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Is Navy Seal Training For You
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With the recent success of the Navy SEALS mission to kill or capture Osama bin Laden we cannot see the dedication and commitment these patriots endured to complete Navy SEAL Training. Hidden behind all the press and praise is the difficult Navy SEAL training required to operate in hostile environments. Believe me all the justifiable praise for the successful completion of a difficult mission is well deserved and earned.

Amidst all of this, I am reflecting on my life and wondering why I did not follow through with my initial thoughts of becoming a SEAL. Hindsight is always better that foresight, but at the time I believed I had all the physical and mental attributes to complete the Naval SEAL training course. To put this in perspective I swam competitively for 12 years and received a swimming scholarship to compete in college. I always loved to run and was a cross-country runner in high school so I figured I had the physical components covered.

The other major component that required some thought was the mental aspect; the ability to will oneself to push your physical and mental boundaries beyond your normal limits. Again, I felt confident that I had the ability to achieve the mental component because after all anyone that can swim back and forth for hours at time waterlogged, isolated from other beings, and chasing an illusory time in your head, with a limited ability to fully breathe must be tough enough to meet the SEALS mental criteria.

With this background as the foundation there is one more piece I need to add. I also attended Naval Officer Candidate School, in Newport, Rhode Island, and at the conclusion of this training, the OCS candidates had an opportunity to attend an orientation conducted by the various organizations within the U.S. Navy to help in identifying the functional areas we wanted to work in.

Now let me tell you why Navy Seal Training was not for me. After dutifully listening to all the presentations I was most impressed with (can you guess) the Navy SEALS presentation. Break-out sessions were a part of the program so I eagerly hustled myself over to meet the SEAL Officer to get greater insight into the training and mission requirements.

At this time the Vietnam War was in full effect and being actively pursued by the United States. One of the questions asked regarded the mortality rate experienced by the SEALS. The Officer replied that "we never leave anyone behind". Now this is very noteworthy, but at this point my confidence and mental toughness began to weaken because intellect was telling me there had to be something negative and dark occurring. The Officer continued on and advised us that while the SEALS have a low mortality rate we do receive more than one Purple Heart. For the uninitiated a Purple Heart is awarded for wounds received in combat and one Purple Heart was more than I wanted to receive.

At this point, intellect and reason overcame bravado and I quickly exited this discussion and went to talk with the representative from the Navy "Hard Hat" diving community but this is another story for another time.

In addition to completing the Physical screening test each candidate must also pass the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) for the rate (job) that the enlisted person will perform. An operational SEAL team consists of complimentary skills/rates to complete the mission and only a team can successfully complete the operational missions they are assigned.

Now, at this point, you may have concluded that I decided that becoming a SEAL was not high on my priority list anymore and I became a Line Officer stationed aboard a ship. I do not want my fellow Line Officers to feel that I intentionally or unintentionally demean our chosen profession because we are challenged aboard ship both physically and mentally to function as a team and master our surface or subsurface war-fighting skills as well as our normal shipboard responsiblities.

In hindsight my intellect and foresight was justified on not becoming a SEAL. On several occasions I observed and heard, from the golf course, Navy SEALS, training on the beach, running with a huge log over there heads for a far longer period than I would care to imagine. On other occasions I have seen helicopters headed out to sea in the late afternoon; I can only imagine being a SEAL being dropped off 2 miles out and swimming back to shore when the lure of the Officers Club was a short distance away.

For me the haze grey decks of ships of sea were fine and I lived my dreams visiting foreign shores but for those young men that dream and complete Navy SEAL training I salute you for all your past service and missions acknowledged and not acknowledged. Your bravery and courage cannot be truly rewarded but know that your service is honored and needed to maintain this great country we live in.


Street Talk

Good article. I don't think enough credit is given to the Air Force's Combats though in situations like this one... Maybe you don't know this either, but it was in fact AF combat controllers who almost pretty much made this mission possible by scoping the place out for two weeks before the Seals were sent in to take Osama down. Again tho special forces so its not been saturated with media just thought I would share so that maybe CCT would be an option for someone who is looking into special forces. I was almost one.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I was not aware of the role that the AF played but joint operations are a critical component for warfare today to ensure operational success. Please know that my support for our "band of brothers" is unequivocal.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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