Open Letter: Green Berets Go Soft, Lower Standards to Be More Inclusive

Clay Martin is a former Green Beret and Marine Scout Sniper.

Clay’s take: We better find the guy that wrote this letter (see below) quick, so we can give him a medal! It is a sad state of affairs when things get so fucked up we have to air the Regiments dirty laundry in public, but sometimes you have no other choice.

I commend this man and his clearly huge set of clanging brass balls. And I hope he spent enough time as a spook to get away with this. If they find him, rest assured the command structure of the Special Warfare Center will crush him. Good luck brother. I hope you survive to fight another day. You have done a great service to the Regiment, and this retired 3rd Group 18F applauds your actions.

Some limp dick General and his spineless aids are unfortunately nothing new. I knew someone once very much in the inner circle of SWC, a civilian with no agenda, but access to what “they” said behind closed doors. A full bird Colonel, much to the applause of the other pussies at the meeting, once summed up us enlisted swine thus,“ The problem with all these Special Forces guys today is that they have been at war so long, they have forgotten how to be soldiers.”

Only a true careerist bureaucrat could let that fly from his cock holster with a straight face. As a Marine switching over to the Army, I thought it would be a great strength that Special Forces had its own officer branch and therefore flag officers. Turns out it wasn’t, it just meant the jelly-legged leaders trying to destroy us would technically be our own. I served under maybe five officers my entire career that had an inkling of how a war was prosecuted.

And lest we think this is only an officer problem, senior enlisted is actually worse. The darkest days of my life were after I was assigned as acting Sergeant Major of my company for a short time, and had to attend the CSM meetings. Sergeant Majors could teach the officer corps lessons for days about political ass-covering and throwing your men to the wolves for career advancement. An E-9 is more worthless than any two Lieutenant Colonels put together. I served under exactly one Sergeant Major in my career that was worth a fuck, SGM Mark Eubanks. A great man, and a great leader. The swamp creatures above him ensured he never got a CSM slot at group.

As an American, please take a moment and read this man’s email. There will be terms you don’t understand, hit the google for them. The cowards wearing stars are actively trying to destroy an institution of war, and it will be much worse for all of us in the future if they succeed.

The Letter From the Anonymous Green Beret

To our fellow Active Duty and Veteran Green Berets,

Our Regiment has a cancer, and it is destroying the SF legacy, its capability, and its credibility.

SWCS has devolved into a cesspool of toxic, exploitive, biased and self-serving senior Officers who are bolstered by submissive, sycophantic, and just-as-culpable enlisted leaders. They have doggedly succeeded in two things; furthering their careers, and ensuring that Special Forces more prolific, but dangerously less capable than ever before. Shameless and immodest careerism has, in no uncertain terms, effectively destroyed our ability to assess, train, and prepare students, or to identify those students that pose very real risk to Operational Detachments. I cannot stress how systematic and severe the effects on the force will be if the standards, recently implemented here in the Special Forces Qualification Course, remain in place.

We consistently and concretely identify dozens of graduates every year who are incapable of ever being ‘value-added’ to ODA’s yet are pushed forward to you. THAT NUMBER IS SET TO RISE DRAMATICALLY in the very near future. To clarify, we instructors recognize that none of us graduating the Q-Course were fully competent Green Berets when we first arrived to our teams. We are also acutely aware that senior generations derisively judging their juniors is a tradition as old as humanity. So this address is not being written because ‘cherries are so much more cherry than we were when we were cherries’. We do not expect them to be assets yet, we only expect that they possess the basic qualities necessary to become assets. I am asking for 20 minutes of your time because many students graduating the Q-course now do not possess those qualities and, from this moment forward, determining if ANY students possess them is not possible. The actions of SWCS leadership have created a new era of Special Forces that are; increasingly incapable of actualizing SOF attributes; markedly and demonstrably weaker; and quantifiably projecting measurable risk and liability onto the teammates with which they serve. Before this paradigm shift, cadre due diligence was capable of some risk mitigation in these aspects. We could, did, and often still do reach back to teams and prepare them for those [inevitable] outliers that slip through the course unimpeded due to cronysim, nepotism, or malfeasance. But the recent systematic dismissal of course standards and continous violation of regulations at the Training Group and SWCS echelons makes student failure nigh impossible. Assessing, Identifying, and mitigating prolonged individual performance has historically been a cornerstone of the pipleline. That has been provably replaced with willful mediocrity. This climate has been empowered by a feckless, selfish, and recreant command ideology, set into motion by MG Linder and COL Lock, and actualized by MG Sonntag, CSM Arrowsmith, COL Kornburger, and CSM Berkibile.

In the last 24 months, Commanders and/or Sergeants Major at the Group and SWCS level have systematically removed numerous fundamental SF standards, lowered and undermined the grading metrics for others, all while simultaneously ensuring that a gagged cadre population was expressly prohibited from holding students accountable for their academic, physical, and character performance. Obviously, this concerns those of us whom are returning to Group. We have an understandably vested interest in developing the best new teammates we possibly can, for we will be serving alongside them. The issue is that career-focused leaders, far removed from team life, have no ‘skin in the game’ and thus do not concern themselves with the problems inherent in employing subpar soldiers in a no-fail environment: where individual limitation creates team-wide catastrophe, often with international repercussions. Their responsibilities involve ensuring that yearly graduation quotas are met and that political agendas are enforced. They do not concern themselves with ensuring that students are capable of surviving the rigors of combat, and in all fairness they shouldn’t. That is the cadre’s mantle to bear. Ignorance of their interference in this endeavor might be forgivable, but they have been told by the operational force numerous times what issues these policies would create, and chose career progression instead. As you will read, this moral cowardice started in the preceding command, and is shared by every current Commander and Sergeant Major at the Group and SWCS level. When one of our cadre addressed these concerns (with examples) directly to the SWCS leadership in an open forum, CSM David Gibb’s (at the time the SWCS CSM) response was verbatim:

“We push some of these issues forward [to the Regiment] because we believe that the Groups can succeed in fixing those problem graduates when they arrive. That is an amount of risk we willingly accept, because after all it’s much easier to get a tab removed at Group if he doesn’t pan out, than to risk relieving what’s basically a fully qualified student who might have been able to fix himself and become a solid Green Beret.”

Specifically, he was defending the decision to graduate a student that had failed the final graduation SFPA (Special Forces Physical Assessment) five times on the 40-minute 5-mile run. He finally passed on the 6th attempt: coming in 12 seconds under time, and 4 attempts past the mandatory 1-year relief dictated by regulation. Over 100 of your current teammates heard this exchange during at SLC in 2016, and can bear witness. A senior E-9, with approximately 20 years in SF, unashamedly acknowledged that reducing, and then ignoring course standards is a perfectly acceptable philosophy to embrace in pursuit of graduation numbers. His response embodied everything that is wrong with SF leadership today. Standards are being drastically reduced, and they are being done so to achieve a very acute goal, one that does not benefit or enhance the force.

So here we are, the trainers, hoping to illuminate to you, the operational force, the severity of this issue. Below, we’ve illustrated a variety of truths to fully encompass the selfish and careerist nature of the leadership that is injecting poison into the SF foundation. This does not capture everything, only the most recent events, and should sufficiently capture the essence of the systematically detrimental change and malfeasance occurring in the SFQC. Deducing their impact on the unit is easy to the operational soldier. Unfortunately it is not to Senior leaders. So, help us to affect change. This plea is on behalf of a clear majority of your brothers who have no real power to affect change on their own. Cadre hands are increasingly tied, and yet they are regularly, randomly castrated as scapegoats for a command that often confuses blind, knee-jerk reactions with due process. SF legitimacy is fading at the hands of self-serving careerism. Commanders truly want to be recognized and rewarded for the milestones they are achieving. Please accommodate them. Spread this message, publish it, share it online, go to the press, and send it to congress. If these “leaders” so desire the recognition for what they are doing, then let us ensure they receive all of it.

