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View Full Version : Now I'm really going to stir things up: an SF-only thread


Roguish Lawyer
03-23-2004, 22:36
This thread is only for SF, SF Candidates and others with sufficient knowledge to comment intelligently on the topic:

Have SF standards been lowered unwisely to meet the demand for more SF soldiers?

Surgicalcric
03-23-2004, 22:56
To quote TR:

...This culminated in graduating a grand total of about 250 soldiers in 2000 or so, which was about 1/3 to 1/2 of our requirements. Numbers have improved significantly since then by a number of methods, which did not include lowering standards. Big actions and big money are currently underway to produce 750 SF soldiers per year within the next few years. This is requiring additional resourcing, to the tune of an additional 500 permanent party personnel. Hey, anyone remember that old saying, "Competent SOF cannot be created overnight"? It takes SF soldiers to make SF soldiers, and it is a very manpower and contact hour intensive process.

Any questions? :)

Roguish Lawyer
03-23-2004, 23:23
No cheating, crip.

I would comment on your participation in the thread, but I am not allowed to do so. ;)

Surgicalcric
03-23-2004, 23:35
Cheating...how's that cheating?

I have sufficient knowledge of The Reaper's POV on this issue. Are you suggesting the comment I quoted is not an intelligent one as it pertains to the substance of your query?

SilentObserver
03-23-2004, 23:52
I can't really comment on the standards due to the fact that I am only a SF candidate. I can however comment on the type of people that are currently joining the SF pipeline. All are highly motivated, well educated (the 5 I have been in close contact with are all college graduates), and are in great shape to be non military and are currently training hard before going to basic just to have a chance at making it through SFAS. I think the 18X programs which was put in place to increase the amount of new and qualified recruits is serving its purpose. As for the standards, they can only be made so difficult before noone will pass and because the people in charge of the standards and training are SF officers I doubt they would ever allow standards to be dropped just to fill the slots. I think new programs such as 18X will be implemented in the future to increase the pool from which soldiers will be selected to fill quotas and not do so by the lowering of standards.

SO

Roguish Lawyer
03-24-2004, 00:31
Originally posted by Surgicalcric
Cheating...how's that cheating?

I have sufficient knowledge of The Reaper's POV on this issue. Are you suggesting the comment I quoted is not an intelligent one as it pertains to the substance of your query?


You copied that from another board. I am not eligible for the thread, so stop asking for my irrelevant and baseless views, if any.

Eagle5US
03-24-2004, 01:21
about 10 years ago, there were a bunch of us bitching, whining and complaining because we thought standards had been lowered by lowering the GT score requirement and no longer haveing the mandatory pass swin test. Survival had been removed from the Q as had a number of things we had done that "Cherries" would not be required to do.
As instructors, we bitched to everyone who would listen that "our generation" was going to ruin the reputation of the SF soldier because we were graduating too many who didn't deserve it and standards where transparent to the powers that made the decisions...
Know what?
We may have been partially correct, BUT, those who "slid through" were weeded out when they eventualyy got to the teams. And though they didn't "go through" what we did for training...they went through OTHER STUFF instead.
It is not a matter of lowering the standard, but updating the requirements to reflect the changing face of the Army and the role that Special Operations plays in it.
The Q of today isn't any EASIER, it's just different.

My .02

Eagle

brownapple
03-24-2004, 01:28
Originally posted by Roguish Lawyer

Have SF standards been lowered unwisely to meet the demand for more SF soldiers?

NO.

QRQ 30
03-24-2004, 05:07
I don't think so. I was one of the first of the "baby SF" in 1963. The pre-requisite before was E-5 over four years service. I was E-2 over three (months) when I was reqruited. The academics and physical challenges probably weren't as difficult as they are today. We got our best training from our Teams.

SF is in the heart not in or on the head.

I don't think training standards are relaxed as such. There are more than enough satisfactory candidates out there. As in other occupations, "cutoff scores" are sometimes raised and lowered to adjust manpower levels.

There was a time when there were more in training than there were total active SF when I entered.

This is a story which can give one a complex if he listens: :"This unit was a lot better just before you arrived!!!"

SF performed admirably in Vietnam though the majority had less than five years service. I see the same admirable performance today. Sometimes saying that standards have dropped is a way of patting one's self on the back and having a "superiority complex".

Surgicalcric
03-24-2004, 06:46
Originally posted by Roguish Lawyer
You copied that from another board.
Negative. It was copied from this board, and from a forum you have access to.

I can only speak for myself, but from what I have been through with my medical waiver I would say no, they have not been lowered. The standards have not been lowered with regards to the granting of medical waivers. The approving authority rests with the Surgeon General for both the Army and National Guard and at the time of waiver submittal neither knows what the applicant is attempting to enlist for. A MOS can only be contracted for after the waiver is returned approved.

At this moment there is actually a push to not allow individuals who have received medical waivers from participating in IET BAC and thereby not allowing soldiers with such waivers from enlisting with Abn, Option-40, or 18-X/Rep-63 contracts. Albeit it appears this move is not motivated by tightening the standards, but because the BAC barracks are being refurbished and there not being enough room to house anyone who might become a recycle due to injury.

