests of the United States are completed, they are more than prepared to excel in any business activity they chose to set their sights on. My respect and gratitude to those who have earned the Green Beret.
Catch the jump for my recollections: