Selection Class 015 Part 1: Intro and Silence in the Dark Side of GORUCK

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It starts with the flag and it’ll end with the flag and the utter destruction in the middle is the Dark Side of GORUCK.

The more time I spend in it, the Dark Side that is, the more I love the people yes the irony and the less I like the cause which feels less like a wedding and more like a funeral.

This recap (~10 posts or so) is a little this and a little that behind the scenes and in front of them. It’s mostly my therapy as a temporarily tortured idealist believing always that hope>destruction and good shall overcome and it’s probably me talkin’ at a brick wall about how this is not GORUCK to which you could rightfully say then kill it. And we may, but 2015 will go on as planned. How’s that song go? … promises promises.

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The day before at the range bang bang led to the night and we cleaned the floor and stocked the beer fridge at HQ to host a classy Buffalo Trace dinner for all the Cadre. Wolves need to eat, after all. The energy was terrorizing the air like I’ve never felt at any GORUCK Event, ever.

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Then on to the Cadre House for a brief and Garrett’s in the other room herding cats and trying to get us to join then Tyler’s like hey guys check this out real quick and this right here is life with the Cadre before laughter erupts at someone’s expense maybe mine maybe yours maybe theirs who knows who’s next. But someone is and nobody is safe. I leave a better person, with infinitely thicker skin, the more time I spend around these guys and we all love the time together. So if the irony of the Dark Side is that the people are great there, so be it.

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On deck one of Geoff’s close personal friends no doubt, a BUD/s Instructor with an awesome mustache and a mean stoic stare and in these kind of briefs humor will get you everywhere and the more biting, the more ruthless the better.

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I know we just kicked off all this planning and all but can I go get a smoothie? I’ll be back in 4 minutes I’m starving.

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Ah Bert, get over here ya big teddy bear.

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Selection Class 008 finisher David Thomas was there, too. We pretty much open the doors on the entire event to the past finishers. By the time they finish we love ’em to death and they’re friends. And it lets them speak to the amount of planning that goes into this event. Which is significant. After all, destruction with no plan is always a mistake.

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Sign on the door at HQ the morning of. I’m pretty sure nobody got any sleep the night prior it was like the night before Christmas when you just want it to come faster. Also I didn’t get any sleep because there was a Cadre on the phone with his girlfriend talking about I miss you baby and then saying things like yeah, I’m not sure if anyone can hear me I’m in a big room but I’m the only one on the loft blah blah and yeah, we could hear you and you’ll never hear the end of it so it was so worth it. Losing sleep that is.

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You’re being judged. Your goal should be anonymity.

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You brought water with you. Smart.

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Meanwhile 10 miles south Garrett was set up at the North Guana Outpost aka the start point. Finding a home base for Selection and many of our other big events can be a challenge. Family friends own this spot, and we’re grateful they let us use it and it reminds me of what’s great about first off old friends, but also the heart and soul you have to pour into a small business to survive. If you’re doing Selection here in the future you may or may not see this spot hint hint wink wink say hello to Lauren and Gail when you stop by.

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Buckets for us to confiscate what you brought that you’re not supposed to have. Aka you didn’t read the packing list and you’re terrible at following instructions and from the moment we see you show up you. are. being. judged. Faces are really easy to remember and you don’t want yours to be memorable for something stupid right out of the gates.

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I saw one guy bring his ruck over. It weighed 65 lbs and the standard is 45 lbs dry and he was like there’s no way that’s right I’m good. So he took his 65 lber back to formation. Did he pass? No and not in a million years. Your goal is to play by our rules but beyond that to make it as less impossible on yourself as possible.

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The silence is deafening, and that’s intentional. We can literally smell the pending destruction of you, and the self-doubt engendered behind your eyes. It seems most people come here lost, hoping to find something. Which of course they never will it’s not how this works.

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Don’t smile. It makes you look weak and nice. Which are lovely traits and Carolyn is one of those hint hint she’s nice but this is not the place for either.

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If you have to write things like don’t quit on your skin you won’t make it. It has to be in your heart first and hope that trickles up to your head. And hope is your strategy because it’s all you got.

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If you’re thinking man that guy in the back needs to get a better tan on those white legs you would be correct and that guy is me ha ha and for some reason they’re immune to sunlight I swear I ruck in Ranger Panties all the time it just never happens. I’m stumped in all truth.

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Candidate, did you read the guidelines on worn requirements before showing up? And then he said no and I’m like well, that’s obvious look how different different you are and what you want is same same. Now you’re the guy who can’t follow instructions etc. etc. are you following how this all works?

