In the book, “Lone Survivor,” by Marcus Luttrell (via The Daily Beast), the former Navy SEAL detailed a number of his experiences from his final training during Hell Week, including some of the extraordinary lengths that instructors would go to in order to push the recruits’ nerves. In one harrowing ordeal, Navy instructors barreled into their barracks unannounced, late at night, with guns blazing. “Suddenly there was a loud shout, and someone literally kicked open the side door. Bam! And a guy carrying a machine gun, followed by two others, came charging in, firing from the hip. The lights went off, and then all three gunmen opened fire, spraying the room with bullets,” Luttrell recounted.
With no idea what was happening — whether these were live rounds or blanks — the trainees hit the deck and held themselves motionless for what must have seemed like eternity. The point of the exercise was to frighten and confuse them, and it did just that. “For the next couple of minutes there was nothing but gunfire, deafening gunfire,” Luttrell wrote. “They were certainly blanks, otherwise half of us would have been dead, but believe me, they sounded just like the real thing, SEAL instructors firing our M43s. The shouting was drowned by the whistles, and everything was drowned by the gunfire.”
Luttrell had been told Hell Week would be an unprecedented test of his nerves, and after this and other shocking psychological tests, he believed it.