I completely understand that some of those reading up to this point may be skeptical. It sounds overly dramatic, tinged with emotion, and can easily be brushed off as the ranting of some scorned, disgruntled has-been who had a bad run-in with a senior leader too many times. Here are the facts, so you can make that decision for yourself. Every single one of you out there in Group knows a brother-in-arms or 2 doing time in SWCS, if your don’t believe me, give any one of us a ring…

THE SPECIAL FORCES QUALIFICATION COURSE

We work in 1st SWTG(A) at USAJFKSWCS. There are currently about 900 GB’s on the roster, and we account for and/or train every single one of the (roughly) 2200 students currently in the Q-course. As a refresher for those of you who have been away for a while, here is a breakdown of what were (key word) the major training requirements that students were were to pass to graduate each phase of the SFQC after getting selected.

o CLT: Graduate to move into the pipeline

o Special Forces Orientation Course (SFOC): Pass Phase 1
-Pass Land Navigation
-Pass Swim test
-Pass 12-mile ruck march (55 lbs dry in under 3 hours)
-Pass SFPA(57 push-ups, 66 sit-ups, 5-mile run in under 40 minutes, 1 rope climb w/25lbs vest)

o Small Unit Tactics (SUT)/SERE Pass phase 2

o MOS Pass phase 3
o ROBIN SAGE Pass phase 4
o LANGUAGE Pass phase 5

-Earn a 1+/1+ OPI in target language
-Pass graduation SFPA

o GRADUATE

Notes:

o The SFOC SFPA and the LANGUAGE SFPA are the only physical requirements enforced in the SFQC, as in they are the only PT events they can be relieved for.

o Failure of any 1 event on the SFPA is a recycle of that phase. Failure on any retest is by-regulation at least an automatic 1-year relief from the SFQC.

o Relief boards are held for all academic or attribute failures in all phases. Even if a relief is mandated by regulation, every instructor must justify why a student warrants relief or retention (e.g. 3x UXO failure, 6x late to formation, any SOF attribute violation, etc.). At the relief board, 15+ instructors and the Battalion Command team review every case, and debate what the punishment should be, and after everyone says their piece, the Battalion Commander makes his decision. Any appeals go directly to the Group Commander, and ALL NTR’s go to the Group Commander.

o Keep in mind, the SFQC goal for graduating Special Forces Green Berets is 550 Active Duty Enlisted (ADE) every year. More importantly, the SFQC produces on-average between 400-470 ADE annually. This is…very important to say the least.

PAVING THE WAY FOR THE FIRST FEMALE GREEN BERET

I hesitate to begin on this axis, but it warrants the most illumination. To be clear, this is in no way a commentary on the debate concerning the efficacy of women serving in Special Forces. The Regiment’s attitude is clear, the debate is a heated one, and both sides of the aisle have documented numerous credible arguments. That is a separate discussion entirely. Regardless of one’s opinion on the topic, a universally accepted truth recognized by all parties is that if women yearn to join the force, they should meet the same standards achieved by those men they wish to serve with. This is where no reasonable person disagrees. No one has said “If they want to join, give them a lower standard so they can join.” Yet this is exactly where the current leadership has taken it upon themselves to inject an end state no one wants, to achieve personal endeavors that benefit no one. They have stated through continuous action and policy implementation that they do not want women to meet the standard. What they want, is to markedly lower the standards enough to ensure that any woman attempting this path will have absolutely no issue achieving it. They have said time and again that they want to maintain the standards, but have continuously lowered, and now eliminated them. Consider the time-line of events:

o June 2015: SFOC has unanimous support at every level of command. Land nav, 12-mile, Swim, and SFPA all in full effect and standards are enforced. Historically all incoming command teams visit each phase of the course to get a capabilities brief. All sections spend time briefing.

o July 2015: Incoming upper-echelon command teams conduct first walk through of 4th Battalion, 3 hours is spent with SFOC cadre determining the ‘viability and value’ of training provided there: A discussion never before tabled. No other phases are visited or brief.

o February 2016: DoD Directive for SOF to integrate women into SOF is mandated down to the lowest levels.

o July 2016: Incoming Group/SWCS command teams conduct first walk-through of 4th BN. Entire time is spent with SFOC cadre determining the ‘viability and value’ of training provided. No other phases brief.

o August 2016: All phases are command directed to provide student critiques of training. Guidance from A Co 1SG is that they are for “leadership input”.

o January 2017: The first female attends SFAS. She is medically dropped during land nav (severe injury during prolonged rucking event).

o January 2017: SFOC student critiques are requested at the SWCS command level, the first time in history.

o February 2017-forward: SWCS level command request only negative feedback critiques from SFOC.

o June 2017: Incoming SWCS command team conducts first walk-through of unit. No phases brief.

o July 2017: 13 SFOC students transported to hospital for training related injuries, five are admitted (injuries during SFOC range from 7-25). ALL SFQC units put on a safety stand-down to “reassess training”.

o July 2017: MG Sonntag dismisses all SFOC testable events. Students will take the physical tests, but they can no longer be relieved for them as they are considered diagnostics. Students can no longer fail SFOC except for Voluntarily Withdrawing or getting injured.

-SUT can only accommodate 120 students so company leadership introduces a point system for the above events to determine the top 120 students who will move forward from SFOC to SUT.

-MG Sonntag conducts an all-command-teams meeting to discuss the way ahead. The point system is disregarded. Instead, SUT is command directed to now accommodate 240 students. The typical SFOC class starts with 160-250 students, so this ensures all students that start SFOC can move on to SUT without isssue now that there are no standards set in place to fail them.

o September 2017: All graded SFQC PT events including the SFPA, APFT, diagnostic APFT’s, and Diagnostic SFPA’s still banned from being conducted.

-Revision introduced that there will be ZERO graded physical events in the SFQC between the months of June and August.

o October 2017: Town hall meeting with cadre: CSM Arrowsmith assures every single cadre present that the standards are not going to be changed, and that the standards will not be lowered. Cadre bring up the issue that removing the gates in SFOC effectively eliminates all standards. He insist that those standards will be moved to language phase. Although there was massive outcry, some semblance of peace was restored when it was insisted that, although the gates had been moved to language and effectively cut the amount of graded events in half, the students would have to pass them AT LEAST ONCE in order to graduate the Q- course. “Standards did still exist.”

o October 2017: A follow up Town hall meeting is called last minute: MG Sonntag used is face time with the cadre to repeat exactly what CSM Arrowsmith said in the previous town hall. He assured the cadre that standards would remain in place.

o November 2017: An ordeal occurs with students in language phase. They are forced to show up for an additional PT formation due to numerous absences (discussed below). After this, a command directive is put out across SWCS: there will no longer be remedial training or physical punishment for student infractions. Only counseling or UCMJ action is to be taken.

o November 2017: The culmination: It has just been announced that graduation for students will be held immediately after they graduate Robin Sage. Language phase is no longer a requirement for graduation. Aside from passing selection, there are LITERALLY no physical gates or standards required of students in order for them to graduate the Special Forces Qualification Course.

This is the state of the entire SFQC as it stands today. Students do not need to be able to pass a 2-mile run at an 80% standard. They do not need to pass a 5-mile run in under 40 minutes. They do not need to be able to pass a 12-mile ruck march in under 3 hours. They are not required to find ANY points during their land nav training and assessment. They do not need to be able to perform 8 pull-ups. They do not need to be able to perform 57 push-ups, or 66 sit-ups. They no longer need to be able to climb a 15 foot rope with weight on. Students are no longer administered any form of physical or administrative punishment. After passing a 19-ish day selection process, there are no physical barriers to earning the coveted Green Beret. These all were standards for EVERY Green Beret in modern history prior to this month. To say that standards have not been eliminated would be laughable, were it not so tragic.

MG Sonntag and COL Kornburger have been transparent in their motivations. The moment they took command, their primary motivation for making changes to the SFQC was to acquire ‘Multi-star Potential’ on their OERs, They pursued this by, first, ensuring that the Q-course graduation rate was raised so they could lay claim to making the Q course more efficient and, second, ensuring that the standards were lowered so as to make certain that the first women able to pass selection would have the best possible chance of making it through the grueling 14 month (at it’s quickest) pipeline practically unimpeded. Being able to say they graduated the first female Green Beret is a milestone no officer (devoid of principles, that is) can possibly pass up. SFOC had the strictest requirements and the highest attrition rate, almost entirely physical in nature. They practically did away with it. They placated cadre, and the force as a whole, with promises of enforcing those standards in language. They assured instructors and battalion leaders that the relief decisions at the board would be supported. But in 85% of all NTR’s or 2 year relief appeals sent to them, they reversed the decision and put them back into training. They set the stage for mediocrity well before they made it official, pulling the rug out from under the force only once all the pieces set in motion 2 years ago were finally in place. There is not a single operator at the battalion level or below in all of SF that thinks this move is a forward one for the Regiment. But those concerns fall on deaf ears.

