The first time I met someone from special forces was on a MOUT site at Fort Bragg back when I was a Private. We were the OPFOR for some green berets.
They had simunitions, we had paintballs.
There are three things I remember about that training:
- They were good – all of their movements were crisp and professional (I kept getting shot before I event saw anyone)
- They were older – like, way older. I was probably 19 at the time. They all looked to be in their mid-30s or early 40s.
- They were humble – story below.
At the end of one of the training days, we were under the stars with white lights picking up brass from the exercise. We had a platoon of infantrymen from the 82nd there, but every member of the SF team was out there picking up brass with us.
I remember plucking brass off of the concrete and dropping it into my helmet while a Segreant First Class next to me told me about Special Forces, the training, and the mission. He told me about the different schools he hasd gone to. He told me how he speaks a foreign language as a job requirement. He told me about trips to South America and working with partners.
All of that was cool, but it’s not what struck me.
The thing that struck me was the fact that he was out there picking up brass. He wasn’t above it. It displayed a professional maturity I wasn’t accustomed to yet – my experiences to date had been infantry training and being a new soldier in the 82nd.
Picking up brass was something privates did while the platoon leadership waited.
This was something different.
Something to admire.