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Monday, January 27, 2014

Making of Predators | Hell Week: Most-dreaded training capsule for SF soldiers

PART III
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: For every solider dreaming to become a Special Forces (SF) operative will have to cross one of the most dreaded training modules spread across seven days. The Hell Week, embedded towards the fag end of the three-month probation period, aims to put a soldier under acute stress mode. A solider gets to sleep for only three hours during the entire week.
During a visit to the SF unit in Bangalore, an official told Express that Hell Week ascertains the mental and psychological endurance levels of a soldier. “It is an intense pressure checking mechanism, specially designed by experts. The main feature is sleep deprivation for days together, though you will get to sleep for a couple of hours, again the schedule will be decided by the instructor. There’s restriction on the food pattern and you can eat only what is provided and when it is provided,” he said.
During the Hell Week, a solider is also assessed on the level of training in ambush, camouflage, concealment, surveillance and firing. “In addition, there’s an IQ test, written assignment, night PT and psychological assessment. Every five to 10 minutes, the physical and mental stress levels are changed and alternated. The instructors too keep changing every six hours,” the official said. Soldiers are tested for their patience levels and also their ability to perform under heightened stress conditions. All these training patters are done with a stand-by medical team and ambulance kept ready 24 x7.
The soldiers are also made to swim with hands and legs tied and even put into mud and water again and again. “The experienced divers keep a close watch on these exercises. There’s a surprise element in every aspects of the training during the Hell Week. You will never know what the next mission is and when it would get over. The probation ends with this seven-day unforgettable session,” the official said.
Post Hell Week, a solider gets to know about the limits of stress his mind and body can withstand. “A rare sense of belief sets that there’s nothing impossible for a man. It also helps to know each and every part of the body better. The confidence will reach unbelievable levels. In SF, we look for the right man for the right job,” says the official. The concept of Hell Week is extremely popular among the Navy SEAL selection and training in the United States.
There are many who give up the dream of becoming a SF operative during the Hell’s Week. And, there are many others, who complete the final seven-day module and yet not get selected. “Our motto is Balidan, means Sacrifice. Our motto says it all,” says the official.
(Concluding part, tomorrow)
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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