Although spineless, cowards are smart. They have learned from Ranger School’s previous ordeal. They won’t have to defend (real or perceived, I have no first-hand knowledge of how the female ranger graduates were treated) accusations of “ad hoc” lowering of standards or preferential treatment for women who brave SF training. No, the standards will have been lowered well beforehand. All accusations of preferential treatment or double standards will fall by the wayside when these ‘standards’ set forth have already been deemed the “status quo” well before their arrival. The cruelty of the situation is that any woman with the fortitude to attempt this training would most definitely have wanted the standards to remain the same. It is reasonable to assume they would have wanted to test their metal against the historical standards and ensured they were every bit as capable as the men they aspire to serve next to. It is a point of pride to know you are every bit as capable as the best of the best, IF you can do it. But they have been robbed of the ability to earn that achievement. Knowing there are officially no physical barriers to earning the Green Beret cheapens the experience for everyone involved, including the population it is misguidedly meant to assist.

The fact of the matter is that the Q-course today is markedly, measurably easier to skate through (I do not use that term lightly) than ever before. As long as one shows up for training, there is virtually no way to fail this training. MG Sonntag said it best: “Once they’ve been selected, there is no reason they should fail a single portion of the Q-course.”

He willfully disregards the vital failure rate the Q-course creates by identifying those that were never cut-out for Special Forces. A Green Beret is much more than just a person that can gut-out 19 days of suck. They are intelligent, responsible, mature, clever, work well with others, and capable of adapting to any situation. They embody the SOF attributes. And these attributes are nigh impossible to assess in a 19-day selection, but absolutely critical to discerning before going to a team.

IN PURSUIT OF NUMBERS

o Voluntary Withdrawals (VW). 1SG (soon to be SGM) Steven Mcdavid, mandated immediately upon his arrival that EVERY SINGLE VW in the SFQC talk to him before attending the relief board. In every single case, his express goal was to talk the VW out of quitting. He had a roughly 90% success rate in this endeavor. Yes, there are roughly 15-20 students who have graduated in the last year alone, Green Berets, who have shown a COMPLETE lack of perseverance and have quit on their teammates during training, who are currently operating in real world environments. Those that were convinced to stay had their VW statements shredded and thrown in the trash. The TAC’s that owned them were directed to delete their VW SASs (documents that record student actions), and they did not go before a relief board. The only VWs that went before the relief board did so when 1SG McDavid was absent, and cadre were able to expedite the process.

o COL Kornburger communicated his ideology immediately to the cadre upon taking command. His visit to a June 2017 Special Operations Instructor Course is where he laid out his philosophy, and what he truly things instructors are meant to do:

o “you are not here to assess students, they were assessed in selection, they are with you to train”

o “If a student fails in the Q Course, it is because you are a failure as an instructor”

o “There is not reason a student coming out of selection should fail any part of any phase of the SFQC”

Indeed, a student who fails the SFPA a total of 7 times, or recycles the 18C course 6 times, or is caught cheating 2 times, or attempts to blackmail instructors into passing him, or commits fratricide in a training environment (these are all actual examples), are all failures on the instructors part…with no exception.

o The SWCS leadership tasked several individuals in 1st SWTG(A) with combing through every single student in the OT pool, who hadn’t already left on orders, to assess who could be reinserted back into training immediately. To date, dozens of students who were only 2-3 months into 1 or 2 year relief sentences were brought back and reinserted into training where they had left off. They are ramping this operation up, and have identified as many as 1/3 of the students, who have been dropped, for immediately reinsertion into training.

o During a command meeting (the same one that dismissed all physical standards in SFOC) COL Kornburger command directed that a 92% graduation rate is his newly implemented standard for the SFQC. To note, there has never been a command mandated pass rate before. There is now. All subordinate commanders were tasked with ensuring that the SFQC met these numbers. We have been told time and again by every other previous commander/csm that standards, and not numbers, are what matters. We knew these were lies because command always spoke to the contrary, but at least they were ATTEMPTING to placate us. Now the leadership is not even trying. 92% is the prime directive from current leadership, not the quality of graduates moving out to Group.

o Another directive that came out of the above command meeting: students conducting training (IN ALL PHASES), will be carrying less weight during the summer months. The initial number thrown around was 45LBS versus the standard 55LBS. COL Kornburger, truly a visionary, seems to think that students should learn that in combat its ok to adjust mission requirements to the heat. What is more, we have a Commander who wants to ensure that we cadre don’t know if students can handle THE BARE MINIMUM during higher temperatures. Instead, the teams will find out that a soldier can not tolerate the heat in the middle of Afghanistan or Iraq, when they collapse the first time they are faced with physical adversity. That is an inevitability, because students will not be seeing any physical adversity here in the SFQC.

o As of July 2017, the incredibly risk-averse COL Kornburger directed that all SFQC graded physical training cease. The stated reason was a series of 4 Heat related injuries during one SFPA, and 13 heat related hospital trips during one land-navigation iteration. While that sounds concerning, put in perspective these are below average numbers. Summer classes routinely see double and triple these numbers. This knee-jerk reaction by gutlessly risk-averse commanders has delayed or completely cancelled well over a dozen previously scheduled events that affect the training and qualification of well over a quarter of all the students in training.

o A number of SFOC cadre identified over a dozen cached GPS devices along the SFOC Land Nav lanes, and identified several students violating integrity. This was brought before senior leadership. SFOC cadre wanted to address the issue, which would have meant numerous recycles and/or possible reliefs. In response to such a massive loss of trainees the CSM response was succinct: “I personally don’t mind, I would actually kind of want these guys on my team, if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”. Regardless of your opinions on that sentiment, if you get caught cheating, you should deal with the consequences.

CADRE AS SCAPE GOATS

o SFC Barbecho, a Language TAC at the time, was reported multiple times by his students for conducting PT that was “too hard”. He would routinely take the students on runs ranging between 6-12 miles, personally leading the way each time. The BN CSM Martin at the time, directed him to stop, not once asking him for an explanation or allowing him to defend his training regimen. He was later reported again, this time for making students do push-ups on concrete “while it was hot outside.” Despite student complaints, no medical issues were identified or reported. He was reprimanded, without a single cadre being asked for an explanation, and based solely on student complaints. Regardless, he mitigated concerns and catered to the students, mandating that gloves be worn for follow on sessions. He also participated in all corrective training after that. He was shortly there-after relieved of his position and reassigned to a different company. He, nor any other cadre, was given an opportunity to speak on his behalf. Students for the first time in SFQC history verifiably understood that by anonymously complaining to the command, they could get cadre fired, and would not have to endure “harder or perceived unnecessary training.”

o SFC Geeseman routinely physically prepared students getting ready to go to selection. He would constantly have students ruck, run, and do team oriented events to prepare them physically. During one such training event, a student went down as a heat casualty. The medics on standby gave him IV’s, and moved him to Womack. Womack medical personnel failed to properly assess the patient, and gave him additional IV’s, more than was necessary. The student ended up losing part of his foot due to Womack’s error. Leadership, spearheaded BN CSM Martin, GRP CDR Col Lock, and SWCS CDR MG Linder, tried to fry SFC Geeseman for absolutely no reason other than to make someone take full blame for the incident. An incident, by the way, that is very common in training here. He did nothing wrong, and the ensuing IG complaint verified this. This did not stop the command from pursuing a GOMAR. This incident paved the way for a complete cessation of physical training in the Q-course.

o SFC Jackson, a language TAC, was administering routine PT one morning, on a Thursday before a 4-day weekend. During this particular formation roughly 1/3 of the students decided, for whatever reason, not to show up or at least call in during accountability. SFC Jackson, understandably, decided to address the issue. He decided to have another PT formation at 0600 on a Friday. This would not interfere with his class, as even though it was a four day, all of his students still had language class on that day. He also revoked *1* student’s 4-day pass, as that student had been a repeat offender. Because of this, several students walked straight over to the SWCS HQ building (Bryant Hall), and complained to the highest echelon they could. SFC Jackson was called into CSM Arrowsmith’s office immediately. His company and battalion leadership went as well. As a result of this meeting. SFC Jackson was relieved of his position as TAC. During the entire meeting, CSM Arrowsmith did not point out a single ‘actual’ wrong-doing on SFC Jackson’s part, only that ‘several students had complained’. He also made it clear that, should this happen to other instructors, they would be fired as well. It can not be stressed enough, SFC Jackson was excersing BASIC NCO professional development, well within Army regulation, and was fired for doing so.

o SFC Squires was newly placed as a TAC in SUT/SERE phase. He immediately started a PT program in which he routinely worked out with his students. During one session conducted at Towle stadium, he was reported “yelling” at the students (again, while PT’ing WITH them). His use of foul language resulted in him being immediately fired and moved to BN S-3. This is not hyperbole. When brought before the BN leadership, he was not once given a chance to speak, or allowed to defend his actions, he was fired based solely on what was reported by 3rd party observers. None of whom identified themselves. CSM Martin told him he would have taken his tab if given the chance, and that he disgusted him. No students had complained, and other cadre in attendance attested that while cussing was present, no demonstrably unprofessional behavior was exhibited. Shortly after this, all remedial corrective training was banned in 4th BN/1st SWTG(A). Cadre were instructed that they would be fired if caught punishing students through physical corrective training. Commanders used this incident to ensure that there would be a complete lack of student accountability through corrective training. There are entire classes that have graduated who went through the entire Q-course having never undergone a single physical event for failing to follow instructions, lying to instructors, or a myriad of other attributes failures.

