Seeking SEALs as an Officer
(The Training Prep and Process)
After you have submitted the extensive recruitment package (usually by February each year) through your Navy Officer Recruiter (Medical records / exams, PST, Letters of Recommendation / Essay, college transcripts etc) you will either be invited or not invited to attend SEAL Officer Assessment and Selection (SOAS) training during the following summer months.
All Roads Lead Through SOAS
All roads to BUD/S as an officer route you through college and SOAS. Whether you are enlisted in the Fleet (with college degree), lateral transferring from another Officer job in the Navy, an Inter-Service officer transfer, a student at a Service Academy (USNA, USMA, USAFA, USMMA), ROTC program, or through Officer Candidate School (OCS) - you must attend SOAS in order to get accepted to attend BUDS. In fact, all groups from the above will get grouped together at SOAS and your performance will determine you being invited back to attend BUD/S in full as an officer. You will be attending SOAS in between your junior / senior years if an Academy or ROTC student.
*NOTE - the only people who do not have to attend SOAS or BUD/S again are the enlisted SEALs who are applying for officer ranking. However individuals who cannot make the dates due to deployments can be waived from attending but still are required to interview / PST with instructor staff.
After Crushing the PST -
What Should I Do Next (Prior to SOAS Invite)?
Many people ask once they have submitted their package, what should they start doing. My recommendation is to start preparing for BUD/S. Many of the events at SOAS are BUDS specific. Depending on your path to SOAS, it will likely be 3-4 months before you attend SOAS. Then it will likely be another year or later before you attend BUDS after SOAS. So, you have time to train either before you start OCS or finish your Academy / ROTC training and graduate from those schools. Here are my recommendations:
Consider Long Term Training Programming - You have time so do not waste it. You have two needs to focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths with the elements of fitness (strength / power, speed / agility, endurance (run, ruck, swim) / muscle stamina, flexibility / mobility, and grip). However, also focusing on specific spec ops selection events that you know are coming is something you must do as well. Events like 4 mile timed runs, 2 mile swims with fins, high rep PT, more running / rucking, load bearing (logs / boats / fireman carries, etc will need to be addressed.
Crush PST Plus Specific Training / Testing Events of Selection
Improve Weaknesses - Maintain Strengths
Work to Improve PST Scores - Submitting above average PST scores is a requirement. Taking the time you have prior to SOAS to improve upon those is just good sense. Always show improvement. The last thing you want to do is score worse or even fail the PST. Your SOAS training will end before it even starts if you fail to meet the PST standards on day 1. (See official SEAL website SOAS)
Add in SOAS Specific Training / Tests - You will be running farther (4 miles timed in boots - just like BUDS), swimming with fins (1 mile in open water), treading water, rucking in soft sand, crawling, fireman carrying, and under logs and boats. If you want to do well at SOAS, you need to be able to crush this events and not be crushed by many of the load bearing activities. This may require some strength training added to your endurance and muscle stamina (high reps) training. (Boots issued are Nike Combat Gen 2)
Much More Than Physical - BUT It is Very Physical - It is true that the instructor staff is looking for more than just physical, but it will still be very physically challenging. Many people quit the first week or fail to meet the standards due to the physical difficulty so bring your A-Game to all of the events. At some point you will realize it is time to get tougher because there is just only so much strength and speed you can perform during the long days and nights of these events. Here are many of the intangibles instructors are looking to see if you exhibit:
- Your ability to lead and be an integral part of a team
- Your ability to communicate effectively during physical events as well as oral presentations / interview skills
- Your ability to own up to mistakes and be truthful when questioned about your performance. (Yes people get kicked out for getting caught in lies and misrepresenting the truth).
- Knowledge of the SEAL Teams - As with any interview, you should do your homework and research the potential career you seek thoroughly.
- Commitment and Intensity should be evident during every event at SOAS. Can you find the fuel when the tank is empty? Never Quit.
Academics, Leadership, Community Service in College / Community / Career - Your academic and work history also matters. Solid academic performance matters though some understanding of grades of difficult academic studies is given.
If you have time to train, consider the Seasonal Tactical Fitness Periodization programs that specifically address all of the elements of fitness and events of special ops training programs:
Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, Podcaster: I'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, eBooks, local and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession. See More at StewSmithFitness.com
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