Old 09-27-2010, 18:15   #1
The Reaper
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SFAS Advice

Gents:

This thread is provided as a service for SFAS attendees to provide their advice (without G2ing SFAS) to those who have not attended.

If you are not an SFAS attendee, do not post here or ask questions.

We are looking for generic advice from those who were selected. Those who have attended without being selected and who think they have an experience to add may also do so, subject to review.

It is hoped that this will allow for SF students to keep the forum relevant, assist prospective attendees, and pay a little back.

If you candidates think you have something of value, please put it up and we will tune this on the fly.

Thanks and congrats!

TR
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Old 09-27-2010, 18:43   #2
Snaquebite
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Quote:
Those who have attended without being selected and who think they have an experience to add may also do so, subject to review.
I would suggest that potential posters that fall in this category contact a QP on this board to review the content of their desired post . This may keep your ruck out of the hall.
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Old 09-27-2010, 19:44   #3
Phantasos
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Advice

Gentelmen,
I'm sure I might touch on things that have been mentioned somewhere on this site-but here are some collective and hopefully helpful thoughts:
  • One of the first things that come to mind are socks. Bring as many of them as you can; I believe I brought over 10 pairs. Just like many threads here say- keeping your feet in good shape will make you or break you.

  • This goes without saying, but don't bring boots that you just purchased from the PX. You might laugh, but it happend. Bring in boots that you could be comfortable in for days.

  • For the winter classes, maintaining body heat is very important. Stay dry when possible and always be prepared to snivel/de-snivel.

  • Positive attitude is key, if you are a good judge of character- as the course progresses you will see who maintains a positive attitude and who doesn't. Don't be the guy who is always complaining.

  • Cadre put out rules, regulations, and standards for a reason. Without being too specific, not adhering to the rules shows poorly on you, even if it seems minuscule, you think no one is watching or "everyone else is doing it". Remember if you are selected you will see some of the same people you were in SFAS with in the SFQC.

  • When in charge take charge; Otherwise let the leadership do their job- but don't be afraid to provide input if needed.

  • Make sure you have a firm grasp on land navigation before you come to SFAS. Bring a good map case with good markers.

  • Do not come to SFAS in poor physical shape. Be prepared to run, ruck, and maybe ruck run if needed. You WILL be a burden to your fellow peers if you are weak, guaranteed.

  • Active stretch before each event(this was very important for winter class). And stretch after each event to prevent injury. Lots of good guys get injured. Always be cognizant of what your body is telling you.

  • Be humble.

For me, SFAS was at the time the apex of my career. Keep the mindset that the Cadre will have to take you out in a body bag before you VW, and you should should be set.

Good luck guys,
Phantasos
Class 004-10 (Jan 2010)
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Last edited by Phantasos; 09-28-2010 at 10:06.
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Old 09-27-2010, 20:39   #4
The Reaper
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Phantasos:

Good solid advice, thanks for your contribution.

If you guys do not mind, give your class number and month/year you attended so that we can figure out how current your advice is and what the season was.

Thanks and keep 'em coming.

TR
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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Old 09-28-2010, 11:51   #5
k-rub
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Buy and read Get Selected by MAJ Martin. The book contains excellent information to prepare you for SFAS.

Buy canteen straws. Attach them to your 2 qt canteens and they will save you a lot of time instead of taking them off your ruck to drink once your 1 qts run out. They can be had at Ranger Joes. Also buy a real Camelbak mouth piece. They do not leak and have an on/off valve.

Be prepared to wear a ruck everyday all day while at selection. Learn to be comfortable in the suck.

Do not be afraid or embarrassed to go to sick call. It is not looked down upon.

Kit bags are good to have. You'll be living out of your bag the whole time and having something with a side zipper will make life a little easier than digging through your duffle.

Eat everything you are given, absolutely everything. You will regret it if you don't.

Always, always, always do the right thing even if nobody is looking. If selected and if you graduate the Q, you will be entrusted with a huge amount of responsibility. If you can't be trusted to follow simple instructions, how can you be trusted to carry out missions. The COL who gave us our selection brief gave a great analogy. He said if we can't be trusted to be faithful to our spouses, who we made a commitment with to God, then how can he trust us in SF.

Always have a good attitude. People will notice, candidates and cadre alike.

Do not self asses. Let the cadre take care of that. Do your best and do not quit. Also, take it one event at a time. Don't think about tomorrow or next week. Focus on your current goal. 25m target.

There is an incredible wealth of information about everything on this site. I read it everyday prior to SFAS. Something I did was put together a collection of motivational quotes from this site posted by the QPs. I read it everyday and whenever I needed to refocus my thoughts. It helped out tremendously.

