personnel practice building-entry drills, one of the many
exciting opportunities that exist within the Regiment.
Photo by Cpl Hugh Donald, SASR.
truth about SASR selection
people talk about applying for SASR, but few ever attempt it.
Maj Greg Smith asks what selection is all about.
looked satisfied. After all, he'd just overseen an SASR selection
course on which the pass rate was 39 per cent. It was an above-average
result on a course that averages between 27 and 30 per cent.
Commander of Skills Troop, Capt Porky (his nickname) is responsible
for putting together the twice-yearly course, which puts potential
troopers through the toughest three weeks of their lives.
know, it's actually only 17 days of assessment in total, if you
allow for travel," quipped Porky with a knowing smile that
said he'd seen them all in his 23 years with the Regiment.
the high pass rate, which saw a Digger of 20 and a 37-year-old Reservist
make it through, Porky was not too happy.
just aren't getting the numbers through, and that's a shame, because
there are plenty of people out there who are missing out on the
time and career of their lives," said Porky, a former RSM of
Greg Smith follows two troopers through their reinforcement
The basic SASR patrol course is one of the first modules undertaken
by Reinforcement Cycle soldiers.
Photos from SASR
I look at it objectively, I just see that we offer the best work
environment, both professionally and personally: otherwise, why
would so many people stay here?
opportunity to be the best at what you do is there, but so are all
the fringe benefits, such as the additional money you earn, the
support we have and probably the best lifestyle of any capital city."
is puzzled, like so many, as to why the Regiment isn't attracting
enough applicants. On the most recent course there were nine officers
and 19 Diggers. In years not so distant, they would arrive by the
is difficult, but not beyond the reach of anyone who wants to do
it. Basically it's doing hard yakka while using common sense."
cited the case of the 37-year-old reservist, who joined the Reserve
just so he could attempt selection on the most recent selection
course. (Interestingly, there are usually one or two Reservists
that get through on each course).
we've got an ex-Blackhawk pilot and a RAAF fighter pilot serving
with us," said Porky. "I think that dispels the notion
that you need an infantry background. It certainly helps, but we
can actually train people, which is why we have the 18-month reinforcement
Porky's perspective, the main attributes to have are the will to
succeed, aided by an above-average level of fitness and the willingness
not to be afraid of failure.
the most recent course, one group could not complete a set task
within the set time. They did not fail, but merely moved on to the
next activity without any rest, or food, which they hadn't had for
think a lot of people don't want to go back to their units having
not made it over here, and that's the wrong attitude.
can always come back the following year, when they may have matured
more, or have worked on any other weak areas."
weak areas are usually the ones people don't think of when they
prepare for selection. There are other aspects of the selection
course which applicants need to concentrate on, says Porky.
a competitive unit, so that's what people need to be when they attempt
the course. But it just seems that many people lack that competitive
spirit. I'd suggest that they should enter competitions such as
military skill at arms, and even orienteering.
lot of people just don't seem to be playing team sports. Either
they're not being released, or it's not being encouraged. So they
should do that, just by playing football or soccer."
area Porky suggests is for applicants to sharpen their problem-solving
and mechanical skills.
surprising how many people come unstuck when they have to build
a bridge, or a raft, out of planks."
Porky advises people not to come on the course if they are injured.
they have any doubts about fitness they shouldn't get on the plane,"
he says. "And it's no good comparing it to any other course
they have done. Simply, you have to be 100 per-cent."
you can meet all the requirements and make it through selection,
then there's the 18-month reinforcement cycle, in which you're trained
to basic SASR standard.
that, the true SASR experience begins - an experience that Porky
says can never be equalled.
offer the best work environment, both from a personal and professional
viewpoint," he said.
work is challenging and rewarding, the pay and support conditions
are tremendous and Perth is a great location. And all the time you
are working with like-minded individuals who want to be, and are,
the best at what they do.
way we work is different and it means we rely on people to take
control of their actions. It can be a bit of a cultural change for
most soldiers, who aren't used to having that freedom.
simply don't have the time to micro-manage, so we have to know everyone
can think for themselves. In that regard, we're looking for someone
who has common sense, logic, who can think before they act (but
doesn't take too long) and is willing to learn."
other words of wisdom relate to potential members who are married,
or are in a steady relationship.
we are away, and it's not much more than most units, wives and girlfriends
should be independent and be able to manage things like finances,"
with that advice, some sound thought, planning and training, you
should be ready to take that initial entry test.