COMMAND FAVORTISM

o SPC Thomas was an 18B trainee. He was first caught attempting to bribe an instructor with beer, and then later had a panic attack during an AAR while in the 18B FTX. During his relief board counseling, he attempted to blackmail 18B cadre by telling them that if relieved and returned to his unit, he would have to annotate that he witnessed the instruction of secret/noforn course material to international students. This was a completely fabricated event, and later verified as untrue via internal investigation. He then went behind his TAC’s back and, because he had a very good working relationship with his NG Group Commander, produced a memo directing his reclassification as an 18E. Despite all of these acts, he was not relieved, but was given a recycle into the 18E course. He would fail the SFPA and retest twice before being graduated.

o “Desk-side boards” happen all the time. When the BN command team knows that a decision they are going to make involving a student will be highly unpopular amongst Cadre, they don’t bring the student before the ‘public’ relief board (where all Cadre/TACs/Instructors offer points of view weight in on the decision). They set aside a time and the student privately sees the BC one-on-one, to receive a decision. These boards rarely involve enlisted students, and are almost entirely decisions to keep 4, 5, or 6 time academic or SFPA failures in training. These desk-side boards were used by previous commanders during training lulls where only 1 or 2 students were up for relief, but have currently become a go-to for unpopular decisions. They are now a tool to reduce the amount of students who would otherwise have become de-facto reliefs at the board.

o SFC Jimenez failed to earn a 1+/1+ in his language during language phase. He was allowed to graduate with his class. He has stated numerous times that he has several friends working in Bryant Hall directly under MG Sontagg. MG Sontagg was the authority that allowed SFC Jimenez to walk across the stage having failed the 1+/1+ standard.

o SGT Larios was given an NTR for nearly a dozen infractions during his tenure in the SFQC. The one that got him an NTR involved lying to cadre multiple times in conjunction with failing to report and failing to follow instructions. Approximately 1 month after being given an NTR, he was reinserted into training.

o CPT Mulholland (related to GEN Mulholland) was given an ARSOF NTR for his performance during the 18A course. He talked directly with the BN leadership, and was given an audience with the Group commander the next day (this process usually takes weeks). His ARSOF NTR was overturned, and he was allowed to attend CA selection the next class. He was attached to 4th BN so that he would not have to go through the normal process of moving to SPT BN and pursuing the CA application process there.

o CPT Beasley was given an ARSOF NTR for his VW during ROBIN SAGE. COL Lock granted his appeal and gave him a 1-year relief from the SFQC. Instead of being out-processed and sent on assignment, he was kept in 4th BN to work in one of the battalion shops. He completed “110 hours of SOCEP training” in less than 1 month, and he was then immediately reinserted into training by COL Lock. He VW’d again several days after returning to training.

o CPT Vasiliv was a VW out of ROBIN SAGE who quit on his team during training. He was brought before the 1st BN Commander, LTC Wheeler in a closed-door personal meeting for over an hour. After he exited, he had “decided” that he wanted to continue in the SFQC, and graduated the phase with his class.

o SSG Ontiveros has been in med hold for almost a year. All students are required to be administratively dropped if held out of training longer than 90 days.

o SSG Conklin was a 4 x SFPA failure who was put up for relief. He was never able to pass the “1x 15’ rope climb with 25LBS weight vest”. He was “tested on the rope climb” by 1SG Mcdavid…on a Sunday…with no cadre present. He miraculously passed and graduated with the next class.

o SSG Baker was given an NTR. COL Lock reversed his decision to NTR SSG Baker, who would go on to fail SUT. SSG Baker is currently in training. Not related, SSG Baker has family connections in SF which COL Lock is aware of.

o CPT Jimenez, currently in 7th Group, was the single source of several 4th Battalion investigations. He wrote anonymous emails, started IG complaints, or propagated rumors about virtually every single phase of the SFQC. His continual fabrications were verifiably false, and his numerous accusations resulted in several investigations that hampered operations for over a dozen cadre and battalion leadership. Literally every accusation he levied was proven inaccurate or untrue. But as a student, he was given complete top cover and left unimpeded to continue creating havoc, and was not held accountable for the numerous integrity violations he committed. He graduated with his peers.

o SGT Winfield was under investigation for a discrepancy in his clearance paperwork prior to entering the SFQC. He was brought before 1SG Mcdavid and told that if he did not rebut, he would be given a LOR that would be locally filed, would disappear once he left the SFQC, and that he would be put back into training. Deciding he was undeniably innocent, he stated his intent to rebut. BN CSM Pevehouse, along with 1SG Mcdavid, directed him to cut his 18-page rebuttal down to 2 pages. He was then given an LOR, but it was filed in his permanent record in his OMPF. Before company leadership changed hands, 1SG Mcdavid stated his personal intent to have SGT Winfield removed from the SFQC.

Students right now have witnessed the above transgressions. They are friends of or know every single person in each of the above cases. Students are being shown, time and time again, that the standards can be fudged. That failure is not a big deal. That if they fail they will get special treatment, or they can know the right person, or they can just try again; sometimes as often as 6 times before getting it right. We try to enforce that this is not so, that in Group you often only have one shot. But we can’t overcome the atmosphere of forgiveness and compliance that this place now breeds. The good students, through no fault of their own, don’t get taught the importance of first-time success. The bad students, visibly increasing in number, embrace it and are bringing it to Group. We are trying, but the commanders have the authority, and they are abusing it.

This is the next generation of Special Forces. In just a few years, most of our regiment will be a product of this foundation. We will become a brotherhood of parasites: devoid of any real character, feeding off of the achievements those before us earned, and consuming the heritage as a whole. We can cure it, but it needs to happen now. We need to take back ownership of our profession.

Help us fix this mess. The Regiment’s legacy depends on it.

A concerned Green Beret,

-DE OPPRESSO LIBER

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 67 comments… add one }
  • SGT-ADA October 12, 2020, 8:08 pm

    WTF? Maybe I should go volunteer for the SF now at 60 and disabled because it sounds like I may make it. All kidding aside, I knew a really squared away SSG Calvary Scout with a Ranger Tab try in the mid-80’s and failed. Now, it sounds like OSUT in Ft Bliss and PLDC during a bad German winter sounds was more difficult. I feel real bad for the good, well trained Berets who gave it their all to pass, and they now have to worry about these half baked phonies getting them killed. IMHO, some Generals and CSM’s can do more harm to a military organization than a direct hit by a nuke.

  • DAN III October 22, 2018, 6:23 am

    The circumstances in SF as described by the email author, is from his accurate perspective. However, in my decades long involvement with the US Army, IMO the rot is in every branch whether combat arms or otherwise. Unlike the author I will remark that the inclusion of females has had a destructive effect on the Army’s ability to fight wars at the infantry platoon and squad levels.

    The country and it’s military are rapidly headed down the proverbial commode.

  • John A Anderson December 7, 2017, 11:24 am

    I have suppeced this seeing the size of the graduating classes and I am sure the man who may have sacrificed a career writing this is telling us that the marshmallow Oboma generals need to be replaced by real soulders.

  • Fred Warnick December 3, 2017, 9:08 pm

    Our Military is not a social experiment for people who don’t even know what they are.

