Selection Class 015 Part 3: Selection Begins. Finally. At the Bye-Bye Don’t Call it a Welcome Party

Selection_015_Welcome Party_01

It’s loud. It’s intense. It’s stressful. And it never stops. This is about destruction plain and simple and when you start to say this isn’t worth it, you quit.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_02

Around the cone and back it pays to be a winner. When you don’t do it perfectly, we send you back. If you fail, we segregate you and beat you down special attention style. And we tell you that you are getting special attention because you’re the weakest in the class.

And we do this for hours, and hours, and hours. 4 to be precise. Not a minute less and not a minute more except if you’re going by your internal clock in which case it’ll feel like a million.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_03

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say you’ll have to carry me out in a body bag before I’ll quit. Truth is that we almost never drop people. It’s happened a couple times in 15 classes, that’s it. Basically everyone who leaves quits of their own accord, called a Voluntary Withdrawal (VW).

Selection_015_Welcome Party_04

When the yelling is not conducive to getting you to say I quit, we slow it down and rationalize what’s going on for you. This is not going well, you’re receiving special attention because everyone else is doing better. You’re always last and there are 42 more hours of this. You didn’t train hard enough, your performance not strong enough.

Quick note on Cadre Conduct: we address your performance, not your person. It’s an important distinction. We don’t call you names because this is never personal, it’s about a standard. What we do instead is we tell you that your performance is _______________ and we fill that blank with all sorts of colorful ways to describe horrible.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_05

If you find yourself alone, it’s intentional.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_06

If you find yourself with special attention, that’s intentional, too.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_07

It pays to be a winner and if you win you get a few precious moments to drink water in relative peace. If you’re the type who’s in shape/ready/call it what you want you’ll win or be toward the front or be a gray man. As gray as possible anyway and gray is your goal. Our focus is to get rid of the weakest sort of how a lion hunts the slow zebra first because it’s easier.

We deal with the stronger in different ways and it takes longer. Yelling and screaming rarely work this soon on the prepared because they’ve got too much strength to fall back on, too many reasons not to quit and when others do, it only validates their own assumptions that this event is not for everyone. And that’s why they’re here.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_08

Selection_015_Welcome Party_09

Selection_015_Welcome Party_10_Jon

Try these sometime. They’re terrible. Now try them for an hour after you’ve gone for a 5 mile run and a 12 mile ruck and let me know if you still think this is something you wanna do.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_11

Selection_015_Welcome Party_12

Selection_015_Welcome Party_13

Nobody ever says man I thought that was gonna be more intense. Nobody. Ever. Says. That.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_14

Selection_015_Welcome Party_15

Selection_015_Welcome Party_16

Selection_015_Welcome Party_17

Selection_015_Welcome Party_18_Mocha Mike

Roster Number ______________  you are mentally and physically unprepared for what is about to happen to you at this time would you like to VW. There’s no question mark at the end of his makin’-Ranger-Bat-proud statement and even I got sick of hearing Mocha say it over and over and over. And over. I got so sick of it I found something to yell about just to drown his voice out and I’m pretty sure all the Cadre had the same trick and lucky for us it wasn’t hard to find something to yell about.

Re: 062 above I thought Petrizzo had a good shot. I don’t know why he brought an RV to put on his back, though. I even told him as much at Bragg Heavy. He was the last guy left in Kling’s Selection class way back when, and he and I have been friends since I gave him some extra good livin’ at the first ever Challenge in Philadelphia, which is an awesome place for it namely because that town grows people tough as nails. That’s my experience anyway.

Coming back to do this event after failing in the past has worked out, once – Grant passed his second time. Knowledge is a good thing, you just have to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Rarely does the body truly say I quit, especially if you’re even stronger the second time. It’s the mind and sometimes ignorance is bliss and sometimes knowledge makes for wisdom. It’s utterly personal how you respond to failure, and to how you try to rectify it.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_19

If you find yourself in a position similar to how you would lie down on a couch watching TV, you’re wrong and you’re that guy now.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_20

The patch system got a lot of people. Hey you’re a performance failure here’s your red patch two more PF’s and you’re gone and they’re like nope I’m done now. Failure is a way of life at Selection, embrace it.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_21

A few required back and forth pain and discussion pain and discussion. Loud and screaming leads to quiet and talking leads to threats of more special attention if you fail one more time etc. etc and when you quit we focus on someone else.

