In the​ 1990 movie entitled Navy Seals,​ the​ actor Charlie Sheen played the​ role of​ Lieutenant Dale Hawkins,​ a​ young and aggressive Navy special forces operator assigned to​ a​ team of​ highly-trained commandos that were given a​ mission to​ track down and “grab” a​ known terrorist. During their mission to​ neutralize the​ terrorist,​ Hawkins was assigned to​ guard a​ door below the​ room where their target was fast asleep. Itching to​ get into action,​ Hawkins left his post and accidentally encountered one of​ the​ terrorist leader's guards. His unauthorized action prompted a​ heavy firefight between his Navy Seal team and the​ armed bodyguards of​ the​ terrorist leader. When the​ smoke cleared,​ one of​ his team mates lay dead in​ a​ pool of​ blood. the​ post-mission evaluation clearly pointed out that Hawkins made a​ mistake that cost the​ life of​ one Navy commando. What was supposed to​ be a​ silent,​ uneventful special operation turned into a​ running gunbattle that was not part of​ the​ original mission plan. After that incident,​ the​ movie portrayed the​ character of​ Lieutenant Hawkins as​ a​ man plagued by guilt about the​ loss of​ his team mate. Stress and anxiety slowly eroded the​ confidence of​ Hawkins,​ making him temporarily unable to​ function as​ a​ professional soldier. Paralyzed by his own guilt,​ his inability to​ focus only further jeopardized the​ lives of​ his team mates,​ not to​ mention his own.

Beyond the​ reels,​ stress and anxiety do affect soldier in​ the​ real world. Even the​ most battle-experienced special forces operators will admit that every single mission has filled them with fear and anxiety. it​ is​ said that even soldier are afraid of​ war because they are the​ first ones to​ suffer because of​ it.

For that reason,​ the​ training of​ elite special operations units like the​ U.S. Navy Seals involves a​ lot of​ physical as​ well as​ psychological components. if​ Navy Seals ever hope to​ survive and win in​ actual combat,​ their training must be so hard and intense that managing stress and anxiety becomes as​ much a​ skill as​ handling an​ M4A1 Special Operations Peculiar Modification (SOPMOD) carbine.

While the​ training provided for regular infantry is​ still considered hard,​ anxiety panic attacks have been recorded among soldier who underwent the​ standard Army boot camp that is​ conducted with relatively less psychological training components. as​ for the​ Navy Seals,​ the​ qualifying physical examinations alone would be enough to​ drag down and demoralize even a​ fairly strong man. the​ physical screening tests involve a​ 500-yard swim in​ under 12 minutes; 42 push-ups in​ under two minutes; 50 sit-ups in​ under two minutes; six pull-ups; and a​ 1.5-mile run in​ combat boots ---- just for starters. After passing the​ initial physical fitness tests,​ the​ recruit must undergo the​ 25-week Basic Underwater Demolition Training that includes learning advance scuba diving techniques,​ underwater explosives and ordnance training,​ combat swimming. Navy Seal recruits will also have to​ undergo additional land warfare training,​ navigation,​ weapons familiarization,​ individual and unit combat maneuvers,​ combat skydiving,​ and a​ long list of​ other training courses designed to​ make them lean,​ mean “killing machines.”

Stress management is​ also a​ very important component of​ Navy Seal training. Every Seal who was awardent his Trident already knows four of​ the​ most dreadful letters in​ the​ U.S. Navy. Those letters are S-E-R-E,​ which stands for Survival,​ Evasion,​ Resistance,​ and Escape training. the​ infamous SERE training involves the​ deployment of​ recruits to​ an​ island to​ accomplish a​ mission. to​ make their training mission more realistic,​ other veteran Seals and special forces operators are unleashed to​ hunt them down. if​ they are caught,​ the​ recruits are subjected to​ physical and mental torture. These activities are done to​ simulate as​ closely as​ possible the​ anxieties,​ dangers,​ and hardships of​ real war. at​ SERE training,​ the​ recruits are taught how to​ maintain emotional and psychological control in​ middle of​ interrogation and physical testing.

Aside from the​ rigorouse selection and training process,​ the​ Naval Special Warfare community is​ still pursuing research and developing new training on​ stress management. This time,​ the​ focus is​ on​ Seal veterans and other operators who have actually been deployed on​ missions. Like the​ character portrayed by Charlie Sheen,​ there are still hardened warriors who can efficiently neutralize an​ enemy without blinking an​ eye. However,​ the​ experience of​ losing a​ colleague in​ the​ heat of​ battle is​ something that remains a​ very emotional and disturbing experience for any Navy Seal or​ professional soldier.


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