  • EOD 1SG December 2, 2017, 2:55 pm

    Good luck getting the command to listen and change during your expansion brothers. EOD went through this a few years ago, and at one point had several GOs calling for a 0% attrition rate. Students were tested, retested etc, standards ignored. Cadre and NCOs worldwide would literally tell whoever was listening “all you’re doing is filling body bags”. Somehow they couldn’t understand that lowering standards in an elite field that relies on individual performance and ability is always counter productive (except to the OER). Cadre morale was non-existent at times, but fortunately we soldiered thru remembering that eventually the pendulum swings back and you can reverse the damage.
    This went on for years while we grew by over 150%. It was always left to the units to weed out the non-performers at great expense to time, discipline, morale and sometimes effectiveness.
    You are absolutely right that the goal is to include/graduate women. You are absolutely right that the women trying WANT to live up to the standards and EARN their right to be there. The problem is that there will be lots of weaker men who will capitalize on the degradation of the system and unfortunately the women that do graduate will be blamed by their peers for the problem.
    The end product will be that the ODAs are harder to fill, but those in the teams will not allow them to be filled with incompetence. This will create a large pool of mediocrity filling the wings, and understaffed ODAs that work twice as hard to accomplish missions because there are less of them. While covering for the deficiencies of their “peers” the good ones will be overworked and become casualties. Those in charge will of course show how these were the best and brightest and how well they did while ignoring how they are to blame for putting them there in the first place. We had similar issues and the units had to institute detailed training and testing to establish who was allowed to lead teams, fortunately with command support. Those unit standards allowed me to best evaluate who I could send to support SF, and who I had to build the packet on for reclassification/removal of the badge. It was neverending, and did not make my NCOs lives any easier that day. BUT we took an entire company to Afghanistan, and brought every single one of them home alive. We also processed 10 out of the force during my 3 years there. When they left there was no door to return. When everyone does that it helps.
    That is your best case scenario. At times a perfect storm of mediocrity will convene and you may have a group of them all in one place. At that point I cringe, because the consequence won’t be one or two fine operators, it will be an entire team that never should have been put together. Having been around when this happened it is not something I hope you ever have to deal with. Be prepared and watch for this more than anything else. One or two good leaders in the right spot can avert this. Don’t half ass external evaluations and ensure the mediocre are placed in a position to fail without dying. THIS is the only way you will save their lives. Eventually they will be forced out. It happens, trust me. I remembered this every time I was filling out paperwork late in the evening. Remember, it’s leadership, not “likership” and be ready for these people to come back at you HARD. Cultivate your reputation and friends reputations because they will have your back when these sycophants who grab on to the latest EO or other mechanism to get you kicked out come along. Unfortunately I can guarantee that will happen also.
    To you brothers, I can only hope that this will not overwhelm your consciences and force you to want to leave. You must STAY. This phase of stupidity will pass. You will get good leaders back who will listen and re-instate standards. It will not happen until the growth stops or there is a cut in force. If you leave before then the damage will be twice as bad because those standards will be unknown to the remainder.
    Lastly, don’t listen to the cooks, clerks, MPs, intel, or even Infantry that chime in. You are a triple (or more) volunteer force that does things no one else is willing to do. There is a reason for high standards. They can’t understand that. Our mistakes are paid for with ours or our brothers blood. We have to look the widows and children in the eyes and try to explain why. Sometimes there is no reason. Sometimes good men and women die because the enemy gets a vote, and their persistence, numbers, intelligence and just plain luck can overcome even the best training and equipment. You will die on the inside though if you are looking at them and know that you sent your brother/sister on that mission knowing they could not perform.

    I will pray for you brothers, that you can weather this storm and remain the good men that do bad things to our enemies in the dark to keep us all safe.
    EOD 1SG, Retired
    INITIAL SUCCESS OR TOTAL FAILURE!

  • joe tentpeg December 2, 2017, 10:37 am

    COL David Hackworth believed LTC (O-5) was last officer rank you could trust not to be a ‘suit’ in uniform (politician).

    He was right.

    Retired LTC Allen West was colored gone (no pun intended) as a FL House Rep. after he reported to the media that there were many communists in CONgress.

    Initially had hope that Mattis would fix this shiite…now, not so much.

    It’s gonna take a SECDEF with big brass ones to bring the ball back to the 50 yard line.

    Hopefully one that didn’t used to wear stars.

  • Jay B Carroll December 2, 2017, 8:33 am

    Let’s break this down, Gents…and Ladies. This all began with the women’s suffrage movement. Then, in 1976, the first women were admitted to West Point. And sometime around 1980, Katie ‘Watsername’ attempted the SFOC and was washed out. Then, in 2015, two women graduated the Army’s rigorous Ranger School; or so it is said. And so on…..

    The point is, that this has been coming for a long time. No one should be surprised.

    The open letter may as well have been sent directly to Barack Obama; because it’s going nowhere. There’s not a politician alive (uniformed or not) who’ll launch a congressional inquiry into the subject, and more importantly, into the very valid points made by the courageous author, as to the detrimental effect that this latest devolutionary mandate will have on SOF and military readiness, in general.

    Those of us who are inclined to wax on about the sadness, injustice and sheer danger in this latest attempt to demoralize real men, will be drowned out by the forceful wave of political correctness that has been rolling across our landscape for decades.

    There’s a reason that Hussein Bolt and Jackie Joyner never went head to head in competition.

    JB Carroll

    DOL

    • tom p hebb December 2, 2017, 10:14 pm

      Well said. Very sad. It does a diservice to SF and those graduating the Q course. Especially a woman that makes it now will know they were not expected to meet same standards of graduates who went through prior to 2017. There are those who are selected and the training reveals problems that should eliminate them. We let guys go from SWAT because even though selected, training revealed some serious short comings. It has to be this way.

  • Sepp W December 2, 2017, 3:19 am

    Retired Army Combat Arms senior nco. The military is a reflection of society from which its members come from. These are trying times for the country. The last administration did a lot of damage and the republicans did noting to stop it. It’ll takes years to undo it, if it can be undone. As stated in the article and was even around in my time, if people can’t achieve the standard, then lower it. This will become more so prevalent as more and more incapable and unproductive men and women enter the combat military occupational specialties, though leaders will deny it. It’s easy to cover stuff up, the hard part is not getting caught.
    Combat requires everyone to know their job and carry their weight. Your buddy, crew, squad, platoon depend on one another. Giving a pass to someone unable to achieve the standard at a school house means their permanent party now has a problem to fix. People who can’t do their job, function in austere conditions, and keep their wits when under fire get people killed. Not good in combat. I would imagine in special ops it’s even more important.

  • Russ H. December 1, 2017, 6:07 pm

    I enlisted into the Rangers in 1978 and later spent about 10 years in SF on the MI side of the house as a 97B (84 – 94). As soon as the decision was made to allow women into the specops community, well this was predictable. How else could it be done? Sure, there may be 1 or 2 living women who could make it through the \”old Q course\” (probably Russian Olympic athletes) but that isn\’t what\’s happening – it\’s \”The New and Improved SF! Come One, Come All! All Are Welcome!\” Jesus… I presume SFAS has also been altered – that was the primary filter. This is tragic. Something similar happened to the Warrant Officer Corps about 10 yrs ago – to make numbers, so the standards were lowered. I entered the Army in 1978 and am now in the Reserves with over 39 years TIS as a CW4 CI Tech. My last deployment to AFG in 2013 was spent working with SF, Rangers and to a small extent, MARSOC (the new kids don\’t play well with others yet). Great bunch of guys. The SF community is going to have to circle the wagons and find a fix for this. I for one am going to have to retire early the day I come across a female wearing a \”triple canopy\” – clearly, it will no longer represent what it used to and the Army I knew will be dead.

    • Michael Schroer December 5, 2017, 12:24 pm

      Russ, I’m wondering if we went through the agent course together.

  • FirstStateMark December 1, 2017, 2:26 pm

    This should not be a shock to anyone considering the direction this country is heading thanks to the progressive liberal diversity starved politicians. Damn! I wish that swamp would drain.

    • Tim December 1, 2017, 6:20 pm

      Obama is gone now, so the Army will have to find someone else to blame. It’s an internal problem. General and senior leaders need to look in the mirror.

      • Jim December 2, 2017, 1:48 am

        False.

        The senior leaders today got there because they navigated the Obama administration well enough or at all…opposed to the many that were driven or drove themselves out. The last administration will affect the DoD for years to come as the risk averse and political culture cultivated the current military decision makers.

        You have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

        • Tim December 3, 2017, 12:59 am

          I wish I could agree with you, but the administration really isn’t going to make much difference. The Army and society are both going in this direction together. A change of administration will have some impact but unfortunately not much.

          I have never heard any General or senior leader take responsibility to loosing the last two wars. All prefer to point fingers or better yet they report that they are actually winning the wars. I love reading BS reports about how stable Iraq was or how stable Afghanistan is.

