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

Dick Couch

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Book Description

March 25 2008
An unprecedented view of Green Beret training, drawn from the year Dick Couch spent at Special Forces training facilities with the Army’s most elite soldiers.

In combating terror, America can no longer depend on its conventional military superiority and the use of sophisticated technology. More than ever, we need men like those of the Army Special Forces–the legendary Green Berets.

Following the experiences of one class of soldiers as they endure this physically and mentally exhausting ordeal, Couch spells out in fascinating detail 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 SF candidates gather operational intelligence to their skills at negotiating with volatile, often hostile, local leaders. Chosen Soldier paints a vivid portrait of an elite group, and a process that forges America’s smartest, most versatile, and most valuable fighting force.

Frequently Bought Together

Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior + The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 + The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.20


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (March 25 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307339394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307339393
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #121,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  116 reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at what it takes to earn the Green Beret Oct. 23 2007
By halda - Published on Amazon.com
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.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Dick Couch March 24 2007
By Will - Published on Amazon.com
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.
69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable March 27 2007
By Kristen in LA - Published on Amazon.com
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.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK on Army Special Forces May 17 2007
By Scott Bane - Published on Amazon.com
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
33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on Special Forces soldiers Feb. 20 2008
By Jack Lechelt - Published on Amazon.com
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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