The U. S. Army, although it still runs a "Pathfinder' school, has turned the job of the pathfinder, over to the U. S. Air Force.
I'll broaden this a little:
The Army pathfinders are now days more concerned with LZs then DZs, considering the more frequent (Air Assualt) air mobile operations and the 101st Airmobile divisions and other units helicopter operations.
The Path Finder badge is still awarded to Army people who attend the school and graduate at Ft. Benning, GA.
The Air Force, who class their pathfinders as a Special Operations unit, so far have (IMHO) done well in many of the currant combat airborne operations. As well as normal training jumps with control of the DZ.
First off mate, you have to be serving to volunteer, theres no direct entery scheme
Secondly, the joining instructions are deceptive on levels of fitness, on the outside it looks fairly easy, but read beteen the lines and its a bit of a horror story. I remember reading a line buried in the training phase that said they went on ex for a week and in that time they would cover approx 160 miles in kit, that s like a marathon a day (yeah i know its not running but still hard work)
They also run (or at least ran) a pre-selection before the course itself which was a pass/fail
please note this info is well over 15 years old and is probably outdated by now.
Benn having a lazy day and just watched the 1996 docuentary on the Pathfinders, when 5AB still existed..remember it vaguely when it aired on the BBC. Seems like a different army back then in the pre Afghan era. Still hard to believe that even in 96, in the MOD'S eyes they did not exist officially.
What surprised me though was when one of the blokes is tabbing in the hulu and mentions something along the lines of 'all this for 35 pounds a day'... That seems a bit low for the mid 90s, bearing in mind they would be on para pay (possibly SF pay too?)..good watch though. Michael Portillo looks alot younger too!
That was the weight of Bergan, Nasty, weight carrying for the purpose of...
Like other posters here, not sure what it is now but (sound of lamp swinging) in 5AB days, the title of the thread would have been misleading. A friend (cough, cough) went for the Platoon Commander slot (only open to parachute qualified) along with six others and was well beaten by a guy from the Blues and Royals. He was head and shoulders above the rest.