CSB
03-24-2004, 07:01
Based on the time I was active in SF (1975 - 1983); and the SF soldiers I know and work with today at Ft. Campbell (5th Group), I would say the following is true:

1 - Physical fitness is improved. They are larger, stronger, with more brute strength, and a little better endurance. Maybe it is improved nutrition and training. I was unaware that the swim requirement had been lifted, it certainly doesn't seem to be an issue within the 5th Group, who are a group of sanddwellers.

2 - Mastery of equipment/weapons is equal to the time I remember. That may be an improvement, since the equipment is improved and more complex (crypto-TACSAT rather than shortwave IMC coder/bursters); but may also reflect that actual operation has been simplified to be more user friendly. Same comment applies to medics: just as good, with more meds and gear than in my time.

3 - General Intelligence is equal to my time. No increase/decrease in GT/IQ that I notice. It is still important to have a base of knowledge, but even more important is the ability to proceed from the known to the unknown within that firm basis of knowledge, and accurately predict the outcome of unknown events. That can be tested, but not taught. I think the SF school system does a good job of recruiting, selecting, and qualifying graduates.

4 - Knowledge of history and world affairs is diminished. SF is strategic, not tactical, and it is important for SF soldiers in a UW (not DA) mission to have a long term sense of the effect of their actions ten years out, not just ten days or ten months out.

Long answer to a short question: Standards have changed, but I won't say they have been reduced. The overall quality of the force hasn't suffered.

Team Sergeant
03-24-2004, 07:58
Originally posted by Roguish Lawyer

Have SF standards been lowered unwisely to meet the demand for more SF soldiers?

RL,

We could sit here and discuss this topic for months, argue, split hairs and what not. So instead I’ll answer your question with this;

Ask the taliban and the al-qaida if they think a change affecting our standards has in any way denigrated our ability to lay waste to both of their organizations?

I’ll bet you 1000 dead terrorists I know what their answer would be.

Team Sergeant

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 08:18
From what I have been told, the Q is in better shape than ever.

And like the Team Sergeant said, the proof's in the pudding.

Airbornelawyer
03-24-2004, 09:54
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
From what I have been told, the Q is in better shape than ever.

And like the Team Sergeant said, the proof's in the pudding.

That should be "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." The phrase goes back to the 1600s and was used by former Marine Miguel de Cervantes in that book he wrote about Don Quixote. Somewhere along the line, it started getting misquoted.

I have nothing of substance to add to this thread, I suppose.

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 09:58
I suppose...:D

Basenshukai
03-24-2004, 11:52
I wonder, has the attrition rate at SFAS changed any in the last 20 years. The success rate in my class was 27%. Were they typically lower? Of that 27% (I figured these numbers myself from the total number of the class versus how many got "selected". I'm told that about 16% of an original SFAS class actually make Q Course graduation (I'm not sure of that figure since I don't have any "real" numbers to back it up - if anyone does, I'd appreciate if you let me know as it has been a topic of interest to me).

If the numbers have been steady, I'd say that the standards have not changed. But, I cannot answer this question from personal experience since I think that I would need to have, at least , 10 years in the teams to have a good perspective on SF over time.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
03-24-2004, 13:07
Having been the commander of the training group I can tell you that this comment constanty arises. Sort of like the "winter ranger" vice "summer ranger" argument. The "Q" course is not conducted in a vacuum, nor is it put together on some ad hoc basis. It is conducted to support developed doctrine as modified by requirements from the all the Special Forces Groups. That is not to say that some ideas and attempts fail to meet the common sense test, but on a whole those running the effort realize that we are not producing corn flakes. You also must realize that the course produces folks that have enough information and skill to get their foot in the door and that training and development never stops with a great deal done by the units to which they are assigned. Also, remember, that those in the school house have a vested interest in producing the best qualified soldier they can because at one time or another most will go back to the groups and have to work with/for those that they produced.

Team Sergeant
03-24-2004, 13:21
Great post COL.

Welcome aboard!

NousDefionsDoc
03-24-2004, 13:31
Welcome aboard Sir.

Basenshukai
03-24-2004, 13:55
Originally posted by Jack Moroney
Also, remember, that those in the school house have a vested interest in producing the best qualified soldier they can because at one time or another most will go back to the groups and have to work with/for those that they produced.

Literally, Sir.

A squared-away NCO that gave me my SF briefing, and subsequently recruited me more than two years ago is now my "Team Sergeant". As I came through the door into the team room for the first time, he was like "Sir ... remember me?"

Eagle5US
03-24-2004, 14:50
Sir,

Welcome on. Good post.

Eagle

18C4V
03-24-2004, 20:36
Sir,
Welcome aboard!!!

longrange1947
03-25-2004, 12:58
My point of view is from 1985 to present as an instructor with SWC. While not constant, a break from 89 to 94, and not an instructor in basic skills, I can say I do not agree wiht the opinions expressed by the others.

