This weekend, I attended the SFAB (Security Force Assistance Brigade) assessment and selection process. It was difficult, grueling, and I’d been working toward completing this physically for a month. Some of the activities included performing an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) wearing the Army Combat Uniform (ACU’s). This is difficult because normally, these are done wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt. We had to do it in the Texas heat wearing long sleeves and long pants. Afterward, we had to do a strength and teamwork exercise wearing our rucks (mine weighed in at 47 lbs without the water hydration bladder attached which, once attached, added another 3-5 lbs). Once we completed it, we went to the Air Assault obstacle course where I got beat up physically by the obstacles while I went through them.
Once we completed the obstacle course, we had another strength/endurance/teamwork exercise before finishing up for the day.
The following morning we did our 6 mile ruck march with the same rucks as the day before: mine was around 51 lbs with the water. I was holding a good pace until mile 4 when I started getting some cramping in my thighs and calves, but I kept at it and finished. I was just a hair outside of what the goal was, but I wasn’t the last guy in, I never stopped, and I never quit.
I attended a board where I answered questions, took some written tests, and at the end of it all, I was invited to join the SFAB, which I accepted. This is only the beginning, as I will need to continue to work hard at improving my strength and endurance. I now have to push myself to new heights of physical readiness, and it’s not going to be easy, but I will do what it takes to get it done.
I am 52 years old and I just got through what is likely the most grueling and difficult physical test a person my age can do, and I got through it. It was hard, and sure, at times I considered throwing in the towel and saying that I’m too old for this, but I decided against it for a few reasons.
First, I’m not too old for this. My body is aging, and yes, its losing some of its resilience and strength, but I can compensate for that with willpower and attitude.
Second, I was asked to be a member of the SFAB primarily for my technical expertise and maturity. They want me there to help lead the younger guys into situations they may not be comfortable in when we work with allied nations. I have a lot of experience with this.
I am honored to be a member of the SFAB. I am in the only National Guard SFAB, and the only battery of field artillery within the SFAB. It’s a very elite club, and I will do what it takes to stay here and be a useful member of the team.