People walking along the beach near Pier Plaza in the early evening of September 27 were greeted by an uncommon site: three large tan military tents erected close to one of the lifeguard towers, with several inflatable boats nearby.
At least three teams of about seven men each, dressed in woodland camouflage fatigues, could be seen in the area, engaged in what appeared to be some sort of training. Some stood in formation, others stood in a tight group under the pier listening to their instructor, while individuals near the tents simulated carrying a wounded comrade.
It wasn’t clear at first if this was in fact some sort of training or if they were preparing to shoot a movie, since lighting equipment and a video camera on a tripod could be seen outside one of the tents.
I later learned that this was part of a team-building exercise, organized by SOT-G (Special Operations Training Group), a local leadership company with strong ties to the military’s Special Ops community.
According to a staff member I talked to, events such as this can take place over several days and are designed to give clients a little taste of what special-operations training is about while building team and leadership skills.
The SOT-G staff member mentioned that the teams were preparing for their second night at the beach and would have more training to do the following day.
A video on SOT-G’s website shows camouflaged men undergoing intense training reminiscent of what Navy SEAL candidates go through during the BUD/S program. Although open to anyone, the SOT-G training programs seem to be mainly geared toward executives, managers, and others in leadership positions.
The “About” sheet on the SOT-G website states, “Our goal is to have each person capitalize on the training therefore allowing them to operate in their battle space and share in the successes of the U.S. Navy SEALs. We strive for success so our clients will be ready for their…..Bin Laden moment.”