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Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior [Kindle Edition]

Dick Couch
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $6.01 (38%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

IN combating terror, America can no longer depend on its conventional military superiority and the use of sophisticated technology. We are fighting guerrilla wars, against insurgents hidden in remote regions, often deep among the local population. In battles such as these, squadrons of billion-dollar bombers and naval fleets mean much less than on-the-ground intelligence and the ability to organize local forces. That’s why, more than ever before, we need men like those of the Army Special Forces—the legendary Green Berets.
In Chosen Soldier, Dick Couch—a former Navy SEAL widely admired for his books about SEAL training and operations—offers an unprecedented view of the training of the Army Special Forces warrior. Each year, several thousand enlisted men and several hundred officers volunteer for Special Forces training; less than a quarter of those who apply will complete the course. Chosen Soldier spells out in fascinating detail the arduous regimen these men undergo—the demanding selection process and grueling field exercises, the high-level technical training and intensive language courses, and the simulated battle problems that test everything from how well they gather operational intelligence to their skills at negotiating with volatile, often hostile, local leaders.
Green Berets are expected to be deadly in combat, yes, but their responsibilities go far beyond those of other Special Operations fighters; they’re taught to operate in foreign cultures, often behind enemy lines; to recruit, train, and lead local forces; to gather intelligence in hostile territory; to forge bonds across languages and cultures. They must not only be experts in such fields as explosives, communications, engineering, and field medicine, but also be able to teach those skills to others. Each and every Green Beret must function as tactical combat leader, negotiator, teacher, drill sergeant, and diplomat.
These tasks require more than just physical prowess; they require a unique mix of character, intelligence, language skills, and—most of all—adaptability. It’s no wonder that the Green Berets’ training regimen is known as the hardest in the world. Drawing on his unprecedented access to the closed world of Army Special Forces training, Dick Couch paints a vivid, intimate portrait of these extraordinary men and the process that forges America’s smartest, most versatile, and most valuable fighting force.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Among America's Special Forces, the Green Berets stand out because they can "do it all," according to this enthusiastic account of their training. Ex-SEAL Couch (Down Range) explains that Green Berets not only fight, they teach: living in the world's hot spots, they speak the language, win the trust of the locals, and train and fight alongside them to defeat a common enemy. They are the "Peace Corps with guns" and the key to winning the war on terror, he asserts. Only the most fit, smart, stable and multilingual need apply, but training is so rigorous that recruits first undergo 25 days of pretraining, from which only one-third proceed to Green Beret school, where attrition continues. Military buffs will enjoy the descriptions of exhausting marches, realistic combat simulations, high-tech weapons and dramatic instructor/student interactions. Though Thomas Ricks showed in Making the Corps that one can write an admiring account of an elite military unit without neglecting its warts and missteps, Couch loves the Green Berets too much to look beneath the surface; still. he tells an entertaining story. 16-page full-color insert. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Couch could have applied the opening chapter's title, "Special Forces 101," to the whole book, for it is a portrait of the men who arrive at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, and the minority who make it though the training and join A Teams. Few of them are Rambos, for they need to be able both to function alone and to be closer than brothers to their teammates and the frequently foreign soldiers they train in combat and nation building. Whatever the future role of special forces in particular may be, the book adds substantially to the serious layman's knowledge of the men now playing vital roles in the war on terror, and who may number in their ranks more of the army's future leaders than the general media anticipates. A book worthy of the quality of the soldiers it profiles. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 4392 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (March 6, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OI0FR6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
By halda
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I believe this is the first comprehensive look at the entire U.S. Army Special Forces selection, qualification and training process; certainly the most updated (as of around 2004-5). Couch, a former Navy SEAL, is full of praise for the abilities and character of those young sergeants and junior officers who earn their Green Beret. And while the prose at times lags with over emphasis on procedure, it is still a fascinating look at a world very few of us will ever experience.

The main strength of the book is that it's more than an anecdotal telling of what these candidates had to go through. Couch also explores what the SF cadre instructors and trainers bring to the process as well. For instance, I was surprised to learn that there was little of the shouting and hazing that I suppose I'd expect to read about. Instead, Couch shows that throughout all four Phases, the cadre sergeants and officers are extremely considerate AND dedicated military professionals.

Although this kind of experience is no longer for me, I believe this is an excellent book for those contemplating a military career in Special Forces. Couch spends a lot of time on each Phase, as well as each Special Forces specialty (communications, engineering, weapons, medical, etc.).

There's also a section devoted to the preparation officers undergo to become ODA leaders, although I felt this was where Couch was at his most dryly procedural, whereas I wanted to read more about their field exercises. Finally, the book concludes with a satisfying overview of Robin Sage, the final Phase IV unconventional wargame exercise.

