is my hobby. I know that I am crazy! I do this to keep from going
Vida Loca" Riojas
Where Did the White Man go Wrong?
Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official, "You have observed the white man for 90 years.
You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress,
and the damage he's done."
The Chief nodded in agreement.
The official continued, "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"
The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied. "When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean
water. Women did all the work, Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing;
all night having sex."
Then the chief leaned back and smiled. "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."
people say; "I am wasting my money!" Maybe yes, and maybe
no! I would not do this web site if
I could take the money with me to heaven!
by Peter Nealen · February 20, 2013 · Posted In: SOF History
Kenneth H. Stange
October 26, 1928 - March 27,
Obituary for Kenneth H. Stange Kenneth H. Stange, 83, passed away
peacefully at his home on Monday, March 26th under the wonderful care
of Hospice of Lenawee.
He was born on October 26, 1928 to Hattie
(Pruess) and Henry Stange
in Adrian, Michigan. He married Bonny Barbara Brieschke at St.
John’s Lutheran Church on August 26, 1955. She survives.
He lived in Lenawee County all his life except during the
time he served in the Navy during WWII, from 1945-49. He was a member
of Underwater Demolition Team 3. He continued his love for the water
by owning and operating Wolverine Diver’s at Devil’s Lake for many
During this time, he also was a part of the Lenawee
Sheriff’s Department in search and rescue. He loved water skiing,
swimming, ice skating and spending time with friends and family.
He retired from Parker Rust Proof in Morenci, was a member of St.
John’s Lutheran Church, and was an active member in the UDT/Seal
You may also send condolences to his family at
A Seaman saying "I learned this in Boot Camp..."
A Petty Officer saying "Trust me, sir..."
An Ensign saying "Based on my experience..."
A Lieutenant saying "I was just thinking..."
A Chief chuckling, "Watch this shit..."
James "Jesse Ventura" Janos
from one those SEAL books mentions Doc Riojas
I was visiting your site again and looking at your "Interesting Stuff page" and found a photo with history.
The roof top of the Victory Hotel.
First I don't have a clue who took it, had to be one of the twiggits from the comm bunker on the roof. But if you are interested it had to be on 2 Feb 1968, sometime after 3PM. Those of us that were left at the hotel were assembled in the small court yard outside of the back entrance/exit to the "mess hall" (actually the main lobby of the hotel). and told to gather our weapons and all the ammo we could carry, and set up a defensive position on the roof to cover both ends of the street that ran along the front of the hotel, and to reinforce the main bunker at the entrance.
An Intel report had come in from the ARVN's that Charlie was assembling and getting ready for a two prong human wave attack. One against the Hotel the other to take the Park.
That is me, forth from the left. I don't remember how long we were up there, but with a perfectly good galley two floors down we ate C-Rats. The attack never happened, but we really took a lot of small arms fire.
Don't know how or why but not a single one of us got hit while up there. A close look will tell you that we were completely exposed.
Anyway, just thought I would give you something to explain that photo.
pdoggbiker | January 16, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Tags: book sites, books war, cherry soldier, combat, Combat Infantry, digital books, firefights, Grunts, Hue massacre, Ia Drang Valley, jungle warfare, LZ Albany, LZ X-Ray, marine battles, MARS phone patches, Military, novels, operation
hastings, POW, The vietnam war, The Vietnam war story, VC/NVA atrocities, Veteran, Vietnam blog pages, Vietnam book, Vietnam conflict, Vietnam Generation, Vietnam Heroes, Vietnam veteran, war books, war story, Wars and Conflicts | Categories: The Vietnam war story | URL: https://wp.me/pRiEw-2Yy
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
OF THE FALLEN
Memorial Day 2012
click on each photo to
From: The Military Times:
Faces of the Fallen May 28, 2012
From: John Richter <jcr5326 [at]
To: T Keith to Larry, Jim, Tom, me, JohnsonD1D, bassthrift
Senior Citizens Health Care
Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012, 12:01 AM
You're a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no
nursing home available for you. So what do you do?
Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. You are
allowed to shoot four Politicians.
Of course this means you will be sent to prison where you will get
three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating, air
conditioning and all the health care you need!
Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That's great. Need a new
hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They're all covered.
As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you as often as they
And who will be paying for all of this? It's the same government that
just told you that they cannot afford for you to go into a home.
Plus, and because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income
taxes anymore. Is this a great country or what?
Rio says: "Sign me Up !"
Adm. Garry Bonelli
train, equip, deploy and sustain NSW Forces for operations and
in support of Combatant
Commanders and U.S. National Interests
Warfare Group ONE
- SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5, and
7, Logistics Support Unit 1, NSW Units 1 and 3
Warfare Group TWO
- SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8, and
10, Logistics Support Unit 2, Unit 2 Detachment South, NSW Unit 10
Warfare Group THREE
- SEAL Delivery Team 1,
Logistics Support Unit 3, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Detachment 1
Warfare Group FOUR
- Special Boat Teams 12,
20 and 22, Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School
Warfare Group TEN
- Support Activity 1 and
2, Mission Support Center
Warfare Group ELEVEN
- SEAL Teams 17, 18
- Basic Training Command, Advanced
Dearmon SEAL Team TWO Plank Owner
Tribute to a Hero The Navy SEAL Foundation is offering a commemorative giving opportunity
designed to honor and remember the U.S. Navy SEAL community while
providing much needed financial support for the SEAL Heritage Center (SHC) <READ
DONATE ( U.S.Navy SEAL
donate $10, text SEAL to 90999. A one-time $10 charge will be added to
your wireless service bill. We appreciate your contributions!
Hoo Ya !
The Navy SEAL Foundation
has set up a phone bank to accept donations. The phone number is
757-763-5501 . They have a number of volunteers manning the phones.
PHOTOS OF DEAD HEROES moved to
The Navy SEAL Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is
to provide immediate and ongoing emotional and financial support in
times of adversity to U.S. Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft
Crewmen, Naval Special Warfare support personnel and to their families.
Ninety-five cents of every dollar spent by the Navy SEAL Foundation
supports mission programs and services.
. He is NOT A
Navy SEAL ! He's broken all kinds of parachuting records, and he was one of
the guys who worked to develop methods for parachuting while wearing SCUBA
gear. He is still a jumping fool, flies planes, dives, rides in
civilian submarines, and anything else he can figure out how to get
into, on top of, underneath, or strapped on.
A Navy Recruit headed for Navy
Hospital Corps asks: How To Become a USNavy SEAL
BRIAN V: Navy corpsman to navy SEAL ? I'm going to be a corpsman in the US NAVY and I'll be shipping off September 04,
How do you get that offer? From Regular corpsman to Navy SEAL corpsman ?
any information will be of help to me :) Brain V.
Best Answer - From a U.S. Navy Recruiter
First you have to finish HM 'A' school. But during g school they will select people for certain assignments, most being Fleet Marine Force (FMF). These HM's will be
trained with the Marines and go into combat with them. Another is SEAL team HM. This program is a lot more difficult to get into for a few reasons:
It has the most prestige so there are a lot of people trying to make. It is the hardest, most enduring program HM's have so a lot of people wash out. Most people that try out for it aren't in the shape they think they are. They look at the PST as individual tasks and say "Oh, I can do that".
Remember that the PST is an all out effort. I had a guy pass it just the other day and he was telling me just how hard it is. He can do 35 pull ups in a continuous effort, but during the PST he could only get 9.
My suggestion would be to take the SEAL challenge in boot camp to see how you do. The work on your deficiencies and request to go SEAL HM when you arein school.
Best of luck Source(s): US Navy Recruiter, 12 years of service www.myspace.com/nrs_waukesha
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from
SUBJ: SEAL TEAM TWO 50th
15 June 2011 To: NSW360
I would like to bring to your attention the
upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration of SEAL Team TWO - the first
commissioned SEAL Team. We're planning to hold our celebration at ST-2
and in the new SEAL Heritage Center on 14 July 2011, the Thursday
preceding the East Coast SEAL Reunion weekend. We will not be able to
hold the celebration on our true birthday, January 8th, 2012.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: richard marcinko
Date: Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 11:04 PM
To: "Erasmo \"Doc\" Riojas"
Subject: Re: I thought you may want to look at this sketch
----- Original Message -----
From: Erasmo "Doc" Riojas
To: richard marcinko
Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2011
Subject: I thought you may want to look at this sketch
that never made the "BULL SHEET" because i got deployed to the
'nam back in 1967.
I hope you are doing well and also hope to get a picture with you at the
ST-2 50th Anniversary.
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for
free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
From: Richard Marcinko
To: Doc Riojas
Subj: "Popping CHute at masthead level" on med cruise
It's the truth. Doc Clark caught it on film and you could hear Chief
Barrett screaming at me. I pulled at masthead level. I had a 1.6 black
canopy w/ silk sleeve and 2 pilot chutes. 1 occilation and a splash.
Barrett grounded me. I left the ship 5 days later to go to OCS. My last
From: Doc Bob Clark
Sat, Jul 2, 2011
Re: Marcinko "pops chute at masthead"
level on med cruise
What Demo Dick said is true. I was in the
safety boat taking pictures of the jump & he did open at masthead
level. One oscillation & into the drink. Scared the shit out of all
of us. I got to jump his chute years later and that was the fastest
opening I ever had.
Bob Clark HMCM (SEAL)
Frogman in the Water
SEAL K-9 and his Handler Swimming
from :Lou Boyles chief.boyles [at] verizon DOT net
to: "Erasmo \"Doc\" Riojas"
<docrio45 [at] gmail DOT com>
date: Wed, Jun 15, 2011
subject: Re: HIT THE STAGE? WOW !
I would love to have been there Doc. As you may
know, I was on the Parachute team for about
11 years &, my one claim to fame is, that I was the one who came up
with the name ‘Leap Frogs’.
Gagliardi took it to the Commodore who was Capt.
O’Drain at the time & he Approved it. The rest is history. There
was a time of les than 3 years when Navy recruiting sponsored us &
we had to be called ‘The Navy Parachute Team’ & only did shows
with the Blue Angles.
When they stopped the sponsorship we went back to
the name ‘Leap Frogs’. Everywhere we went the people loved the name.
Hope to see you in Coronado in Aug.,
~ Lou ~
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for
free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
Memorial and Proclamation of Laredo’s
Veterans Unsung Heroes
is invited to event that will feature roll call and guest speaker
City of Laredo Mayor Raul G. Salinas and the Laredo City Council
Laredo Vietnam Veterans
Dr. Erasmo Elias Riojas
Recognition, Memorial & Proclamation of Laredo’s Vietnam Veterans
Monday, April 25, 2011
10:00 a.m. WHERE: City Hall, Council
Chambers, 1110 Houston St.
Vietnam veterans returning home from the war did not receive the same
recognition and fanfare as veterans of other wars and conflicts; in
fact, it was often quite the opposite. This event will properly
honor and praise these veterans – and their fallen comrades – for
their service and ultimate sacrifice to our country.
part of the activities, native Laredoan and Vietnam Veteran Dr. Erasmo
Elias Riojas, retired, U.S. Navy Seal, will give some remarks about his
three combat tours in Vietnam. Riojas was wounded in each tour in
Vietnam. A highly decorated veteran, including two bronze stars
for Valor, four Purple Hearts, Navy Commendation Medal for Valor; the
Navy Achievement Medal for Valor, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and
many other unit and campaign awards, retired after over 22 years of
active military duty with 50% combat related disabilities.
& Opening Remarks
Mayor Raul G. Salinas
Each veteran present will
name, rank, years of service and service branch
of Guest SpeakerMayor
Dr. Erasmo Elias Riojas
Created: Apr 25, 2011
Updated: Apr 26, 2011 Laredo Texas
were soldiers who fought for our freedom, but in many cases received an
un-inviting welcome home.
But decades after the Vietnam War, Vietnam veterans are finally getting
the warm welcome they hoped for for so many years.
Annette Garcia was at the welcome home ceremony and has the details.
“I appreciate this because 40 years ago we were unwanted and cast off
labeled as murderers. This is something that I’m looking forward
Emotional but truly thankful.
Vietnam veterans like Hector Gomez say today is the day when they can
finally stop thinking of a dark past and look toward a better future no
longer ignored or stereotyped as murderers.
In a memorial held Monday, City leaders offered a sincere welcome home
and proclaimed the week of April 24th as the week to pay tribute to
Laredo’s unsung heroes, veterans of the Vietnam war.
Gomez' wife says it's the beginning of the recovery, recovering from a
pain they and the families felt for so long. People, she says, would
discriminate against Vietnam veterans when they did go out and find a
job. She says since then there have been memorials for all other troops
who come home, but they have been forgotten.
Vietnam veterans say they've always been grateful for memorials like
this one here at Jarvis Plaza but their families say they've always
deserved so much more. Now their wounds can begin to heal.
One by one, Vietnam veterans were recognized and told thank you.
“I’m so glad justice has come through and after 40 years our soul is
starting that healing.”
“We do not ask for anything, just a little love and respect. Some of
us gave some and some gave all.”
Also remembered were those 28 Laredoans who gave it all, the ultimate
sacrifice and a reminder that freedom isn't free.
“This proclamation is something we really deserve and we're proud of
Today’s' memorial also included a guest presentation by retired U.S.
Navy Seal Erasmo Riojas.
Terry Sullivan & Carol A. Haave
may be tiny, but it does have an influential Pentagon link
of the more interesting Iraq contracts the Center uncovered involves a tiny firm
called Sullivan Haave Associates. Sullivan
Haave is actually a one-man shop run by a government consultant named Terry
Sullivan. Sullivan says his firm was hired as a subcontractor by Science
Applications International Corp., one of the most successful and best
politically connected government contractors doing work in Iraq.
says his job was to spend four months in Iraq providing advice to various
ministries being set up there by coalition and local authorities.
has a much more intimate relationship with the Pentagon than his competitors,
however. He happens to be married to Carol Haave, who, since November 2001, has
been deputy assistant secretary of defense for security and information
operations. And yes, Haave is the same person who appears in the name Sullivan
seemed surprised when contacted by the Center for Public Integrity at her
Pentagon office about the contract.
said she was no longer associated with the company in any way. She then said she
had no knowledge of any work the company might be doing in Iraq.
asked who the Center might speak with about the contract, Haave said that person
was currently out of the country and unavailable. She said she would try to
reach the person and have him call the Center.
short time later Sullivan called.
said the contract had only been for four months and he had completed it in July.
He said he did not know what the total cost of the contract was. "They paid
me for four months of my time," he said.
then disclosed that Haave was his wife, but said the contract had nothing to do
with her position at the Pentagon.
have been very sensitive to the issue of conflict for a long time," said
Sullivan, who said his wife had signed everything involving the company over to
him before she took her current job.
need to know how we operate as a husband and wife," said Sullivan. "We
keep things completely separate and always have."
the Iraq job, records obtained by the Center show that Sullivan Haave Associates
has been awarded two other Pentagon contracts in recent years, both before Haave
took her current job.
contract was to provide "basic services" to the Pentagon's Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency. It was awarded in 1999 and was valued at
$78,000. The second contract was from the Department of the Army for
"technical services" and was valued at $100,000. It was awarded to
Sullivan Haave Associates in 2001.
has worked extensively on Pentagon projects during her career, both within and
outside the Defense Department.
biography posted on the Web site of a Pentagon advisory group she met with in
July says Haave has had a "unique career in the public and private sectors
[that] spans over 20 years of military, industry, and civilian government
biography describes Sullivan Haave Associates as having been a "woman-owned
company that operated solely on behalf of the Department of Defense to
facilitate the transition of advanced technologies into military
Background Ms. Carol A. Haave serves as an Executive Officer of The SPECTRUM Group Inc. Ms. Haave served as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) Counterintelligence and Security from 2003 to 2005. Ms. Haave served as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at Department of Homeland Security. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations (responsible for security, information operations, critical infrastructure protection, information assurance and counterintelligence).
Ms. Haave spent more than 15 years as a consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) and advanced government technologies into the armed forces during military conflict, where she focused on transitioning advanced technology into the military and commercial markets and was a team leader for the House Appropriations Committee Surveys and Investigations Staff conducting bipartisan evaluations of technology programs.
Ms. Haave owned Sullivan Haave Associates, Inc., from 1988 to 2001, and served as its President, where she worked closely with DARPA and other government agencies as well as the Commands and Intelligence Community to solve systemic operational problems. She started her career in the Army and worked on the National Defense Panel staffs and conducted other security-related consulting experiences. She has participated in numerous Defense Science Boards.
Ms. Haave has over 25 years of strategic planning, program management and technology experience in security and intelligence, military operations and technology. She has been a Member of Federal Advisory Board of
Xceedium, Inc. since December 2009. Ms. Haave serves as Member of Advisory Board of Cybrinth
LLC. She serves as a Member of Advisory Board of Ideal Innovations, Inc. Ms. Haave served as Member of Advisory Board of ICX Technologies, Inc.
Ms. Haave began her career as by enlisting in the Army and getting an in-service direct commission. She was one of the first women Army officers to attend airborne school and became a military police officer. Subsequently, she joined Summa Corporation, Howard Hughes' holding company, doing background and organized crime related investigations and management audits.
A stint in the NASA Inspector General's Office and a manager at HRB-Singer, a communications electronics company followed her time in Las Vegas. She was the "operations manager" for the Bosnia Command and Control Augmentation Initiative. Ms. Haave holds an MA in Human Resources Management from Pepperdine University and a BA in Sociology from Stetson University.
E. Wasdin ST-6 Book
SEAL Team TWO Plank Owners
From R.D. Russell, UDT/SEAL Archieves
Ablitt, Gordon 3040 Hidden Valley
Ln. Santa Barbara CA 93108
Andrews, James C. deceased
Beal, Harry M. 1020 Warrens Mill Rd.
Meyersdale PA 15552-8104
Benzschawel, Reinold Lloyd
Birtz, Pierre 3321
Terrazzo Trail, Va. Beach, VA 23452 5422
Boehm, Roy H. deceased
Boesch, Rudolph E. 1413 Franklin Dr.