It’s false that certain people wouldn’t quit anything. Everyone has a breaking point. Everyone. This is why we talk about making sure your mind is right before you show up. If you have any excuse in your brain as to why life isn’t all it needs to be, you’ll find a way to feel sorry for yourself, we’ll see it all over your face and eventually you’ll say I quit. Sometimes it takes longer than others but that’s what we’re here for.

**Do not come here to find something missing from the rest of your life.**

Selection_015_Welcome Party_22

Selection_015_Welcome Party_23

Selection_015_Welcome Party_24

Selection_015_Welcome Party_25

People leave the event but dare I say never on bad terms. We as Cadre flip a switch the second it’s over for you. The more I write about this event the more I feel the need to justify our own humanity as Cadre and if that’s my calling in these posts I assume the task. This Bye-Bye Party is horrible, so horrible that I’m tempted to open it up for you to view if you wanna come spectate Selection, just to see it for yourself. We want people to show up who say yeah I can do that. I’m not really scared of heights unless I’m in an airplane and to jump you do that from an airplane. Which is scary for me, every time. But I had to say yeah I’ll do that anyway even though I don’t want to. Opening up the Bye-Bye Party for spectators would be kinda like that and no matter what you see someone else do or what you read in a book the feeling in your stomach when it’s you is not something any degree of studying will earn you.

I had a bunch of friends in this class and I feel pretty mixed about the destruction of the event as a whole, probably like some would describe a trip to Vegas where it was worth it but you have some regrets. Maybe you even already make plans to go back and such is life. My regret is that it takes a level of Cadre destruction that comes from inside our brains and it comes a little too naturally one could argue and it’s not a feeling I want to experience very often. And to all the guys who were out there on that beach competing for oxygen with Mocha, if you think mixed feelings mean I’ll be missing the one in Jax or the one in Bozeman, you’re wrong smile smile.

Selection_015_Welcome Party_27

The Welcome Party gets all the buzz sorta how Shark Week comes and we want red meat not human interest stories give us the blood now now now!

But the Welcome Party is not the hardest part nor the most interesting, it’s just the loudest. I always found Cadre yelling to be whatever. It never really phased me. More interesting as I think back now were the quieter moments in between when I had to think about my life, about my performance, about why I wanted to persevere. Those were the moments when I had to find answers to questions I didn’t always want to hear.

And the herd is now significantly thinned so bring on the monotonous repetition of sandbag babies for 4 hours not a minute less and not a minute more. It pays to be a winner and if you lose you’ll be isolated and encouraged to increase your performance. If you perform to standard, you won’t hear more than a whisper. You fill quiet with your own thoughts and if your goal was to make it through the Welcome Party, you’ll quit soon. If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you’ll quit soon.

Every hour is worse than the last and sometimes trauma works slower kinda how a gunshot to the stomach can kill you, too, albeit not as fast as one to the head. Yeah yeah there are no bullets ’round these parts I’m saying these are the hours when the stronger among you find new doubts you never knew existed. You find new justifications, new questions, new excuses. You see new demons and you wonder if you can fight through them.

And the bad news is we still got all the time in the world to find out. Or to be precise, exactly 34 hours to go.

Next post Part 4: Morning Miles.


  1. Doug says:

    I’m loving these posts so far. There’s a way you describe these horrible things that puts a smile on my face. You’re also putting the fear of God into me about the Light event I signed up for in April. I realize that the Light=Fun, but the Light Not=Easy part that’s scaring me. I’ve lived a cushy life for too long and I need to know what I’m capable of. Looking forward to part 4. Now if Rob Gilmore (my BFF) can convince Outside TV to have a private screening party for the Selection doc he filmed, I can really start peeing my pants.

  2. Doug says:

    Actually, they really should have a private screening at the Goruck HQ! Do the execs at Outside TV understand that they don’t want guys like you mad at them (and that almost no one gets their channel, lol)?

  3. Ron Rice says:

    I understand your mixed feelings. As a Law Enforcement academy instructor we too weed out the weak, but hope there are few. It’s the standard that drives us because we may have to rely on these individuals to save our lives one day and they need to be ready.

    Selection has standards and you are expecting participants to be ready to meet those standards. Fact is many in our society don’t understand how important standards are and that’s where their weakness is found.

    Selection has to be taken seriously. This is not a Spartan race or a 10k run. The difference being the standard. Being in shape enough to do this is only a part of the preparation the right mindset is equally if not more important.

    At 57 is selection right for me? Having been on both sides I understand the standard and embrace it. Will the body hold up? Maybe. Am I willing to take it to that level to find out?

    Bottom line…. A decision must be made and a plan put in place. Once that happens then the commitment to the standard is the only way to success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *