A Calloussed Mind - Aspiring Soldiers going through Hell
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War is hell. The psychological and physical misery soldiers likely have to overcome during special operations extends the imagination of common civilians. Moving fast and keeping a clear mind to find quick solutions in stressful situations while suffering under intense discomfort is arguably the critical ability of a professional soldier. However, most human beings don't possess this necessary mental strength naturally. Becoming a severe threat to enemies in combat requires the mastery of several merciless lessons to ultimately obtain callousness - a state of mind that allows individuals to withstand physical cruelties, psychological torture, and the harshest conditions.
In order to develop this calloused mindset, militaries worldwide have created brutal, almost inhumane training programs, preparing aspiring special warfare operators for the battlefield. One of these is the BUD/S schooling (Basic Under Water Demolition/Seal) of the American Navy, a six-month series of challenges, testing the mind and body of trainees.
Broken into three phases, BUD/S has an attrition rate between 70% and 85%, making it one of the most demanding military programs worldwide.
The most trying period is "Hell Week," a six-day gauntlet of constant exertion that reveals what men are truly made of. During Hell Week, students run more than 200 miles, often with boats on their heads, swim, do hours of physical training with logs, and numerous other brutal evolutions. They are constantly wet, cold, and sandy and only get about four hours of sleep throughout the whole week. Even though men and women are fed regularly, consuming over 8,000 calories a day, they still lose weight. "The intent behind Hell Week's craziness is to get down to a man's true stuff — his true identity. Only when you have barely slept for freaking five days plus, doing crazy evolutions throughout this whole time, while being wet and sandy, you reveal your true colors."
Commonly SEAL candidates mistakenly believe that Hell Week and BUD/S are all about physical strength that people can obtain through exercising. However, due to sleep deprivation and the immense psychological stress instructors create, it's not really possible to prepare oneself properly for a challenge like this: "Hell Week is like a kick in the nuts - you can't really train for that wisely."
However, even though BUD/S is America's most demanding military program, several other militaries on the globe prove its trainees' abilities under comparable cruel conditions - sometimes, their practices are even highly questionable. From Russia's Spetsnaz shattering bricks laying on candidates' heads to South Korean soldiers having to run several miles and working out in the snow without the necessary gear, it's pretty obvious that other regimes prepare their future military forces for potential combat. Sometimes these brutal scenes are even captured for national television, aiming to inspire young men by conveying a culturally desirable impression of masculinity based on callousness, discipline, as well as physical & mental endurance.
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