slog pays big dividends
Volume 11, No. 38, March 8, 2006
for their lives: Candidates begin the 2.4km run to be completed
in 11.5min. Dont be fooled by the red guns; they save
wear and tear on the real thing and they weigh just as much.Photos
by Bill Cunneen.
off: Candidates take to the pool in DPCUs and runners. Treading
water begins the pool tests.
IF YOU are a soldier who is mentally tough, quick thinking, innovative
and can keep a cool head in difficult situations you could be
suited to Special Forces.
Both SASR and Commandos are looking for soldiers capable of advanced
infantry tactics; soldiers who can be trained and qualified in
a range of advanced specialist weapons and equipment; who can
deploy to their area of operations over long distances using a
wide range of insertion methods; and who can operate in a variety
of demanding operational situations conducted in complex terrain,
such as Afghanistan.
But be prepared for some hard slog at the Special Forces Training
SFTC OC Selection Group Capt Craig Moffat put the last set of
candidates through their paces in January.
The entry trial tests candidates so they can then go on
and attempt the SAS Selection Course or the Commando Training
Course, Capt Moffat said.
The test effectively shows us that the candidates are at
a standard, at a level of fitness, where they can pass the physical
activities that are part of the selection course and the training
We begin with a paper board where a candidates records
are thoroughly checked and we also check what part of the service
they are trying for. Some soldiers prefer to go to the west and
some prefer Commandos. It doesnt necessarily follow that
an unsuccessful SASR candidate will go to Commandos; we are looking
for different attributes.
SFTC was raised in December 1998 and traces its lineage back to
1996 when increases to the size of the Special Forces were mooted
by Government. 4RAR (Cdo) was raised in 1997 and Training Command
Army relinquished command and control of SFTC to Special Operations
Command in July 2004.
Soldiers are tested in adverse conditions that mimic what they
may expect if accepted by Commandos or SASR. These conditions
include operating in an outdoors environment in all terrain, in
extremes of climatic and weather conditions for prolonged periods
of time, and in isolation from hygiene facilities, comforts or
regular social contact.
The entry test itself has the physical component, a navigational
theory test for the soldiers and a TEWT for the officers. Prior
to that test all candidates have to do a Special Forces Psych
Test and a Special Forces Med Board, Capt Moffat said.
We start with the run/dodge/jump course to be completed
in less than 50 seconds. We then move on to the strength test
involving a minimum of 60 push-ups, a minimum of 100 sit-ups and
a minimum of 10 heaves using any grasp.
Then we do a 2.4km run, to be completed in 11½ minutes
or less, with patrol order weighing 7kg, rifle, and runners. The
Special Forces swim test follows the run. This consists of treading
water for two minutes and swimming 400m in less than 18 minutes
these tests are done in DPCUs and runners.
We then take a break where the TEWT and navigation tests
are done and then we move on to the 15km endurance march, carrying
28kg, in marching order. The march must be completed in less than
two hours and 20 minutes.
We take the successful candidates and make a recommendation
on which course they should do and we then panel them for those
SFTC took control of the Commando training course in January.
SASR run their own selection course and the Special Forces
Training Centre conducts the Commando Training Course, Capt
He said the training would be principally focused on developing
a soldiers ability to participate in direct action operations,
often conducted outside of Australia, using speed, surprise and
We have a 64 per cent pass rate for entry to both courses;
this is pretty good but all the candidates have trained and are
very fit, were looking for highly motivated self-starters,
thats what were after, he said.