      • Jerry December 2, 2017, 8:05 am

        Careerist or yes generals are nothing new, but the level of what is going on now is a result of the Obana’s ‘reshaping’ via the vast purges that occurred which of course trickles down. That fact can’t be disputed. It’s now up to the new admin and SOD to undo it.

  • Crickets December 1, 2017, 12:57 pm

    Deliberate attempt to weaken the military. Whoever is doing this should be arrested for treason.

  • Big John December 1, 2017, 12:32 pm

    Being in Group (Active and Reserve) from the early 1980’s until the foolish deactivation of the Reserve Groups in the mid-1990’s I had a front row seat to the rise and fall of Rome (Post-Vietnam).

    Hate to say “I told you so”, but I saw this coming back when SF became its own Branch in 1987. Before then an O6 was the “ceiling” for Officers as I recall, three active duty Groups provided few slots for advancement and the career minded were perfectly content playing their silly self centered political games in the Branches. The majority of SF senior leadership tended to be hardened combat vets/old school “true believers”, scorned by their “Ring Knocker” Combat Arms peers.

    Since the addition of a “Branch” designation, the limitless advancement opportunities of SOCOM and the opportunities in SF due to the expansion of Groups, and now a 4th Battalion in those same Groups (in the “Post-Branch” era); coupled with all of the publicity the “Quiet Professionals” receive post 9-11 this was all inevitable.

    Special Operations as a whole is now a huge bureaucracy, bureaucracies are self perpetuating and the only way they are generally broken to ones own advantage is through the acts of a benevolent Dictator (don’t hold your breath waiting for that one boys). From the outside I have seen the un-conventional become more conventional and the modern Army as a whole become soft, politically correct and very self absorbed. This Army wide self absorption is this no more apparent than when comparing the uniform of a bonafide war hero from WWI, WWII or Korea, with a SP4 “Spoon” from (you name the unit) with a CAB. This is not a reflection of the modern soldier whom I highly revere, but a reflection of the cancer in our culture as a whole which has crept into the Army (and conversely the Special Operations community) at the highest levels. Agree or disagree, this is just the opinion of one eye witness… I’m sure there were Legionnaires around many a nights fire with a similar opinion around 400 AD.

    *** On a side note to Clay- My Mom said thank you’ it’s been quite a while… however she could have done without the money shot.

    • Tim December 1, 2017, 6:27 pm

      Big John,
      I totally agree the 1987 independent Special Forces branch reorganization, although put together for a good reason (the hostage rescue failure), ended up being a terrible compromise of split power/bureaucracy. What came out I believe makes the situation much worse. Now there is an even more divided military chain of command in place, each branch vying independently for power and influence. SOCOM is its own branch but at the same time it isn’t and remains tied to each of the respective branches of service. This gives SF a double dose of bureaucracy and politics. The redundancies are glaring: each SF Group has a complete staff and so do 1st SFG (formally USAFC), USASOC, and USSOCOM. These are essentially giant fully staffed headquarters with soldiers, NCOs, and tons of officers. This is combined with separate SF Army combatant commands along with convention Army combatant commands is quite overwhelming and disjointed. Anyone not in the community should be very confused by now, because it’s super confusing. The short version is that there is a huge amount of powerpoint makers, powerpoint checkers, lots of inconsequential tasks to operational soldiers, and a very large and very political “command” which ends up hindering operations much more than helping. It’s actually much more convoluted than the conventional Army. SF now also roles extremely deep into theater. Currently for every operational Green Beret there are about 10 deployed in “support”. This includes “commanders and staffs” from every single level of “command.” You can only imagine what it’s like for an ODA “commander” having dozens of bosses checking and “contributing” to every decision on the ground. Missions take months to approve. I thought congress might actually hold Generals responsible two years ago when they spent billions and billions of dollars to train less than 10 soldiers for the Syrian conflict. Turns out they didn’t and the Generals decided on their own to up troop levels, because that’s what they needed. The 10 to 1 rule does require lots of people.

    • Tim December 1, 2017, 6:29 pm

      Big John,
      I totally agree the 1987 independent Special Forces branch reorganization, although put together for a good reason (the hostage rescue failure), ended up being a terrible compromise of split power/bureaucracy. What came out I believe makes the situation much worse. Now there is an even more divided military chain of command in place, each branch vying independently for power and influence. SOCOM is its own branch but at the same time it isn’t and remains tied to each of the respective branches of service. This gives SF a double dose of bureaucracy and politics. The redundancies are glaring: each SF Group has a complete staff and so do 1st SFG (formally USAFC), USASOC, and USSOCOM. These are essentially giant fully staffed headquarters with soldiers, NCOs, and tons of officers. This is combined with separate SF Army combatant commands along with convention Army combatant commands is quite overwhelming and disjointed. Anyone not in the community should be very confused by now, because it’s super confusing. The short version is that there is a huge amount of powerpoint makers, powerpoint checkers, lots of inconsequential tasks to operational soldiers, and a very large and very political “command” which ends up hindering operations much more than helping. It’s actually much more convoluted than the conventional Army. SF now also roles extremely deep into theater. Currently for every operational Green Beret there are about 10 deployed in “support”. This includes “commanders and staffs” from every single level of “command.” You can only imagine what it’s like for an ODA “commander” having dozens of bosses checking and “contributing” to every decision on the ground. Missions take months to approve. I thought congress might actually hold Generals responsible two years ago when they spent billions and billions of dollars to train less than 10 soldiers for the Syrian conflict. Turns out they didn\’t and the Generals decided on their own to up troop levels, because that\’s what they needed. The 10 to 1 rule does require lots of people.

  • PJW December 1, 2017, 11:12 am

    What is to become of the SF members whose lives will be lost, because a person who lacks the
    previously set standards of ability. Lack of ability will kill and wound comrades of those who are
    unqualified to be special forces soldiers.
    My selfish motivation is that I have a relative who may be SF officer if he can meet the high
    standards of membership to the Special Forces community. I don’t want his or another soldier to
    be killed because someone doesn’t have what it takes to be a Green Beret.

  • WEDGE December 1, 2017, 10:08 am

    I pray for the good health, strength and guidance of our Special Forces community.

    As a member of the public, we do not receive this type of information-particularly from our congressional leaders or mainstream media, usually at all. When we do, the horse has always been long out of the barn, and quite often (planned that way?) too late for us to do anything about it. Perhaps this time the citizens of this great nation can actually get off their collectives duffs and create good change. Not for warm fuzzies or the treasonous destruction of our Special Forces as this article points out very clearly. Instead, to lock in concrete and steel the past qualification requirements, on penalty of death as a traitor should they ever be messed with and watered down. Heck, with these lowered requirements, I might be able to pass-unless there’s an age limit. Why is it that those who thought up and coordinated these changes-why is it that they do not understand the ‘weak link’ metaphor? Unless they are doing it for less than honorable reasons than achieving a warm fuzzy when their grand daughter receives her long tab? Treasonous scum.

    • Tim December 1, 2017, 10:38 am

      You should be concerned, national defense spends about a quarter of the national budget (your tax dollars) every year. How are they spending your dollars?

  • Still Sluggin December 1, 2017, 9:30 am

    What’s not to like?
    A teo fold increase in highly qualified snowflakes with a fraction of the risk! After all the number one rule of the current Green Berets is that they are super awesome government commended rocket scientist snowflakes who are the best at everything and also the smartest. So why not move this tule to prior to graduating from the Q course? They are after all already selectived. Progressive thinking leaders I like it!

  • Valdes December 1, 2017, 9:07 am

    The entire right up is all just an opinion. Whoever wrote that up must have been a sorry individual that did not care for the course and whine like a little pussy. I went through that course back in 1975 and it made us very very tough there was a lot of cohesiveness and team. My team and I have 5 covert missions and successfully completed those missions. We give thanks for the strong training they gave us to become green berets. I am not sure who that pansy was that wrote all that crap. He needs a diaper change. I am a very proud Green Beret serving 23 years and will die as a Green Beret. I have a 7 other Colleagues that have read this and agree with me. That idiot that wrote this up is not a Green Beret. Why would he hide after writing this up. That man or woman has no balls.