Sacamuelas
03-25-2004, 13:36
edited again... maybe I didn't misread LR1947's post.

back to my original post now,

":munchin"

Basenshukai
03-25-2004, 14:17
Originally posted by longrange1947
My point of view is from 1985 to present as an instructor with SWC. While not constant, a break from 89 to 94, and not an instructor in basic skills, I can say I do not agree wiht the opinions expressed by the others.

LR, send me a PM and tell me about your opinion. That's the kind of experienced perspective I'd appreciate to know about.

Bas

Roguish Lawyer
03-27-2004, 15:28
Originally posted by Basenshukai
LR, send me a PM and tell me about your opinion. That's the kind of experienced perspective I'd appreciate to know about.

Bas

(Or he could post it here so all can benefit . . .) :)

The Reaper
03-27-2004, 19:06
RL, other than stirring the pot or trolling, I see no reason for your starting this thread.

Since you asked nicely, I went through the SFQC in 1984 (with "SF Babies"), and can really only speak to the years since then.

I was a cadre member in SWCS '89-'91, and came back again in '01. I see every SFAS and SFQC class at multiple points.

My observation is that the students and instructors are much better than when I went through the course, or when I was in SWCS before. There are a number of related issues and positions which I will not get into here, but the following is my thumbnail assessment.

The physical standards are higher, the mental standards are currently higher, the psych standards are definitely higher, and there is more of an effort to eliminate those with poor morals or ethics from the course. The only negatives I can say that I see are that the students are much more likely to be "city boys" with little or no field time and sometimes seem to lack the maturity that I would like to see in our students. Having said that, I watched the surge to man 1st SFGA when it was reactivated in 1984 and 3rd SFGA in 1990. Frankly, I am not sure that I could meet the standard today myself, but they would have to carry me off, since I do not believe in quitting.

We were running undermanned and with ghost teams off and on throughout the years. We did this with a 780,000 man force to recuit and man four Groups from.

We are now attempting to man five Groups from a 485,000 man force. To do this and maintain the same "standards" is very difficult, if not impossible.

To improve SF manning, you can work on a number of variables, most of which have secondary effects. One is to decrease losses through retirements, resignations/ETS, combat losses, or involuntary separations. Another is to increase accessions, either by putting more people into the pipeline, or graduating a higher percentage of those who enter. You can reduce requirements by changing force structure to reflect fewer qualified personnel on ODAs, fewer teams per company, fewer Groups, etc. Finally, you can rob support organizations, like SWCS to put more personnel on teams.

We went through a bad period a few years ago and graduated far fewer personnel than we needed to replace losses. People left at an accelerated rate, which was forseeable, but was assumed away. Simultaneously, we experienced poor graduation rates, due, IMHO to standards creep and the "I earned mine, now you gotta earn yours" attitude.

We have implemented retention measures to keep qualified personnel up to and beyond 20 years.

The purpose of an evaluation is to determine whether the student can demonstrate practical application or retention of desired knowledge. I can write a test for any block of instruction which covers presented material that 100% can pass, or 0%. A proper evaluation will rank the student in terms of his ability to recall (or perform) critical tasks. An instructor, if not properly trained, motivated, or monitored, can insert his own standards into the testing, as whenther the needle was inserted at a 90 degree angle, or 88 degrees, or whether the time fuse was cut to the exact second or not, or whether "adequate security was emplaced, or not. Instructors are screened and monitored to ensure that they are testing the peoper standards. Evaluations used to be monitored internally for accuracy and efficacy. That Department was eliminated in one of the "streamlining" functions. We are currently laboring to replace that capability. We have no problem retraining, recycling, and relieving students who fail to me the proper evaluation of the standard. Commanders are asked to take a hard look at whether the student is deemed worth retaining, or not. We have too much invested in a student who has completed SFAS successfully and been PCSed to the SFQC to do otherwise.

To put the number of candidates required into the pipeline to produce the required number of graduates was not possible with existing limitations and the numbers in the post build-down Army. The "standards" had to change, or the end-strength would not be filled. Thus the allowable waiver of GT scores down to 100 and the decision to implement the 18X program, to attract additional personnel into the program. All personnel are still tested and those deemed to not posess the intellectual accumen to possibly complete the SFQC successfully are non-selected. OTOH, we do have E-7s going through the course, which seem to me to be a particularly bad idea, but one we have to accept, or stand down a portion of the force, like zeroing an ODA per company, or eliminating a Group. Some will say that was a lowering of the standard. I don't see it that way. Almost every student who is marginal gets evaluated as whether the cadre members would serve with him on an ODA. Students should arrive at the ODA with basic Skill Level 3 competency in their MOS, not have a diploma with an asterisk on it. At the same time, some will be better than others.

You can draw the cut line by those meeting evaluated standards, or at a percentage line (which could be above or below the standard line). We use the evaluated standard technique, but try to maintain consistency. For example, I have seen SFAS classes with 22% selected, and some at 60%. With that spread in the same FY, the question becomes, "what has changed"?

We have already seen what the stripping and undermanning of the schoolhouse will do to the graduation rate. At the same time, there are positions that can be filled by retirees, SF personnel on profiles, non-SF military personnel, contractors, civilians, etc. I cannot explain the SF drill sergeant business at the same time that we are contemplating retaining SFQC grads as SWCS cadre.

