Elite military training course underway in Vyškov

Photo: www.ct24.cz

An elite battle command training program is drawing to a close at the military training site in Vyškov. After more than three weeks of severe physical and environmental stress only seven of the 25 officers who started the course remain. They will form the backbone of the country’s elite combat units and be handpicked to lead military operations in foreign missions.

Photo: www.ct24.cz
Combat in the field, reconnaissance and special operations based on experience from foreign missions, combined with endless drills that strain officers’ physical capacity to the limit –all this on four hours of sleep a night –if they are lucky. It’s the ultimate test of physical strength and leadership that only a handful of the best are able to survive. This 28- year-old officer is one of seven who look set to finish the course out of 25 who signed up for it in 2010.

“It’s a test of your limitations, to see how far you can go if you really push yourself. But it’s tough, much tougher than I expected and there were times when I thought I had reached my limit. But we’re hanging in. All the guys left are hanging in.”

The course, which is comparable to the training given to US Rangers or French Foreign Legionaries, is expected to produce future commanders in foreign missions whose tough training will help save lives in the field. Hynek Pavlačka is the head of the four-week training course.

Photo: www.ct24.cz
“These boys are no Rambos. They are men who know how to grit their teeth and survive, they are future leaders who will be making decisions under extreme stress.”

The elite training course is not new. Czech soldiers underwent similar training in Britain during WWII. A Commandos course was set up in post-war Czechoslovakia, but was abolished by the communists in 1948. In 2005 the Czech Armed Forces, who were increasingly sending troops to take part in foreign missions, renewed it on an annual basis, modeling it according to similar training in other NATO member states. The course is so tough that, five years on, only 20 Czech officers have the privilege of wearing a Commando badge on their uniform.