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Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,520 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
IN combating terror, America can no longer depend on its conventional military superiority and the use of sophisticated technology. We are fighting guerrilla wars, against insurgents hidden in remote regions, often deep among the local population. In battles such as these, squadrons of billion-dollar bombers and naval fleets mean much less than on-the-ground intelligence a ...more
ebook, 280 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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John Brown
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couch, a former Navy SEAL and CIA case officer, is the only writer ever given the privilege to attend the many months of Special Forces pre-selection, preparation, selection, and qualification training from start to finish. He was given “full access to all training, venues, students, and training cadres.” Couch did not merely interview. He and his wife moved to one of the few residential structures on base at Camp Mackall in North Carolina. Couch went out with the SF candidates to observe first ...more
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty interesting as it described the training that Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets) go through. The fact that it was written by a Navy SEAL added to it because even he was surprised at the amount of training they receive in such a short amount of time. Aside from all the walking with 100+ pounds of gear, the amount of material they learn in extremely compressed schedules is astounding.

What *really* bothered me about this book was the quotes from the candidates in the progr
Travis Starnes
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes that sub-genre and makes it even more focused, and is all the better because of that. Dick Couch’s choice, with the exception of the first chapter, of focusing solely on the training of Green Berets rather than on the whole history of the outfit as a whole really lets him go into details that broader texts miss.

As a former SEAL Couch defiantly knows about Special Forces and is able to translate that into really detailed and clear explanation of what these men go through. He gives
Steven Elwood
Special forces

I found this to be very educational however I would to have liked to read more about the physical feats or special forces have to go through in training. I know some things just can't be written about but it was a very summarized book about the training. I would have to give this a marginal rating because I prefer books written with first hand accounts like lone survivor or american sniper. there was more detail on the torture endured during training.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military-history
I've read a fair amount of books on special forces now, and this one was unique. First, it focused on the Green Berets, or Army Special Forces, whom you seem to hear less about these days than Seals or Army Rangers, for some reason. Second, this book took a deep dive into the training methods of the Green Berets, far more than other books I have read. It's amazing the depth of training--physical, technical, tactical, linguistic, cultural, etc.--that these folks go through. Lastly, I was very imp ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a Twitter recommendation, and I am so glad I took it! I am very unfamiliar with military and special forces, and that just made it even more fascinating. It started out a bit slow, with background on special forces in general. It was mildly interesting, but things really got fired up when the author started in on the actual premise of the book - following special forces trainees through their training.

The reading was phenomenal, and thoroughly enjoyed. It's nonfiction, but read a like f
Wes F
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A detailed look into the training of a Green Beret in the Special Forces.
There is a lot of interesting information about the training of special forces soldiers in "Chosen Soldier". Most of it is rather technical and dry, but if you are doing any research on the subject, the book will undoubtedly be helpful.

The problem with the book is more that Couch apparently can't decide if he wants to focus on the technical part of the training or on the people who go through that training in order to become special forces soldiers. Sometimes his descriptions of the training see
Kevin Goldsmith
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a hands-down enthralling read. Everybody and their dog knows of Navy SEALs and, if they're fairly attuned, has heard of BUD/S. Comparing special operator groups (Green Berets, SEALs, Rangers, Special Tactics Teams)by training time is a horrible yardstick to measure capability and lethality. This book focuses on the U.S. Army's Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets. They are an elite bunch who specialize in counterinsurgency and can thrive autonomously from base for an extended a ...more
C 4Ashen
Chosen Soldier
Chosen Soldier is about the life, dedication and lineage of an American Special Forces officer. Special force officers must go through many vigorous years of training before getting the honor of being an American Special Forces officer. “Army Special Forces soldier is a unique warrior, and the requirements of this special individual are like no other military professional”, it takes many years and countless hours of hard work to create this special warrior (Dick Couch). After the
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, war
A really interesting look into the making of special force soldiers. The author, Dick Couch, is a former SEAL himself, so he knows what it takes to make our toughest military members. He was, I think, given unprecedented access to Green Beret recruit training, and Couch offers a fine first-person, memoir-like description of all he saw as the recruits arrived at Fort Bragg, NC for what was a grueling training process. After reading Couch’s book, I’m convinced of a few things: 1) that US Army Spec ...more
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, United States Army Special Forces (SF) became our nation’s premier weapon of choice across the globe in the War on Terror. Army Special Forces, as during the 1960’s, captured the imagination of the public, as muscular, bearded, heavily armed men, occasionally on horseback, were seen in the wilds of Afghanistan and Iraq pursuing their enemies. Many recent books have been written and published detailing the heroic service of the “Green Berets,” a term not usual ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Captain Couch (USNR retired) brings exceptional attention to detail, a passion for interacting with the current generation of special operations personnel, and his own perspective as a retired US Navy SEAL officer & CIA case officer to his observations of Special Forces training. He thanks the chain of command for the exceptional access that he was granted, and draws the reader into the story by going beyond the details of the training evolutions & military hardware into the personal liv ...more
4Campbell J
In this book, Dick Couch, a former Navy Seal gives an in depth description and story of what it takes to become a Navy Seal. Less than 25% of people will make it past PT (Physical Training). From there the numbers go down until they have the ones who can withstand the hardships and challenges you have to go through. There are plenty of different kinds of stories Couch tells as these are true stories from when he was a Navy Seal. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good adventure. It walk ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an in depth look at the training of a Special Forces Soldier, a Green Beret. The author gave a good representation of what it takes, both physically and mentally, to get through. The extent of the training is impressive and the hints at how the Special Forces are used in the real world today is very interesting. The tone of the book is straight forward observations on the part of the author, there is no Tom Clancy type of embellishment which, I think, is how it should be. There is enoug ...more
Brad Vance
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of my research for my "Sam's Reluctant Submission" series. A really fascinating look at what it takes to be a Special Forces soldier. There are no "Rambo/Lone Wolf" types here; gung-ho, go-it-alone types are considered a threat to the rest of the team. It's a great risk for these guys to even "try out" for SF; commanders of their current units sometimes hold it against them when they wash out (as most do) and return to their old posts. The physical requirements are grueling, ...more
Paul Muller
This book started out very well. I enjoyed learning about the process of creating a Green Beret. As some others have stated, the dialogue did seem a little too polished and unnatural, which was distracting. The second part of the book seemed to be bogged down with details that detracted from the overall impact of the book. It could be that I am going through the Army Staff College right now and the last thing I wanted to do was read about the military decision making process, but I felt that the ...more
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure what other people expected, but I liked it.

