(Stars and Stripes)

On last week’s episode of Military Matters, retired Army Special Forces Lt. Col. Dr. David Walton, national security professor at the National Defense University, explained to co-host Jack Murphy how to “Ruck Up or Shut Up” when it comes to Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection.

Murphy and co-host Rod Rodriguez discuss their own experiences at SFAS on this Fast Take episode. Comparing their experiences years ago with Walton’s research, they come to the conclusion that “as much as things change, they stay the same,” as Murphy put it.

“I had like an open wound on my back most of the time through SFAS because that metal external rucksack frame was just cutting into my back … and got worse and worse every day,” he said. “My feet were bleeding, and, you know, my feet increased in size. One of my knees looked like the size of a grapefruit by the time I finished. And I think what really gets lost is that people don't understand that it's an endurance event over three weeks, 3½ weeks, something like that.”

Rodriguez and Murphy both visited the SOF Week convention, which took place May 8-11 in Tampa, Fla. For Rodriguez, the big takeaway was seeing how warfighting technology has advanced as missions have changed over the years.

“You can start getting a feel for what industry thinks SOF is going to need in the next couple of years by what they're showing a lot of,” Rodriguez said. “And in the past I noticed it was really cool guns and optics, dune buggies, and it was very Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan focused. This turn, this SOF Week seemed to be very focused on submersibles, technology that's underwater. … And the other thing that I thought was really interesting is the use of AI. A lot of companies are promoting their leverage of AI into what their company's doing.”

You can find Military Matters on Twitter @stripesmmpod.

Follow Jack Murphy on Twitter @jackmurphyrgr and Rod Rodriguez @rodpodrod.

A transcript of the episode can be found here.

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Brian McElhiney is a digital editor, podcast editor and occasional reporter for Stars and Stripes. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa, Japan.

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