SOPC For All
Old 05-11-2004, 21:00   #1
The Reaper
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SOPC For All




Unit activates to prepare volunteers for Special Forces selection

By Spc. Jennifer J. Eidson
U.S. Army Special Operations Command

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, May 6, 2004) - The unit responsible for training all U.S. Army Special Forces candidates here activated on April 30 a new company with the mission of better preparing Soldiers for the Special Forces selection process.

Company E, Support Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) will oversee the new 25-day Special Forces preparation Course, which beginning in October will be required training for volunteers attending the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course here.

The company was formed originally as a detachment in November 2001 to train "off-the-street" civilian recruits entering the Army under the Special Forces Recruiting Initiative.

The decision to make the course a requirement for all Special Forces recruits, including in-service Soldiers, was brought about because off-the-street recruits who had attended a similar program already run by the unit were being selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course more often than Soldiers who were already serving in the regular Army, said Lt. Col. Todd D..., Support Battalion commander.

"Echo Company (selection) statistics have always well exceeded those of active-duty Soldiers (attending SFAS)," said D.... "At the conclusion of this last ... SFAS, students trained by Echo Company achieved a never-before-heard-of 98 percent selection rate."

Traditionally, Soldiers already serving in the Army go directly into the SFAS course after volunteering for SF duty, and if selected would soon attend the second of the Special Forces Qualification Course's six phases.

However, off-the-street recruits have been required to first attend the unit's Special Operations Preparation and Conditioning Course I prior to SFAS, and if selected would then attend SOPC II training before continuing in the qualification course.

The SOPC course was implemented to give the inexperienced off-the-street Soldiers the opportunity to further develop their physical fitness and land navigation skills, as well as to learn basic small unit tactics before going to SFAS, which is considered the first phase in the qualification course.

Now, because off-the street recruits have performed so well during SFAS and subsequent training, all SF hopefuls will attend the Special Forces Preparation Course, as well as the training formerly designated as SOPC II, which will now be known as the Special Forces Preparation Course II, said Capt. Pete H..., a former commander of the unit and the current battalion operations officer.

"Soldiers who have been in the Army in some other military occupational specialty prior to coming here, have had to train up on their own (for SFAS)," H... said. "The current (selection) graduation rate of the in-service Soldiers is about 40 to 45 percent. Now, about 80 percent of (Soldiers) who go through this program will graduate (from SFAS)."

The preparation course will add 25 additional days to the current 24-day SFAS and Phase I program and an extra 18 days of training for Soldiers selected to continue on to Phase II of the SFQC.

Sgt. 1st Class Rolf J...., Company E's senior trainer, advisor and counselor, said that with the increased student load the company's instructors will be stretched thin, but the majority of trainees will still learn the required skills they need to be successful.

"Any time you have a large student-to-instructor ratio, you don't have enough eyes on all the students and some are going to slip through the cracks. That is one of the problems with having too few instructors ...but at least 70 percent (of our students) do fine (during the SFQC) and are stellar performers."

The instructors have proven to be successful, judging by the number of their students selected to continue their Special Forces training, but with the increasing numbers of trainees they will have to work even harder to keep up the current quality of training, D... said.

"This company has already made a reputation that it must continue to live up to," D... said. "The Special Operations Preparation and Conditioning Course ... set a high standard."
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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Old 05-11-2004, 22:51   #2
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thank you for sharing sir, that info pertains to me
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Seeking Clarification (SOPC/SFPC and Active Duty)
Old 04-15-2013, 12:40   #3
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Seeking Clarification (SOPC/SFPC and Active Duty)

Wow, this is nearly a decade old post, so I apologize for resurrecting it; however, I do have a reason for its resurrection*:

I was going to start off by asking what the differences between SOPC and SFPC were because the “new” handbook Reaper posted back in 2006 does not include SOPC, but does include SFPC; while, the Army Recruiting Website mentions SOPC, and not SFPC. But a quick forum search reveals a post by 7624U. Hopefully this paragraph will help other guests who had similar questions.

With that out of the way:

... The decision to make the [SOPC] course a requirement for all Special Forces recruits, including in-service Soldiers, was brought about because off-the-street recruits who had attended a similar program already run by the unit were being selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course more often than Soldiers who were already serving in the regular Army...
WRT the quoted text, I completely agree with this tactic -- if 18Xs are more "successful" during SFAS/SQFC, then why not put the AD folks through the same training pipeline. But this seems to conflict with everything I have been reading. (I understand that this is a very old post, so things have likely changed.) 7624U post (linked to above) states that SOPC is ONLY for 18Xs (his post is 3 years newer than the article). Also, the army website makes it sound like (though does not actually state) that SOPC is for 18Xs. Furthermore, I am almost certain that some other documents/website indicate the same (though I cannot seem to find the evidence I thought I came across during my research).

Can a QP and/or SF Candidate please help clear up this confusion?

I ask because there is a chance that I will have to receive a medical waiver, so I may have to approach the SF from the AD side; even if a medical waiver is not issued, I still may enlist in an Army MOS (68W or an MI 35 series MOS) first, then SF after AIT. In either case, this information would be useful to myself and others in the same situation.

Thank you.

*Note to Moderator: please feel free to move this post to a new topic if necessary. Because it is technically in response to Reaper's post I thought it seemed logical, but not sure if it was proper.
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Old 04-15-2013, 15:25   #4
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Old 04-15-2013, 15:50   #5
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The post this response was referring to was deleted by the author, therefore the response was irrelevant.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:19   #6
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SFPC was started by the National Guard to ready their version of 18X's for SFAS. The Army realized what a great program it was about the time the 18X program was ramped up and they took it over renaming it SOPC.

There was little difference in the two programs.

SFPC and SOPC were both open to prior service guys reenlisting with either an 18X contract or NG guys and from time to time you would catch a NG guy "auditing" the program prior to attending SFAS but this option wasn't available to AD guys. A couple years ago the idea was tossed around that all soldiers should attend SOPC prior to SFAS but at the end of the day it was decided that selection percentages/rates shouldn't be the driving force for this change and there are quite a few here who agree. Therefore, AD guys wishing to attend SFAS are responsible for their own training prior to attending.

There are plenty of resources across the web and available from the SF recruiting channels to assist a prospective SF candidate. If you are what we are looking for you will be successful at SFAS.
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Last edited by Surgicalcric; 04-16-2013 at 06:27.
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