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Old 09-29-2010, 17:18   #6
version13
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This is all great advice.

In addition to what is immediately listed above, I would also submit the following:

1. Nothing is forgotten. The same people you went to selection will you will be seeing throughout the course. Whatever event you didn't put all forth or corners you cut will be remembered. Conversely, if you are a great team player, got along well with you peers, carried all your weight and some, you will be remembered by that, too. Your reputation starts there.

2. Bring a fiction book to read. If not for the entertainment value, it makes excellent trading for other useful books, i.e. Ranger Handbook, Get Selected.

3. Always pull guard, every night.

4. During individual land-nav events, always have your ruck with you, i.e. don't take it off to run to your next point.

5. Your body will be hurt at some point. It may not be hurting until the last day or two, but you will be hurting then.

6. Watch the "Green Berets" with John Wayne before attending.

7. Bring New-skin. This was more valuable than gold and an amazing treatment that is often overlooked.

8. Know how to properly pack a MOLLE ruck and how to properly set it up.

9. Tie everything down securely.

10. Try out a few map cases before you go and make sure they are 100% waterproof and can easily be accessed to annotate. On that note, be wary of markers. If you use them, do not bring alcohol based markers, permanent only.

11. Ice when you can. In fact, bring a reusable ice bag. This is a great way to prevent injuries and sooth sore muscles.

12. Hydrate, even during the Winter or Spring.

13. Laugh or at least smile sometimes. You're doing what you want to do.


v13
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Old 09-30-2010, 20:31   #7
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1. DO NOT POP BLISTERS! Use the thread trick.
Assemble a needle with thread on it. Run it through the meat of the blister at a angle as to not stab your foot. You want to have the string just inside the inner circumference. Trim off the string so you have about 1 in. to 1/2 in. hanging out. Put a CLEAN sock over and elevate. By the next day all the fun stuff inside the blister that makes them enjoyable should have drained out via the thread.

2. Put a strip of 100mph tape on the hot spots you develop. Helps to relieve some of the friction going on inside your boot. You may have conditioned your feet for long walks with weight but a rain tends to erase all that hard work.

3. As an alternate to the above mentioned kit bag. Acquire an empty MRE box and cut off the top flaps; Use it as a storage box for items you want easy access to, store it under your cot.

4. Bring a loofah and scrub the hell out of your legs when you get to shower. I saw allot of guys get staph/merca infections because they only brought a bar of soap.

5. Freezer bags.

6. If attending a winter course; put your canteen inside your sleeping bag with you. When your moving put one inside your top. Alternate every hour to keep them from freezing. Same goes for your compass.

7. Do not put the electrolyte mix you may receive in all your water sources when going out. You may end up looking like you got in a fight with a box of powdered donuts before you find a clean water point.

8. Take your DLAB and TABE before attending.
*Not sure if this is still a permitted practice or not. May need clarification.

9. Gut a strip of 550 cord and separate the black/white strand. Poke a hole "the cross hair" in the center of your protractor. Tie a knot 3x the size as the hole you made and run the string through. Once the string is through tie another 3x size knot on the running end so the protractor is wedged by the knots. Use a lighter on the "bottom side knot" of the protractor; heat it so you can press it flat up against it - DON'T MELT YOUR PROTRACTOR! Put the cross hair on your start point and run the string over your end point. No lines drawn on your map and you save time! Note: the strings width adds a potential 50m drift to your path, so use this method with plenty of close attack points.

SFAS 06-05
Selected May 2005

Last edited by BirdStuff; 10-01-2010 at 11:08.
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:35   #8
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Nice thread, I think it'll help a lot, coming from some of the younger guys...funny how a lot of the "advice" is the same as we got 20 years ago.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:17   #9
caveman
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Thanks for all the excellent advice.

I will be attending the Feb/2011 class (I believe it is 005-11) and I am curious how many pairs of boots you all brought?

Right now I've just got two broken in pairs (my Bellevilles and a pair of Rocky sv2's) and was pondering how many pairs I should have in rotation.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:24   #10
version13
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Originally Posted by caveman View Post
Thanks for all the excellent advice.

I will be attending the Feb/2011 class (I believe it is 005-11) and I am curious how many pairs of boots you all brought?

Right now I've just got two broken in pairs (my Bellevilles and a pair of Rocky sv2's) and was pondering how many pairs I should have in rotation.
The packing list calls for 2 pairs of boots and that's all I needed. Any more would really be overkill in my opinion. With that said, I would suggest the following about boots:

1. Do not get the "SOPC Special" and remove toe and heel cups and a softer sole. They exist for a reason. I saw a few candidates seriously hurt their toes kicking a log or such during land-nav or even dropping things on them. Also, the soles will come apart during rucks possibly and you may hold up your team.

