Written by in part by Rima Magee and compiled by Blast Staff:
"If you want to know what it was like on D-Day, watch 'Saving Private Ryan'.", Joseph D. Dimartino said as he was reminiscing the harrowing days on Omaha Beach that marked the beginning of a monumental career spanning three decades. Joe was only 17, still in boot camp in March, 1944, when he became one of 100 volunteers to learn about demolition for the projected invasion of Europe. He experienced combat again later but never in the same way as that morning on that beach. Whenever asked 'What Class were you in?' and 'How was your Hell Week?' Joe would answer that "my Hell Week was June 6, 1944".
During 1946/47 Joe was at Team 4 and deployed to Antarctica and the South Pole as part of Operation High Jump with Admiral Richard E. Byrd's exploration group aboard the flagship, Mt. Olympus. "We captured six of the Emperor Penguins to take to the Zoo at Washington, D.C." During passage on the Potomac, two of the Penguins got their cages open and jumped overboard. The Coast guard was notified immediately. Their report was that the Penguins were too fast for the Coast Guard and were headed south! "Never to be seen again," Joe said.
The Teams began training with scuba gear in 1946 and that became part of his job for the next ten to 15 years was in training Team members with scuba gear, conducting underwater swimming, underwater obstacle clearance and underwater reconnaissance. After the Korea War under Captain [Norm] Olson and some other officers, Joe was with a group of enlisted men that became the first UDT "stick," to go to Jump School together. Joe was now a qualified frogman with the added qualifications of diving with the aqualung and stepping out of planes with a parachute. He applied for promotion as a limited duty officer, a privilege offered to CPOs (he was rated as Chief Boatswain's Mate). In June 1960 he received his commission as an Ensign at Newport, RI. In June 1964, he became a full Lieutenant - a rating he kept until his retirement in 1973
Joe went to Vietnam in June 1967, for a year-long tour as a member of the U.S. Naval advisory Group. Among their mission was support of the South Vietnamese UDT/SEALs in training and in an advisory capacity. During his many years of service Joe's awards include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Combat "V."
After his retirement, Joe joined NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in 1976 as Boatswain on the ship, Mt. Mitchell. After the first Gulf War, their assignment sent them to the Persian Gulf to study the problem posed by oil spills from Kuwait. For five months, scientists from all over the Middle East, including Iran, joined them aboard ship, wondering how to fix the problem. Travel remained in his blood and with his wife, Joan, just before Christmas, 2002, they went to Lapland where he got his Reindeer Driver's License. They were invited to attend the 50th Anniversary of D-Day by the mayor of the town of St. Laurent but Joe declined when he learned the locals would have to pay to attend.
Joe attended a BUD/S graduation and handed out diplomas to Class 249 on June 25, 2004 a highlight for him as his health declined. We will all miss Joe and our thoughts and prayers go out to Joan and all those that he touched.
Training, Teamwork Key to 45 Years of Navy
Date: 1/11/2007 5:21:00 PM
Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class
(SW) Brian P. Biller,
Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs
officially came from the Underwater
Demolition Teams (UDT)," according to
Roger B. Clapp, Naval Special Warfare
Command force historian. "But you can
really trace the SEAL heritage back to the
scouts and raiders and naval combat
demolition units which were active only
during World War II.”
needed 100 volunteers for this demolition
outfit,” said retired Lt. Joseph DiMartino,
who found himself a 17-year-old seaman on
the beaches of
in the early days, the SEALs
technology was not as advanced as today.
“We had swim trunks, blue and gold
shirts, coral shoes and a k-bar,” said
retired Master Chief Boiler Technician
(SEAL) Peter P. Slempa
Jr., SEAL Team One plank owner. “The
only weapon that was reliable in the surf
was the .45 cal. ‘grease gun’.”
also echoed the rigorous training
schedule. “The training pipeline was
hectic,” he said. “We attended Army
basic airborne at
are the best fighting force the armed
forces have,” DiMartino
added. “A lot of people think we make SEALs
here," said Senior Chief Special
Warfare Operator (SEAL) Daniel Gearhart,
Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S)
1st Phase Leading Chief Petty Officer.
"We don’t. We find them. It’s
like diamond mining, you gotta
throw out a lot of dirt and you gotta
dig through and get your hands dirty and
because you don’t make them.”
is not the first member of his family to
be a SEAL. “My father was in Class 32,
UDT 11 and team one,” he said. “I grew
up around ... all these guys back in the
day that were running around my house that
are legends in the frogman community now,
guys that we all stand on their shoulders
because of what they did," said
Gearhart. "I grew up around those
guys and thought it was kind of neat and
the lifestyle was attractive to me.”
years later, Gearhart imparts his wisdom
to new recruits, drawing from the chiefs
and senior chiefs who were in
added that while a lot of the training has
evolved, it hasn’t necessarily changed,
and while some of the specific missions
for deployed SEALs
may have changed, the overall mission has
not. “We are,
I think the first choice when it comes to
hitting the target. I think battlefield
commanders want SEALs
to do the job and they wanted them back
then because they were the best at it.
They want them in
like Gearhart ensure the strength of the
SEAL community for many years to come. The
men who laid that foundation still find
themselves missing the action, even in
their golden years. “It’s just the way
we were, the teams and the men, the
camaraderie, it lives with you forever. I
mean, you never forget your buddy. You
never forget your shipmate. You never
forget the team. You never forget the
operations and everything. That’s what
comes back, memories of all of the good
times and the bad times - but always the
good times,” DiMartino
said. “I’m very proud and happy to
have been part of the military, part of
part of special warfare and if I was a
younger man I would still love to be back
in there with them.”
more information on Naval Special Warfare
visit the website: www.seal.navy.mil>
Documentary about the history of the U.S. Navy SEALS. Although not officially commissioned until 1962, the roots of the Navy SEALS can be traced back to the earliest days of the Navy. During World War II, the Navy Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU), a precursor to the SEALS, carried out some of the most famous missions in Naval history.
Training, teamwork key to 45 years of Navy SEALs.(Sea, Air, Land teams) (Article)
882 word article is taken from the
01 March 2007 edition of All
January marked the 45th anniversary of the inception of the Navy's SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) teams. From those early days of the SEALs, it has been the intense training and brother-like bond for their teammates that has forged the core of the Naval Special Warfare community.
Prior to 1962 there were forces in place who did some of the jobs performed by today's SEALs, many whose roots and manpower were integral in the forming of the first teams.
According to Roger B. Clapp, Naval Special Warfare Command force historian, "The SEALs officially came from the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT). But you can really trace the SEAL heritage back to the scouts and raiders and naval combat demolition units which were active only during World War II."
"They needed 100 volunteers for this demolition outfit," said retired LT Joseph DiMartino, who found himself a 17-year-old seaman on the beaches of Normandy on ...
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