6/12/2024  SFBusinessNetwork.com

On This Day in US Army Special Forces History: June 12, 1988 - The Inception of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) Course

On June 12, 1988, a significant milestone was achieved in the history of the United States Army Special Forces with the inauguration of the first Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This momentous event marked the beginning of a rigorous process designed to identify and evaluate potential Special Forces (SF) candidates.

The Birth of SFAS

The SFAS course was introduced to address the need for a systematic and comprehensive method to assess the suitability of soldiers aspiring to join the elite ranks of the Army Special Forces. Prior to SFAS, the selection process lacked the structured approach necessary to ensure that only the most capable and resilient candidates proceeded to the next phase of training. The establishment of SFAS provided a standardized framework to evaluate candidates' physical and psychological endurance, leadership potential, and overall aptitude for the demanding role of a Special Forces soldier.

Structure of the Initial SFAS Course

The inaugural SFAS course spanned three weeks and was meticulously designed to challenge candidates in various dimensions. The course encompassed a series of grueling tests and exercises aimed at pushing candidates to their limits. These included:

  • Physical Fitness Tests: Candidates were subjected to a series of physically demanding tasks, including long-distance runs, obstacle courses, and ruck marches with heavy loads. These tests were designed to evaluate their physical stamina and resilience.

  • Psychological Assessments: Psychological evaluations and stress tests were conducted to gauge candidates' mental fortitude, adaptability, and ability to perform under pressure. These assessments were crucial in identifying individuals with the mental toughness required for Special Forces operations.

  • Team Exercises: Candidates participated in team-building exercises and problem-solving tasks that tested their leadership skills, decision-making abilities, and capacity to work effectively within a team. These exercises were essential in determining their suitability for the collaborative nature of Special Forces missions.

  • Field Exercises: Realistic field scenarios and survival exercises were incorporated to simulate the conditions candidates would face in actual Special Forces operations. These exercises tested their ability to apply their skills in real-world situations.

The Legacy of SFAS

The introduction of SFAS marked a paradigm shift in the selection process for Army Special Forces. By implementing a standardized and rigorous assessment program, the Army ensured that only the most qualified and capable candidates advanced to the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). The SFAS course quickly became the cornerstone of Special Forces training, setting the standard for excellence and resilience.

To this day, SFAS remains the first stop for all aspiring Special Forces soldiers. It continues to be a critical component of their preparation and training, maintaining its reputation as one of the most challenging and demanding selection processes in the military. The principles and methodologies established during the inaugural SFAS course in 1988 have endured, ensuring that the Special Forces community is comprised of individuals who exemplify the highest standards of physical and mental toughness.

The establishment of the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course on June 12, 1988, was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States Army Special Forces. It introduced a rigorous and comprehensive selection process that has stood the test of time, ensuring that only the most capable and resilient candidates join the ranks of the elite Green Berets. As we commemorate this significant date, we honor the enduring legacy of SFAS and the unwavering dedication of those who aspire to serve in the Army Special Forces.