Special Operations Myths, Inspired by Predator

  1. SF guys are muscle bound – In Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and Carl Weathers are huge! This is simply not the case within most Special Forces units. It’s not practical. With the specific requirements of the job plus the constant deployments and travelling, I don’t recall any soldier who was overly muscular. Bodyweight strength, speed, explosive strength and endurance were the main physical requirements needed to do the job well.
  2. Patrolling shirtless– A cool look in Predator was, after the assault on the jungle camp, when half the team began the exfiltration without shirts on and only wearing their vests. Although it looks cool, I never saw this occur. In the movie, with the thick vegetation and insects, patrolling shirtless would be stupid and reckless. Plus, you’d look like a tool.
  3. Massive knives– Most of the characters in Predator seemed to carry huge hunting knives. Now obviously in the jungle you would need machetes to try and cut through the jungle, but having massive hunting knives serves no purpose except to look cool and take up space on your kit. The only knives we ever carried were small precision implements.
  4. Engaging the enemy while standing – This is a great scene in Predator. The entire team stands together in unison and unleashes a whole lot of hell on an unseen enemy! While this looks cool, it usually doesn’t happen. You’re not taught this and natural instinct and training will throw you to the ground to fire your weapon from the prone position. Now, I say it usually doesn’t happen because I actually did this once. We were patrolling one afternoon in Afghanistan on a very hot day and were contacted by the enemy. I was quite fatigued by this point as I was carrying the 7.62mm Minimi machine gun. When the contact was initiated, I didn’t fling myself to the ground, I didn’t even take a knee. I simply turned towards the threat and began firing my weapon. It was a great way to unload some extra weight and look cool in the process. :P
  5. The ability to construct elaborate traps– The Green Beret team in Predator certainly had a lot of skills, one of which was the ability to construct a brilliant trap for the Predator using only the jungle and some smarts. I’d be hard struck trying to build a trap for a small rodent let alone an alien killing machine. We weren’t taught these skills, although I’m wondering why the hell not?
  6. The ability to construct high-powered bush weapons– Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) was awesome. He was a brilliant leader, had huge muscles, smoked cigars and could craft a deadly weapon out of easily acquired jungle materials. Although I can build a pretty accurate slingshot, I’m not sure it would have the power, cyclic rate of fire or effective range to bring down anything bigger then a wasp.