    • Tim December 1, 2017, 10:32 am

      Valdes,
      Unfortunately, your comment regarding changing soiled drawers could be applied to about half the Green Berets currently in service. There are two HUGE problems with this article/situation. First, is the fact that a soldier actually wrote this article and he was not corrected by his peers or disciplined by his unit. This act of soldiers expressing their personal opinions against policy, leaders, or orders has become increasingly more common in the Army as a whole (yes, SF included). Very ironically it’s closely related to or rather the same issue as the soldier himself is poopy face whining about in this article. The trainees are now given more rights and protection and likewise also this cadre ,whatever his rank, is protected by the same type of “every soldier is a unique snowflake” ideals. He has expressed his own individual opinion without harm, discipline, removal, or likely even the admonishment of his peers. The second issue, again very unfortunately, this opinion piece is like very indicative, true, and representative of the situation. I know you don’t want to hear this, but neither does anyone else in the chain of command. They will deny all these accusations and say everything is just fine and dandy. They choose the easier route of complimenting all the soldier snowflakes and handing out more awards. After all to say there is an issue with the Green Berets is a sin. I challenge you to take your 7 friends, split up, go walk through your old units, ask questions, don’t talk much (no war stories), and absorb first hand attitudes and accounts of the current Green Berets.

      I’m sorry Valdes, you’ve been out a long time

      • Alej December 1, 2017, 11:23 am

        ” I’m sorry Valdes, you’ve been out a long time. ”

        There it is.

    • enough December 1, 2017, 11:07 am

      so, applicants being passed regardless if they pass or fail required tests and requirements is NOT a problem to you ? Am I understanding you correctly?

    • JG December 1, 2017, 11:59 am

      I’m not sure that you actually read what was written above. The guy isn’t a whiner/pussy that didn’t care for the course, he’s trying to stop an entire generation of those kind of whiners/pussies from becoming the new standard of the Green Berets. He wants the course to retain the same standards you had when you went through training. The anger and outrage should be directed at his command, which is responsible for abandoning these standards. Given his many examples of how instructors were fired for simply doing their job and upholding the high level of special forces training, it’s no wonder that this was written anonymously. Additionally, given that this is a time-sensitive, critical national defense issue, it needs to be addressed ASAP; and since these concerns are being willfully ignored by his self-serving command, he had no choice but to go public.

    • Dlh0 December 1, 2017, 12:42 pm

      Valdes,
      Your reading comprehension seems somewhat lacking. After reading the letter, you did read it, right?, all you get out of it is an attack on your old unit’s integrity? Instead of living in the past and ignoring how these claims, if even partially accurate, diminish your heritage, I’d think you’d be incensed at the gutting the unit has potentially undergone. I don’t see this soldier’s actions as whining at all. Too much detail to be all BS. I see this person’s actions as a last ditch attempt to save the integrity of an elite unit that risks being reduced to mediocrity.

    • Old Scool December 1, 2017, 2:29 pm

      I know first hand Obama’s admin had intentionally poisoned the well with allowing the requirement’s of the Officer corp to become a Green Beret without having to pass the Q course. That set in place the current situation from within, called the 5th column for those who do not know.

    • RKC December 1, 2017, 2:36 pm

      Valdez, I realize you’re getting up there so I’m going to cut you some slack. You should read this again, (and again after that). If you don’t see what this soldier is trying to do, I’m going to go out on a limb and say you probably never were SF, (they wouldn’t allow someone with such poor reading comprehension through) or you’re faculties have greatly diminished since your time in.

      • Jerry December 2, 2017, 8:23 am

        I don’t believe for a second he was SF. I have the impression that leftist trolls of this sort believe they are smarter than everyone else, come across as genuine but if you spent anytime reading these kind of articles and forums it couldn’t be more transparent. I’ve come across this sort numerous times. He might as well go ahead and sign his post.

        • Mike January 25, 2020, 12:52 pm

          Dude named dozens of actual people by rank/name/position, described detailed accounts of specific probleme, broke down the exact changes being made to the training, and quoted several specific green berets and the dates they said them….but he isn’t one of them? Did you read the same thing everyone else did? I’m guessing you aren’t in SF because anyone who is would know immediately if it was bullshit or not. This wasn’t written for the public, it was written specifically for the green beret community. Sorry if that hurts your feelings

    • WayneO December 2, 2017, 12:27 pm

      Valdes,
      ‘Thank you’ for telling us you successfully completed five covert missions; I guess I’m supposed to be impressed.
      It’s apparent to me that you never did any Cadre time at SWCS. Even though you said that you read the letter I can’t believe you would have those comments after reading the specific cases cited. I also might’ve had some respect for the opinion of you and your friends had it not been for your direct character assination of the author of the letter.
      I was Cadre at SWC from ’01 to ’04 and was in a room of another 30 or 40 Cadre when we were told told directly that if any student failed it was our fault.
      Every story has 3 sides and I think you’re completely denying anything to do with relevant truths in your ‘opinion’.
      Stay ‘covert’ my friend; your ego needs it.

    • -DAN III October 22, 2018, 6:47 am

      Valdes,

      Your remarks are perfect examples of the rot that has set into the Special Warfare community, the United States military and the nation as a whole. Your type will not save this.nation from the impending disaster that will mirror the fall of Rome.

      You are the exact type of “Amerikan” I have come to despise.

  • Forearmed December 1, 2017, 8:18 am

    This article was not written by a Drill Sergent, but by someone with a higher educational level. So I am assuming that someone of the rank of officer with a college education wrote this, which should make that much more impact upon those reading this. Yes, my comment may be more biased toward officers than Noncoms, but I’ll eat my hat if I’m wrong on this.
    I agree with everything this author discussed.

    Wimpy men and females do not belong in any special forces outfit. Every man must have the physical strength to help their combat partners when the slugs start flying. Political Correctness is no place for our military to become bogged down in, as it is a downward spiral forcing our fighting units into becoming a weak and ineffectual.

    • Batman December 1, 2017, 9:21 am

      Last time I checked, intelligence and education are not limited to officers. If you were an NCO in any service it sounds like you are part of the problem.

    • Robert December 1, 2017, 10:51 am

      Who says that an enlisted man can’t be college educated? I was enlisted as an RN with a BSN for the last 10years of my 24 year TIS. I retired in 1997, however; I’ve maintained a close relationship with the SF’s and furthermore, I believe every bit of this persons report! How would you get the Q course to graduate 90% if it’s students? Hum, lower the standards! SF has been reduced in its capabilities without question! How about the Navy Seals? Soon there will be nobody able to perform their given missions! Then what???

    • RKC December 1, 2017, 2:26 pm

      Your ignorance is showing. Some of the most intelligent, well read and well spoken come from the enlisted ranks. While they could server as officers, (if they so chose) they remain enlisted because they know it’s where they’re needed and can do the most good.

    • Sgt. Pop December 1, 2017, 3:21 pm

      You got to be @*&%@@# kidding! Besides myself, my squad of 10, most deployed overseas at one time or another, had 2 school teacher, one vice principal, one former Marine Capt. a city gas department supervisor, Deputy sheriff, and the rest pretty damn smart troops or I wouldn’t have had them… All were 55B’s, Xrays, and later we all converted to MP’s.

  • Kate December 1, 2017, 7:41 am

    But Hollywood says Women can do anything? And as a woman I believe them! Nah! Without even reading all this I know that your telling the truth. This has been going on for a long time, and not just in the military. When a young man looks more feminine and prettier than a young girl, I think we’re in trouble.

  • joefoam December 1, 2017, 7:39 am

    The Army was caught granting waivers to recruits with mental issues, alcohol and drug abuse problems so they could get their numbers up. I wrote to my senators to investigate, one (Jeff Flake) sent back a form letter which had nothing to do with the waivers showing how little he cared, but john McCain was in front of the senate railing against the practice. So of course some lower level guy gets reprimanded, not the higher ups. Who wants a job that leaves you twisting in the wind so that some bureaucrat gets to keep his job. I think the police departments across the country are in the same situation. Who wants to risk their lives when no one has your back.

  • BOhio December 1, 2017, 7:20 am

    Liberalism is a mental disorder. So is “affirmative action”, and other politically-correct BS. The US armed forces of WWII would mop the floor with today’s bunch. However, the article above is WAY, WAY too long, and way, way too lingo-centric for the average reader to digest, or even try to. Sum it up this way: lowering standards in the Special Forces, or any group on which lives depend as a mission statement, is insane. The people approving such insanity should be fired, either from their jobs, or out of a cannon… ideally both.

    The poster above who mentioned JFK has a valid point; consider this: JFK would be to the right of most politicians in the Republican Party nowadays. That’s how far left the Democrats and their supporters have swung since the 1960s. Is the world a better and safer place since then?