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Boots dangling, that’s a gypsy camp and gypsy camps are bad bad. When not if that ruck gets wet what’s gonna happen to those boots etc. etc. etc. you must be the kind of person who didn’t think about that kind of thing which means you’re the kind of person who will never pass so we’ll focus on you sooner to get rid of you faster so then we can focus on the stronger.

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We see everything, it’s actually quite easy.

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Contraband, now gone. And you’re the kind of person who can’t follow instructions and we’ll destroy you sooner so that you’ll waste less of our time etc. etc.

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Don’t be late, light, or last and this guy showed up saying he had biked from New York or something wearing his Jesus sandals and those are the only shoes he had.

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Tyler pulled me aside and asked if I planted a mole in the class, someone that we could obliterate and scream at and have quit on the spot for the purposes of scaring everyone else. That’s how ridiculous this guy was, and for the record no he wasn’t a mole and he seemed like a nice guy who accidentally picked a bad fight.

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And oh yeah, he had no weight, his plan was to fill up his plastic bags with dirt. Do you understand why we get frustrated sometimes in the explanation of these kinds of events? I mean, are you kidding me. This is the hardest endurance event in the world and you’ve wasted your money and a bunch of our time. There’s a 0% chance you will pass just quit now but you don’t blah blah blah.

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Ahhhh, there’s Paige one of my favorite humans in the world and a good one to buttress anyone’s faith in humanity.

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001 is bad luck.

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Now, onto the scary scary PT test of numbers destruction. Which to be frank I’m tired tired of talking about. It’s a PT test. Train more and destroy it all who plan to show up at this event. We’re still in the part of Selection that is NOT Selection, it’s administrative. You control everything you do before you show up and for the first ~6 hours of the event. That’s not a bad deal for you but these hours are full of stress if you didn’t prepare because it’s you and your head and you can’t hide from the guilt of knowing you’re underprepared and that’s the cancer in your brain. These hours are quiet and boring and we save our real energy for the stronger among you who don’t defeat yourselves so easily. But … first let’s not indulge glossing over the entire PT test thing though I want to. Let’s talk about push-ups, sit-ups, a 5-Mile run and a 12-Mile ruck. You would think this is the hardest part of Selection based on the failures and that’s a shame.

Part 2: The Boring Bye-Bye PT Test coming next.


  1. Yami says:

    I am really shocked about the guy in the Jesus sandals…. I honestly think he must have a ton of money and a bad sense of humor… because really! Come on!

  2. Calais says:

    Good read…I had a hard time getting past that first picture. I mean, we all know Patrick is a good lookin’ fella, but get him in a suit, tie, and throw in Old Glory…level elevated.

  3. Joe says:

    Really?? Didn’t Kilng show up late as hell to GRS 02? He was admitted several hours after the initial beat down in the ocean. Also, I know for a fact the PT test requirements were not met by a single person in GRS 02. At that time we counted for each other, Kling pushed out 17 push-ups. The fact the PT test was administered several hours after a irrationally unsafe adventure in the back of a landscape trailer then a 12 mile ruck march, then the push-up/sit-ups followed by a “5” mile run where cadre silver was walking farther time down the beach….the whole “standards the standards” speech was nice but not realistic. Glad to see you didn’t have any drunk cadre this time either, I mean I could almost taste the beer on cadre Carlos’s beard after 12+hours. GRS is a waste of everyone’s time and money.

  4. jason says:

    Joe, Kling missed the initial check-in, yes. Beyond that, he did his penance and certainly made it up in the long run, especially since everyone else was gone very early in the event and it was just him. “Several hours after the initial beat down in the ocean” is factually and categorically wrong. Your subsequent exaggerations lead me to discount everything you have to say, and they point to you as someone disgruntled. For that, I’m sorry. I would probably hear a far different story from you were we sitting at a bar together, I’m sorry that keyboards create words sometimes. As for GRS is a waste of time, thanks at a minimum for reading the post.

  5. Joe says:

    Disgruntled…not at all. What subsequent exaggerations are you referring to? The landscape trailer ride? The 5 mile run? That run actually had no time limit, the push-ups/sit-ups had no DQ value. If I recall correctly, and I know I do. You left after the ocean excerise to go to a meeting of some sort. You weren’t even there. The fact that your cadre were drunk is not a misrepresentation either. Not only did I witness myself, people who were in the cadre team house confirmed it. I agree, if we were at a bar things might come off differently. But we’re not, so take these comments however you choose. GRS has changed, probably for the better. Rules changed, outcomes changed drastically between GRS 00 to 01 to 02 to now. The fact that there was no standard PT minimum in class 02 is true. Which leads me to believe that the criticism I present is more personal for you than I intend. One day if you would seriously like to hear what I have to say, you’ll find me. Until then, keep up the good job putting Americans to work

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