Comparison of Asia’s special forces in new four-part special

Terry Schappert, former Green Beret with the US Special Forces, shares with Imagine TV Network about the myths surrounding Special Forces, and why he sees similarities rather than differences in the special forces training in Asia.

Imagine TV Network

Asia's Special Forces with Terry Schappert builds on two successful seasons of HISTORY's Special Forces, a television series about the training and combat capabilities of elite military units in Asia. The four-part special has Terry Schappert compare the training regime of six Special Forces in Asia to his training and experience as a former Green Beret.

Image credit: HISTORY

Schappert says his decision to enlist in the military after college was largely due to a book he read about the Green Berets' missions in Vietnam. He read the book from cover to cover and when he finished it, he knew he wanted to join the military.

When asked what differentiates Special Forces training from that of other military units, he insists that they are not tougher than anyone else. "I just think we signed up, and accept more deprivation and hardship to prove that we can do it," he explains. There is no superman, only individuals who have been trained and put through the fire more than others. "We are good at what we do because we train constantly. We drill the basics until they're perfect. And we plan, plan, plan and adjust all the time."

The Special Forces units featured in the four-part special include Grup Gerak Khas (Malaysia), Scout Rangers (Philippines), Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (Sri Lanka), and the Marine Recon units of Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines. "The military is a reflection of society," Schappert comments. The government's goals are a reflection of what its people wants.

Elaborating, he describes the government's implementation of policies as "the tip of the spear" but notes that policies are essentially "people-crafted." As a result, a country's goals, geography and political climate have a deep influence in the role of the Special Forces and the specialised skills they are equipped with. Essentially, while the training might differ, the governments are all pursuing the same goals -- keeping the country safe and stable, and maintaining their autonomy in the world.

It is funny, he adds, to see the myths people have about Special Forces being projected through film and television projects. In particular, the myth that they do not have fun and are always serious cannot be further from the truth.

"A guy who can make you laugh or can smile when it's pouring -- that's a real asset," he remarks. "There's nothing more tedious than someone who takes themselves too seriously." That is not to say, however, that they are not professional. The team develops camaraderie very quickly because the members have to deal with death in combat, and having a sense of humour is highly prized.

Asia's Special Forces with Terry Schappert premieres on 22nd January 2017 on HISTORY (StarHub Channel 401) at 8pm and 8.30pm.



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