SOF and SF leadership are all fully qualified. No one wants to field a full force of sub-standard personnel. That is a recipe for disaster. I have often said that I would rather have an ODA with 8 good guys I can count on, than 12 with three requiring full-time baby sitters. I have served under ARSOF commanders who were not SF qualified, and did not understand that. I believe that our current leadership is acting responsibly to honor the oath they have sworn. At the same time, hard decisions must be made in times like this.

Who among us did not think that the ones who put us through the course were better men, or those who followed us were a little less qualified? My first SF soldier I knew well was a two star CIB wearing SGM with 5 gold stars on his master wings and a chest full of medals. Who the heck was I to replace him?

I think that we would all want to see SF continuing to set the standard in the future that it has through all of our careers, from the 50s era Lodge Act and WW II vets who wrote the book, to the 60s era SF soldiers who set the standard in combat, to the 70s era soldiers who served when times got tough for SF, through the 80s when SF was growing again, the 90s with SF employed in combat globally, till now with our SF soldiers being the first to strike back against the terrorists who dared attack this great nation. I think the guys that who are earning berets now will do us proud, or I would not be working here.

Hope that answers the mail.

TR

longrange1947
03-28-2004, 12:03
TR, you make good points, but I still disagree.

RL, I will not inumerate my opinions on an open forum.

TR, If you wish to see me for my opinions, please stop by and I will give them to you face to face.

Sacamuelas
03-28-2004, 16:01
Originally posted by longrange1947
TR, you make good points, but I still disagree.
RL, I will not inumerate my opinions on an open forum.
TR, If you wish to see me for my opinions, please stop by and I will give them to you face to face.

And that there ladies and gentlemen is what separates this forum from all the others I have frequented. APROFESSIONALsoldier.com...

Exactly as I was hoping this would end. :cool:

(although my honest hope was it being moved to the QP only area and RL getting banned. LOL haha )

wet dog
10-18-2009, 12:07
Delete *.*

Papa Zero Three
10-18-2009, 12:30
My point of view is from 1985 to present as an instructor with SWC. While not constant, a break from 89 to 94, and not an instructor in basic skills, I can say I do not agree wiht the opinions expressed by the others.


As a team sergeant, as an SWC instructor and as a staff puke, I have seen this topic from all sides and I have to say I am in agreement with Longrange1947. I do not agree with the opinions expressed by others in this thread and find it to be far from the ground truth....it may be the party line "truth", but it's not the real ground truth. Don't drink the Kool-aid.

RichL025
10-18-2009, 17:14
Coming to this thread a bit late... my apologies.

I graduated the 18D course in 92. Recently, as a physician, I've had opportunity to work with a few 18D candidates undergoing their clinical proficiency training at my hospital.

I am amazed at how smart these guys are, and their clinical decision-making skills.

I wish I could say I was that good at a similar point in my education (of course I was ;) but I digress)... but my point here, is that as far as medical knowledge goes, any concerns I had about when the course moved to the "new facility" at Bragg have generally been alleviated.

Of course, I can't speak about the hundred other skills, and maturity, judgement, etc, that make up an operator, just this one.

"Good job" to the guys working the 18D course nowadays. Keep 'em coming...

alelks
10-18-2009, 18:43
This is an easy one.

YES!

Back when I was still active and we had a certain general running SWC we were all brought into the auditorium in the academic facility. The SGM stood up and told us we were going to start training smarter in order to produce more soldiers but we were not going to lower the standards. We all of course knew that this would not be the case. It was all about numbers and they didn't want to spend any more money to produce those numbers. Talking with the other members of various committees throughout SWC confirmed what I thought. No way we could have produced more soldiers in the same period of time without lowering standards so they were cut. Throughout SWC we definitely cut standards and up until 2007 we were still doing so.

rltipton
10-18-2009, 18:57
I showed up to my company on a Monday afternoon and at 0530 Tuesday morning I was on a C130 headed to St Croix. The next afternoon I was introduced to my team and got my first experience swimming on a budline. I spent the next 6 years finning my balls off on a surface swim team. Nobody ever asked me at group or batallion or company if I knew how to swim. My team sergeant never asked me if I knew how to swim. He handed me a snap link, a BC, and some fins and told me to go and I went.

How would that work if I had shown up unable to swim? That isn't hurting the standards?

Tyrant
10-18-2009, 19:26
The standards had to have been lowered. How else would I have gotten through? :D Back to your regularly scheduled thread......

Dozer523
10-18-2009, 19:33
I showed up to my company on a Monday afternoon and at 0530 Tuesday morning I was on a C130 headed to St Croix. The next afternoon I was introduced to my team and got my first experience swimming on a budline. I spent the next 6 years finning my balls off on a surface swim team. Nobody ever asked me at group or batallion or company if I knew how to swim. My team sergeant never asked me if I knew how to swim. He handed me a snap link, a BC, and some fins and told me to go and I went.