Va \Beach VA 23454
Boles, Donald Wayne 2838 Avenida De Portugal, San
Diego CA 92106
Bruhmuller, William N. 2159 Briawood Circle,
Panama City FL 32405
Bump, Charles 9307 Runks Rd. Huntingdon PA
Burbank, William E., Sr. 3100 Shore Dr. #728, Virginia Bch,
Callahan, John F., Jr.
Clark, A. D. He lives in Costa Rica, do not have
Dearmon, John W. 125 Summit
Dr. Somerset KY 42501 4209
DiMartino, Joseph D. deceased
Doran, George W. 968
Covey St. Virginia Bch, VA 23454
Finley, James F. 103 East Hidden Valley Trail Herford , NC
Fournier, Samuel R. deceased
Fox, Ronald G.
Goines, William H. 6317
Colby Way, Virginia Bch, VA. 23464
Graveson, David H.
Green, William T. 345 Whites Farm Rd, Axton, VA 24054
Janecka, Stanley S. 1554 Sunrise
Dr., Big Pine Key, FL 33043
Jessie, Charles W. Jr.
Johnson, Rex W.
Kelley, Michael David
Kratky, Claudius H.
Kucinski, Louis A. deceased
MacLean, James P. deceased
Martin, Richard E. PO Box 1445, 413 E. 8thSt.,
Big Timber MT 59011
McCarty, Frederick 217
Cortland LN, Va. Beach, VA 23452
Melochick, Melvin f. Deceased
2809 C. Fall Creek Rd. Spicewood TX 78669
Schwartz, Paul T. 7611 Cayuga Dr., New Port Richey, FL 34653
Shapiro (Stephensen), Dante M., 3380 Peachtree Rd. N.E., Atlanta GA
30326 - 1021
Stamey, Bobby G. deceased
Stone, Donald 1440 S.W. 5thAve.
Boca Raton FL 33432
Taylor, Joseph Decesed
Tegg, John D. 130 Maple Island Rd.,
Burnsville MN 55306- 5502
Tipton, James C. Deceased
Tolison, James T.
Tolison, Robert A.
Tornblom, Per Erik
Wallace, Jim Jr.
Watson, James D. 600 11thSt.
Vero Beach FL 32960
Waugh, Leonard A. 6964 Grande
Vista Way S., South Pasadena FL 33707
Wiggins, Charles C.
Williams, Harry R.
Doc. Here are some answers about ST-2 plankowners.
are correct about Painter. He drowned on a mission in Turkey. I was
sent over to replace him which is how I missed some of our Cuban
dead, JP in a training accident on the west coast prior to going to
away of natural causes.
have been a plank owner, but wasdroppedmy
command before we were commissioned.
passed away does. He came after commissioning but was granted plank
holder status because apparently his orders were written before we
are the other plank owner deaths I have been able to come up with
based on letters I have received from current plank owners:
about 2 years ago as didChief
Hoot Andrews, who also came late, but his orders were written before
commissioning. Second XOJoe
about 4 years ago as didLtjg. Dave Graveson. Roy Boehm also die
about 4 years ago.
JP Tiptonis our
most recent death, just weeks before our 50ths. We lost
a free fall collision with another SEAL about the time we lost JP
Tolison. Others known to be dead are:Dick
sure he is considered a plank owner,Bob
letters since our 50thimply
the following may be dead: John Ritter, Ron Fox, Mike Kelly and
James Scot Maclean.
know nothing of the whereabouts of,
Johnson.No one has
heard from any of the above three.
Martin lives in Montana, he suffered a stroke, but is doing pretty
our 50ths, there were 20 present in LC, but only 13 were present for
the photo I took. If you want those names or a copy of the photo,
let me know and I will send you one. I have a list of who was
and who was not in the photo.
the way, here is the scoop of former Commanding Officers present. I
have that photo too. Present were;Dave
Morrison, Ted Lovett, Scott Moore, Joe Maguire, TimSeymansky,
Ryan McCombie,Mike Hayes (current CO), Rick Woolard, BruceWilliamson.
at muster, but not in the photo wereBob
Rieve, Ted Lyon, Ric MarcinkoandNorm
you need their dates of service, I can send that to you. Just let me
you get any updates on the “two who we have not been able to track
down”, let me know: , Rex Johnson and Mike McKeawn.
Cannondied in 2003.
He came from the fleet withTex
Hager & Jose Taylor. All 3 were LDOs.. In my mind,RedCannonisa
plank owner also, and likeTex
cameabout the same time. ButRed
Cannonis NOT on our
plank owner plaque. I still dispute that, but it may be his orders
were not written BEFORE the commissioning.Chief
came after commissioning, but was granted plank status.
Additionally, those in UDT training when we were commissioned, but
came over after they graduated, were all granted plank status.
let me know if any of the data I have shared above you find to be in
contention or incorrect.
Your old buddy, (but I still mow 4 ˝ acres of land)
I can not recall Tex Ritter and I am not sure that Charlie Wiggins
ever reported for duty but stayed at UDT 21.
Painter is dead, actually the first SEAL to die on active duty.
at least one of the Tolisons is dead, I think it is R.A.
is an expert on ST2 plankowners and their status.. Pete
Boesch's ST-2 Plankowner list. Reviewed by John Dearmon
real ST-2 Plank Owners are: (38 total)
Ablitt * added to list by John Dearmon 20 sep 2011
E. Burbank, Sr.
F. Callahan, Jr.
W. Jessie, Jr.
M. Shapiro (Stephensen)
me know if you need anything else.
Bob Gardner's Seastory about a SAIGON,
From: Robert Gardner <bgardner1946 [at] yahoo
DOT com> Date: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 2:58 PM Subject: Back Then To:
docrio [at] sealtwo DOT org
Don't know if you remember me, but I just discovered your webpage and wanted to say hello after forty years. I
an the Intel guy with NSWGV and deployed with Lt. Boyhan and Charlie platoon at Dung Island, then with Lt. Todd and Hotel platoon at My Tho and Ben
I want to remember an OP you and I made in Saigon in June '70. You were in town from the canal job and I was there with Charlie
plt. stand down and you wanted to go to the Green Door on the other side of the Saigon River.
Well, I went with you and before too long it was past curfew and we needed to get back (we were both staying at the Le Lai). We hired a cowboy to get us to the bridge but then had to make our way along and around Tu Du Street back to the hotel. You seemed to know every back alley and a couple times we even had to climb some walls to avoid the MP's.
We made it to right across the street from the hotel, broke into the open, and were promptly nailed by an MP jeep patrol. They took us all the way down to the Annapolis brig and turned us over to the SP duty guy there, all written up on a MACV report, very official. Of course, it turns out the SP duty guy was an old shipmate of yours and after we all finished howling he wadded up the reports, called transportation for a Navy SP jeep to deliver us safely to the front door of the Le Lai, and that was the end of it.
I've told this story a million times to my friends and have been accused of gun decking
more than once, but it's all true. Great to see you're still so involved, keep up the good work. Though I
am not a SEAL you guys always took good care of me and I do share with all of you the devotion to the principles and traditions of NSW.
I'm very honored to have served alongside you.
Fair winds my old friend, Bob Gardner NSWGV
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
Hey Bob! Why would they not believe you. You and I never lied! Reason I knew some back alleys was because I used to drive the bar girls home when they closed the club at the Lei Lie. My driving buddy was Jaime Garcia, a PBR sailor. He married one of those girls, has three children by her. They all look more Mexican than Vietnamese.
Cho died last year of Hepatitis. Jaime lives in California with his daugher and his grandkid.
Bob Stoner's SeaStory
from: Robert Stoner RStonerCRD21 [at] msn DOT
com to: "Erasmo \"Doc\" Riojas" <docrio
[at] sealtwo DOT org> date:
Wed, May 11, 2011 subject: Another Saigon Vietnam Seastory
Back Then You're well aware of the in-country travel and TAD orders we carried in RVN. The MST-2 guys carried the same ones because we were all part of NSWG. When we turned over out detachment's gear to the in-bound det the first week of 1970, my boss told me to pack my bags and catch a bird to Saigon to make sure our records had the right endorsements and check on our flight back to
Long story made short -- NSWG Saigon had the paperwork ready, but they forgot to make arrangements with the USAF (Military Airlift Command). We went to Ton Sun Nhut and waited two nights and two days on the standby list. Morning of day three we held a council of war:
(1) it was obvious we were all going nowhere fast with the USAF and
(2) we'd find a place to stay in Saigon (President Hotel f
or officers; Victoria Hotel for enlisted) until NSWG arranged a return flight with VR-21.
It took NSWG in Saigon three weeks to make the arrangements, but we finally got out and
arrived back at North Island NAS on 5 December 1970.
Getting back to the TAD orders, EN2 Don King and I were walking back to the Victoria Hotel from
the Cho Lon Exchange when a jeep with two Army MP's pulled up in front of us, they got out, and
asked us for ID and orders. Don and I handed them our green IDs and in-country travel orders.
[Both Don and I kept as serious faces as we could.]
Then the MPs hit the third paragraph that
talked about carrying explosives, weapons, and jumping out of airplanes -- and we watched the blood slowly drain from their faces. They folded our orders up and returned them along with our IDs.
The MPs wished us a great day and split the scene as fast as they could.
Congratulations to you and Bob Gardner for reunited after a long time of Vietnam war.
Cu Lao Dung or Dung island in Long Phu, Bac Lieu which I was there on late of 1970.
The LDNN barrack was nearby with Navy SEAL advisors in that Naval base.
I had soem good memories with my Vietnamese LDNN Chief Hen who was in charged of
Intel in that team. Best wishes,
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
Capt David Del Giudice will be inducted
into the Commando Hall of Honor
(CHOH) on 27 October 2010.
Capt Dave was the first CO of ST-1, below is a statement about his
career by Capt Andy (3rd CO of ST-1)
LTC FARRELL -- It will be a pleasure to bring forth information
pertaining to CAPT DEL GIUDICE and his outstanding career in Naval
As stated previously - Dave and I were Both Executive Officers of UDT-12
The Commodoroe (LCDR MACK BOYNTON) was summoned over the COMPHIBPAC to
discuss a TS message pertaining to the formation of a Special
Operational Force. We were selected to be on the 'WHAT IF
COMMITTEE"= to respond to CNO'S query.
In December CNO Directed that SEAL'S be established. LCDR BOYNTON
selected Dave to be the Commmanding Officer of SEAL TEAM ONE to be
effective 1 January l962. Thereby making Dave the FIRST
SEAL TEAM ONE was composed of Officers and men from UDT-11 and UDT-12.
Later that year Naval Operational Support Groups (Atlantic &
Pacific) were established. Capt Phil Bucklew became the Commodore and
shortly thereafter he and David Del Giudice departed for Vietnam to work
on plans and operations.
The ensuring works are contained in the Bucklew report. Dave received a
high decoration for his part. SEALS were deployed as Mobil Training
(composed from both coasts)in l962 and employed around Da Nang.
After Daves tour as Commanding Officer of SEAL TEAM ONE - He was ordered
to report to COMMANDER NAVAL OPERATIONS SUPPORT GROUP, PACIFIC, as
Operations Officer. During this period he was active in coordinating
with COMPHIBPAC Staff for the employment of SEALS, and others NOSG
In early l966 his efforts were rewarded with the deployment of SEAL
DET BRAVO to Vietnam. It soon became obvious that staffs were not
familiar with employment of SEAL'S and Dave convinced higher authorities
that a NOSGWESPAC DET be established in WESTPAC to assist in planning
and operations. Upon completion of that tour he was assigned to the
Office of CNO; in OPNAV 343, once again working with Capt Bucklew
who had replaced Capt Kelly (I believe that later it was redesignated as
During this period great strides were made in the development of billets
throughout the Navy, A career Program was being pursued, Research and
Development slots were established in OPNAV, TDP's and other methods of
procurement of special weapons was on-going. Increased Manpower
authorizations for SEAL was approved.
During this period GREAT STRIDES were made in the conduct of Naval
Special Warfare and its support assets. Dave worked tirelessly in the
performance of his Duties and his accomplishments are a matter of
record. Thanks - Franklin
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for
free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
SEALs -- The Beer Guzzlin' Celebration
3:12 PM PDT by TMZ Staff
bunch of Navy
SEALs based in San
Diego celebrated their faces off last night ... toasting the UNBELIEVABLE raid
carried out by their fellow SEAL brothers by reveling at a S.D. bar ... a bar
which happens to be owned by a retired SEAL.
spoke with American bad ass Greg
McPartlin -- owner of
McP's pub -- who told us when the news broke, SEALs from the nearby Naval Base
Coronado quickly packed the house ... many carrying American flags.
We're told the soldiers went through 8 kegs, 15 cases of beer and TONS of
cocktails in just four hours ... while leading the bar in several
McPartlin tells us, "It's great --
Osama was expecting his 72 virgins, instead he got 24 Virginians!" (The
Navy SEAL team that executed the mission is based in Virginia.)
FYI -- the Naval Base Coronado is the home of the USS
Carl Vinson ... the
ship from which Osama's body was dumped into the North Arabian Sea.
A media relations spokeswoman at the base tells TMZ there are currently no
celebrations taking place at N.B.C., in part because, "Our boys had a lot
of fun over at the Irish pub last night!"
Click on the above Picture to see a
Squandering Our Victory
By Blackfive [May 03, 2011]
Squandering Our Victory : This
from a SEAL veteran who has served in The War on Terror and is now
retired. He writes for the Premiere Military BLOG Blackfive. Pretty much
Just like everybody else, the news that Navy SEALs had infiltrated
Pakistan and shot Usama bin Laden in the face really brightened my
evening. I decided to celebrate with a Patel Brothers cigar and two
fingers of Jack Daniels. Of course my heart was especially bursting with
pride at the news that my brothers on the East Coast got the call and
executed their mission flawlessly despite crashing a helo into the
compound. If you have to be in a helo crash, you are far better off
being in one piloted by a Nightstalker of the 160th Special Operations
Aviation Regiment (SOAR) because frankly nobody on the planet even comes
close to how good those guys are. This is an operation that I have
dreamed of being a part of for nearly 10 years, and I have fantasized
about rolling up on a target to find UBL in my sights. I am fairly
certain that I know somebody on that assault force, and I look forward
to the East Coast UDT/SEAL Reunion this summer and sharing a cold one
with some of the boys.
By now, May 3, 2011, the stories about how this successful operation is
going to ensure a Barack Obama victory in 2012 are legion. I even got an
email to that effect on the night of the 1st when we were all basking in
the afterglow of UBL's demise. I'll admit the thought had crossed my
mind, but I dismissed it immediately secure in the knowledge that if any
POTUS could f*ck this up, he was sure to be The One. Right on schedule,
the Administration has already put out several conflicting versions of
actions on the objective, and I have yet to see somebody from the
military nay the SEAL community on a podium at the Pentagon laying out
the operation and answering (or not answering) questions. The Bush
Administration was very good at this, and when some major military
operation took place, the White House would direct the media to the
Pentagon where some General or Admiral held a press conference often
with video clips and some PowerPoint slides showing some the mission
highlights. The Bush White House was happy to let the experts handle
things and show a unified front.
Meanwhile, between NSC staffers, the WH Press Secretary, Homeland
Security, CIA and a multitude of Senior Administration Officials on
background, the story has morphed into various versions of events. While
the political side of me sees this correctly as another manifestation of
the incompetence of this Administration, this vacillation is causing
real harm to the significance of our victory here and to the reputation
of the SEAL Teams. Let me assure you right now that there is no such
thing as a Kill only mission. If that SEAL operator came through the
door to find UBL with his hands up, compliant, and unarmed (including no
evidence of a suicide vest) he would have taken a muzzle strike to the
face, but not any rounds. He would have swallowed some teeth, been flex
cuffed, and dragged roughly out to a marshalling area and then onto the
helo. To start out with the story that UBL had used his wife as a shield
while shooting at the assaulters and to devolve that into to a woman was
wounded and UBL was unarmed and shot in the face is quite a large
spectrum of truth. Add to that the false notion of the Kill only
mission, and now you have the entire SEAL community being thrown under
the bus as wanton killers of women and unarmed civilians.
Are Navy SEALs eager to kill terrorists and UBL most of all? Hells Yeah!
But we would not be tasked with a mission profile that excludes the
capture of the single greatest intelligence bonanza in the history of
the conflict. Certainly we will exploit the intel collected on the
target and soon, but if you simply want to kill somebody no matter what
you do not send Navy SEALs across a sovereign border to do it. That is
what Hellfire missiles and JDAMs are designed to do.
This is also curious from the standpoint of Islamic sensitivity, which
is clearly foremost in the mind of this White House. Only Obama could go
out of his way to emphasize the respect for the Islamic burial process
only to tee up perfectly the conditions under which conspiracy theories
are born. The primitive peoples of the middle east are perhaps the most
gullible ethnic group on the planet. When I was in Iraq, there was a
widely held belief that VBIEDs were manufactured on our US military base
in Ramadi, and that the guys with beards (like me) were actually Israeli
agents driving in HMMVs with the Star of David on the door. I shit you
not. The point is that coming out with a well laid out media plan that
is executed from the Pentagon by experts is critical if your goal is to
provide a clear and undivided narrative of the event. Of course, this
White House has never been very good at sharing credit and it is that
infantile demand for attention that is causing this victory to become
muddled in conflicting accounts and naked political point scoring.
Frankly, I am content to watch Obama shoot himself in the foot while
still having presided over a tremendous effort by our intelligence
community and the SEAL Teams, but I˙ll be damned if he is going to be
allowed to implicate my brothers out of his own incompetence or
political expediency. More importantly, the killing of UBL is
undoubtedly a very significant event in the War on Terror and the
momentum that we have gained should not be lost by grandstanding,
partisan jackassery, and rank incompetence. Get your sh*t together Mr.