I enjoyed how the author mixed the technical and the personal. You could tell he had respect for and felt brotherhood with these men.

It had some of the best quotes! "He has a mother?" was my favorite. I also realized early on that I was going to have to take notes because he gave me so many things I wanted to know more about.

SEALS & Rangers seem to get most of the media attention but Green berets are pretty bad ass. Their lifetime commit
three stars if your into military SF reading. Two stars if your not. This book is extremely....almost too technical. Of course inside knowledge is what we are looking for, but unless your in the military now or are a hard core military enthusiast a lot of what your reading will go over your head.

The glossary is useless. It contains 50% of the appropriate definitions and spelled out acronyms. The publisher dropped the ball here.

I highly recommend American Sniper. That book has the right balance
David Cano
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several of my brothers were special forces. Over the years I've really come to appreciate, respect, and follow the advise they've given me over the years regarding how to analyze scenarios and make good strategic decisions, how to win the hearts and minds of people, and how to build and grow teams and organizations. After reading this book, I understood why these men are so extraordinary. And why they will save our country should society ever collapse.
Andrew P
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The author is an excellent story teller and does a fantastic job of showing the sacrifice and courage it takes for a solider to become a Green Beret. This book will make you feel better about the war on terror knowing the kind of men that are on the front lines defending our country.

Hell, this book made me want to join the Army and become a Green Beret. If only I wasn't old, bald and fat!
Robert Smith
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc
This is a great book about what it takes to become one of the best of the best in the United States Army. Arguably the Green Berets are the best special forces group in the world because it not only does direct action but also foreign internal defense operations that focus on teaching the locals to do what they do. It is a very interesting read for people who are curious about the military or are thinking about becoming a special forces soldier.
Michael York
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute must read for those interested in what it takes to earn the coveted Green Beret. Mr. Couch (an outstanding military writer, in my opinion) brilliantly details the struggles the men face as the 18 X-Rays (Special Forces Candidates) meander their way through the difficult Pre-Selection course and ultimately the daunting Q-course.

Again, a must read for those interested in Special Operations.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
I enjoyed this book very much. In fact, it turns out I enjoy most books written in a journalistic style. The caliber of training given, and the culling process to be inducted into the army special forces is an amazingly difficult and demanding training.

That being said, did anyone else find the chapter on Phse IV officer training to be kinda tedious?
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read and I learned quite a bit. I simply wish Couch had given us an in-depth look of all the different types of personalities that made up the soldiers who received their Green Berets, their motivations, their thoughts, what they all seemed to have in common (ex: highly motivated individuals, thrill-seekers, adrenaline junkies), etc.
John Lago
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with interest in military reading
This was a very well written and easy to follow account of what it takes for a U.S. Army soldier to become a Green Beret, or Special Forces soldier. Dick Couch takes you step-by-step through the application and selection processes, and all of the phases of the lengthy and arduous training of America's most elite fighting force. One of my favorite books this year!

Justin Harrison
Another great work by Couch! I'll be honest, this "type" of special operations training does not tug at me the way his other works have, but I believe that is not due in any way to Couch's writing. Highly recommend this book, and any other of Couch's fact-based works targeting the training of our special operations warrior class.
An interesting view into the training of a Special Forces soldier. I knew very little about the process, so this was neat to read. Got to congratulate the guys who make it through the grueling training. I also like how he followed up with some of the guys from the class he shadowed at the end, it was nice to see what they ended up doing.
Jun 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great education on how Green Berets are chosen and trained and what their peace-keeping missions look like once they are in place, although the book dragged and was a little difficult to get through.
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A retired US Navy SEAL follows a class of US Army Special Forces soldiers over the span of their training and eventual deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Great read if you're interested in SPEC OPS
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Mr. Couch graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1967. He graduated from BUD/S training in Class 45 in 1969. He was a case officer for the CIA.
More about Dick Couch...

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“Muzzle control has to be a religion. You cannot point that weapon at one of your brothers-or yourself. Know where you barrel is at all times, and know the condition of your weapon-loaded or unloaded, bolt forward or to the rear, round in the chamber or not, safety on or off. Keep your finger off the trigger unless you're going to kill something.” 5 likes
“We are an impatient culture and an impatient electorate.” 3 likes
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