Strongly recommended.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Dick Couch March 24, 2007
By Will
Format:Hardcover
Ex- Navy SEAL Dick Couch provides an excellent narrative of Army Special Forces Selection and Training in 'Chosen Soldier." Mr. Couch follows a group of U.S. Army 18-XRay Special Forces recruits through all phases of their long road to earn the Green Beret and serve with some of the best soldiers in the world. Much like 'The Warrior Elite,' and 'The Finishing School,' Mr. Couch provides detailed, word-for-word descriptions of training scenarios, snarling cadre members, and relentless physical and mental trials. I highly recommend 'Chosen Soldier,' to anyone who is either interested in becoming a Special Forces soldier, or is interested in the selection and training process of these elite men.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable March 27, 2007
Format:Hardcover
I am a civilian female with no special military expertise, and I found this to be an excellent read. Mr. Couch is careful to explain the confusing military slang and acronyms, and he has a knack for anecdotes and details that bring the trainees to vivid life. I highly recommend the book, and I thank God that this nation still raises up the kind of men who strive to wear the Green Beret.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK on Army Special Forces May 17, 2007
Format:Hardcover
I think this is Couch's best book! As a person with a big interest in the subject matter and some knowledge to begin with, I was instantly pulled into the stories of these men heading down the road to a Green Beret. I was impressed, though by the exceptional job the author does at making it understandable for readers without a lot of prior military knowledge. It has everything you expect from a Couch book: an insider view at a super-secret society, people you can be proud to have out fighting for us, detail and excitement that is engaging throughout. This is a great book in support of the guys laying down their lives without getting trapped in political rhetoric. I highly recommend Chosen Soldier
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Special Forces soldiers February 20, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A really interesting look into the making of special force soldiers. The author, Dick Couch, is a former SEAL himself, so he knows what it takes to make our toughest military members. He was, I think, given unprecedented access to Green Beret recruit training, and Couch offers a fine first-person, memoir-like description of all he saw as the recruits arrived at Fort Bragg, NC for what was a grueling training process. After reading Couch's book, I'm convinced of a few things: 1) that US Army Special Forces soldiers are some of the toughest, smartest, and hardest working people on the planet; 2) that it is not easy to create new SF soldiers - it's costly, time consuming, and few people have what it takes to be SF soldiers; 3) that we need more of these folks considering the counterinsurgency wars we may be involved in over the next couple of decades, and they are not easy to create (see #2); and 4) that our political leaders should have been much more knowledgeable of these points before opting to invade Iraq. What some people are willing to take on for their country is amazing, and to know that there are Americans who already have it all and yet complain that they need tax cuts is pathetic. Anyway, Couch did a great job and offered a valuable window into the tip of the spear of American efforts to defeat terrorism.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dick Couch, author of "Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior" has written a superb piece in this book.

Couch takes the reader through all the phases of the Q-Course, and he brings the Special Forces Warrior's challenges and experiences as true to life as one can get from a book.

"Chosen Soldier" is a MUST READ for anyone interested in the Green Berets and what is required to become one (and, sew on that patch!). I especially recommend this book to anyone in or anticipating joining Special Operations Forces.

I closed this book in total awe of and respect for every man who makes it through this grueling training. They truly are the elite of the elite.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars must read
Great book... beginning to end lots of information special forces are amazing
Published 1 day ago by Roberto Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 18 days ago by Philip Broadus
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading for the SPECIAL soldier want to be.
I went through this training years ago & am surprise on how it shows the real hard core training that was NOT available to the public back then. Read more
Published 2 months ago by REY
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Great insight. Good book reading if you want to know specifically about the training of special forces. Great army read.
Published 2 months ago by John Blackwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Chosen Soldier
Great book. It gives good insight to the challenges faced by soldiers attending the training. It also provides an insight to the personality traits of soldiers who successfully... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Craig Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars Told me what I wanted to know
I was born May 1941, seven months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That, coupled with other events like Korea, made me internalize the idea that boys grew up to go to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Redundant but Good
This is a good book - especially for a civilian reader - but is incredibly redundant. You will hear the same 11 things over, and over, and over, and over... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Genea
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Excellent description of the 18X process for those who think they may be interested. Will answer a lot of questions about SFAS and the Q-course.
Published 5 months ago by Eric Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars "Ok" book not good or great
First off let me say I am very thankful and proud of our armed forces and the time Dick Couch served in our military.

I just finished this book and I thought it was ok. Read more
Published 5 months ago by MFAnalystPro
3.0 out of 5 stars Special forces
I found this to be very educational however I would to have liked to read more about the physical feats or special forces have to go through in training. Read more
Published 5 months ago by sdelwood
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More About the Author

DICK COUCH is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who has served as a Navy SEAL and as a CIA case officer. He has written six novels and the nonfiction works Down Range, The Finishing School, and The Warrior Elite. He lives in central Idaho.

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