The True Soldier fights not because they hate what is in front of them,
but because they love what is behind them!
still a Navy SEAL. He received the Bronze Star with Valor Device. His hopes
for a deal to endorse the Randall knife that deflected a bullet and saved him
from serious injury have never been realized.
DMCM Robert Lee Witherow, USN
1/22/1928 - 3/13/2011
It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of Bullfrog number
two, DMCM Robert Lee Witherow, who shared the Bullfrog title jointly
with Rudy Boesch. Bob graduated in Class 6 (Little Creek) on 12 January
1951, and served as a joint Bullfrog from August 1981 until he retired
in August 1985.
Bob was born in Clearfield County, PA and enlisted in the Army in 1946
after graduating from high school in Clymer, PA. During his time in the
Army, he served on several USAT (U.S. Army Transport) ships in the
Pacific. He returned to Pennsylvania after his tour on board the USAHS
Comfort, attended technical school, and joined the Naval Reserve.
In November, 1950, he was called into active duty and assigned to
Underwater Demolition 22 and subsequently volunteered and graduated from
UDTR. Following graduation, Bob served in UDT-2 and UDT-21 where he was
the mainstay in the OPS Department for many years. He completed his
35-year career as the Personnel Officer of the Special Boat Squadron
Bob was extremely active in intramural sports. In 1976, he joined the
Little Creek Intramural Volleyball Team and soon was a member of the US
Volleyball Association. He played against teams all over the country. He
became a coach of the NAVPHIBASE "Gators" and took his team to
the 1977 All Navy Tournament Championship. After retiring, he became one
of the most respected volleyball referees in Virginia Beach.
Robert Lee Witherow
DMCM Robert Lee Witherow, USN 1/22/1928 - 3/13/2011
Rest in Peace
Albert Schaufelberrer III
from: spikey1971 [at] aol DOT
to: docrio45 [at] gmail DOT com
dateTue, Nov 23, 2010
subject: from your friend in Vietnam
The issue is June 6 1983. It was kinda hard to find but I'm sure with
time and patience you'll find a copy. I found the shirt that Al is
wearing in a vintage clothes store in Hollywood Calif about 8 or so
I knew the guy running the store and I was just
surfing the racks and saw this shirt, I knew the name so I grabbed it.
Later I come to find out that the shirt I have is THE exact shirt that
Al is wearing on the cover.
I always wondered how this shirt got to the shop.
I think the family might have gotten rid of his old uniforms after his
death. So many uniforms, pictures and documents end up in the garbage
or Goodwill type stores and then that history is GONE.
That's why I search this stuff out, any and all
UDT/SEAL uniforms, pictures documents and patches are HISTORY that
SHOULD be and NEEDS to be saved.
That is why I collect these items.
date: Tue, Nov 23, 2010
subject: from your friend in Vietnam
Please feel free to post whatever pictures I have sent. Maybe by guys
seeing what I have they wiil see that someone really does have an
intense interest about the Vietnam era UDTs and SEALs. SEALs today owe
everything they are to the VN guys.
Webmaster Note: Thank Mike, I sincerely appreciate your time and efforts
in collecting historical SEAL memorabilia. HooYah !
Albert Schaufelberger KIA Central
On: Tue, Oct 18, 2011 ,
From: conrad collins <conraddavidcollins [at] yahoo
To: Doc Riojas docrio45 [at] gmail DOT com
I met you at one of the reunions in the early eighties. More
just bumped into you as we gathered to pour beers, I think. I
was at Team 2 throughout the 80 and 90's. Yesterday I saw your
website, and I can't tell you how glad I was to look through
I noticed in particular a display case with Al Schaufelbergers
uniform in it. I was one of the three enlisted SEALs in El
Salvador with him and can honestly say I thought that little
chunk of history and Al's story were completely forgotten.
I was wondering where that display case is located?
I have always heard that Al was assassinated and never saw
what hit him, it's a lie. I went to San Salvador the day after
he was ambushed. Don Macdonald and, I think, Doc Vacarri were
with me. We went to the sight of the ambush with shotguns and
Mac-10's in hand. After checking out the sight and asking
questions we found that Al's pistol lay on his lap and it was
said he never had a chance to grab it. I rode with Al a
hundred times in that green Ford Maverick, his pistol was
always stuffed between the seats. The only explanation being
that he was bringing it to bear. The boys that killed him set
a good trap. But Al went like a true Frog, he fought till the
last breath. It's not important I quess, but I like the idea
of his 45. barking one last time before he went.
Al was a damm good guy and more importantly he was one of us.
Couldn't stop thinking about him since I saw your sight.
Ride Hard, Shoot Straight,
From: "Erasmo "Doc" Riojas"
To: conrad collins
Sent: Saturday, October 22, 2011
Subject: Re: Silver Bullet Question
Thank you Conrad, I have been away to the ASR/ARS reunion in
Ft. Worth TX. Give me a couple of days to try to find out
where I got those pictures, OK? OH, may I post your email by
his uniform pictures and the TIMES article? thank you, RIO
From: conrad collins
to: Doc Riojas
Of course you can use my E-mail.
If you use my E-mail will will you please check for
typographical errors and correct them.
Do you know Greg Bhurhamn and Al Williams? We gather every
Monday for coffee and lies. They both have more time
down-range so I have to exaggerate stories, in every tale the
long legged girls liked me after my exploits. Don't tell, I
never dated any one over five three.
No Conrad I do not know Greg nor Al. Please tell them
about www.sealtwo.org and
your contribution. Thank you.
Lt. Comdr. Albert Schaufelberger, the First U.S. Military Casualty
in El Salvador, Comes Home
By David Van Biema
day in 1967 young Albert Schaufelberger heard his name ring out over
the public-address system at Lemoore High School in Kings County,
Calif. Wild with worry, he thought the summons to the principal's
office meant that his namesake father, a Navy pilot, had been shot
down in Vietnam. The school was near the Lemoore Naval Air Station,
and friends had received similar calls. Instead, the honor-student
senior learned that he had been awarded a college math scholarship.
Recalls his mother, Virginia, "He was so relieved he didn't even
care about the scholarship."
Two weeks ago, however, when the phone rang at the Fripp Island, S.C.
home of Albert's father—who after three tours had returned safely
from Vietnam in 1969 with a chestful of medals including the Bronze
Star—the news was tragic. His eldest son, Navy Lt. Comdr. Albert
Schaufelberger III, 33, security chief for the American military
advisers to El Salvador and the second highest-ranking U.S. officer in
that country, had been shot to death—a murder later attributed to
leftist guerrillas. He was the first U.S. serviceman killed there
since American soldiers began training government troops in 1980.
His death had about it that combination of horror and the mundane that
has come to characterize El Salvador's simmering revolution. While
waiting to pick up his girlfriend, Consuelo Escalante, 32, outside
Central American University, where she is manager of a cooperative
store, he was shot three times in the head by a gunman.
Schaufelberger's body was returned to the U.S. Memorial Day weekend.
In accordance with sealed instructions he left before going to El
Salvador, his ashes were to be scattered in the Pacific from a patrol
boat belonging to Navy's elite SEALs.
(Two days after the killing President Reagan, apparently signaling his
commitment to an even harder line against El Salvador's guerrillas,
relieved Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
Thomas O. Enders and indicated that America's ambassador to the
beleaguered country, Deane R. Hinton, would be replaced.)
Himself a member of the SEALs, highly trained in sea, air and land
combat, Schaufelberger believed deeply in his training mission, and
some saw his murder as evidence of his success at interdicting arms
smuggled to leftist guerrillas by sea. Others saw it as a grim
reminder of the beginnings of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Not his
family. "Vietnam is a wrong analogy," says his father,
Albert, 56. "For the moment it seems to me to be a reasoned
approach to help out a nation that is genuinely striving for
As Schaufelberger's brother, Tom, 28, a Richmond, Va. attorney, and
two sisters, Kristine, 30, an immigration supervisor, and Margaret,
32, a San Diego detective, gathered with their parents at Fripp
Island, near Charleston, S.C., there were many happy memories of Al,
and cruel silences as well. "He was hard-driving, very
determined," remembers Tom. Margaret adds, "If he decided he
wanted to do something, he was meticulous and did an outstanding
job." His family recalled the way he plunged into woodworking as
a hobby at age 30. "His first project wasn't a set of
bookends," says his father.
After high school, where he excelled academically (with a reported IQ
of 155) and athletically ("He was small but he wasn't afraid of
anything," remembers a football teammate), he entered Annapolis,
a goal since age 12. The 5'9" cadet lettered in 150-pound
football and lacrosse before graduating in 1971. His drive carried him
into training for the SEALs, which have a dropout rate of some 75
percent. Not Schaufelberger. He once fell 30 feet from a cargo net on
an obstacle course. Badly injured, he crawled through the course until
an instructor put a foot on his back to stop him.
His Navy assignments took him to Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and
Korea, but home was the modest three-bedroom house he bought in a San
Diego suburb. There he coached a boys' soccer team, built a redwood
hot tub, and worked on his VW camper. He became a gourmet cook,
sometimes preparing dinner for 30 friends, and let his siblings use
the house when they wanted. "Al was a big brother in every sense
of the word," says Margaret.
In his final absence, Schaufelberger's military family choked back
their tears, but didn't disguise how proud they had been of the
officer they had known as a man and a boy. "Oh yes. Tremendously
proud," says his mother. "He was a wonderful son. A
wonderful brother. We couldn't have asked for more happiness, and
we're thankful for the 33 years we had."
Marine's .45 Pistol in Iwo Jima,
shot by Jap sniper.
A few days after the flag raising on Iwo Jima, the Japanese attacked the
marines, another fight broke out. A Japanese sniper shot him and
the bullet hit him in the right wrist, and then continues on tohit
his pistol on his belt. The round, after completely disabling his right
hand, penetrates his leather pistol holster, and embeds itself into the
slide of his M 1911. fragments from the round penetrate through the
other side of the holster, and into his leg, injuring him further. He
given first aid and then evacuated.
DMCM Robert Lee Witherow, USN
1/22/1928 - 3/13/2011
It is with great sadness we inform you of the passing of Bullfrog number two, DMCM Robert Lee
Witherow, who shared the Bullfrog title jointly with Rudy Boesch. Bob graduated in Class 6 (Little Creek) on 12 January 1951, and served as a joint Bullfrog from August 1981 until he retired in August 1985.
Bob was born in Clearfield County, PA and enlisted in the Army in 1946 after graduating from high school in Clymer, PA. During his time in the Army, he served on several USAT (U.S. Army Transport) ships in the Pacific. He returned to Pennsylvania after his tour on board the USAHS Comfort, attended technical school, and joined the Naval Reserve.
In November, 1950, he was called into active duty and assigned to Underwater Demolition 22 and subsequently volunteered and graduated from
UDTR. Following graduation, Bob served in UDT-2 and UDT-21 where he was the mainstay in the OPS Department for many years. He completed his 35-year career as the Personnel Officer of the Special Boat Squadron TWO.
Bob was extremely active in intramural sports. In 1976, he joined the Little Creek Intramural Volleyball Team and soon was a member of the US Volleyball Association. He played against teams all over the country. He became a coach of the NAVPHIBASE "Gators" and took his team to the 1977 All Navy Tournament Championship. After retiring, he became one of the most respected volleyball referees in Virginia Beach.
From: Rev. Larry Lyons
ljlyons [at] texoma DOT net
to: "Erasmo \"Doc\"
Riojas" docrio45 [at] gmail
date" Mon, Dec 6, 2010
subject: Howdy from the North - North Texas that is
I talked to Roy Dean about an hour ago. Great visit. Thanks
for his phone number.
Doc, any and I mean any picture you get from me you may
use on your web site and share it with anyone you like. I don't
need to see any proofs.
Yea, I did the disk label. I kind of like playing with that kind of
stuff. Just not really good at it.
What do you think of the music? it is for real. I have a hard time
getting the music on our travel slide shows but it really adds.
Remember Doc, as you said to me, please get back on the VTC
in a few weeks and get your web site back up and running. It is
My wife's name is Melissa and she is the love of my life.
I am a blessed Frogman.
Roy Dean Matthews is in our prayers.
CU CHI GUERILLA TUNNELS IN VIETNAM
Tunnels of CU CHI
The tunnels of Củ Chi are an immense network of
connecting underground tunnels located in the Củ Chi
district of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, and are part
of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the
country. The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several
military campaigns during the Vietnam War, and were the Viet
Cong's base of operations for the Tết Offensive in 1968.
The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots
during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply
routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters
for numerous guerrilla fighters. The role of the tunnel
systems should not be underestimated in its importance to the
Viet Cong in resisting American operations and protracting the
war, eventually culminating in an American withdrawal.
A trap door on the jungle floor leads down into the Củ
Chi tunnels. Closed and camouflaged, it is almost undetectable
The camouflaged trap door, now open.
Booby trap with bamboo spikes.
Part of the tunnel complex at Củ Chi, this tunnel has
been made wider and taller to accommodate tourists.
Visitors entering tunnel system.
A command center in the tunnels. Today, visitors to the
complex can eat meals underground, sampling foods that the
underground Viet Cong fighters had eaten, such as rice
Tour guide showing how the tunnel works.
Just 30 km from Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), hundreds of
miles of narrow underground tunnels attest to the
determination of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
I wish I could post all of Larry's pictures.
They took about 500 shots.
The SEAL 'nam era
"Freedy the Frog" in movie "APOLLO 13"
SDV at SEAL Demonstration at reunion "shark"
Alvaro Lanza at FtPierce SEAL Museum
ChinaTown Houston TX
SCUD Is More Than A
July 9, 2002
this letter and the below article came to
me from Jake Rhinebolt, my XO ST-2 back in the '60's.
Hi Doc Rio,
An ex-submarine shipmate sent me this
article. The writer, Tony DeMarco did pretty good after 36 years
since the event, but he was a little "fuzzy."
The SCUD didn’t run submerged, but was a
sailboat that could be launched from a submerged sub. It had water
proof outboard motor. It was designed by the CIA to infiltrate
agents into Cuba.
Ron Fox was along too. We three thought
its best use was as a Cuban (illegible word)
It was also the coldest I have ever been
in my life.
Jake, what does "SCUD" stand for?
SCUD Is More Than A Four-letter Word
by Tony DeMarco
The American Submariner
April - June 2002
When I first saw the photo
of this submarine, it brought me back some 36 years to 1966, and my
personal experience with an underwater swimmer delivery system, then
called a SCUD. I believe it meant submerged covert delivery system.
I was the Navigator and Operations Officer and a Lieutenant
Commander at the time on the USS Grenadier (55-525). Grenadier
with its high, North Atlantic sail was a four-engine,
four-battery boat operating out of Key West as a unit of Submarine
Squadron (CSR) 12. The skipper was Lcdr Fritz Hahn.
seemed to be the CSR 12 test boat for the latest underwater
gadgetry. Having come from the relatively spacious three-engine,
two-battery USS Threadfin (SS-410), Grenadier had something
in every little cubbyhole.
Some of these facts may be
bit fuzzy, because they happened over three decades ago in
1966. Repair personnel from the tender USS Bushnell built a
special wooden cradle on Grenadier’s deck, just aft of the
forward torpedo room (FTR) escape hatch. It was designed to house a
crudely constructed SCUD capable of carrying two underwater swimmers
to the beach for an undetected insertion or some other covert
mission. The SCUD was tightly latched down in the cradle. I
don’t recall the SCUDs dimensions or capability, but it was
battery powered and I believe about 8-10 feet long. It ran
submerged, just below the surface of the water with its two
occupants. The two SEALS were Ltjg Jake Rhinebolt and Petty Officer
First Class Gallagher from SEAL Team Two at the Little Creek (VA)
Their mission was to make
an undetected incursion onto the small Naval Coastal Facility at
Panama City, Fl, some 90 miles east of Pensacola. I’m a bit hazy
here, but as I recall, they were to enter the base commander’s
office and remove something to prove they had successfully breached
the base’s security. Grenadier’s role was relatively
simple, except for the difficult navigation problem in reaching the
precise drop-off point. We also had to remain undetected during our
submerged nighttime transit of the shallow water. There weren’t
many prominent navigation aids, landmarks, and getting a good visual
"fix" was further compounded by the many lights of the
When we hit our spot,
Rhinebolt and Gallagher locked out of the FTR escape chamber, went
up on deck, unlatched the SCUD and motored to the beach, six miles
away. They then had to hide the SCUD. After accomplishing
their mission (if they weren’t caught), they were to swim back to
the rendezvous point without the Scud for Grenadier retrieval.
After the drop off,
Grenadier retreated to the relative safety of deeper water, and six
hours later returned to pick up the two "intruders." The
scheduled time for the extraction was 6 a.m. and we arrived back
there 10 minutes early at 5:50. I informed skipper Fritz Hahn we
were on station to extract the two SEALS. To be honest, it was a bit
of ~ SWAG (stupid wild ass guess), because we were still having some
NAV problems. I sure wish we had a global positioning system (GPS)
back then we raised NO.1 scope did a quick look around. NO SEALS! At
6 a.m., I did it again. Still NO SEALS! Skipper Hahn said,
"Give them another 10 minutes." All of a sudden, I heard
"Clank! Clank! Clank!" Someone was ringing the Grenadier’s
doorbell. They had arrived and were longing of some steak and
eggs If they had a broom, they would have tied it to the periscope.
They swam six miles to affect a rendezvous with only a wrist-held
compass. What a feat. I was totally impressed and tried to recruit
them as part of my navigation team, but they respectfully declined.
I don’t know who recovered the hidden SCUD, but the two happy
SEALS had enough material to prove that they accomplished their
About a year or so later,
I left Grenadier and volunteered for in-country Vietnam :.duty as a
combat field historian. There in the Mekong Delta, I met Lt.