How would that work if I had shown up unable to swim? That isn't hurting the standards? RL maybe they took one look at your mean ol' self and hoped you couldn't. Don't put to much stock in being issued that BC . . . probably didn't work, anyway. Just for show.:p

wet dog
10-18-2009, 20:17
Delete *.*

for re-opening this thread after a five year dry spell. I had previously put some thought to paper, when I remembered TR's last report, somewhat putting the thread to rest. Only after the "Delete *.*" scene did I get sevel PM's asking what did I say? Some thought a Moderator had deleted my post. It was I who decided to state my opinion with a "No Comment, I plea the 5th".

I will now say that which I could have said eariler, but didn't.

What is the cost benefit of having an increased cadre of SWCS trainers, the expansions of phases (I, II, III, IV, V, VI,....) versus the old I, II, III?

I simplied proposed eliminating SERE and Language from the course and allowing the Grps access to trained soldiers earlier, sending them down range immediately. Then allowing the ODA TM SGT's and CDRs to use their own descretion when sending soldiers to advanced schools.

From what I've heard from SWSC and Groups, the more you put in the pipeline does not necessarily reflect more output. It seems the total number of graduates has remained the same dispite efforts to increase Q volunteers.

Can we identify specifics as to each 18 series MOS where we beleive standards have dropped?, for each of the following areas, Commo, Medical, Weapons, Engineering. Not to mention 18A, or 180A.

SWSC is the largest and most experienced GROUP we have, hands down, none better.

I will leave the final decision to others much smarter than I.

WD

ZonieDiver
10-18-2009, 20:40
As one who came into SF when it was accused of lowering its standards to the lowest point - lots of body bags to be fillled - I can only say that from the quality of recent graduates of the course that I have seen and met, I don't think standards have been compromised that much.

You select an individual that "you think" will rise to the standard of an SF soldier that has been set over the years - by many men in this site (JJ, Teddy, LongRange, TR, and others) and HOPE that they rise to the occasion and opportunity. Some will. Some won't. It matters little. The fact that they have chosen this path shows that they have the ability to be that which they wish to be. Growing them to that path is the task of the Groups. Those Groups stand ready, as they always have. Give them "raw materials" and they will make them succeed - or not!

As one who arrived in Group thinking that I was "head and shoulders" above others - and quickly being shown that I was not (thank you etgynn - my first det. cdr.), it is up to the Sr. NCO's who are, and always have been, the backbone of SF, to make sure that the "tradition" carries on. IF they fail, we all fail. I don't think - in the long run - that they fail. They succeed. If need be, they take less than optimal " recruits" and turn them into hard-charging, capable, SF troopers.

I always have, and always will, put my trust in the Sr. NCO leadership that is, and ALWAYS HAS BEEN the backbone of SF. I trust those who hold the legacy, and the day I don't is the day I will no longer associate with sites such as PS.com or SFA. I know that day will NEVER come.

God bless those who trod the path in the past - and God bless those who choose to tread it in the future. Our country needs you, as it did in 1965, 1970, the 1980's, and to today - not for what it will bring you, but for what it will bring to the United States of America. Those who choose to rise to the calling WILL. Those who don't will fall by the wayside. God bless those who try.

Just my 2 cents worth...

wet dog
10-18-2009, 20:52
As one who came into SF when it was accused of lowering its standards to the lowest point - lots of body bags to be fillled - I can only say that from the quality of recent graduates of the course that I have seen and met, I don't think standards have been compromised that much.

You select an individual that "you think" will rise to the standard of an SF soldier that has been set over the years - by many men in this site (JJ, Teddy, LongRange, TR, and others) and HOPE that they rise to the occasion and opportunity. Some will. Some won't. It matters little. The fact that they have chosen this path shows that they have the ability to be that which they wish to be. Growing them to that path is the task of the Groups. Those Groups stand ready, as they always have. Give them "raw materials" and they will make them succeed - or not!

As one who arrived in Group thinking that I was "head and shoulders" above others - and quickly being shown that I was not (thank you etgynn - my first det. cdr.), it is up to the Sr. NCO's who are, and always have been, the backboe of SF, to make sure that the "tradition" carries on. IF they fail, we all fail. I don't think - in the long run - that they fail. They succeed. If need be, they take less than optimal " recruits" and turn them into hard-charging, capable, SF troopers.

I always have, and always will, put my trust in the Sr. NCO leadership that is, and ALWAYS HAS BEEN the backbone of SF. I trust those who hold the legacy, and the day I don't is the day I will no longer associate with sites such as PS.com or SFA. I know that day will NEVER come.

God bless those who trod the path in the past - and God bless those who choose to tread it in the future. Our country needs you, as it did in 1965, 1970, the 1980's, and to today - not for what it will bring you, but for what it will bring to the United States of America. Those who choose to rise to the calling WILL. Those who don't will fall by the wayside. God bless those who try.

Just my 2 cents worth...

Zonie - that was perfect!

WD

rltipton
10-19-2009, 08:03
When I was doing my SWC tour I remember the old farts always carrying on about it, but even then (late 90's) the statistics were about the same as they always were before. As for the training standards, the statistics speak for themselves. No matter what they did with the budget, instructor:student ratio, hours, etc, the same percentage were graduating successfully.

