By Alun ThomasSeptember 15, 2017
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Recruiting Battalion hosted Special Operations Command leadership on a tour of Phoenix area high schools, Sept. 11-13, in an attempt to educate students on the opportunities available in Special Forces and the U.S. Army
The tour was led by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Patrick Schorn, executive officer, C Company, 6th Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group and 1st Sgt. David Rose, first sergeant, C Co. 6th Bn, 1st SWTG, who spoke to over 2000 students at six high schools over their three day visit from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The final stop of their trip was at Apollo High School, Glendale, Ariz., Sept. 13, where the pair were joined by Lt. Col David Clukey, commander, Phoenix Rec. Bn. and Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, who moderated the on-stage discussion.
Schorn said serving in Special Forces means paying attention to detail and performing under immense pressure, with failure inevitable in the training process.
"When you train, you train for success, you want to win. In Special Forces everything we train, we train to fail," Schorn said. "We want to hit a point where our guys are on their backsides and they've failed. Why? Because they have to pick themselves up."
"If you've never failed at anything in life and have to pick yourself up off the ground, how are you going to succeed in life when you get knocked down?" he continued. "I don't want guys in my detachment to fail for the first time when things are going really sideways. I want them to fail at training."
Schorn said the only thing stopping people from achieving their goals is themselves.
"There's only one thing stopping you from reaching your goals in life, whether it's losing weight, going to Special Forces training … the only one that can tell you no is you," he said. "You can go through any obstacle -above it, under it, or around it -- but you're the only one who can stop you from getting there."
"And if you let someone tell you no, you're just letting them defeat you," Schorn said. "If you remember anything from today, let it be that."
During his portion of the brief, Rose talked about the value Special Operations Forces (SOF) places into the training of its Soldiers.
"Equipment can be replaced … but that Soldier is our prized possession," Rose said. "The training and the time we've invested to get those people to a certain level is more important to us than a piece of equipment."
Rose said the Army was considered a job when he first joined in 1994, whereas now it's a viable career path.
"Once you finish your time in the military, it translates over into the civilian world," he said. "Dental hygienist, surgeon, cyber operations specialist … all jobs that give you a certification and the experience to get out into and continue on with what you want to do."
"I walk into my job every day and love what I do. That's what we look for in SOF," Rose added. "You want to be passionate about your job, love coming to work and want to be there, all while gaining education and experience. The end goal is being at the top of the food chain at that job."
Education plays an important part in gaining this experience, Rose said, with the Army helping pay for his schooling.
"I'm three classes short of my bachelor's degree. With both my associates and bachelor's degree I've spent a total of 126 dollars," Rose said. "I haven't used my (Montgomery) GI Bill at all, I transferred that to my son. That way he has the ability to go to college when he reaches that age."
Schorn also talked about the importance of education in the Army and how serving has personally benefited him and his families schooling.
"I can speak from personal experience, because right now I'm paying for my wife's PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) out of my GI Bill," Schorn said. "I no longer need it because the Army has paid for my schooling for free, including my bachelor's degree. After that I'll attend college for my master's degree for free. I'll have two degrees that haven't cost me anything."
Clukey, a Special Forces trained officer, said with the rising costs of education, it's becoming harder for people to gain a college degree.
"Only 25 percent of people complete their four-year degree starting off -- that's it. Everybody else drops out," Clukey said. "It could be for any number of reasons, but now you have no college degree, you're in debt and have to find a job."
"If you decide to join the Army or any of the other services, you're guaranteed a free four-year education," he said. "That's a 100,000 dollar education just by signing an oath."
Clukey also challenged the stereotype of serving in the Army as running around shooting a weapon, citing the 150 career fields available to Future Soldiers as the opposition to this.
"Employers are looking for experience. You're not going to get it by working at Starbucks if you want to be an X-ray technician," he stated. "If you meet the qualifications to get in, you're not going to be shipped off to the front lines, which is what a lot of people think."
"If you go Special Forces you will be -- but we volunteered for it. That's something we made a conscious decision to do and it's not just something we jumped into," Clukey explained.
Clukey said this was a decision he wouldn't change for anything.
"I wouldn't trade a day in Special Forces Group, or my experiences in Special Forces for absolutely anything," Clukey said. "There's no other career field where you get to work with foreign heads of state, presidents of foreign countries and their militaries."
Clukey concluded his message to the students by continuing to break the contemporary paradigms surrounding the Army.
"If you walk away today knowing one thing, I want it to be this; not every job in the military involves shooting people -- you need to understand that," he said. "I would say 90 percent of the jobs in the Army are combat support, which translate directly to civilian education."
"It's much more dangerous driving on the highway here in Arizona, than to be deployed forward," Clukey said. "You're much safer on any foreign Army installation overseas than you are out there."