Rhinebolt, who was in charge of a SEAL platoon in Binh Thuy, and
also now Chief Electrician’s Mate Gallagher, who was in Vinh Long
with a SpecWarGru SEAL platoon. At the time, I was the historian for
the SEAL activity in Vietnam. These two men were highly decorated
I didn't write this, just using it by permission,
it tells a bit about what I do)
I recently was engaged in a heated argument with a
young sergeant during this argument the sergeant
said to me “You are just a corpsman” This
angered me to no end, as we continued with the
patrol I thought about his statement. You are just
I realized that even though he may have thought he
was disrespecting me he paid me one of the highest
complements that could be given to a warrior. Yes
I am just a Corpsman.
You can call me a squid, pecker checker, sailor
you can make fun of my Dixie cup hat and
bellbottoms but let me tell you about
A common description of 8404 hospital corpsmen
could be found in the 1980 book, Green Side Out
Marine Corps Sea-Stories by H. G. Duncan and W. T.
– "A long haired, bearded, Marine-hatin'
Sailor with certain medical skills, who would go
through the very gates of Hell to tend to a
I have my own symbol the Caduceus. It is very old
and understanding its origins can be somewhat
confusing. The link between the caduceus of Hermes
(Mercury) and medicine seems to have arisen by the
seventh century A.D., when Hermes had come to be
linked with alchemy. Alchemists were referred to
as the sons of Hermes, as Hermetists or
Hermeticists and as "practitioners of the
the caduceus was the magic staff of Hermes
(Mercury), the god of commerce, eloquence,
invention, travel and theft, and so was a symbol
of heralds and commerce, not medicine. The words
caduity & caduceus imply temporality,
perishable ness and senility, while the medical
profession espouses renewal, vitality and health..
Like the staff of Asclepius, the caduceus became
associated with medicine through its use as a
printer’s mark, as printers saw themselves as
messengers of the printed word and diffusers of
knowledge (hence the choice of the symbol of the
messenger of the ancient gods). A major reason for
the current popularity of the caduceus as a
medical symbol was its official adoption as the
insignia for the Medical Department of the United
States Army in 1902.
I myself think that the Hermes angle is better
because, I will sell my soul to save your life. If
I have nothing left to use I will invent a way to
save your life, I will travel through anything
including the very gates of hell to save you and I
have often stolen you from the very hands of
But I am just a Corpsman.
I am Francis Junior Piece who while continuously
under fire while carrying out the most dangerous
volunteer assignments, I gained valuable knowledge
of the terrain and disposition of troops .Caught
in heavy enemy rifle and machinegun fire which
wounded a corpsman and 2 of the 8 stretcher
bearers who were carrying 2 wounded marines to a
forward aid station I quickly took charge of the
party, carried the newly wounded men to a
sheltered position, and rendered first aid. After
directing the evacuation of 3 of the casualties I
stood in the open to draw the enemy's fire and,
with my weapon blasting, enabled the litter
bearers to reach cover.
my attention to the other 2 casualties I was
attempting to stop the profuse bleeding of 1 man
when a Japanese fired from a cave less than 20
yards away and wounded my patient again. Risking
my own life to save my patient I deliberately
exposed myself to draw the attacker from the cave
and destroyed him with the last of my ammunition,
Then lifting the wounded man to my back, I
advanced unarmed through deadly rifle fire across
200 feet of open terrain. Despite exhaustion and
in the face of warnings against such a suicidal
mission, I again traversed the same fire-swept
path to rescue the remaining Marine. On the
following morning, I led a combat patrol to the
sniper nest and, while aiding a stricken Marine,
was seriously wounded. Refusing aid for myself I
directed treatment for the casualty, at the same
time maintaining protective fire for my comrades.
Completely fearless, completely devoted to the
care of my patients, I inspired the entire
But I am just a Corpsman.
I am John Bradley who is immortalized in the
Marine Corps memorial. I am the one with an empty
canteen pouch. It is empty because I gave the last
of my water and canteen to a wounded Marine 24
But I am just a Corpsman.
In August of 1942, the first major USMC assault
landings against the JapaneseEmpire occurred in
the Solomon Islands, Pacific. The island chosen
for the invasion was Guadalcanal. As they moved
inland, four Marines were walking point into the
jungle. Advancing into an open area without cover,
they came under heavy fire from the entrenched
Japanese. All four Marines were wounded but
managed to crawl into a shell crater, about fifty
yards from where they had emerged from the jungle.
I ran from cover into the crater with the wounded
Marines, and ran back to cover, under fire. Having
dressed the wounds of the Marine, I sprinted back
for another, only this time I was hit. Not
stopping to dress my own wounds, I carried the
second Marine to cover receiving a second wound.
After giving aid to the Marine, I was hit for a
third time going into the crater.
toward the tree line with the third Marine, I was
again struck by enemy fire. When the third
Marine's wounds were dressed, I started after the
last Marine in the crater. I still did not stop to
care for my own wounds. In a final valiant effort,
I stumbled toward the crater, where I was brought
down by concentrated enemy machine gun fire. I
lunged forward into the crater falling across the
fourth Marine, finally giving up I life. But I am
just a CorpsmanFifteen Corpsmen were counted among
the dead following the bombing of the Marine
barracks in Beirut in 1983.
But they were just Corpsmen
I am John Harlan Willis who was constantly
imperiled by artillery and mortar fire from strong
and mutually supporting pillboxes and caves
studding Hill 362 in the enemy's cross-island
defenses, I administered first aid to the many
marines wounded during the furious close-in
fighting until I was struck by shrapnel and was
ordered back to the battle-aid station. Without
waiting for official medical release, I quickly
returned to my company and during a savage
hand-to-hand enemy counterattack daringly advanced
to the extreme frontlines under mortar and sniper
fire to aid a Marine lying wounded in a shellhole.
Completely unmindful of my own danger as the
Japanese intensified their attack, I calmly
continued to administer blood plasma to my
patient, promptly returning the first hostile
grenade which landed in the shell-hole while he
was working and hurling back 7 more in quick
succession before the ninth one exploded in my
hand and instantly killed me.
But I am just a Corpsman.
I am fearless, dedicated, tough and caring. I have
delivered babies and treated the old. On
submarines I have performed appendectomies even
though I am no surgeon, I do this because it is
what needs to be done. I will tranfer my own blood
to your body from mine if that is what I have to
do. I have the skills to keep you breathing even
if you have no face. I will stop the blood from
leaving your body in an singleminded effort to
save your life while ignoring everything else
including my own safety.When you are injured there
are three things you scream out Oh God ,Momma and
Corpman up. The first two usually don’t show up
and the only thing that will stop me from getting
to you is death itself. I have taken an oath to do
this. I take that oath very serious.
I am just a Corpsman.
I have always been with you don’t you remember?
Was I not there during the freezing winter in the
Chosin resevoir. Did I not help you semaphore 100s
of injured Marines. Did I not fight as hard as you
did on Okinawa. In Belleau wood did I not keep you
alive so that you could continue to do what you do
best? Do you not recall during the TET offensive
how I carried all that extra weight in the form of
equipment to keep you alive? Was I not in Somalia?
desert storm did I not repel the enemy out of
Kuwait with you.. Im sure you realize that I am
still here with you fighting next to you in Iraq.
I have spilled my blood here too. I have saved
your life here as well. Don’t you remember?Was I
not in Fallujah, Ramadi and Habaniyah. I know you
realize that right now I am on a mountain in
Afghanistan . I live in that battle position with
you, I sleep next to you. I patrol with you, I
suffer where you suffer.
I am just a Corpman.
I stand by you with pride don’t I deserve the
same? have I not earned your respect?.I cry when
you cry, I cheer when you cheer. Your battles have
always been mine. I practice medicine through
firepower. I will gladly take a life to save yours
and give mine in your stead. That is what I am
here for. I am just a Corpman.
the Marine Corps Hymn plays I stand a little
taller and a tear wells up in my eye because I
know that it is also my song. I have earned that
by blood. You did not give it to me, don’t you
see? Just like the Blood represented by the stripe
running down your leg my Caduess is also red.
I am just a Corpsman
Same Same 1967 to now 2010
have put some extra in on Britt
Slabinski that his Father sent me. You may
have this already?
Cross, Navy Marine Corps Medal, Bronze Star
am not computer smart or I would have sent these by whatever can be
done by the copy gadget.
am sure you know
Andy Anderson. He is a member of my Legion Post 14, where I am the
Historian. We inhaled a few beers on Memorial Day. Larry Bailey is
also a Post 14 member. When Tom Hawkins was in
recently, I had him come over (St.Pete) for supper at the Post.
and Rick Green were with us. If you are ever in this neck of the
woods, give me a buzz at 727 894 284 or do an email.
Barnes “Older than Dirt”
& NavyCross Awards
Click on small pictures to enlarge them.
sports played: Water polo, triathlon, lacrosse,
boxing, rugby, swimming and/or wrestling Alternative sports played:
Skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, climbing, rappelling and/or
martial arts Height: At least 5 feet
8 Weight: At least 162
pounds Age: 22 to 25 (by law,
only men are eligible to apply) Education: Bachelor’s Hobbies: Hunting,
woodworking and/or chest Geography: Grew up in New England (Vermont, New
Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island), the
Northern Plains (North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa,
Kansas and Missouri) or the West Coast (California, Washington and
There has never been a
female U.S. Navy SEAL. Under Defense Department policy,
only males can become members of the elite military
Today there are about 2,400 SEALs,
working in 33 countries.
About one-third of SEALs have
The U.S. Navy's Underwater
Demolition Team, formed in 1943, was the predecessor to
the SEALs, which President John F. Kennedy formed in
From 1945 through 2005,
about 48,000 men went through UDT and SEAL training.
Only 8,000 became UDTs and SEALs.
I have noticed the guy from LDNN named Thang who was assigned in Nam
Can Team, which Darryl Young wrote about his turned coat.
(Page:319 - 320 of SEALs, UDT, Frogmen: Men Under Pressure) I have met
Darryl Young from my home a few years before his death.
I have someone who knew him and he is still living somewhere in Go
Cong near Saigon Capital. He became a high ranking officer after
Vietnam fall and working for the bastard Commies.
You remember Thang is never interested on me and of course I am not
the one wanted to talk or see him too.
Kiet Nguyen, webmaster's note: Kiet was
awarded the Navy Cross for the rescue of BAT-21
LDNN Traitor,named Thang
----- Original Message -----
From: Kiet Nguyen
To: spikey1971 [at] aol.com Cc: Doc Rio
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:48 PM
Subject: Re: LDNN Thang
Thanks, my family is doing well. Since April 30, 2005 I was retired
from my 19+1/2 years of Boeing company.
About Thang last name I am not sure, but I will find out later. After
he betrayed our comrades in SEALs. He was transferred to other teams
in center Vietnam (Cam Ranh + Da Nang).
Then US forces withdrawn on 1973 the LDNN still rock and roll as
well as of itself. I never heard Thang anymore while I was in LDNN
headquarter as an instructor to the SEALs class # 8. On the fall of
Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, the Commies took over Saigon and
control whole VN country,
Thang , I heard that he became an high ranking officer to the VC. Now he is living
in Go Cong. I have his home phone number but never called him. My
friends still live in Saigon, once asked him wants to contact with me;
But he rejected it. I thought if I did not leave VN my life
should be in big trouble by him. For the rescue of BAT 21 operation
succeed; that mole won't mercy me by the way of my contribution to the
For now our government are having connections with commies
on many things... However Commies are never too honest.. Mike, what
are you doing now? Can you tell me? On this May of 30 Thuy (my wife)
I will be in Santa Ana where Garden Grove for the STD reunion.
If you are living close this area I am very happy to invite you to
join with us at the Seafood Kingdom restaurant 6:00PM - 11:00PM
30.5.2010 If use GPS use the city hall address ( City Of Westminster,
8200 Westminster Blvd Westminster, CA 92683
--- On Wed, 5/26/10,
From: spikey1971 [at] aol.com To: ktnguyen95 [at] yahoo.com
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 6:21 AM
Subject: LDNN Thang ; what happened to that Traitor? Thank you, Spikey
spikey1971 [at] aol.com
To: ktnguyen95 [at] yahoo.com
Sent: Tue, May 25, 2010 4:21 pm Subject: LDNN Thang
Hello Kiet, Nice to hear from you and I hope you and your family are
doing well. I saw something you postedon Doc Rio's website www.sealtwo.org
about an LDNN named Thang that was on Sea Float then went to Xray
I was told the he was killed after it was found out he was
selling information and maybe he was the reason why Xray platoon got
shot up so bad. The whole Xray platoon tour seemed to be doomed from
the start. So I was amazed that you said that Thang was alive in
Vietnam. I think his full name was Bo Van Thang or maybe I have it
Very interesting information. Did you know him? I wonder
where he went after Xray platoon, maybe to an LDNN platoon? Best
From: Kiet Nguyen <ktnguyen95 [at] yahoo.com>
To: Doc Rio docrio45 [at] gmail.com
Sent: Tue, May 25, 2010 1:50 pm
Subject: Re: write me here, but don't post this email on the WWW,
Hi Doc Rio & Mike,
It is a small world guys. Doc Rio was my trainer from LDNN Cam Ranh
Bay (1970) Mike Rush who I had a good opportunity met him at the UDT-SEAL
West coast reunion many years back while I have accepted the Honorary
Life member of UDT-SEAL Association. HoohYaah!
On Tue, May 25, 2010 at 9:46 AM,
<Spikey1971 [at] aol.com> wrote:
Thanks Doc Rio,
I've been collecting UDT/SEAL/LDNN items for over 15yrs. A lot
of people know I collect this stuff so they usually contact me. I have
gotten some GREAT stuff from former SEALs that knew I liked to collect
these items. Mainly I get a lot of stuff from West Coast guys, I have
very little contact with any East Coast guys, Dan Olson gave me some
cool stuff a few years ago and I got some stuff from Ace Sarich in the
mid 90's but that's about it. I'm working on getting another hug batch
of UDT/SEAL and LDNN patches, hopefully soon. I'd be honored to have
your hat. Please let me know when you put the pics up so I can check
them out. When I get home at the end of June I can re-shoot everything
in a larger format if you want. Mike
"Man has to be man - by choice; he has to hold his life as a
value - by choice; he has to learn to sustain it - by choice; he has
to discover the values it requires and practice his virtues - by his
choice." Ayn Rand"
Email from: phat28_6 [at] yahoo.com To: Doc Rio
Dec 23 2010
"Thang low " is the intructor and gave you plaque.
"Qua " is the intructor CRanh bay .
Skinny Thang is suspected of being a VC. Vietnamese and U.S. security has cleared him and he was found to be innocent.
OK, Thắng không phải lŕ VC. Tôi tin rằng bạn. Cảm ơn bạn.
NICKNAME for the "Trident" SEAL
qualification badge, formally called the Special Warfare Badge, which was
adopted in 1971; as derived from reference to both the basic school, and to
design similarity with the "Budweiser" beer logo. The Basic
Underwater Demolition School (BUDS) is the preliminary training for SEAL
specializations; so the name is a play on words: BUDS + wiser. The TRIDENT
incorporates the original UDT badge as its central motif; both badges were
initially partitioned silver for EM/NCO and gold for OFFICER, but later
combined into a single gold badge for all ranks. See SEAL, SCUBA, UDT, NSWG,
DIVER, BLOODING. [nb: 'Budweis' is the German name for a Czech (Bohemia and
A UDT-SEAL Assn. Plank Owner's Card
Bob Thomas (above)
click to enlarge photo
Are you glad you missed the Vietnam War Games?
Making LOVE & WAR!
Subic Bay Phillipines and the Orient: a
Cruise to the Past; Great Photos !
If you have visited Yokosuka, Subic Bay, Korea, you gotta see
these guy's Navy Photo Album!
Rio and Thang LDNN CamRanh Bay 'nam training camp 1970
Petty Officer R.J. Thomas
Combat Experience with the .45 ACP
Oft times, comments on this net are about GySgt. Carlos HathcockĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s
sniping adventures in Vietnam. HereĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s one that very few
know about, but is probably just as good as far as accuracy during
combat is concerned.
A Navy SEAL Team was returning from a mission over North Vietnam in a
chopper when it got hit pretty bad. The pilot and one crew member were
killed and the copilot was wounded. Going into autorotation, the copilot
managed to set the chopper down in a clearing. After landing, a few
rounds of enemy fire were starting to come in. Seems the M60s were also
damaged beyond use by the crash landing and initial RPG hit, the only
M16 fell out on the way down.
The only firearms left was M1911s.The remaining crew member was
carrying a match conditioned M1911 and had a few boxes of ammo. As more
enemy small arms fire started coming in, the copilot and crew member
also noted that the VC were coming out of the jungle and approaching
them; shooting as they came. The crew member took out his .45 and took
careful aim as he shot at each attacking VC. About 30 minutes later it
was all over. Between reloading magazines and radioing for rescue, the
copilot was pretty busy, but a rescue chopper finally arrived on the
As the rescue chopper came in and landed, its crew noticed a lot of
dead VC laying around. The downed heloĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s remaining crew
were picked up and on their way out, they counted the dead VC; 37 in
all. Their distances from the downed helo were from 3 to about 150
yards; all shot by the crew member with his M1911 .45 ACP. About 80
rounds were fired by Petty Officer R.J. Thomas, a member of the USN
Rifle and Pistol Team.
Petty Officer Thomas was recommended for the
Congressional Medal of Honor, but by the time the
recommendation got all the way up through the chain of command, the
recognition was reduced to the Navy Cross.
This incident has been cited this as the only known of example of
top-level combat marksmanship since SGT Alvin YorkĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s
escapades in WWI.
Submitted by Mark Eberhard-CEO & President
LtCol. USMCR (Ret.)
American Marksman GroupA
Helvenston and a SpecForceSoldier; Blackwater Employees
Ft. Benning GA, Basic AIrborne Training the 200 ft. towers
Subject: Hi Doc Rio
From Carl Swepston:
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010
From: Subject: Lenny Horst
I do know that Lenny Horst was in the UDT SEAL teams.