BUT when in SF did you NOT need to know how to swim? It's a basic survival skill. We had to swim in Panama, Haiti, even in Asscrackistan we swamped trucks fording rivers and had to swim. We swam ropes across streams to carry gear across...the list goes on.

To any new guys going through the course who don't know how to swim, you need to make it a big priority to learn or you will someday become a liability for your team, mark my words.

Also, it's hard enough getting 10 guys per company to pass pre-scuba when 100% could swim!

glebo
10-19-2009, 08:07
This is an easy one.

YES!

Back when I was still active and we had a certain general running SWC we were all brought into the auditorium in the academic facility. The SGM stood up and told us we were going to start training smarter in order to produce more soldiers but we were not going to lower the standards. We all of course knew that this would not be the case. It was all about numbers and they didn't want to spend any more money to produce those numbers. Talking with the other members of various committees throughout SWC confirmed what I thought. No way we could have produced more soldiers in the same period of time without lowering standards so they were cut. Throughout SWC we definitely cut standards and up until 2007 we were still doing so.

I was in SWC also when we were given those speaches.

I don't think I would go as far to say the standards were lowered, more like "loosely enforced" more than anything else. We still taught the same caliber of material, it was just harder trying to get rid of a guy, academicaly that is.

The Reaper
10-19-2009, 10:24
The SFQC graduated less than 250 students in 2001.

By 2005, they were on track to graduate 750. They have since been graduating upwards of 850.

When you do this without tripling the number of students assessed, how have you done this without changing the standards?

I believe that the course has been improved considerably over the past 20 years. I also believe that the leadership has recently made a conscious decision to assume risk and graduate at least 750 students per year, regardless of their performance. We probably did something similar during the Vietnam War when we needed warm bodies under berets. Doesn't mean the great guys were not getting through the course throughout our history. Just means that quite a few more are recently of a lower quality, some will pan out to be good SF soldiers, and some will not. It is then up to the teams to keep them and train them in the ways of the force, or to throw them back into the pool. Wartime requirements may necessitate compromises.

Just my .02, YMMV.

TR

glebo
10-19-2009, 10:45
when I was on the commo committee (as a civilian) we were instructed that once a student gets "selected", they deem him trainable. If he fails, they put it on the instructor saying it's their fault.

Of course (slap head), you deemed him trainable, therefore it HAS to be our fault. How long we been training GB's??

wet dog
10-19-2009, 10:47
In comparasion, how many bodies occupy a Ranger Battalion with assets, air, logistics? How many attend RIP and then the school? What are the total numbers for annual losses, or new graduates? What is the percentage of attendance vs. completion?

longrange1947
10-19-2009, 14:39
Gentlemen, when they don't let a man quit then you have a problem. As far as getting rid of him at Group level, think again.

7624U
10-19-2009, 17:34
little Xmas spirit early.....

I have a list ! Im checking it twice ! I know if your selection was a roll of the dice! Ex SWC instructor back in Groupppp... I know if you once Quit! I know if you where late! I know if you where Weak or NTR so don't keep making the same mistake! Ex SWC instructor back in Groupppp... I don't care if you think your cool! I don't care if you think your great! Your just one in the number of Thousands ive seeeen graduate... Ex SWC instructor Back in Groupppp!


GET ER DONE!

Roguish Lawyer
10-19-2009, 17:43
little Xmas spirit early.....

I have a list ! Im checking it twice ! I know if your selection was a roll of the dice! Ex SWC instructor back in Groupppp... I know if you once Quit! I know if you where late! I know if you where Weak or NTR so don't keep making the same mistake! Ex SWC instructor back in Groupppp... I don't care if you think your cool! I don't care if you think your great! Your just one in the number of Thousands ive seeeen graduate... Ex SWC instructor Back in Groupppp!


GET ER DONE!

Wow, who knew there was such talent here? :munchin

Papa Zero Three
10-19-2009, 17:48
Gentlemen, when they don't let a man quit then you have a problem. As far as getting rid of him at Group level, think again.


Once again longranger1947, you are balls on accurate.

Team sergeants have become baby sitters to the 18X and mass produced "graduates" that have been coming out of the course since the whole numbers game started. Once he is at Group getting rid of him is like trying to get rid of a GS position guy. They eat up time and create paperwork traditionally found in conventional units dealing with privates and their issues. From my first hand experience, 1 out of every 5 that show up are actually of the quality/character/fortitude that we used to get from the school house.

SkiBumCFO
10-21-2009, 09:29
And all these years i had been saying I had graduated from the last easy class! guess i cant use that line anymore. I have little contact with the current graduates so cant say if the course is easier or not but I know one very talented 18x in 5th grouup that is highly intelligent and mature and even he says he wishes he had done some time with any line unit before going through the course. He feels there is a real taint with being an Xray.

alelks
10-21-2009, 09:34
And all these years i had been saying I had graduated from the last easy class! guess i cant use that line anymore. I have little contact with the current graduates so cant say if the course is easier or not but I know one very talented 18x in 5th grouup that is highly intelligent and mature and even he says he wishes he had done some time with any line unit before going through the course. He feels there is a real taint with being an Xray.

