I Will Not Stop

I Will Not Stop

Posted on March 27, 2024 at 10:06 pm by Steve Solex

December 12th, 2000
0215hrs
Fairchild Air Force Base, WA
SERE Specialist Course

The dense forest barely let in the moonlight, casting erratic shadows that played tricks on  the eyes. Solex wasn’t exactly sure what time it was, but based on the position of the Polaris star and the BIg Dipper, he made an educated guess that it was somewhere around 2am. The Washington winter air was crisp, the kind of cold that made your bones ache, but Solex was layered up and was able to stay above the chill. Solex moved at a deliberate pace,each step was measured and smooth, he was as quiet as the crunchy leaves beneath his feet would let him be. He was deep into enemy territory.

Solex’s mission was crystal clear, but it was far from simple. He was to infiltrate the enemy camp and retrieve critical intelligence, and do it all without being detected. This was the kind of op Solex had done a million times, but he knew he couldn’t be complacent. Every mission had a little something that separated it from the others, and this one was no different. The stakes were high, if Solex didn’t pass this mission, he might not be given another opportunity, and that would mean he would be sent back to conventional forces to rejoin his Infantry unit…as a failure.

The soft green glow from his NVGs (night vision goggles) casted shadows over Solex’s face, highlighting his striking features and showing a look of unwavering determination and focus. As Solex continued to push east he knew that he would be approaching his objective at any moment. The normal sounds of the forest had been overtaken by the artificial hums of generators and the murmur of voices.

He continued his pace to the top of the ridgeline in front of him, and suddenly he had the perfect view of the enemy camp.

“Think like the enemy,” Solex reminded himself, echoing the words his instructors had drilled into him the last few weeks. His job was to understand the enemy, predict their moves, and always stay two steps ahead – it’s the only way to survive in combat, and in this case, the only way to graduate SERE (Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape) school and earn the coveted Green Beret he’d been dreaming about since he was eight years old. As he surveyed the perimeter of the camp, his mind went full Operator. He scanned for soft spots, entry points, and kept a careful eye on the pair of roving guards that circled the perimeter. Solex smiled as he realized that the guards were rotating on a perfectly timed sequence, “20 seconds to get through unseen,” he thought.

He began to advance his position by slowing moving down the hill, timing the movements of his enemy down to the millisecond. He took shallow breaths, because he knew that even breathing too loudly would give away his position. He took soft and deliberate steps, soft and shallow breaths, and stayed low. Solex knew that anything could give his position away, including a crunchy leaf beneath his feet or a breath that expelled too much fog into the cold night air.

“Five…four…three..”

Solex counted in his head, synchronizing his movements with the guard’s positions and as soon as the nearest guard turned his back, Solex seized the opportunity and swiftly crossed through the perimeter with long, silent strides.

Quickly, he ducked behind a stack of crates just inside of the perimeter. He was in, but he wasn’t done yet.  He detached from the moment and took a look around, gathering his bearings and reassessing his surroundings. Solex relaxed, reminding himself of the stakes of this mission. He knew that failure was not an option, not only because he had always dreamed of becoming a commando, but because he knew that he had the skill set to deploy overseas and do actual good for his country and the oppressed people in others.

Solex popped up to his feet. He ran through a quick pre-combat check to ensure that he still had all of his sensitive and essential equipment.

Radio. Check.

Pistol. Check.

Knife. Check.

M4. Check.

Balls. Check.

Solex turned his attention toward the center of the enemy outpost and watched for any signs of movement around the massive tent known as the tactical operations center (TOC).

There was none.

Solex kicked it into high gear and began to advance toward the TOC with a sense of urgency. As he approached the massive tent he drew the knife from the sheath on his belt and sliced open a three foot hole in the side. He had conducted extensive recon on this tent and knew exactly where the documents would be inside of it…and this is exactly where they were expected to be. He peeked inside and saw everyone in the TOC focused on the projector screen near the front of the tent.  He slyly reached his hand into the tent and extracted the documents, silently transferring them into his pack.

With the documents secured, Solex was able to make his way back out of the camp undetected, using the same techniques that he did to get inside. The mission was a success and not only did he secure the information he was searching for and required to get, but he felt at that very moment that he had finally earned his Green Beret.

—-

In training and combat, I learned the value of strategy and preparation. Every match, to me, is not just a contest of strength, but a chess match where every move and every decision has consequences. My preparation for this match mirrors my preparation for battle.

Waiting for the opportunity to strike is an essential part of being a great Soldier. A well trained and disciplined Soldier must be patient on the battlefield. He must survey the terrain and the movements of enemy troops, just like a wrestler has to do in the ring. The only difference is that  in the squared circle, every facet of this principle is magnified.

In order to be successful in the ring I have to watch my opponent’s every move, looking for patterns and tells, weaknesses, and moments of vulnerability. I have to be able to sense when my opponent is fatigued and unwilling to step back into the fight. It’s in these moments, when my opponent least expects it, that the opportunity to strike becomes apparent.

That is when I strike. That is what I train for.

I train hard for every match that I have. I put myself through literal hell in the gym. The blood, the sweat, the fucking tears…all of it matters. But seizing the opportunity to win the LBI and the World Championship will require more than just a chiseled body, raw strength, and insane cardio…it’s going to require the mental acumen to predict my opponent’s next move, and to always be two steps ahead of him. It’s going to require the mental toughness to push harder than I’ve ever had to push in the wrestling ring. I’ve practiced the strikes, the moves, and the counters and I’ve done it over, and over, and over again. I do that and I do it in repetition because I know that in the heat of the moment, there is no time to think…there is only time to act.

This match is unique, however, in that it will have to be against three other men. I’ll have to be sharper than I’ve ever been to pull this off, and that’s exactly what I plan to be. I’ve done everything I can to prepare for this match, and as the date for March to Glory draws nearer, I will do just as I did before I went into combat and force myself into solitude.

It’s in solitude that I can visualize the match, seeing each move, each counter, and I can manifest my victory.

I am a fucking warrior.

And because of that, I have the warrior mentality. Because of that, I have the warrior voice in my head. It’s the voice that tells me to push forward, no matter what. It’s the one that tells me that I can win, that I can achieve anything that I want to, as long as I put the fucking work in. This warrior voice, it doesn’t whisper; it fucking roars! It’s born from every challenge that I’ve ever faced, every obstacle that I’ve ever had to overcome. It’s the voice that, even in my darkest hour, urges me to get my ass back up when it would be easier for me to stay down like a bitch. It’s the voice that commands me to fight, when any other man would surrender.

The mind is a battlefield, and I am the motherfucking Commander in Chief!

I have what it takes to win this match, and to win the HOW World Champion, but it is going to take everything that I have! I will fight with everything that I have inside of me. 

I can do it. 

I will do it.

There is no other option!