FYI: Lenny was the guy who called the White House and
asked to speak to the President because his platoon was stuck in
Hawaii (on their way back from Vietnam) and the plane crew was
being delayed. When Lenny got back to the strand Captain
Schaible called Lenny into office.
The Captain said: "Petty Office Horst tell me in 25
words or less why did you call the President of the United States?
Actually, Lenny only reached an Admiral at the White House.. That is
Carl Swpston.(SEAL) Happy Memorial Day
THE OLD OUTFIT
"Written By a World War Two
Come gather round me lads and I'll tell
you a thing or two,
about the way we ran the Navy in nineteen forty two.
When wooden ships and iron men were barely
out of sight,
I am going to give you some facts just to set the record right.
We wore the ole bell bottoms, with a flat
hat on our head,
and we always hit the sack at night. We never "went to bed."
Our uniforms were worn ashore, and we were
Never thought of wearing civvies, in fact they were not allowed.
Now, when a ship puts out to sea. I'll
tell you son, it hurts!
When suddenly you notice that half the crew's wearing skirts.
And it's hard for me to imagine, a female
stopping on the Quarter deck to make sure her stockings are straight.
What happened to the KiYi brush, and the
old salt-water bath?
Holy stoning decks at night, cause you stirred old Bosn's wrath!
We always had our gedunk stand and lots of
And it always took a hitch or two, just to make a rate.
In your seabag all your skivvies, were
neatly stopped and rolled.
And the blankets on your sack had better have a three-inch fold.
Your little ditty bag . . it is hard to
believe just how much it held,and you wouldn't go ashore with pants that hadn't
been spiked and belled.
We had scullery maids and succotash and
good old S.O.S.
And when you felt like topping off, you headed for the mess.
Oh we had our belly robbers, but there
weren't too many gripes.
For the deck apes were never hungry and there were no starving snipes.
Now, you never hear of Davey Jones,
Shellbacks or Polliwogs,
and you never splice the mainbrace to receive your daily grog.
Now you never have to dog a watch or stand
the main event.
You even tie your lines today; back in my time they were bent.
We were all two-fisted drinkers and no one
thought you sinned,
if you staggered back aboard your ship, three sheets to the wind.
And with just a couple hours of sleep you
regained your usual luster.Bright eyed and bushy tailed, you still made morning
Rocks and shoals have long since gone, and
now it's U.C.M.J.
Back then the old man handled everything if you should go astray.
Now they steer the ships with dials, and I
wouldn't be surprised,
if some day they sailed the damned things from the beach, computerized.
So when my earthly hitch is over, and the
good Lord picks the best,
I'll walk right up to Him and say, "Sir, I have but one request.
Let me sail the seas of Heaven in a coat
of Navy blue.
Like I did so long ago on earth, way back in forty two."
Thank you for your response on what I found on the WWW about the birth of USNavy
SEALs. I did not save what I forwarded you, so that is the reason is not
posted here. Thank you very much for the letter, above, and the two
followup emails ,below.
Riojas BUD/S class (zero,nada)
I did not sell president Kennedy on the idea It was Bill Hamilton the Skipper
of UDT 21. He ordered me to give him a group of men that would go anyplace and
do anything. He asked me if I could assemble this group from UDT 21; I told
him it was the perfect place to do it.Ă‚Â We served Mc George Bundy
Special assistant to the President for National Security. AttachedĂ‚Â is
National Security Memorandum No 2 Our first operation started in the end of
March 1961, and continued throughout the yearĂ‚Â prior toĂ‚Â the
creation and commisioning of what would later become the SEAL's
I have nothing against the truth It was our skipper Bill Hamilton That had
the know how and the connections to present the idea we had talked about and
he and Doug Fane had talked about years ago. I kaboshed the movie
because they were going to have the President crediting me . You can
use anything I say. I don't think it makes any difference. The men know what
happened and when; a long time before the argument of three hours
between east and west coast times.
The Story of
the Instantanous hand Grenade in
The instant grenade incident happened to 3rd Platoon
ST2 in Nha Be in
1968. That was my platoon. Here's the story as told me by Bubba
Brewton, Jerry Todd, Bo Burwell, and others:
My squad left an instant grenade with pin pulled beneath a special
device we implanted in an area of enemy activity. The other squad went
back several weeks later by PBR (new guys, that's a River Patrol
with twin 50s and some M-60s) to retrieve the device, which was on
Fully briefed and aware of the instant grenade,
the SEALs attached a line from the PBR to the device, paid out about
50 yards, and pulled the device out of the ground and into the river
behind the PBR. They expected the grenade to detonate harmlessly under
water as the mud attaching it to the device washed away from the
That did not happen, so the LT in charge of the PBRs decided to pull
the device to the stern of the boat to see what was the problem. He
lifted the device out of the water and saw the grenade still stuck to
it, spoon held down by mud. Fully aware the grenade had an instant
fuse and despite warnings to the contrary, he reached out, took hold
of the grenade, said, "I'm going to throw it", and did.
There's not much space to hide on the back of a PBR. Bubba Brewton,
the SEAL officer present, was right next to the LT and did not get a
scratch. A couple other SEALs got a little frag, but Skip Isham and a
non-SEAL CDR who was the XO of Nha Be both lost eyes and had to leave
The PBR LT lost most of his hand. When Bubba and I visited him at 3rd
Field Hospital in Saigon, I asked him what he had been thinking. His
response? "If only I had thrown it harder."
"Stupid is as Stupid does!"
"Skip" ISHAM, ST-2 Lost one Eye
Mence & Erasmo Riojas
"Rupe" and Margaret Mence:The two great women that have "canned" me.
"LouLou"the last one is
Walking in a canal, 'nam war game
I was forced to leave this chushy duty to go to the the
F.M.F. Korea. Thanks to Pres.Harry Truman Truman!
The USNavy National Naval Medical Center,Bethesda MD. This is where I was
We used this Sanpan also to chase VC Tax
collectors. That is Chuck Jessie, Tuan LDNN, and Erasmo "Doc"
Riojas doing the maintenance on it. One of the LDNN, or Minh, dressed as a civilian
did the driving. Roy Dean Matthews asked me in the year 2007 if I was ever
scared riding inside this sanpan. The gospel truth! I was scared
shitless. It was because we are in side that plywood enclosure and cannot
see what the heck is going on. Plywood is not bulletproof !
Alfa platoon SEAL Team ONE Seastory in
Thank you for the email. I will be out-of-town that day, but remember
the incident with Donny well as Alfa platoon was scheduled to relieve
Mike Platoon at the YRBM-18 on the Mekong in August 1968.
I have enclosed the list of Mike Platoon's members with reliefs in
parantheses. If you can remember the other original members, please let
me know. MIKE PLATOON (1)
(21 Feb-Aug 68)
Ltjg Benjamin S. Beall (LTjg Thomas Belding) Ltjg William J. “Bill”
Brierton (CWO1 James P. “Jess”Tolison) BM1 Walter G. Pope (RD3
Michael V. Ambrose) CS1 Donnie L. Patrick SFP2 David E. Devine EN2
Charles W. Puckett HM2 William E. Poole (HM2 William A. Silva) BM3 Frank
B. Toms PN3 R. F. Millerick EMFN R. D. Dean AN Barry H. Volkenant
In a message dated 2/8/2011 7:41:08 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org
writes: Teammates, wives, widows and friends, I didn’t know Annette,
but knew Donny well from Team 11 and Seal One. He was killed inserting
on an operation with Jimmy Ako, in Pope’s platoon. I can’t remember
who else was in that platoon, but we broke them in . Donny was a hell of
a guy and a good operator.
After researching this column, I have a newfound respect for those
serving our country in the armed forces. There are fewer than 30
federally designated museums outside Washington, and there is only one
in Florida. We are privileged that it is in Fort Pierce. The U.S. Navy
UDT-SEAL Museum — celebrating 25 years in existence and about to get
bigger — is the only one of its kind dedicated to preserving the
history of the Navy SEALs and their predecessors, the World War II Navy
Frogmen who originated and trained in Fort Pierce.
The museum will host its annual muster Nov. 6 and 7. On Nov. 6, you
can run or walk alongside (or slightly behind) real SEALs during the
beach 5K at 7 a.m. Your footprints will be imprinted in the same sand
that the Frogmen trained on beginning in 1943. At 11 a.m., the 25th
annual ceremony and demonstration will take place.
There will be men parachuting from a C-130, Navy helicopters present,
a performance by a pipe and drum unit, demonstrations of rappelling,
explosions and a mission scenario. “My favorite part of the event is
educating the kids and giving back to the community,” said Hector
Delgado, a former SEAL and U.S. marshal who is a federal agent and
museum board member serving in the demonstration.U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney,
two SEAL Medal of Honor recipients and “Rudy” Boesch, of the TV
series “Survivor,” also are expected, along with Nick Wynne, author
and past director of the Florida Historical Society.Other VIPs include
men and women who have served our country as SEALS and in other branches
of the armed forces.
After the demonstration, an auction and raffle will be at 1 p.m. and
guest speaker Ed Robinson, a tour guide at Normandy, will speak about
the French resistance. Later, museum officials will break ground for
expanded facilities that will add more display opportunities and house a
community multiuse theater, thanks to countywide support. Don’t be
surprised if you see news cameras on the premises covering the story of
the SEAL Bike Across America tour.The bikers most likely will have a
police escort from the county line to the museum at 2:45 p.m. —
something they deserve to conclude their 3,300-mile bike ride from
The team of five cyclists (one of whom is 74 years old) is raising
money for charities that provide support for the families of SEALs and
other Naval Special Warfare personnel killed in action, and for sports
programs and clinics for people with disabilities.Finally, at 10 a.m.
Sunday, officials will dedicate the new SEAL memorial, which is the only
one of its kind in the world and recently was completed after a year of
construction. This memorial honors the 252 Navy SEALs who were killed in
the line of duty.
Chuck Theiss, who is a former Frogman and head lector and tour guide
at the museum, has been a volunteer for more than a decade, giving 500
hours to his community. “Chuck is a tremendous resource and a great
asset to the museum. He was a Frogman before the SEALs were created and
helped link the Frogmen of WWII with the SEALs of the early 1960s,”
said Mike Howard, UDT-SEAL Museum executive director.
It is spectacular that the birth of this elite group began in our
backyard. Happy Friday! Correspondent Jennifer M. Trefelner is a
columnist for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. This column reflects
her opinion. Contact her
this book and other SEAL books are on sale on
amazon.com for $0.01 plus shipping.
Yes, ONE cent !
June 2008: I am presently writing a book about my military experience in
the Korean Police Action as a FMF Corpsman with an infantry platoon, and also my
tours to the Vietnam war games as a U.S. Navy SEAL. I am sure my
book will be for sale in Amazon.com for the same price.
"Hey! Be Careful!"
You wanna be Careful? Go join the Coast
"The Shark at UWSS Key West FL"
constructed by YNCS (DV)(PJ)(SS) Dow Byers (RIP). 1967. Ernie Caltenback, Master
Diver, was wrapped in casting cloth for the mold. The face was byers, the hands
were his wife's Annice Byers. The shark is now atop the Diving Locker at
the Naval Base, San Diego CA.
About Vietnamese Rats
Doc Rio wrote: asking if the below SEASTORY is true or
Si Amigo , it is TRUE;
Kaloki Dave was the LPO of golf PLt. Mar -August 1970 at
SeaFloat ; I do remember the Movie Rat account.
All the best ; Kaloki Dave Bodkin
Dale Moses, CAPT USN (ret) EMAIL: DALEMOSES
[at a ol.com : As a LT survived watching
movies on Seafloat. After dark at SeaFloat, the crew would show
flicks on a movie screen that was a sheet thrown over a line tied
between two of the hootches on the floats. You could watch the flick
from either side of the screen. In those days (June 1970) there were
lots of SEALs that hung out there. One night we had just started
watching a flick and a rat ran across the rope holding up the sheet.
One of the SEALs pulled out a pistol and tried to shoot the rat not
realizing - correction, not being too bright - that there were
Americans sitting on the other side of the rope and screen. The SEAL
missed the rat and fortunately also missed his shipmates. But I never
felt the same watching flicks there again.
[I was a US advisor on a Vietnamese Navy LSSL that patrolled during
the day, and the VN CO and I would come to SeaFloat forthe nightly ops
brief on a small junk that would pick us up.)
THE RATS Waking to some of the bluest language the Vietnamase ever
come up with, I blearily looked around and saw that what looked like
huge snakes were boarding us along the tie lines to the LSSL. They
were cutting the lines with machetes! I cleared my vision and saw that
the "snakes" werebunched up, pushing, throbbing lines of
rats. They had already pretty well covered the main deck of my boat
and were moving on to the other PCFs lashed up to us on the other
side. After the lines were cut, the rats were leaping into the water
off the LSSL--they just didn't seem to care and there were LOTS of
them. We were slowly spinning around with the other boats and we had
to wake up all the other crews and get them to start their engines and
unhook from each other. The PCFs all moved over to a large barge and
tied up to it. We went back to sleep except for guards on the end
USNS Weigel, Doc Riojas' first seaduty as USMC Troop coming home from
For Example search for John F. Rabbitt or Me
Lt. Jason Redman, US Navy SEAL,
By John T. Vigiano
This is the story of how a bunch of New York City Firefighters
met and Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“partneredĂ˘â‚¬Â up with SEAL Team TEN. This began
a trip to
back in October 2007. As we were making the rounds of the ward, we came upon a
sign hanging from one of the patient's door. You could not help but realize that
inside that room was an incredible human being; a man who gave part of himself
to make this country what it is.
This is the sign we saw:
I immediately took a photo of this and we asked if we could
meet this young man (Lt. Jason Redman, US Navy SEAL). The corpsman escort
entered first and asked the warrior if he would meet with us (usual procedure)
Needless to say, his response was affirmative. When we entered the room, this
young man was standing there , .. hanging from him were a maze of tubes and
other medical contraptions which to a normal person would mean "stay in
bed", Jay greeted us like brothers and began a conversation about
, Firefighters, and SEALs being bonded. We stayed as long as we were permitted,
and left. All day long we spoke the attitude of that young man. A few days
later, a friend was going down to visit the troops ... I asked her to visit this
young man and to ask him if he would allow us to "adopt" his team, My
friend did meet Jay and relayed my request. It was then I found out there were
200 people in the Team. Undaunted, I said "not a problem," but I knew
I had to come up with 200 hats, tee shirts and patches from somewhere. A few
days later, I received an email from Jay's CO, CDR Robert "Gus"
Gusentine and we communicated back and forth discussing this partnership (SEALs
are not adopted).
Webmaster's note: They all met and visited three FDNY
firestations and the entire ST-10 got hats and T shirts. article from The
BLAST 3d quarter 2008. Vol.40, No.3
Let's Be Worthy of THeir Sacrifice 'The wounds I received I got in a job I love.'
By KARL ROVE
This holiday season, home in Texas and surrounded by
close friends and family, I often found myself thinking about virtual
A Navy Seal at work in Afghanistan.
I met them this fall when I spoke at the Naval Special
Warfare Foundation (NSWF) dinner. The NSWF supports naval commandoes
with scholarships and assistance for families of Navy SEALs killed or
wounded in combat or training.
During my White House years, I came to know of the
heroic actions of the Seals and other special operators in the global
war on terror. These men willingly follow evil into dark and perilous
places. They volunteered to be on the front edge of the conflict whose
outcome will shape this century.
The highlight of the NSWF dinner was a video of
"snatch and grab" operations in Afghanistan. It showed
helicopters lifting off to pounding music, night footage of Seals
jumping onto roofs and rappelling into dusty fields, the breathtakingly
destructive power of American missiles and machine guns, and compound
doors blowing open and terrorist suspects being rounded up.
The Seals who prepared the video had carefully mined
President Bush's speeches, using his voice and words as narration. I was
touched by this and knew the president would be, too. So when I met the
Seal who'd produced the video, we exchanged email addresses. Later,
before he left for Afghanistan for his umpteenth deployment, I asked for
a copy of the video to show the president.
He was happy to supply one but had a request in
return. Could the wives and children of his unit's members see the White
House Christmas decorations while their husbands and fathers were
The First Lady readily agreed and with NSWF's help, 75
Seal family members were greeted at the White House just before
Christmas by the president and Laura Bush. It was one of the high points
of Mr. Bush's last holiday in Washington.
On Christmas Eve, I received an email from
Afghanistan, with thanks for helping to facilitate the tour. Attached
was a picture of the videographer and his team, ready for that night's
mission. Bearded and scruffy, covered with weapons and standing in a
rude shelter, they were all wearing bright red Santa Claus hats. It was
the best gift I received this Christmas.
I met another Seal at that NSWF dinner. He'd been shot
eight times in Iraq and had undergone nearly two-dozen operations. One
bullet had taken off part of his cheek and nose. He was destined for
reconstructive surgery in a few days.
Yet he didn't feel sorry for himself. He was full of
charisma, confidence, cockiness and joy. After all, he confided, when
you're a wounded Seal, the world's best doctors want to operate on you
so they can brag about it. Besides, he explained, he was just showing
that a Seal really could catch bullets with his teeth.
He said that after a couple more procedures, he'd
"be back in the game." I asked what he meant. He was amused
and said he was going back into action. "My team needs me," he
said before letting out a laugh. But you knew he meant it, and you knew
his team did need him.
He went off to get a drink for his wife. I didn't want
to pry, but I asked her how she felt about him going back into action.
She said she was all for it because that's what he was made for. I had
to fight back tears.
The next day, I got an email from the retired Navy
Seal buddy who'd talked me into speaking at NSWF. He shared a picture of
the sign the wounded Seal put on his Baghdad hospital door.
On it, the Seal had scrawled that visitors shouldn't
"feel sorry" for him. "The wounds I received," he
wrote, "I got in a job I love, doing it for people I love,
supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly
tough." And on his sign he promised "a full recovery" and
wrote that his hospital room was a place of "fun, optimism, and
intense rapid regrowth. If you are not prepared for that, GO
ELSEWHERE." He signed it "The Management."