I can definitely agree with that statement. I came into SF straight off the street.

I was a PFC holding down an E7 slot on the team as an SF baby in the early 80s. Fortunately I had a strong Team Sergeant. I really needed some conventional time before going SF.

Mitch
10-21-2009, 15:52
about 10 years ago, there were a bunch of us bitching, whining and complaining because we thought standards had been lowered by lowering the GT score requirement and no longer haveing the mandatory pass swin test.

My .02

Eagle


So when I went through, the GT requirement was 110 - most guys I knew were well above that anyway, but - all the same, what did they lower it to, and what is it now.

Mitch

ZonieDiver
10-21-2009, 16:15
Do they still have the SFBT (I think that was it, maybe it was SFQBT) or an equivalent? If it is not still around, when was it removed? That was the hardest test I ever took.

The Reaper
10-21-2009, 16:27
So when I went through, the GT requirement was 110 - most guys I knew were well above that anyway, but - all the same, what did they lower it to, and what is it now.

Mitch


110, waiverable down to 100, and in my experience, that waiver is frequently granted.

TR

alelks
10-21-2009, 17:43
Prime example back in 2005. I was on the ASOT detachment as a contract instructor. I taught back there from 91-94 as a green suit. Anyway we had 4 guys fail the rural portion miserably (my exercise by the way). I mean they only turned in 2 reports out of 11. They basically gave up just a few days into the exercise and sat in their hotel rooms the rest of the trip. Well the Bn Commander came down and wanted to talk to the committee. Of course he was trying to convince us to keep the 4 guys in the course because they needed grads. He gave an analogy that recently they had a guy at Scuba school who didn't pass the first gate but the instructors saw something in the guy so they let him continue. Long story short he said the guy graduated.

Well while he was telling this story I was biting my tongue. At one point he said "I know we are producing graduates that are not trained in what we want them to do but......

Well that's when I absolutely lost it. I couldn't believe I had just heard that out of a BN Commanders mouth. I flew off the handle as every hair on my body stood straight up.

I immediately stopped him and said "Sir, I can't believe I just heard what just came out of your mouth. We are producing graduates that are not trained in what we want them to do? You tell that to the little 6 year old boy who's father isn't going to be coming home because we didn't train him properly, you tell that to the family members of the rest of his team when they don't come home." Then I really lost it and said "F*^$ General _________ because we all know where this is coming from it's a numbers game. Here's what you need to do. You need to do what's professionally ethically and morally correct because if we let these guys continue through the course it's just flat out WRONG. What do you think the rest of the class is going to think? I can tell you exactly what they are going to think. They are going to think, well these guys didn't do a damn thing during rural and passed so why should I bust my ass during Urban.:

You know the funny thing is and this is what's a shame, there were only two or three out of about 16 instructors that were verbal about this. Everyone else was just sitting there saying absolutely nothing.

Well I figured as a contractor they were paying me for my expertise and opinion and I let him have it with both barrels.

I called the detachment commander up that weekend and apologized for getting so verbal and of course he told me "No, thank you because we as green suiters can't speak or mind like that and that's exactly what needed to be said".

After that the 4 guys departed the course.

And that my friend is why I never wanted to go any higher in rank than MSG. It just gets too political after that and I would have gotten into tons of trouble.

Mitch
10-21-2009, 20:15
110, waiverable down to 100, and in my experience, that waiver is frequently granted.

TR

Well that's not good!

In my world these days in "Quality Assurance", many times when Specifications are waived in order to accept a slightly "Off" batch of parts, the ripple effect lasts for a long time in the form of Rework, Line Rejects, and increased Warranty Claims. These additional effects cause ultimaelty in increase in costs and delevery delays.

People aren't widgets, but the principle is probably very much the same.

longrange1947
10-21-2009, 20:47
The biggest problem is that there is a group of individuals that have not learned the difference between trained and qualified. We hear constantly that we need more trained individuals in the force. No, we need more qualified individuals and numbers are not qualified only trained. And we all know about illiterate grads of high school AND college that are functionally illiterate but they are "trained" in English.

BIG difference, but not realized by too many of the bean counters that only see numbers as hot bodies with a cert.

Now, understand this, there are great soldiers being turned over to the Groups, many have worked with them and that includes the older 18Xrays. But the number that are slipping through the cracks is alarming.

LongWire
10-21-2009, 21:32
The biggest problem is that there is a group of individuals that have not learned the difference between trained and qualified. We hear constantly that we need more trained individuals in the force. No, we need more qualified individuals and numbers are not qualified only trained. And we all know about illiterate grads of high school AND college that are functionally illiterate but they are "trained" in English.

BIG difference, but not realized by too many of the bean counters that only see numbers as hot bodies with a cert.

Now, understand this, there are great soldiers being turned over to the Groups, many have worked with them and that includes the older 18Xrays. But the number that are slipping through the cracks is alarming.


Well said Rick........Concur completely............

Richard
10-22-2009, 05:57
110, waiverable down to 100, and in my experience, that waiver is frequently granted.