  • FAL Phil December 1, 2017, 7:11 am

    This is a symptom of the larger problem caused by cultural Marxism. The rot has been festering for two generations now. We are experiencing the unenviable position of witnessing the crumbling of an empire. At the point when the military become totally converged, the lowering of standards will accelerate to the point that the military is no longer effective. When that happens, the rest of society is not far behind.

    This is not the first time such events have occurred; it’s just the first time in America. Based on historical trends, the path is predictable. It can be turned around, but it would take something cataclysmic to do so.

  • Billly M December 1, 2017, 6:49 am

    So as I understand it, if these one of these SF soldiers go up against a fairly well trained Taliban or Al-Quida terrorist, they will probably lose. It is a shame.

  • Anti DB December 1, 2017, 6:43 am

    This Clay guy is such a douche.

    • clay martin December 1, 2017, 9:24 am

      Actually, he’s a mother fucker. Go ask your mom how he got that name.

      • jake December 1, 2017, 10:47 am

        I apologize for the multiple grammatical errors in my previous response. All my attention was focused on not perpetuating a problem and trying to gently but effectively help Anti DB’s misguided outlook. Still my F’up though.

      • BluNos December 9, 2017, 12:13 am

        Clay, your retort to Ima Douche Bag made me spew beer all over my monitor! As a former submarine sailor I bestow upon you the honorary title of Bubblehead. What does a lamb say when it sees a submarine sailor? Daaaaaaaaaaddddd.

    • jake December 1, 2017, 10:41 am

      No Anti DB, Clay is has been thru SF years ago when standards existed (unlike today) and he has seen those standards have lives, as have all previous SF soldiers. Anti DB, you are confused. In current culture there is a need for charismatic impact (the cult of personality) in place of competence. Clay speaks of, and represents, competence. Only people that have used some of their ‘nine lives’ (cheated death) can recognize the after effects those experiences in another person. Anti DB, with your simple seven word statement you have proven you part of participation medal ideology, even the kids getting those medals hate them and do not recognize significance in them, and that you have so much to learn.

  • 97bravo20 December 1, 2017, 6:24 am

    A person that lords over a small fiefdom is just that, a lord. Someone that lords over a very large fiefdom is a king. Everyone wants to be a king (except the guy behind the king). One could argue that a volunteer militia is either a gruop of individuals that have felt and responded to a sense of duty or a group of individuals withoutout the skill sets necessary to function in the private sector, or both. A drafted militia has the same set of problems, you are getting the best and brightest by default but you are also getting everyone else.
    So, I agree that the only means to separate the “wheat from the chaff” is from within the system. I commend your desire to keep the system in place you believe best serves that purpose. However, thing always change. Agendas are modified. Politically correctness becomes a standard instead of a preference. And yes, shit does just happen. I agree it sucks. I also believe that when you are up to your ass in alligators it’s difficult to remember your initial objective was to drain the swamp. This is nothing new, except this time the steaming pile got dropped in your lap. Congratulations soldier, quit bitching and deal with it. If I have learned anything during my sevice it’s this: things change and usually change for the worse.. Yes, the system (your system) has been “snafu” ized from the inside out. That’s the way it will get fixed too. Let the power brokers, the politicians and the brass make their moves. There is always a counter move. Actually a bigger and multi tiered “filter” may work to your advantage. You just have to get a few finer filters in place at the end of the pipeline. Probably a lot easier that fighting “city hall” to put it back to the way it was. Play the cards you are dealt. The good thing about poker is you don’t need good cards to win the hand. That said, this is free advice (worth exactly what you paid for it) but I think you are fighting the wrong fight. On the other hand I feel your pain.
    Respectfully
    An old MI guy

    • 97bravo20 December 1, 2017, 7:08 am

      BTW, publicly outing all that BS may have consequences. I always think the “gray man” approach to be preferable. The type of change needed to counter the changes already steamrolling towards you (emphasis on the steaming part) are subtle and will need to be done on a company/battalion/cohort level not at the regiment level. Yes, the Green Beret brand will be diluted. But, you are not in charge of marketing or public relations. You are charged with developing the best soldiers you can possibly deliver. Do your job. Leave the PC crap to the politicos. Not sure what connection exists anymore between MI 525 EMI Brigade or 3rd Group but their old motto “ From the Rest Comes the Best” may be words to live by during this shit storm.

    • JoeUSooner December 1, 2017, 3:21 pm

      Nice to hear from you… and I wholeheartedly agree with you.
      I, too, was a 97Bravo… ’68 to ’71.

  • Jay December 1, 2017, 5:56 am

    All I can say is, so much for a standing military of Real men! This has been evidenced and seen for some time now and if you look at the inner workings, its all a part of the process to weaken America at it’s core! Insert obama. Look past it if you want but this is one reason the 2nd amendment is there, we as citizens are not all trained soldiers but it’s getting to the point that neither is the solder. This happening is evidenced by all the solders coming back with PTSD’s and other mental disorders as they were never tested and or prepared to do what needs to be done in a war, then weeded out. I’ve witnessed those in the military come out early with diagnosed mental disorders that never set foot on foreign soil, just the fear alone messed them up!

  • deerhttr December 1, 2017, 5:37 am

    What you are describing is going on throughout society. Law Enforcement, Fire Departments, Government employees at all levels are doing the same thing. Lowering the bar to allow unqualified people to get a job or get promoted. I have witnessed it happening in the State Patrol in Minnesota. Worked with a female state employee that told me she had gotten a call and was told they needed female supervisors and that she would be guaranteed a promotion all she had to do was apply. This sort of thing is going on at all levels of government. Federal, State, County and local. It is happening all over. There is nothing that can be done that can stop it. Best to just ignore it and get on with your life. Thinking about it will just make you miserable and accomplish nothing. Sad but true.

  • A.M. December 1, 2017, 5:15 am

    Some people need to ask themselves this question….”Would JFK agree to lowering the standards to earn the coveted green beret?”.

    • FAL Phil December 1, 2017, 6:58 am

      Who cares? Kennedy was a besotted horndog. We need to focus on the present, not the past.

      • 97bravo20 December 1, 2017, 8:00 am

        The poster referencing JFK was trying to get everyone to understand the trend to the left that has permeated everything since the 60’s. It’s a very valid present day issue and far from reliving the past……………………………………………
        “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
        George Santayana
        He also said;……………………………….
        “Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.“

        • Jerry December 2, 2017, 8:36 am

          Yes, amazed at how many can focus on one bullet point or noun in a paragraph and comment missing the entire point. But spot on basically saying JFK was more consetvative than many Repubs in office. He was. That he wouldn’t be welcome in today’s Dem party is undisputable. Read a transcript of talking points, They run on a platform that is basically the communist manifesto.

  • Robert December 1, 2017, 3:49 am

    Don’t you mean paving the way for the first green panties. This is one more move to try and destroy the morale, nothing more.
    While I was never a member I served with both the Green Beret, Marine Forest Recon, and the Navy SEALs. One thing that all of these individuals had in common that they were the best at what they did and were all extremely honorable individuals.
    Hopefully Pres. Trump can stop The liberal movement to castrating military special ops and ensure they can keep their honor and self-respect.

    • Dlh0 December 1, 2017, 12:55 pm

      Must be a new Marine unit or a previous name change. When I was in the Crotch it was ‘Marine FORCE recon’, not ‘forest’. How closely did you ‘work’ with them? Serving lunch, maybe?

      • -DAN III October 22, 2018, 7:00 am

        Most likely the “forest” error you mention originates from the built-in autocorrect many platforms shove down one’s throat.

  • Jack Juhasz December 1, 2017, 3:32 am

    Not the S F i remember. 1965 to 1967. 7th . 12b3s

  • Will Drider November 29, 2017, 5:57 pm

    A P.C. equality based quota driven bucket of shit. Even the students that recognize their own failure can’t get out!
    The writing was on the wall for this when the Army wanted all troops th wear a Beret, make them all feel “special”. The problems listed in the letter will surly cost lives and result in mission failures. Forced injections of failures into troop and leadership roles will only bring forth larger and more costly failures with wide consequences. The really sad thing is this is not the only place this dumbing down and standard dropping is occuring. All Branches are doing similar things. I knew when recruits were given “Time Out Cards” to pull out and stop the activity because they are stressed, the backbone of training had been broken. This may make a kinder training environment but it delivers a substandard product. Standards have dropped a in hundreds of critical areas, most not to support draftee level cannon fodder but so the everyone gets a participation advancement. The big problem is it will get good troops killed, critical missions will fail impacting larger battles and U.S. policies.

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