I keep this picture with me so I think every day about
those I met this fall. And I thought about them often during the
When I did, I felt awe that such men and women exist,
and gratitude that they put themselves in harm's way for our nation. I
hope America continues to be worthy of such staggering service and
May the New Year bring safety to all who wear our
country's uniform, success in the missions they so passionately believe
in, peace and comfort to their families, and reunion with all whom they
Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and
deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. NSWF can be found at
To Kill an American You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but
there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a
newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone
know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one,
"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish,
Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African,
Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or
Pakistani or Afghan.
An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache,
Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In
fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference
is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only
to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the
government and for God.
An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The
root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which
recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation
in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.
When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came
with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!
As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other
nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of
everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food,
the best services. But they also welcome the least.
The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and
your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest
tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.
Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001
earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade
Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first
languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo,
and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But,
in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a
particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human
spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an
This is the Casket of SEAL
Petty Officer James SHU of SDV Team ONE, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Los Angeles CA,
summer of 2005. data by Tom Hawkins Webmaster's NOTE: This tradition started when Jerry
Waters, ST-2, diet in a parachuting accident at Suffolk VA. in Nov. 1971.
Jerry was the first SEAL to die from ST-2 after the "Bud" was approved
and the SEALs that attended his funeral at Savannah, GA thought it was the right
thing to do to place their "BUDs" on top of Jerry's casket before it
was lowered. Doc
Riojas(webmaster) story by Capt. Ryan Mc
Combie (SEAL) (Ret) USN.
The three SEALs named
above were part of a four-man reconnaissance team that clandestinely
infiltrated into the Hindu-Kush mountains along the border with
Afghanistan on June 27, 2005. The squad was reportedly tracking a
high-ranking al-Qaeda leader when they were ambushed by overwhelming
Taliban forces with superior firepower. The three SEALs provided
protective fire for a fourth member in their squad to escape, before
they were killed by enemy fire. One SEAL, HM1(SEAL)
Marcus Luttrell survived this "OP", and was later
rescued. Doc Luttrell wrote a book titled "LONE
SURVIVOR" which was on best sellers list for a very long time.
The eight SEALs named below
were on a combat rescue mission to reinforce a SEAL squad (above) which
had been ambushed and was engaged in a fierce firefight with
overwhelming Taliban forces. The eight SEALs were killed along with
eight Army Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“NightstalkerĂ˘â‚¬Â commandos when the
MH-47 helicopter that all were aboard was shot down and crashed in Kunar
Province, Afghanistan. (Full
Steve Schwarzer, Knife Manufacturer Extraordinaire
USS NEW YORK
I had this made when I was working in the Texas Dept of Corrections in two of
their Prisons. I was known as "Dr. Death" aka: Doc
SEALS Hydro Track for treatment of injureis
Roy Dean Matthews foot on the right
Dow Byers son, Dr. David Byers receiving
award as the youngest man ever to complete
UWSS school. David is the son of Dow Byers YNCS.
SNAKES & Navy SEALs
US spec-ops "Snake-eaters SEALs"
$200m porta-drone deal
By Lewis Page → Published
Tuesday 8th July 2008
The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka
the "snake eater community"* - has just placed
a new order for hand-launched aerial surveillance robots which could
be worth up to $200m and see hundreds of portable drones delivered.
Go to the below link for the full article. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/08/aerovironment_puma_deal_socom/
WEBMASTER's email to the troops:
In 1968, I ate a water mocassin that Chief Jim Tipton
brought back from AP hill. Richard Marcinko ate the venom of a cobra in Tailand, I forgot
if he ate the snake also. NOW, we are all the "SNAKE EATER COMMUNITY" according
the above article.
I would like to hear some stories for my web site of other guys eating
I remember Fred Toothman, up north , on E&E school found
several new born snakes under a rock, but they stunk so bad he had to
shitcan his gloves after picking one up. We did not eat them.
Erasmo "Doc" Riojas
BTW: We also chewed our beer glasses and ate the glass !
From: nseal1 [at] cox.net
To: "Doc Riojas" <docrio45 [at] gmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Subject: Re: The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka the
"snake eater community"*
Frank Toms and I caught and ate a snake at Widbey
Isl. SERE school back in '64. Tasted good too!
Bruce Russell WC29
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for
free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
From: Steve Robinson
To: 'Doc Riojas'
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Subject:The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka the "snake
When I was going through cadre training out at Niland we nailed a big
rattlesnake with a shovelĂ˘â‚¬Â¦
skinned it (I wore the dried skin on a headband for years afterward)
and cooked it up. WeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘d
washed the meat really well, then rolled pieces in egg, followed by
rolling them in flour and crumbled
breakfast cereal (wheaties I think). Then we fried it up in cooking
oil. Damned tasty! And it had all of us
watching closely for more snakes so we could get another tasteĂ˘â‚¬Â¦
but apparently word got around in the snake community
because no others showed up during the 3
weeks we were out there.
2nd email from Steve:
is a picture I took of our Niland snack food. John Balentyne (with
shovel) and Dan Jurman while we were going through cadre training at
Niland. John was going for the Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“big game hunterĂ˘â‚¬Â
look so he put his foot on the killĂ˘â‚¬Â¦ and the headless
body flexed over against his shoe.
had gotten a bigger snake about 3 or 4 days earlier Ă˘â‚¬â€ś
a big pregnant female. It was very lethargic and there was no
difficulty in nailing it with a length of 2x4. We cut the head off and
buried itĂ˘â‚¬Â¦ then started skinning the snake and found 2
unborn baby snakes inside. We found a red ant anthill and left the
babies thereĂ˘â‚¬Â¦ and the skinned snake went to one of the
other Team guys who were working as instructors. ThatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s
when we learned they could be really tasty. So when the next one
showed up, Balentyne nailed it with a shovel. As noted, it was
cleaned, cooked, and most of us got a nibble. I guess the word got
around the snake community, because after that we couldnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t
find another snake anywhere! Tarantulas? Sure! Scorpions? Oh yeah!
Ants? Plenty! Snakes? Not a one anywhere to be found!
From: Larry Bailey
To: Doc Riojas Sent: Wednesday, July 09,2008
Subject: The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka the
"snake eater community"*
Once upon a time my squad caught a water moccasin at Seashore
State Park in Virginia Beach, where we were conducting patrol
training. We built a small fire and cooked the critter over a
flame on a spit. Then I tried to eat him, but he wasn't too tasty.
That's the only time I've ever tried to eat a snake.
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from
From: Roger GUERRA
To: Doc Riojas Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Subject:The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka the
"snake eater community"*
That's funny, I used to eat snake regularly (rattlesnake) after I
left the teams. Really good if cooked properly. Went to a Bar-b-que
in south Texas and had it there. Sweetwater, Texas has a good
sampling during the round up!
Webmaster's note: Curtis Ashton, KIA 'nam, was from Sweetwater TX. He
talked about those Yearly Rattlesnake Roundups.
I bet he was also a SNAKEATER!
To: Doc Riojas ; al hale
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Subject: Re: The US Special Operations Command, SOCOM - aka the
"snake eater community"*
Never eat a snake, but one crawled up my pants while our fire team
was on listening post in Viet Nam. The ensuing struggle between me
and my "guest" nearly got me and two buddies in the
shell hole where we were hiding, killed. When the sun came up,
there were a couple of M16s, an M79, and one M60 aimed at us. The
rest of Kilo Platoon (first Kilo circa '67) didn't know what it
was all about and thought VC had found us.
I am Ron Kelmell....class 35, 1965,
Coronado...UDT-11 and Seal Team One.....just retired from a four
year "cruise" with Blackwater Security...enclosed is a
pix directly from my "I love me" collection.
Between Viet Nam and BW (28 years), I was a pastor of small
conservative churches of the Baptist variety.
Ron Kelmell click on photo to enlarge it
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available
for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
tiny mouth. He cannot strike like a viper, but has to nibble
at the webs between your fingers. 3d most poisonous
Webmaster's note:I was with Mr. Hardy, and Chicken McNair on "The Big Blow
Job." While we were laying the MKVIII hose in the
"tee-tee" canal, some of us had to take our hand and
push away the little Crate Snakes. After setting off the
MKVIII hose demolition at the end of the day, there were thousands
of slithering little black/white bellied snakes wiggling around in
the mud. No one was hurt by them.
Twas' Chicken Mcnair, Mike Radice, Walt Weed,
Walt Harvey/Jerry Howard (OIC change) and me.
I never knew for sure how Zelmo got burned...just that he did.
I smuggled a 6' Burmese Python back...through Hawaii...in my field
Kept him until I went over again in 1971.
Named him after the famous animal actor on Green Acres ... Arnold
Webmaster (Doc Rio):
I was with you guys only about one week. What UDT
Team was it? Do you remember the biggest shot, I went way
out out far away rice paddy with the photographer to try and
capture the entire shot on movie film. Two Cobras came by
doing a lookee-see. I had a PRC-25, I called Mr. Harvey and
told him to try and reach the cobras as they were probably going
to make a firing run on moi and the photographer. He was
setting up this tripod with this huge movie camera looks from the
air like a weapon. We are in bathing suits with rags tied to
our heads, and I do look like a VC, not like the white eyes
photographer. I was right and the Cobras told Mr.
Harvey they were going to fry us.
Mr. Harvey wrote everyone up for medals,
even me, but CDR O'Drain cancelled mine. Do you remember?
Did you guys get a copy of those movies?
I would like to see it. Doc
From: mike baumgart
To: Doc Riojas
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Subject: SNAKE story emails that I have received today
Does anyone remember "Zelmo" from Nha
Bhe? He lived behind one of the quonset huts...in his cage.
lives in Rockwell (?) TX. he came
to one of our Gulfcoast parties. I
have a photo of ZELMO on one of my pages. I
cured him of his severe neck burns after the PBR sailor tried to
kill zelmo for eating his kitty. Jim
brought him to Saigon and left zelmo with me to cure and he said
he would come back on the next platoon. He never did,
I left 'nam in Nov 1970 and took zelmo
back to nha be. I
never heard of zelmo again.
who were the guys
in that platoon?
Zelmo and doc
Rio at Hotel LeLei 'Nam
From: eugenio crescini
To: Doc Riojas ; rrpopseal [at] bellsouth.net
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008
Subject: SNAKE story emails that I have received today
my platoon occupied 2nd d, eck of a barracks in RSSZ, Nam. 'mud
Zmuda and I ocuppied a room. mud's bunk was against one side of
the room and mine the other. my squad had just returned from an
ops(0300). I was so tired, took my clothes off and hit the sack.
mud was still out with his squad. it was only a couple of minutes
when I heard rustling on my wall. I turned around to check what
the noise was all about. right in front of my face(my nose was
touching a big snake). it was climbing the wall. believe me...I
must have established a World's Record in the Long Jump from a
laying down position to the door. it was a 10ft+ phyton, which
Pierson(one of my men)have in his room(caged).
I grabbed my weapon to shoot it, but quickly change my mind(shots
from a SEAL barracks might create General Quarters. looking for
something to kill it, I finally found a straw broom our mama san
use to clean the place, beating and sweeping the snake out the
room, more beating and sweeping it out the barracks. the
commotions Pierson and saw me swept his snake outside. after some
searching, he got his pet back. after a few days past, I asked him
about his snake. he said that it is not eating..it has a broken
“Snake” Macready 49wc
Snake was in platoon pre-deployment Vietnam training in the summer
heat of the Cuyamaca Mountains near San Diego. They were learning the
trade skills that have allowed all of us to succeed where others fail.
This training area was not for live fire, but only for tactical
training because it was sparsely inhabited by the local civilians who
had given permission to be there.
That summer, the area had experienced an infestation of rattlesnakes.
Because several of the locals had already been bitten, Mike and his
platoon were given one box of live ammunition to counter this danger.
So much ammunition was expended supposedly shooting at snakes that his
CO became suspicious. He demanded that everyone who had shot at a
snake present the dead snake as proof that the expenditure of rounds
photo from Ken Abasolo's collection
The next day, the CO entered his office and spotted a shoebox from
Petty Officer Macready on his desk. He opened it, revealing a sleepy
and sluggish, but very live, rattlesnake. Inside the box were twenty
expended cartridges, and a short note. The note said, "I
submitted by: Ken Abasolo Ken
& Son Bryce
From: Bob Stoner
27 Mar 2009
Just before we finished up our tour at SA, we took a
daylight recon due west on the Cau Lon River until we came to a large
canal several clicks away. We took the canal north and it
branched. We took the right branch (now heading east) and then
nosed the MSSC into the bank to drop off our SEAL squad. The
mangrove trees were thick. The point man hit the water and
immediately there were about six snakes
that went swimming away! (I decided that I was NOT getting off
that boat -- no matter what.)
Source: Kiet Nguyen LDNN(SEAL)
Gary Smith in CamhRanhBay RVN
Macready's Vietnam Snake Sea Story
----- Original Message -----
From: Michael P. Macready
To: docrio45 [at] gmail.com
Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009
Subject: Here is a true story for ya
Doc Riojas, This is no shit; in 1970
Our Squad was working out of a small river boat outpost that
was manned by about 30 US and VN sailors. The sailors,barges
and boats were taking a pounding by sappers swimming in and
placing charges at night. One evening we patrolled out
through the wire and were crossing a burned over rice paddy
on our way to set up on a canal that we figured the sapper
team was using to access the river.
There were a lot of flares going up that
night and every time one did we would squat down in the
barren paddy. The first time I squatted something hit my
boot and I wondered whether the snake that had just attacked
me was of the poisonous variety.
After the flare extinguished we patrolled
for a few minutes until the next one went
up.....squat.....snake strikes my boot...wait till flare
goes out. By the third boot strike I am sure that there is
some kind of Spec Ops snake following me with the intention
of doing me in. I'm sure also that my heart rate was over
150 and I am doing everything I can to hold myself together
and not compromise the op by working out my M-60 on the dirt
Finally I figured out that earlier that day I had
reconfigured my gear and had not done a complete range of
motion check on how everything was slung. Whenever I
squatted my K-bar sheath would hit the back of my boot which
would almost send me into cardiac arrest due to my well
known phobia of snakes.
What did I learn from all this? Not only that I needed to do
a better job on checking out all my gear but that I was
dumber than hell ever to tell the story later that night
back at the outpost to the rest of the guys. Not only did it
turn out to be extremely embarrassing for me, it just added
fuel to the already fire of "screwin" with
Macready with snakes.
worry - Portland
is not under attack. Low flying military helicopters buzzing downtown
Portland looked like a scene out of a movie. Monday nightĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s
drama was all part of a military exercise. Newschannel8 has learned, the
Army and Navy are conducting Urban
Military Training in Portland and Salem from August 17-30.
The training will include Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“low visibility movement, military
operations in urban terrain, manual and low weight explosive breaching,
fast-rope insertion, live fireĂ˘â‚¬Â and other exercises according to
a memo from Portland Mayor Tom Potter to the NavyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s Special
Warfare Development Group.
A spokesperson in Mayor PotterĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s office says, the military
asked permission to conduct the training last November. The Portland Police
BureauĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s specially trained SERT unit is involved in the
MondayĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s exercise involved helicopters hopping from one
downtown skyscraper to another. Many residents and downtown workers were
concerned by the low flying helicopters. The Department of Defense provided
no advance warning of the exercise.
Drills involving helicopters are expected to resume on Wednesday evening in
Portland. The Urban Military Training is expected to take place in Salem on
Tuesday and Thursday. It is not clear what type of training will take place
military choppers to train again on wednesday
In The Oregonian's news podcast, Today in Oregon, for Tuesday, Aug. 26,
2008: A spokesman for the Department of Defense says the black military
helicopters will train again on Portland on Wednesday evening. But he says
they are not armed. download mp3 here. (8.3mb)
last night's surprise navy seal training (may have) included live fire &
training ammo from
week: Here's the text of an April letter from Mayor Tom Potter to the
U.S. Navy authorizing last night's helicopter training exercises downtown,
which caught Portlanders by surprise and scared a good number of them.
spokesman John Doussard says the city's central dispatch line got about 50
concerned calls last night as the military helicopters buzzed over the Park
"I think next time we would handle it differently," Doussard says.
Potter's letter says, in part:
understand that this training will include low visibility movement,
military operations in urban terrain, manual and low weight explosive
breaching, fast rope insertion, live fire,"
which the Naval Safety Center calls "a hazardous but necessary part of
combat training"Ă˘â‚¬â€ "
power training ammunition, simmunitions, flash bang, surveillance and
counter surveillance ."
war geeks know, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group is a real
The Oregonian reports today that the training will continue.
Again, here's the full text of Potter's letter:
April 7, 2008
Captain Scott P. Moore
Commanander [sic], Naval Special Warfare Development Group
1636 Regulus Avenue
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23461
Dear Captain Moore
I am pleased to extend you an invitation to conduct Urban Military Training
in our City from August 17 to 30, 2008.
In a letter from your command, dated November 14, 2007 requesting permission
to conduct training, you stated that members of the Naval Special Warfare
Development Group and Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment would
utilize buildings in the jurisdiction of the City of Portland for this
training exercise. I understand that this training will include low
visibility movement, military operations in urban terrain, manual and low
weight explosive breaching, fast rope insertion, live fire, low power
training ammunition, simmunitions, flash bang, surveillance and counter
I have been informed that all training has been coordinated through and
approved by all involved government entities, as well as the
representatives/owners of each property, and that all liability for your
personnel and their actions during training rests with the Navy. I have also
been informed that extensive planning and coordination has already been
conducted and that Sergeant Mike Lieb of the Tactical Operations Division
will act as liaison for this exercise.
I welcome the opportunity to support the United States Navy as you develop
the techniques and tactics necessary to protect our country. We look forward
to your group having a safe and productive training exercise in our City.
When I was in the U.S. Navy,
my ship was entering a port in the Far East in 1955 when we spied a
certain type of small ship anchored in the harbor. We knew
instinctively that we would be "attacked" by the U.S.
Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), the forerunner of the Navy
SEALs, that evening. This was their usual practice.
It was becoming a nuisance, as it happened in almost every port we
entered. Someone would sneak aboard our ship and place something
that said "BOMB" on it. Each evening, we put out a small
craft to patrol around the ship looking for swimmers. When spotted,
a bright beam of light would be placed on them, and they would swim
away because they had been "shot."
Our ship was an LST (landing ship, tank) with bow doors and a ramp.
So one evening, we set an obvious trap by opening the bow and
lowering the ramp into the water, and we waited in the shadows.
Sure enough, someone took the bait and came up the ramp. He was
captured and placed in our brig. The ramp was raised, and the bow
doors closed, and we continued to watch for more swimmers.
The next day, word was sent out asking whether anyone had seen the
UDT commander, to which we replied, "No." We watched as
many small boats set out looking for that missing man, while we had
him all the time, dried off, fed and clothed.
Our LST division commander obtained our captive's word that he would
stop the "attacks" if we let him go but would not betray
his stupid mistake of falling for an obvious trap. We covertly set
him ashore, so he could make up his own story.
Back in 1968, LT Ron Yeaw, Chief Riojas and a
platoon of SEALs made a sneak attack on the ships at Mayport FL.
THe first funny part was that we were hanging on
to a one man submarine driven by an ex-UDT frogman, Kelly. We
placed our magnetic Limped (sp) mines on to the sub. That made
the sub's compass go round and round so that Kelly had to periscope
every now and then to see where he was going.
We got in and we all hit all the big ships and
commenced to hit the smaller ones. Ron and his swim-buddy
Joe Silva Ran out of MK-13 flares. They surfaced by a destroyer
and had the balls to ask them for some flares!
Not only were they greeted by nasty remarks, but
they started throwing stuff from their ship to these two SEAL
swimmers. Unbelievable that Ron and Joe would think they
could get extra flares to go blow up more ships.
Warren Lockette (M.D.
1981) is the 2002 Navy recipient of the Roy Wilkins Service Award, given by the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at their 93rd annual
convention in Houston on July 9.
The award is presented annually to a member
from each branch of the armed services who has best demonstrated accomplishments
that support the AssociationĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s principal goal of ensuring
political, educational, social and economic equality for minorities in America.
Lockette, a medical officer, scientist, and special advisor to the U.S.
NavyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s top SEAL
commando, received the award in recognition of his groundbreaking work in
assisting the Navy SEALs
in their diversity and recruiting programs.
the spirit of 'The Teams and Shit'...Subject:
FRIENDS: Tell you not to do something stupid when you are
drunk. TEAM GUY FRIENDS: Will post 360
degree security so you don't get caught.
FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs. TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Call your parents drunk as hell and tell them
about the fat chick you tried to pick up.
FRIENDS: Hope the night out drinking goes smoothly, and hope
that no one is late for the ride home. TEAM GUY
FRIENDS: Know some wild sh*t will happen, and set up rally
points and an E & E route.
FRIENDS: Cry with you. TEAM GUY FRIENDS:
Laugh at you and tell you to put some vagasil on your p**sy.
FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back. TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Steal each other's stuff so often nobody remembers
who bought it in the first place.
FRIENDS: Are happy that someone picked up a one night stand and
leave them alone. TEAM GUY FRIENDS: Will
Low Crawl naked into the room with a camera and hope for the tag team.
FRIENDS: Know a few things about you. TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is
doing. TEAM GUY FRIENDS: Will kick the
whole crowd's ass that left you.
FRIENDS: Would knock on your door. TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, 'I'm home!'
FRIENDS: Will try and talk to the bouncer when you get tossed
outof the bar. TEAM GUY FRIENDS: Will man
up and go after the bouncer for touching you on the way out.
FRIENDS: Will wish you had enough money to go out that night,
and are sorry you couldn't come. TEAM GUY
FRIENDS: Will share their last dollar with you, drag you along,
and try to steal free drinks all night.
FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had
enough. TEAM GUY FRIENDS: Will look at
you stumbling all over the place and say,'Bitch, you better drink the
rest of that sh*t, you know we don't waste. That's alcohol abuse!!!'
FRIENDS: Want the money they loaned you back next week. TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Can't begin to remember who owes who money after
taking care of each other for so long.
FRIENDS: Will say 'I can't handle Tequila anymore'. TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Will say 'okay just one more'' and then 2 minutes
later'okay just one more'.
FRIENDS: Will talk sh*t to the person who talks shit about you. TEAM GUY FRIENDS: Will knock them the
FRIENDS: Will tell you 'They'd take a bullet for you.' TEAM
GUY FRIENDS: Will actually take a bullet for you.
FRIENDS: Will ignore this. TEAM GUY
FRIENDS: Will forward this.
submitted by: Tom Hawkins
of the Hospital Corps
As a SEAL, SWCC, EOD Technician or Fleet Diver, you may
be called upon to dispose of ocean-borne mines or conduct combat
operations in any environment throughout the world. To qualify for
special warfare/special operations, you must complete an intense
physical and mental conditioning program.
The competition to become a member is fierce, but if you're motivated,
self-disciplined, in excellent physical condition and have the passion
to perform under pressure in extreme environments, the Special
Warfare/Special Operations field might be the perfect place for you.
Typical missions include gathering enemy intelligence, performing covert
reconnaissance or conducting counterterrorist operations and performing
long-range maritime transit in support of a variety of Special
when the first SEAL Teams were commissioned, Navy SEALs have
distinguished themselves as individually reliable, collectively
disciplined and highly skilled warriors. SEALs go through what is
considered by many military experts to be the toughest training, both
physically and mentally demanding, in the world. Their duties include,
but are not limited to:
insertions/extractions from the Sea, Air or Land (hence SEAL) to
accomplish covert, special operations missions in any environment
throughout the world.
high-value enemy personnel and terrorists around the world.
information and intelligence through special reconnaissance missions
Ă˘â‚¬â€ś reconnoitering both enemy installations and enemy
out small-unit, direct-action missions against military targets.
underwater reconnaissance and the demolition of natural or man-made
obstacles prior to amphibious landings.
SEALs receive normal military pay and allowances, plus incentive pay for
special skills and assignments. There is also a $40,000 enlistment bonus
available for SEAL applicants. The enlistment bonus is the highest paid
in the Navy.
Are you up for the mission? Click
here to explore the clandestine world of the Navy SEALs.
SWCCs are trained in all environments and are the masters of maritime
Special Operations. SWCCs are superbly trained as maritime mobility
operators who operate a variety of high-speed Special Operations Craft
(boats) in open ocean, coastal and Riverine environments.
SWCCs are required to utilize a combination of specialized training in
maritime navigation, radio communications, boat/propulsion systems
engineering, crew-served and personal weapons, parachuting, first aid
and tactics in completion of Special Operation missions worldwide. Some
duties in this field may include:
maritime insertions/extractions of SEALS and other Special
information and intelligence on enemy military installations in
parachute/helicopter insertion operations in support of missions.
military and civilian law enforcement agencies.
EOD Technicians deploy to the world's oceans and seas with Aircraft
Carrier Battle Groups and amphibious-ready group staffs. They are always
on hand to respond to ordnance in any environment. Specific mobile
detachments called Mine Countermeasures specialize in mine hunting and
mine clearance. They're specially trained to use the equipment and
procedures necessary to locate, identify, neutralize, recover, exploit,
and dispose of sea mines, torpedoes and depth charges.
EOD Technicians directly support the global war on terrorism by
integrating with Navy SEALS, Army Special Forces, and Marine
Expeditionary Units to name a few. Their unique knowledge of Improvised
Explosive Devices, conventional and non-conventional ordnance,
underwater ordnance, chemical/biological material and nuclear material
make them a force multiplier to any war fighter. Other duties may
Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups and Amphibious Readiness Groups in
all aspects of Ordnance safety.
reconnaissance and demolition of natural or man-made underwater
obstacles prior to amphibious landings.
demolition of hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics and outdated
explosives using detonation and burning techniques.
underwater location and identification of foreign and domestic
safe and/or disposing of foreign and domestic ordnance.
parachute/helicopter insertion operations in support of missions.
military and civilian law enforcement agencies.
with cutting-edge technology to remotely disable unsafe ordnance.
underwater mine countermeasure operations to clear waterways in
support of the fleet.
From helping protect the President to clearing minefields, click
here to learn more about the stimulating work being done all over
the world by EOD Technicians.
From their simple beginnings as swimmers disarming mines during the
Civil War, Navy divers trace their history back to the middle of the
nineteenth century when they were primarily employed in the salvage and
repair of ships. The term Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Navy DiversĂ˘â‚¬Â is
anything but typical. Divers have played a critical role in the Navy.
The rare breed of men and women in today's Navy Dive Team play a vital
role in a broad spectrum of missions.
Using the most modern diving equipment available, divers are taught how
to operate in a variety of conditions Ă˘â‚¬â€ from clear, warm
tropical waters to frigid, arctic waters beneath icebergs to water so
murky that the work must be done by touch alone. Today, divers perform a
number of essential tasks, including underwater reconnaissance,
demolition, construction, ship maintenance, search and rescue, and
salvage operations. Other duties may include:
a variety of diving salvage operations and special diving duties
military and civilian law enforcement agencies.
as the technical experts for diving evolutions for numerous military
special operations units.
security, communications and other logistics during Expeditionary
Ready for a deeper dive? Click
here to learn more about the exciting world of Navy Divers.
Your training in Special Operations is a combination of intense physical
and mental training, designed to push your mind and body to their
limits. YouĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll train in any number of conditions and
environments, including maritime, coastal, Riverine, mountainous,
jungle, desert and urban terrains.
Credits (Equivalent to Elective Credits)
You may learn the fundamentals of explosive ordnance disposal through
formal Navy schooling. Or you may learn about chemical and biological
warfare, military tactics, deep-sea diving or a number of other tactical
military procedures. The courses in this field are demanding, but
individuals who accept these challenges are rewarded with extra pay and
extraordinary duty assignments.
Jobs within Special Operations have comparable civilian counterparts
that include high-level security assessment, security instructors,
emergency medicine, law enforcement, civilian EOD/bomb disposal,
Chemical-Biological-Radiological (CBR) protection and response, force
protection/personal security and all types of diving salvage. You will
be part of a community that values leadership, self-determination and
As you mature in any of the Special Operations fields, employers in the
military and civilian communities will value you. Completing some of the
most demanding training our country has to offer says that you have what
it takes to accomplish any task an employer could throw your way!
WEARING OF UNEARNED MEDALS
by: Jim Sims;National Junior Vice Commander MOPH
Not a month goes by without news of another Phony or
Faker who is charged or prosecuted for pretending to have medals he or
she had not earned or been awarded. These actions are the result of the Stolen
Valor Act of 2005.
The Stolen Valor Act
was signed into law by President Bush on December 20, 2006. Introduced
by CongressĂ‚Âman John Salazar of Colorado , the Act amends the
fedĂ‚Âeral criminal code to expand the prohibition against
wearing, manufacturing or selling military decorations or medals without
legal authorization. prohibits purchasĂ‚Âing, soliciting, mailing,
shipping, importing, exporting, producing blank certificates of receipt
for, advertising, trading, bartering, or exchanging decorations or
prohibits falsely representing oneself as having been awarded any
decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces or any
of the service medals or badges.
It is a federal
crime for an individual to falsely claim to have earned or to wear or to
publicly state that he has been presented a combat medal or award; Medal
of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Cross, Silver
Star, Purple Heart, CIB, Combat Action Ribbon, or any other combat medal
or award. The law states, in part: "Whoever falsely represents
himself or herself, verĂ‚Âbally or in writing, to have been
awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed
forces of the , or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the
members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such
badge, decoration or medal, or any such badge, decoration or medal, or
be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or
The Stolen Valor Act
was passed with the active supĂ‚Âport of the leadership of the
MOPH and input from Patriots throughout the country, particularly in
2005 and 2006. Passage of the Act once more demonstrated jaw effective a
concentrated effort of Patriots can be.
What should a Patriot
do if he or she sees or is in couch with a phony who is in
violation of the Stolen Valor Act? Call the local FBI Field Office near
you and report the individua1. The more information you lean provide
(photos, news articles, etc.) the better the chances the individual can
be charged and prosecuted and added to the list of phonies trying to be
Hear my voice, America! Though I speak through
the mist of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo through
liberty's halls for many centuries to come. Hear me speak, for my
words are of truth and justice, and the rights of man. For those
ideals I have spilled my blood upon the world's troubled waters.
Listen well, for my time is eternal -yours is but a moment. I am
the spirit of heroes past and future.
I am the American Sailor. I was born upon the icy
shores at Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the Atlantic, and nursed
in the wilderness of Virginia. I cut my teeth on New England codfish,
and I was clothed in southern cotton. I built muscle at the halyards
of New Bedford whalers, and I gained my sea legs high atop mizzen of
yankee clipper ships.
Yes, I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest
seamen the world has ever known. The sea is my home and my words are
tempered by the sound of paddle wheels on the Mississippi and the song
of whales off Greenland's barren shore. My eyes have grown dim
from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart is full of
star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross. My hands are raw from
winter storms while sailing down round the Horn, and they are
blistered from the heat of cannon broadside while defending our
nation. I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of
a thousand distant, lonely lands.
I am the American Sailor. It was I who stood
tall beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet begun
to fight!" I fought upon the Lake Erie with Perry, and I
rode with Stephen Decatur into Tripoli harbor to burn Philadelphia.
I met Guerriere aboard Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with
Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay. I have heard the clang of Confederate
shot against the sides of Monitor. I have suffered the cold with Peary
at the North Pole, and I responded when Dewy said, "You may fire
when ready Gridley," at Manila Bay. It was I who
transported supplies through submarine infested waters when our
soldier's were called "over there." I was there as
Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole. It was I who went down with
the Arizona at Pearl Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and
patrolled dark deadly waters of the Mekong Delta.
I am the American Sailor and I wear many
faces. I am a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy and I am a Seabee
atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific. I am a corpsman nursing
the wounded in the jungle, and I am a torpedoman in the Nautilus deep
beneath the North Pole. I am hard and I am strong. But it was my eyes
that filled with tears when my brother went down with the Thresher,
and it was my heart that rejoiced when Commander Shepherd rocketed
into orbit above the earth. It was I who languished in a Viet Cong
prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the moon. It was I who saved
the Stark and the Samuel B. Roberts in the mine infested waters of the
Persian Gulf. It was I who pulled my brothers from the smoke
filled compartments of the Bonefish and wept when my shipmates died on
the Iowa and White Plains. When called again, I was there, on the tip
of the spear for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
I am the American Sailor. I am woman, I
am man, I am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew, Muslim,
Christian, and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino, African, French,
Chinese, and Indian. And my standard is the outstretched hand of
Liberty. Today, I serve around the world; on land, in air, on and
under the sea. I serve proudly, at peace once again, but with the
fervent prayer that I need not be called again. Tell your children of
me. Tell them of my sacrifice, and how my spirit soars above their
country. I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean, and I
will guard her forever. I am her heritage and yours.
I am the American Sailor.
MUCM J. Wallace, USN
Glen Gringe and Doc Rio in Japan
Shouse, Rosalie, Bob Sr. Robert Shouse Jr.
One of Bob's sons had Freddie the Frog tattoo
click to enlarge
Mr. Jensen is presently in O.C.S. and will probably go to BUD/S from there when
he graduates from OCS.
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Langley
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009
These modern smart alec youngsters think they are so technologically
advanced with their phone messaging.
I remember when on one of our deployments,
Durwood White sent/received messages with our ship that was offshore
when a storm was on it's way.
We stayed ashore and the ship departed for deeper
waters. All was done by flashing light. Durwood used a C-rat box with a
light bulb inside it. He made a flap on one side to send his message.
We all knew a little Morse Code but Durwood was our
platoon expert. UDT 21-2 "Second to None" during the good ole
From : Doc Riojas
To: Durwood H. White
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009
Subject: Durwood, is Bill Langley's story true?
I would like to hear your side of that story.
From: DURWOOD HUNTER WHITE
To: docrio45 [@] gmail.com
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009
Subject: Re: TECHNOLOGY
Yep its true. Can't remember the exact nature of the communications;
thought our boat had slipped its mooring and I asked the ship to send a
boat to look for it I am now 70y.o. and dementia setting in, I'll
go with either reasoning. I think the Island was Corsica but not sure.
Definently remember a local coming around each day with Chianti wine and
cheese to sell. That's where I got hooked on wine and drink it to this
day. I think I have a picture of our Platoon taken on the Island.
I'm planning a trip to Calif. around the last of May and before
Christmasto see my Daughter and Grandkids. Her Husband is in the Navy
stationed at Le Moore Naval Air Station Calif. I'm driving because
I know I've seen at least 3/4 of the world while I was in the Navy but I
have never seen the Western United States. This might be my last chance.
Take care Old Comrade;
29 Dec 2009
This is some email communication that got started when I told Doc Rio
about the time Whitey communicated with flashing light to our ship
when we were stranded onshore when a storm was coming. Durwood
cut a flap in a C-ration box and put a light inside to send flashing
light. Do you remember the incident?
John, I think you were there. Do you
28 Dec 2009
As most of you know, Durwood was an
expert in every area of Naval Special Warfare, sea-air-land. He
was a superb NSW operator who distinguished himself bravely many
times in Vietnam under fire.
He was always quick to volunteer
for any operation and was highly respected by all of his teammates.
I had the privilege to deploy with Durwood on several cruises with
UDT-21 second platoon and served in Vietnam with him in SEAL Team Two
He was always impressive and a
teammate that I will never forget.
Hunter was on treatment some years back for Cancer of the Lungs. This
year, he told me that they had found it had metastasized to his liver.
Please read his Obiturary below. Doc Rio
It is with great sadness that the UDT-SEAL Association informs the
membership on the passing of Durwood Hunter White, USN (Ret.)