MOO - but:


I knew guys who tested well and had excellent scores but could not reason their way out of an empty gunnysack -
I also knew guys who couldn't diagram a sentence but picked up languages like nobody's business just like some people cannot read music but can play anything they hear -
And I knew guys who were below the 110 IQ range (test wise) but had an affinity for doing things in an entirely common sensical way and had some sort of almost mythic sense of things mechanical - they made some of the most naturally talented and best 11Bs/12Bs/05Bs (now 18Bs/18Cs/18Es).

Guess what I'm trying to say is it takes all types to make a good ODA and the system (veteran instructors) should be responsive to recognizing the talent and potential to be able to do that or not. ;)

Richard's $.02 :munchin

longrange1947
10-22-2009, 07:24
Richard, agree, it is similar wiht natural shooters. They can hit almost anything under any circumstances. Don't try to make them better by "cleaning up their technique", it will onlty make them shoot worse becasue they will start to think about shooting.

However, they also can not teach shooting worth a hoot most the time either, as they do not know how or why then hit stuff. :munchin

Dozer523
10-22-2009, 07:50
Trained v qualifies. so simple.
Back in the late '80's there was a BIG push called Certification and Validation. Groups conducted Certifications -- a big skills lane, mission. PT test, Weapons qualification, 25 mi road march (we did that the night of a Lunar Eclipse -- had nothing better to do then watch it from start to finish. Oh, and sing 100 bottles of beer in the wall over and over:)). It was pretty fun and challenging.
The idea was SOCOM wanted to have a say in Validating the readiness of the Teams it sent to the Unified Commands. Groups said they had to check the Teams first. In real life it meant if your ODA had not at least been Certified you were ineligible to leave Post. (didn't always work out that way, but should have.)

Great idea at the Group level, pretty hard to do at the SOCOM level. I bet the OpTempo today makes it impracticable.

Mitch
10-22-2009, 08:43
MOO - but:


I knew guys who tested well and had excellent scores but could not reason their way out of an empty gunnysack -
I also knew guys who couldn't diagram a sentence but picked up languages like nobody's business just like some people cannot read music but can play anything they hear -
And I knew guys who were below the 110 IQ range (test wise) but had an affinity for doing things in an entirely common sensical way and had some sort of almost mythic sense of things mechanical - they made some of the most naturally talented and best 11Bs/12Bs/05Bs (now 18Bs/18Cs/18Es).

Guess what I'm trying to say is it takes all types to make a good ODA and the system (veteran instructors) should be responsive to recognizing the talent and potential to be able to do that or not. ;)

Richard's $.02 :munchin

Also agree Richard - when you get to the Team your GT SCORE is not tattooed on your forehead - so you are what you are. The team is the place typically where the actual sorting is done.

But - scientifically speaking, forgetting about the exceptions & outliers, as you mentioned, if you improve the inherent baseline values of the input raw material, across the board, you move the entire population up proportionally - the opposite is also true.

The 110 number was "10 points above average." Not so high that you have people who over think and over analyze, but underperform (Like many Butter Bars that used to find their way on to teams). but just high enough to make training easier and faster - after that, it is all up to how good your Team Sergeant is.

The Reaper
10-22-2009, 11:28
I have sat in boards where the Psych staff told the cadre that no one with standardized test scores as low as the candidate had had ever successfully completed the SFQC, in any MOS, and the CoC said that wanted to take a chance on him anyway.

I explained how many hours of instructor time would be wasted trying to get that student up to minimum, and that the rest of the studs would suffer for it, but they were so desperate to make numbers that they listened politely and then took them anyway. Repeatedly.

And I have seen the difference bertween a little slow and flat-assed stupid. These boys were off the curve and must have had help to eventually hit 100 on the GT test. The teams do not deserve soldiers like this. Everyone who approved a waiver should have had to sign the back of his diploma, so we would know who was responsible.

Just sayin'.

TR

Pete
10-22-2009, 11:52
..........And I have seen the difference bertween a little slow and flat-assed stupid. These boys were off the curve and must have had help to eventually hit 100 on the GT test. ......

The Letter of Appeal? Remember those?

Super Jew (RIP) was giving the Training Companies a lot of crap about us trying to bounce failures.

Had one of them write his letter of appeal while sitting in the orderly room - with no help. Placed it on top of his packet and hand carried it up to the Battalion CSM and placed it on his desk. "Aaaaa, Hurmmmm, Cough, Cough - did he write this?" "Yes, he did" "OK, he's out."

See how easy that was.

SkiBumCFO
10-22-2009, 12:08
my 19 year old nephew (above a 110 GT) was a year too young to get an xray contract when he joined in January so he went Ranger. He performed well in OSUT so they made him a PFC and then they offered to change him to an Xray contract. He passed on the offer and stuck with Ranger route. (maybe he is more mature than i thought!) A kid that age needs some time in the saddle and I think if he decides to eventually go SF our community will be much better served with him having spent time elsewhere. That said if he was a mature 24 yr old that really wanted SF I might have told him to give it a try. funnily enough i hired him a swim instructor before he left and now you are telling me SF candidates don't have to swim - now that is truly a strange non-requirement!! :)