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Hostage Rescue Team, Part 3: Training for Every Contingency

The handful of special agents who make it through the Hostage Rescue Team’s selection process have only just begun their journey to become HRT operators. Each new generation of recruits must undergo eight months of intensive training before joining the team and deploying on missions. It’s a full-time job and a total immersion into the world of tactics, firearms, and teamwork.

Feb 19, 2013 04:00 PM

Hostage Rescue Team, Part 3: Training for Every Contingency


The handful of special agents who make it through the Hostage Rescue Team’s selection process have only just begun their journey to become HRT operators. Each new generation of recruits must undergo eight months of intensive training before joining the team and deploying on missions. It’s a full-time job and a total immersion into the world of tactics, firearms, and teamwork.

The fast-paced culture, while satisfying, is not without sacrifice. Operators are often away from their families for extended periods and can be called away with little notice.

“The time away from home is difficult,” said Sean Joyce, a former HRT member who is now the FBI’s deputy director, “but that’s something operators and families learn to cope with.” He added that the extensive, continuous training HRT operators go through that keeps them from their personal lives is absolutely essential—“because what you do in practice is what you’re going to do when the real game is on.”

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