Joining the Special Forces. Why?

While watching ‘SAS: Are you tough enough’ (AYTE) (A TV show about the SAS (Special Air Service) training/selection process in which some people who’ve never had military experience, and think they are ‘tough enough’ go through a series of mentally and physically challanging stages, each one worse than the last, and all pretty horible demorralizing, very tough) and knowing that

A) The real SAS training is probably at least 10 times worse, a lot more prolonged , and more dangerous (with live rounds, real beatings etc…) than the training on AYTE.

B) Members of the SAS never stop training (they cycle between Jungle, urban, anti-terrorist, etc… throughout their regimental life, when they are not on excercises they are training), and

I got to wondering - why do they do it? What is in it for them, apart from maybe a good wage and pension?

Am I missing something?
(Note: this is not UKcentric, as I’d imagine the process is similar for Special forces in most countries)

Just a stab at it…


Pride in knowing you are the best at what you do.

Pride in serving your country.

Knowing that what you do for a living makes a difference in people’s lives.
As for the people who go through the “training” for TV, I doubt that any of these would apply.

To be able to know that you are one of the toughest men on the face of the earth. Big ego boost, and its true.

Accepting a challenge.

Becoming one of “the elite.”

Getting to play with some neat stuff that goes boom!

Gettin’ some ‘payback.’

Pride is a big factor; being a member of a truly elite group.

Adventure is big too. It beats mopping floors at the barracks.

Also note that while all special forces training is tough, it is not continuously as tough as the “weed-out” phase of selection (like the SEAL’s Hell Week). Once they make it in and through the initial training, their training is much more tolerable. Granted, it would still kick most civilians’ asses, but once you are in the shape those guys are in, a 10 mile run with a 50 pound pack is nothing.

I always said I’d want to be in Special Forces if I went in the military (if it weren’t for that darn gender thing holding me back, I mean).

The reasons are those stated above, plus, I think that if I’m going to do something, I should go all out with it. I wouldn’t just want to be a soldier; I’d want to be the best soldier.

I must admit, even despite what I said in the OP - I would love to be in Special Forces too. Many years ago I was obsessed with the SAS (when I thought they just stormed buildings wearing all black and gas-masks with tinted visors)

My brother is a former Ranger and current Green Beret.

The brotherhood.

Being the best of the best (check my sig).

“What is in it for them, apart from maybe a good wage and pension?”

Are you kidding me Lobsang? Maybe in the UK, but in the US our soldiers (even the elite) are paid shit in the enlisted ranks.

And yeah, he gets to play with some pretty neat toys!

to be elite, to realize you are one of the mentally toughest & people alive who is trusted with secret, highly dangerous missions. Plus you get to go on James bond-esqe missions.

OK you’ve all convinced me. I am joining the SAS

(joking, obviously, but I would love the life)

They get to play with the best toys. My boss was a sergeant in the Rangers during Desert Storm, and he listed off once what his Hummer used to carry, just driving around town. Used to drive the mechanics at the motor pool nuts…