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Special Forces

Jul 28, 2009
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Reading some of the SAS biographies recounting the selection process, it's pretty clear the first thing you need in the British special forces at least is phenomenal endurance. Don't know about the Americans, it seems they're more into weight lifting and getting huge than developing endurance.

In these first hand accounts (Andy McNab, Chris Ryan), potential recruits don't even get near any nifty new equipment until they have done an incredible amount of running and navigation - not to get them fit but to see who cannot hack the punishing schedule. There's no injury prevention or thought given to adequate sleep or rest, they are trying to see who breaks down physically or mentally and if you're not up to it then bye bye, and the vast majority of the work in the early section we would call endurance or ultra endurance work, running or tabbing all night long carrying a ridiculous amount of weight and navigating point to point with all timings being recorded.

I can't find the quote but I read a military dude mention something like - "the ethical considerations in sport do not apply in warfare, any advantage we can give our soldiers we embrace". Despite the cynicism here we know that two people at 60 hematocrit will not perform to the exact same level. Just like two amateurs both with 34 hematocrit might finish a bike race 20 minutes apart, just a like a male pro doped to the gills will ride a lot faster than a female pro doped to the gills. We can say illegal performance enhancement seems to give a percentage boost to whatever your clean capacities may be.

DO they drug test potential recruits? After all you want the talent there for them to boost your capacities as and when necessary. Or is it a case of as long as you get the job done without dropping dead that's good enough however you do it we don't care? Kind of the "show some initiative" attitude.
 
Aug 18, 2009
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Everything I've seen about, and those I've talked to, in various special forces groups say that it is about mental toughness. You have to get your body to work even beyond the point of exhaustion and still be able to think critically and do what you need to do. Not sure if they drug test recruits to the program. If they do, I seriously doubt it is for performance enhancing drugs.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Why would they non-recreational dope test special forces? In fact, I would think the govt would actually have all of them on the sauce when it really mattered.
 
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Why would they non-recreational dope test special forces? In fact, I would think the govt would actually have all of them on the sauce when it really mattered.

If you look into the matter, you will see that they do exactly that. The idea in the military is to perform the mission and not get killed. There is no DQ for taking EPO.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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every sf guy i have known were recreational drug /alcohol users it comes with the territory from marine recon seals rangers etc... all worked hard and played hard all were of above average intelligence as well no morons. good physical condition is a must but more importantly its about mental state intelligence and ability to suffer. in fact on the west coast navy recruiters sometimes go to endurance events such as triathlete cycling and running events because they want endurance types with competitive mental states to try out for buds school. physical gifts alone dont cut it. its the same with bike racing i know many guys who on paper are physically gifted but they cant suffer or put in the training so they are routinely defeated by stronger minded but physically weaker people that same kind of will is what the military looks for in its sf programs.
 
Jul 31, 2009
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DO they drug test potential recruits? After all you want the talent there for them to boost your capacities as and when necessary. Or is it a case of as long as you get the job done without dropping dead that's good enough however you do it we don't care? Kind of the "show some initiative" attitude.

When I was in the US Army and we were drug tested I was told by the testers that they will sometimes test for steroids (by request of the commander). The normal list was for opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, and Marijuana, and a few extras at random. They would never bother testing for anything else PED related, and if a SF selection recruit had the money and resources to obtain EPO then it would certainly go undetected. I don't think it would be smart for the recruit, because if you're only able to hack it because of PEDs then what do you do when you've been in Afghanistan for months without access to whomever you were getting the PEDs from? The tough standards are there for a reason, taking PEDs to gain entry sounds like a good way of decreasing your overall odds of survival.
 
Jul 28, 2009
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From that link...

"But Erythropoietin, or EPO, which is used by athletics drug cheats to boost the production of red blood cells had been ruled out due to "safety concerns."

Dr Ferrari is laughing and calling them noobs. I suppose the old trick to stop blood clots forming from haveing blood like porridge from all the red blood cells is taking a low steady dosage of aspirin, but aspirin is the last thing you want in your body if you are wounded as you will just bleed like a running tap.

I am basing it to some extent on movies hence the "seems" and "I don't know " but also to some extent on US Marines on exchange at Lympstone with the Royal Marines and being patently below the aerobic capacities expected of a Commando.
 
Dude17 said:
Everything I've seen about, and those I've talked to, in various special forces groups say that it is about mental toughness.
Same with SAS really. Some of those guys are in their 40's. They aren't built like Usain Bolt, though they are quite fit for their age. It's much more so the mental toughness, and being able to very quickly make the correct decision in very tense situations, every single time.

I would think that CERA would be a great drug to use on troops heading into a long protracted battle that required a lot of physical endurance. As long as it wasn't overdone, and the soldiers remained hydrated and monitored from time to time, they should be fine.

As we've posted before, it's well known that US fighter pilots have used amphetamines while flying to keep alert.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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The U.S. air force has administered 'Go Pills' to it's pilots for years. The pills contain dexedrine, which is classified as an 'amphetamine-like' psychostimulant.

Some military aviation missions last as long as 44 hours (the record, not the norm). Other pilots routinely fly several four-hour missions per day with minimal rest between flights.

