Carry a 1000 lb pole, Walk Eight Miles through Dark Woods–to Wear a Beret

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Last night I flicked on Netflix and found a program called “Two Weeks of Hell.” It was about the test that potential Green Berets have to go through to simply be admitted into the even more rigorous training program that only a handful of them will be able to pass.

In the woods of North Carolina, some 245 men start out with ideas of emulating John Wayne and donning that famous green hat. They have no idea of what awaits them, and believe me, it is really hell.

One by one, they voluntarily surrender, and give up puking on the side of the road after a morning spent lifting a 1000 pound telephone pole with eight other teammates. They have to heft the heavy pole up over their heads…then run for miles lugging two full jerry cans of water.
An exercise in navigation forces them to walk in the pitch dark through the woods, not allowed to turn on their headlamps, for miles.

One day’s challenge involves being given old truck tires, metal poles and a 700 pound drum full of liquid they have to transport for eight miles. Some teams figure out how to lash the tires close to the weight, others stumble with the wheels falling off. That afternoon they are given an 800 lb trailer with only one wheel…they have to carry it eight miles down a dirt track.

The pain continues…obstacle courses with long tunnels to winnow out the claustrophobics and 55 foot high barriers to weed out those who fear heights. It’s incredible that anyone can survive, and some 100 or so do. Now they’ve earned the right to train for three months, in worse conditions…just so that a slim handful of them can don the green beret.