2. Make sure that you boots have drain holes. You will be getting wet and the water needs to go somewhere. My Blackhawks did not have holes and made it miserable for some of the events. The first thing I did when I got back was put drainage holes in them.

3. Instead of bringing extra boots, I suggest bringing extra insoles. Changing socks, changing the insoles, and powdering the inside of the boots will make them pretty dry and like new. Greatly saves weight, too.

4. Campdry your boots with about 3 coats, but don't clog the holes.

5. Make sure at least one of your boots have a hard sole. Descending ropes will burn them up if they do not.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:33   #11
RUCK NUT
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I went last month

I just got back from SFAS last month 10-10 and got selected. Here is what I noticed....

1. Bring lots of T shirts, socks, and uniforms. I would seriously recommend a shirt for every day that you are there. I only had 7 or 8 and I was bumming b/c they never get that clean in the wash bin. I also really cherished my "free time" and running down to laundry, running back, hanging them to dry takes time.

I brought 5 uniforms, should have brought more. The dirtier they get the less they breath the more you sweat.

Sock and foot powder are key. I used thin issue socks and did not have a problem but I did a lot of foot prep before I went.

2. Foot prep, get them tough, learn to treat blisters and learn how your boots effect them, pre-cut mole skin so you can slap it on and CM. TUFF FOOT, EPSON SALT BATHS before you go. Helped me.

3. At least when I went the packing list was not scrutinized, bring the stuff on the list and bring extras, if sneaker boots fly wear them, if not have some issue boots so they don't kick you back.

4. Don't be light don't be late. They weigh your ruck with high speed digital scales 3-4 lbs over is a good so that your safe.

5. You don't need sexy muscles you need functional ones. I did a lot of upper body in prep and my arms came back noodles. Focus on leg strength, solid base of cardio and strong upper back.

6. MOST IMPORTANT don't assess yourself out. At the APFT I did by my count 64ish PU and took a break the TAC SGT looked and me and said 38! I knocked out 20 more and collapsed. I thought to myself that I was going to be 41 clubbed and got bummed out. If I had quit on myself at that moment I would have been a VW for the rest of the 19 days. I kept going and learned that I had maxed the PU during my selection counseling. The mind games start at jump! Stick to min by min event by event always doing your best.

7. TWO QUART STRAWS ARE A MUST! I got one from a cool Xray and it saved my life. They are worth the 20 bucks!

8. Land Nav-- do it before you go. Understand hand rails, back stops and attack pts. Go out at night, I did not and never found a point in the dark either day of STAR. I had to run around like a mad man all morning to get my points before index. I was really tired for the first day of team week.

9. Get around the motivated guys and stay clear of the weak ones. It is a interview and you have to stand out positively. At the same time always help out a buddy. Carry your share of the weight and don't leave any one out flapping.

10. The SOPC guys are f*cking studs. They have been working out hard for months leading up to SFAS. Don't let them burn you on the transition rucks or you will be dropped. They also all know each other from Airborne, SOPC, OSUT so don't piss them off. Its a good way to get peered low.]

11. Bring your TABE and DLAB scores with you! You will get to chill while others take the test. Also you can do the TABE at your home station as many times as you want to max it with 12.9

12. Do your research about the MOS, languages and Groups. Have a 1st 2nd and 3rd pick for each. I tried to fudge the DLAB to get spanish got a 96 and got Urdu. I had not ever heard of Urdu until then.

13. Remember that if you can stick through 19days of suck your life will forever be changed, your options will increase expediently, and you will take from the course a confidence and pride you can only get at selection. You can do it, shit I am an X-RAY TECH and I was fine
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:58   #12
The Reaper
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Guys, there are some real pearls here, thanks for your contributions.

Those who have not yet been, you should be all over these comments. You may not like all of them, but they represent snapshots of various classes and opinions from BTDTs who took the time and effort to write them up.

If non-selects would like to contribute, please drop me a PM with your comments, I will review them and will let you know to post them or not.

Appreciate the feedback.

TR
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Old 10-04-2010, 13:32   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kencarp View Post
...I tried to fudge the DLAB to get spanish got a 96 and got Urdu. I had not ever heard of Urdu until then.
Congrats on getting selected. In the future...try to keep your attempts at "fudge" to yourself. There's enough challenges out there without you artificially adding to it.
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Old 10-04-2010, 18:55   #14
RUCK NUT
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Congrats on getting selected. In the future...try to keep your attempts at "fudge" to yourself. There's enough challenges out there without you artificially adding to it.
WILCO
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Old 10-05-2010, 18:41   #15
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Last edited by The Reaper; 10-06-2010 at 07:05. Reason: This is not the place for questions. There are other fora for that. TR
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