In the heart of North Carolina, every few months, a transformation occurs across its counties. It becomes the crucible for those on the path to becoming Green Berets, an ordeal known as Robin Sage. Named after Col. Jerry Michael Sage, an OSS operative, this rigorous four-week exercise serves as the ultimate litmus test for candidates, determining their readiness to don the prestigious Green Beret.
Robin Sage is no ordinary exercise; it’s a comprehensive evaluation that challenges candidates across a spectrum of skills. From mastering the intricacies of medical care to executing complex combat operations, candidates are subjected to a battery of assessments, ensuring they emerge as well-rounded Green Berets. Before embarking on the Robin Sage journey, candidates must successfully navigate the Special Forces Assessment and Selection, a grueling 21-day trial. Following this, they enter the six-month Special Forces Qualification Course, divided into four phases.
The Green Berets of the U.S. Army specialize in training foreign forces, counterterrorism operations, reconnaissance, and high-risk direct-action missions. Armed with a unique skill set, they play a vital role in some of the world’s most demanding and sensitive operations.
Robin Sage unfolds in the sprawling 50,000-square-mile landscape of Pineland, a fictional country nestled deep within North Carolina’s dense woods. Here, candidates face a proxy warfare scenario, collaborating with a guerrilla force – often led by retired Green Berets – with the mission of overthrowing an illegitimate government.
This profound exercise, formerly known as Devil’s Arrow, Swift Strike, and Guerrilla USA before 1974, takes place across 15 rural North Carolina counties. It’s where soldiers put every skill acquired during the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) to the test in an unconventional warfare training scenario.
Robin Sage is divided into two distinct phases, both offering unique challenges. During the initial phase, students encounter their first Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA). Guided by seasoned mentors, the SFODA navigates mission receipt, planning, and infiltration. The first week focuses on survival skills in an unconventional warfare environment, employing small group instruction. The ensuing three weeks push students to apply their newfound knowledge in the intense setting of Robin Sage. This exercise immerses them in a conflict-ridden landscape, nurturing individual and collective problem-solving abilities.
Authenticity is a hallmark of Robin Sage, with the inclusion of guerrilla forces in the training. SFODAs assess the combat readiness of these guerrilla units, providing training in crucial individual and collective tasks spanning various Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs). The curriculum covers fundamental small-unit tactics while emphasizing adaptability in the face of asymmetrical challenges. Language skills, pivotal throughout the pipeline, are also put to the test during Robin Sage, where SFODAs must demonstrate their grasp of Unconventional Warfare (UW) doctrine and operational techniques.
Upon completing the isolation phase, the detachment presents its mission execution plan to battalion command and staff. This blueprint outlines the commander’s intended approach to the mission. The subsequent day sees students executing an airborne infiltration into the fictitious nation of “Pineland,” commencing the Robin Sage scenario. SFODAs embark on their mission of training, advising, and assisting the guerrilla forces. The instruction encompasses various specialties, including weaponry, communications, medical skills, and demolitions, empowering the guerrillas to embark on the liberation of their homeland from oppression. Robin Sage marks the final chapter in the Special Forces Qualification Course before soldiers proudly don their esteemed “Green Berets.”
Robin Sage involves a dynamic ensemble, comprising around 100 Special Forces students, 100 counter-insurgent personnel (OPFOR), 200 guerrilla personnel, 40 auxiliary personnel, and 50 dedicated cadre members. Local North Carolina communities contribute significantly by participating as citizens of Pineland, contributing to the exercise’s realism. Many OPFOR and guerrilla participants are North Carolina residents who receive compensation for their roles. The position of the guerrilla chief, often known as the “G-chief,” may be assumed by a retired Green Beret. During summer Robin Sage exercises, Army ROTC cadets from institutions like The Citadel and the United States Military Academy actively engage as guerrilla fighters, adding authenticity and depth to the exercise.
Robin Sage is the culmination of an unrelenting training journey, shaping ordinary soldiers into extraordinary Green Berets. As these candidates venture into the realm of Pineland, they embrace the legacy of Col. Jerry Michael Sage and stand ready to face the future as elite warriors. 🇺🇸 #GreenBerets #RobinSage #SpecialForces
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