Tuesday 16th August, Rachel Boland on SAS Are You Tough Enough?
SAS: Are You Tough Enough was a British documentary series exposing volunteer members of the public to the experience of the SAS selection process presented by Dermot O’Leary. On average only 10 out of the 125 soldiers taking the real SAS selection procedure pass. In contrast to the real SAS, this programme also featured female candidates. As with real selection, initially the candidates were pushed to the limits to reduce the numbers, with survivors in the latter stages, trained and assessed in a variety of military training exercises.
The contestants participated in exercises experienced in the real selection process, although over a shorter time frame, with the winner only getting a hand-shake from the ex-SAS SSgt Eddie Stone. For realism, exercises were controlled by ex-members of the SAS, notably Staff Sergeant Eddie Stone and John McAleese with additional comments about what would happen in the real process from other ex-SAS members. There were three series: the original in the Scottish Highlands, the SAS Jungle in Borneo, and SAS Desert in Namibia.
At our Tuesday meeting, we were enthralled with the exploits of finalist Rachel Boland who delivered an energetic presentation packed with enthusiasm and awesome facts of her time in Namibia. Over 16 days Rachel, experienced constantly physically demanding exercises and mental fatigue to the limit of her endurance. Her concluding three days was a simulated capture of a terrorist in the desert. Fully equipped and in 43 degrees heat, Rachel led the team into a terrorist stronghold of derelict buildings. After a fire fight, the chief suspect was chased into a cave where he was eventually neutralised. Rachel met her SAS husband during the programme and is now the proud Mum of 4 children. John Ewing gave a worthy vote of thanks.