LOLITA C. BALDOR
CAMP MACKALL, N.C. (AP) — Deep in the dark North Carolina woods, a small white light flickers in the heavy underbrush. It's after midnight and a soldier is taking a risk by turning on his headlamp to find his way.
The overnight land navigation test is just one hurdle in the grueling, monthslong course to join the Army's elite Special Forces, and using the light violates the rules. Just the night before, at least 20 commando hopefuls had either committed a disqualifying failure or given up in the drenching rain.
"We got a light!" barks an Army instructor from the front seat of his truck as he patrols the woods. Almost instantly the tiny white beacon goes out as the soldier spots the truck headlights and tries to escape detection.
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