In one case, U.S. pilots who had used the 'go pills' were involved in the 'friendly fire' killing of some Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The effect of the dexedrine on the pilot's decision making skills is still being researched.

PED's are definately used in the armed forces.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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cromagnon said:
From that link...

"But Erythropoietin, or EPO, which is used by athletics drug cheats to boost the production of red blood cells had been ruled out due to "safety concerns."

Dr Ferrari is laughing and calling them noobs. I suppose the old trick to stop blood clots forming from haveing blood like porridge from all the red blood cells is taking a low steady dosage of aspirin, but aspirin is the last thing you want in your body if you are wounded as you will just bleed like a running tap.

I am basing it to some extent on movies hence the "seems" and "I don't know " but also to some extent on US Marines on exchange at Lympstone with the Royal Marines and being patently below the aerobic capacities expected of a Commando.

In the US military they randomly test 100% of all members. You never know when you will be asked to submit to the test and you have 1 hr to report to the clinic.
 
Jul 22, 2009
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Anyone remember Jacob's Ladder?

For those who don't, it's based on the military experimenting with drugs that inhibit aggression in soldiers, effectively making a hellishly destructive platoon. It's set around one soldier's after-effects later in life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMN-4XJQdxU&feature=related

While I am sure these things were developed, tested, and probably utilized; I am also sure these sorts of things have to be considered inhuman and difficult to manage.
 
Jul 7, 2009
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Firstly, everyone that enlist or is commisioned into the United States Armed forces is required to take a drug test. Before you raise your hand and swear in, you take it. Numerous drugs are checked for, but not every possible drug could be, too many to name.
Secondly, everyone serving in the military today is required to take random drug tests. I am in the US Army and have been tested many times throughout my career. Sometimes the tests are a couple times a year, but I've also p**sed in a cup everyday for a week straight. It depends on the command.
Thirdly, Army Aviation REQUIRES 12 hours off with 8 hours uninterupted sleep for every duty day. The duty day is a 12 hour day but may be extended to 14 with inportant people granting that extra 2 hours. Yes, they can fly the entire 12(14) hour during that time. But they must receive the mandatory time off before being allowed to fly again, even in combat.
Lastly, my brother in law is Special Forces (he's 5' 7" 165 lbs), and I work for them. I know and work alongside these very special individuals on a daily basis and I can tell you that these guys are not the ones you see in movies. There are exceptions of course, (I've seen some that could lift HUGE amounts of weight:eek:), but the majority are just like you and me. The difference is they have a different mentality than most of us. They can push there bodies to go farther, faster, than would normally occur. Besides that, the ones I know run 2 miles in around 12 min, do about 80 pushups in 2 min, and 80-90 situps in 2 min. They can walk 12 miles in under 3 hours with 50 lbs on their backs and 20 lbs of weapons and ammo, walk into a room full of bad guys, f*** them up and and walk back carrying their wounded.

They don't need the drugs, and would probably refuse them if they had the oportunity.
 
Apr 11, 2009
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That looks accurate to me. I know in the Seals' buds training, or whatever it's called, you've got guys running 14 miles up a beach in wet sand. Also, I think as you say, 77-80 pushups in 2 mins is categorized as "excellent" in U.S. Army or sf's tests. The muscle bound/weight training guys apparently don't do that well, because they gotta carry the weight around and they tend to be on the vain side (don't cut the mustard when it comes to crunch time).

Good description of buds training is Luttrell's Lone Survivor, Navy seal who just made it out of Afghanistan alive.

As you say, the thing with these guys is they do these things carrying heavy, heavy weight, in mountains esp. Very, very strong (like mules) but with the endurance. For the SAS etc. much of the training is in hills and rain etc. (from what I've read). It's sort of like riders racing a mountainous course, but handicapped with an 80 pound lead weight on the bike while roughing it outdoors with little rest/recuperation while the bad guys and locals are trying to kill you 24-7 (no team buses, hotels etc.). Now, that's tough.
 
Apr 9, 2009
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Parrot23 said:
That looks accurate to me. I know in the Seals' buds training, or whatever it's called, you've got guys running 14 miles up a beach in wet sand. Also, I think as you say, 77-80 pushups in 2 mins is categorized as "excellent" in U.S. Army or sf's tests. The muscle bound/weight training guys apparently don't do that well, because they gotta carry the weight around and they tend to be on the vain side (don't cut the mustard when it comes to crunch time).

Good description of buds training is Luttrell's Lone Survivor, Navy seal who just made it out of Afghanistan alive.

As you say, the thing with these guys is they do these things carrying heavy, heavy weight, in mountains esp. Very, very strong (like mules) but with the endurance. For the SAS etc. much of the training is in hills and rain etc. (from what I've read). It's sort of like riders racing a mountainous course, but handicapped with an 80 pound lead weight on the bike while roughing it outdoors with little rest/recuperation while the bad guys and locals are trying to kill you 24-7 (no team buses, hotels etc.). Now, that's tough.

The muscle bound guys often lack functional strength, and certainly lack the endurance. What's interesting is that the recent trends in training for "ordinary" people are starting to follow the general idea of "forget the weight room--drag a log around the block" theory of functional-strength training.
 

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