Hunter White USN (Ret.) Class 26
Hunter White, 71, of 3655 N.C. Hwy 41 W, died Dec. 28, 2009 at Pitt
County Memorial Hospital.
is preceded in death by his wife, Barbara White; brother, R.W. White;
sisters, Louise Ricks and Vivian Brittingham. Durwood
Hunter White was a US Navy Seal (Retired).
survived by son, Sean Hunter White and wife Shannon of Washington;
stepdaughters, Charlene Taylor and husband R.V. of Seven Springs and
Nikki Barker and husband Eric of California; sister, Elizabeth Quinn and
husband Thurston of Seven Springs; and six grandchildren, Jordan Taylor,
Kyle White, Braxton Barker, Kevin White, Bradley Barker and Hannah
was a member of CLASS-26, Little Creek, VA. and served with UDT-21 and
SEAL Team 2.
Services: will be held at today at 7 p.m. Wednesday,
Dec. 30, 2009 at
Gospel Light Church, 153 Houston Road, Comfort with the Rev. Ruffin Hill
will be held today, Wednesday, Dec. 30, following the funeral service.
Services: with military rites will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday,
Dec. 31, 2009 at the Philyaw Thomas Cemetery. Hannah Barker.
lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Gospel Light
Church Att: Gene Green, P. O. Box 153, Comfort, N.C. 28522.
Arrangements by Pink Hill Funeral Home. Sign the guestbook at
Association | POB 5965 | Virginia Beach | VA | 23471
THese 2 picture from Steve Sagri SPecial Forces USArmy
Marcus Luttrell's Dog Killed;
on Glen Beck
By Shannon Bell
Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 11:56 am
Talk Radio host Glen Beck has been a good friend of
Marcus Luttrell for a few years now detailing his story and promoting
when it first came out. Luttrell has done numerous radio and television
interviews with Glen Beck, he will do another tonight at 5 pm.
Eastern. This post will be updated to reflect the content of his
upcoming interview as soon as it is available.
It seems that four
young good for nothings had been killing dogs in Marcus
Luttrell’s county where he lives in Texas. And as terrible luck
would have it ( terrible luck for them), the last dog they decided to
kill belonged to Marcus Luttrell. As Glen Beck tells
the story on his radio program this morning, these thugs should be
thanking God that Marcus Luttrell knew how to show restraint when he
single handedly, armed of course, apprehended the four.
Marcus Luttrell’s dog was named Dasy; each
in DASY represents his fallen seal team member’s names. He was given
the dog during his recovery period after sustaining horrific wounds
that none of us could ever imagine. Marcus Luttrell was awarded the
“Navy Cross” and the “Purple Heart” for his heroic actions in
Operation Red Wing.
Marcus talks about another tragic loss...
Marcus talked with Glenn on TV last night about the
tragic loss of his dog, Dasy. She was a yellow lab given to him as a
puppy and she was 'like a daughter' to Marcus. He lost her when some
dirt bag punk kids were out joy riding and shooting animals and
murdered her. One of these scumbags -- Michael Edmonds ( pictured
here)is still on the run. PETA is offering a reward for
his apprehension -- if you have any information call (936) 435-0152
and ask for Sgt. Steven Jeter. Glenn talks about the
circumstances and why this is especially painful ( Transcript,
on radio today, you can watch Marcus describe the tragic incident on
TV with Glenn here.
"Demo Dick Marcinko"
Cassidy, 39, a Navy commander from York, Maine,
was awarded the bronze star and a presidential citation for leading a nine-day
operation at a cave complex on the Afghan-Pakistan border. He picked up
another bronze star a few years later.
His resume reads like James Bond's. As a
10-year member of the SEALS, Cassidy was skilled in building assaults, ship
boardings, desert reconnaissance, combat diving, underwater explosives,
parachuting and rappelling.
"I like a little bit of a thrill,"
he explained with a chuckle.
NASA picked him as an astronaut in 2004.
This is his first spaceflight. By virtue of his seating on the shuttle, he
will become the 500th person to fly in space, and he will perform three
He and wife Julie have two daughters, one 14
and one who turns 12 this week, and a 10-year-old son.
The crew of space shuttle
Endeavour, from left, flight engineer Timothy Kopra, mission
specialist's Thomas Marshburn, and Christopher Cassidy, Canadian
Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette, commander Mark Polansky, pilot
Douglas Hurley and mission specialist David Wolf gather for photos
after their arrival at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.,
Tuesday, June 9, 2009. Endeavour is scheduled for a June 13 launch
on a mission to the International Space Station.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
----- Original Message -----
To: jimcat [@] consolidated.net
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 7:50 AM
Subject: Farewell Luncheon for CAPT Wikul, USN
Farewell Luncheon for CAPT Pete Wikul "BULL FROG", USN
Where: Union Street Public House
121 S Union St, Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-1785 When: 1130 Wednesday, 8 July 2009 Cost: $26.00
1.Smoked Chicken Club: Triple decker with bacon,lettuce,and tomato
served with pasta salad
2.Grilled Chicken Sandwich: Melted Havarti, Arugula, red onion, and
Roasted Pepper Aioli on a K Twist roll with french fries
3. Saloon Cheeseburger: Fresh ground certified Angus, served on a
Kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato, house made pickles, and french fries
4. Grilled Shrimp Caesar: Grilled shrimp, hearts of romaine, parmesan
cheese croutons, and traditional dressing
5.Seasonal Harvest Salad: Mixed greens, seasonal fruits and nuts with
Dessert: Cheesecake of the Day or Key Lime Pie Coffee, tea, or soda is
RSVP with menu selection and directions NLT 1 July 2009 to:
Dina McNamara: Tamika Jones: Joyce McConnell:
Contributions toward a gift are welcome and are being collected
----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Bracken
To:jimcat [at] consolidated.net;
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:11 PM
Subject: Fw: Farewell Luncheon for CAPT Wikul, USN
Damn . . . I really feel old now. Pete was in my BUD/S
Class in 1971 . . . and still hanging. 38 years on active duty. I was
20 and Pete was 17 . . . he came to BUD/S right outta boot camp . . .
an E-2 striker . . . made it to O-6 . . . never would have made
Admiral, though, because he refused to leave the Teams . . . have to
have "Diversity of Command" to aspire to Admiral. Was
Skipper of SDV 2 (SEAL Delivery Vehicle - 2) for a few years.
For all you "Black Shoes", "Legs",
"Jar-heads", "Chair-Force" and "Civvie"
types, the "Bull Frog" is the current, longest-serving SEAL
on active duty. His name is added to the BULL FROG trophy, which he
holds until his retirement, at which time he passes it on to new next
Congrats, Peter Igor Wikul . . . but, I'll be sleeping with one eye
open for a while.
bracken Class 52 ec
SEAL WANNABE SeaStory,
Unbelievable Stuff they Dream of!
From: Lyle ; lmeece1 [at]comcast.net
Subject: A couple of SEALS
To: Doc Riojas docrio45 [at] gmail.com
Date: Monday, June 15, 2009
I stumbled across your web page. I was looking for a man I met about
15years ago. Patrick Callahan, he was with SEAL 1 in 66-67-68. I was
on a veteran awareness walk.
I am not a vet. My father served in WWII and Korea. I was
also friends with Bob Marvin he was with Team 2 at the same time. I
showed Callahan a picture (from Time Life series) and said Bob was in
the picture in the first row. Callahan freaked out he was standing
exactly behind Marvin in the picture.
It was probably the only time Team 1 and Team 2 ever
operated together especially during the day. I got the two of them
together and they had a long talk alone in the woods. Callahan was
from Texas, and Marvin was from Chicago. Well, Marvin passed away
I have a copy of the Time life picture, and a picture of
Callahan as I met him. If you would be interested in the pictures, I
would be happy to send them to you. If I don't hear from you I know
that you are not interested. Yours and thank you for your service to
Neither ROBERT “BOB” MARVIN nor PATRICK “PAT” CALLAHAN are
listed in the SEAL Database. In fact there is only one listing for the
name MARVIN and one listing for the name CALLAHAN in the whole SEAL
Database… and neither the first nor the middle names for either of
our men match the names of the guys in the story you sent.
This has all the earmarks of two phonies who never really knew each
other, but who each think that the other guy might be real… so they
agree with whatever the other guy says. You get this odd situation of
one phony validating the claims of another. I have seen it happen time
and time again.
The other situation is one where someone sees an old Vietnam B/W
photograph and loudly proclaims “HEY THAT’S ME AND MY GUYS”.
After 30-40 years no one really looks like they did back then, and
it’s virtually impossible to match the guy NOW with anyone in the
picture. So then the other phony comes along and says “Yeah… and
that guy next to him is ME”… and they both agree because neither
one wants to be shown out as an imposter.
I do think the Vietnam War photograph might legitimately show Team
guys. The partial arm and weapon at the far right shows the short
muzzle of a CAR-15 variant as was often carried by the Team guys at
that time… when it wasn’t widely available to other units. But if
it is real, then neither of the two guys in the story are in that
picture, because neither of the men in the story are listed in the
SEAL Database. They couldn’t be in a real photograph of Team guys
from the Vietnam War since they are not now, and never have been Navy
The picture of the guy in BRAND NEW STORE BOUGHT VN TIGER STRIPES with
all the patches is just that… a guy wearing VN cammy and patches.
He’s got a SEAL Team ONE patch and a couple of variants of the patch
now used by the SPECIAL OPERATIONS ASSOCIATION (The skull with the
green beret above a banner, with anchor flukes below). ALL of those
patches are NEW, and can be purchased by virtually anyone online
without any need for supporting documentation.
If the guy in the photograph wearing the tiger stripes and patches is
either BOB MARVIN or PAT CALLAHAN, then he most certainly is NOT a US
Navy SEAL or UDT “Frogman”
I’m copying RD Russell at the Naval Special Warfare Archives so he
can have a heads up regarding these two claimants, and be aware that
both are apparently claiming to be in that photograph from the war. As
I said, since neither man is listed in the SEAL Database, then if the
photo really does show SEALs, then it certainly isn’t THEM.
Steve Robinson RM2(SEAL)
UDT-SEAL Association - Member
CyberSEALs.org - Webmaster
Author - "NO GUTS, NO GLORY - Unmasking Navy SEAL Imposters"
That is total Bullshit!!
Chip Maury took that photo using a time delay. See the whole picture
Chip is standing on the right with glasses, kneeling in front of Chip
is Barry Enoch, right behind Enoch with the black face flashing the V
is David "Willie" Wilson, standing second from the left is
Scotty Lyon the Platoon officer. They had just captured a VC
Not To long after this pic Williams was killed by a
booby trap and a year later Enoch was awarded the Navy Cross.
RD Russell, UDT SEAL Archieves
ANOTHER SEAL WANNABE STORY
I have been wanting to tell
you this sea story for years.. I always had the highest respect for
SEALs, those "want a be assholes" who buy the SEAL trident
an then wear it, really piss me off.
So, when a GMG1 that I had
known for many years, reported on board wearing a SEAL trident,
I gave him a chance to take it off, while I double checked his service
record. I was adding him to my boat crew at a rear .50 gunner,, down
in Panama, was doing a Kindle Liberty exercise, I was Patrol
officer as a very senior CPO. We were using PBRs an Mini ATCs we
had shipped down there by C 141s.
Then at the second
muster, he was still wearing the SEAL trident, an sweating about my
hard stares. I called him out front and ripped the trident off
his whites, my crew was not surprised, as several of them were
qualified, experienced SEALs, but junior POs.
The dumbass was like a
whipped puppy after that, actually I think him faking being a SEAL
cost him Chief. He never made it an had to retire early, did not
bother me a bit.
About an our Senior Chief
SEAL instructor Orlin "Nelly" Nelson bought me a beer
Take care, still doing IKE
ENC USN ret.
I am reading Lone Survivor:
The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the LostHeroes
of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus
Luttrell, the only surviving man on a team of four Navy SEALs in
Afghanistan. The book deals with the importance of training and gut
instincts to get you through the toughest times in life. Again, Good
to Great, which offers keys to understanding what your
organization can be the best at and, equally important, what it cannot
be the best at.
The Monk Who Sold His
Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your
Destiny by Robin Sharma makes you analyze life and think about
dreams and goals and how your daily habits can help make your dreams a
The most notable fact is that 2.7 million Americans actually served in
the Vietnam war. In the last census nearly 14 million Americans
claimed they served in Vietnam. Four out of five are lying.
For over 30 years I....like many Vietnam veterans....seldom spoke of
Vietnam , except with other veterans, when training soldiers, and in
public speeches. These past five years I have joined the hundreds of
thousands who believe it is high time the truth be told about the
Vietnam War and the people who served there. It's time the American
people learn that the United States military did not lose the War, and
that a surprisingly high number of people who claim to have served
there, in fact, DID NOT. As Americans support the men and women
involved in the War on Terrorism, the mainstream media are once again
working tirelessly to undermine their efforts and force a
psychological loss or stalemate for the United States . We cannot
stand by and let the media do to today's warriors what they did to us
35 years ago. Below are some assembled facts most readers will find
interesting. It isn't a long read, but it will....I guarantee....teach
you some things you did not know about the Vietnam War and those who
served, fought, or died there.
--Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret..) --Capt. Scott Beaton
Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled:
9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official
Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.
2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam. Veterans represented
9.7% of their generation.
240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.
The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with
509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for
58,148 were killed in Vietnam.
75,000 were severely disabled.
23,214 were 100% disabled.
5,283 lost limbs.
1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21.
11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old.
Of those killed, 17,539 were married.
Average age of men killed: 23.1 years.
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted
97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged.
91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served.
74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.
Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet
Vietnam veterans' personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age
group by more than 18 percent.
87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.
There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and
non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans
Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison - only one-half of
one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.
85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.
1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of
August, 1995 During Census count, the number of Americans claiming to
have served was 9,492,958.
As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S.
Vietnam Veteran population estimate is 1,002,511. This is hard to
believe, losing nearly 711,000 between '95 and '00. That's 390 per
During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to
have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF
FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.
The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially
provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that
2,709,918 U.S.. Military personnel as having served in-country.
Corrections and confirmations to this error in the index resulted in
the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served
in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense.
(All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).
Common Myths Dispelled:
#1. Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted..
Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the
men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of
those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.
#2. Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans
range from 50,000 to 100,000 - 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran
population. Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better
estimate. "The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment
showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from
suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than
non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam
veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam
veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of
suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans' group.
#3.Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks
were killed in the Vietnam War. Fact: 86% of the men who died in
Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races.
Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their
recently published book "All That We Can Be," said they
analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during
Vietnam "and can report definitely that this charge is untrue.
Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in
Southeast Asia, a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the
U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of
blacks in the Army at the close of the war."
#4 Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor
and uneducated. Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do
areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more
likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the
best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a
high school education or better. Here are statistics from the Combat
Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993. The CACF is the basis
for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall): Average age of 58,148
killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. (Although 58,169 names are in the
Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date.
Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who
were listed as missing in action). Deaths Average Age Total: 58,148,
23.11 years Enlisted: 50,274, 22.37 years Officers: 6,598, 28.43 years
Warrants: 1,276, 24.73 years E1 525, 20.34 years
11B MOS: 18,465, 22.55 years.
#5 Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman
fighting in Vietnam was 19. Fact: Assuming KIAs accurately represented
age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS
11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually
22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20.
The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.
#6 Myth: The Common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.
Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of
Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines , Indonesia , Malaysia
, Singapore , and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the
U.S. commitment to Vietnam . The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in
1966 because of America 's commitment in Vietnam . Without that
commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca
Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance
to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that
won the war in Vietnam , they have a different opinion from the
American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for
#7 Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as
intense as in World War II. Fact: The average infantryman in the South
Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years.
The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one
year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10
Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and
304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent
that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds
were 300 percent higher than in World War II....75,000 Vietnam
veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly
500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half
were American). The average time lapse between wounding to
hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one
percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours,
died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the
helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure
the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought
the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would
secure the border).
#8 Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running
naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972......shown
a million times on American television....was burned by Americans
bombing Trang Bang. Fact: No American had involvement in this incident
near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the
bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being
flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on
the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is
currently living in the United States . Even the AP photographer, Nick
Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo
took place on the second day of a three day battle between the North
Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the
ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam ) who were trying to force the
NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an
American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are
incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. "We
(Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF," according
to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding
General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported
that two of Kim Phuc's brothers were killed in this incident. They
were Kim's cousins not her brothers.
#9 Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam . Fact: The
American military was not defeated in Vietnam . The American military
did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint,
it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland
quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California ,
Berkley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA. FACT: THE UNITED
STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM , THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID.
Read on........ The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years
AFTER the American military left Vietnam . The last American troops
departed in their entirety 29 March 1973. FACT: How could we lose a
war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate.
The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973.
* It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S.
forces, limitation of both sides' forces inside South Vietnam and a
commitment to peaceful reunification.
*The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon
consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT
American military running for their lives.
*There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia
(primarily Cambodia ) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in
1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in
*Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and
torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly
to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation
of the anti-War movement in the United States .
*As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and
misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an
overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for
the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite
initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted
in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the
designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with
Wellington , Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still,
militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist
forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA
troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong
elements in South Vietnam . The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in
the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one
front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was
another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the
perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made
the Tet Offensive famous. Please give all credit and research to:
Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N..R (Ret.) and Capt. Scott Beaton.
This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available
for free from http://www.papercut.biz/emailStripper.htm
Doc Riojas Note:
I was given the gift of
a set of 4 DVDs "Vietnam War Secrets" this past Christmas.
The Truth became the first casualty of war. Correspondent Edward Rasen
is the narrator.Although
I am not impressed with it's format, it does contain a lot of great
graphics and short movies,and statistics as stated in this, above,
The Coronado Bay Bridge was not yet
complete, the ferry was still running, the Trade Winds was still the
"hang out" and a group of 'tadpoles' were gearing up for
Hell Week. My BUDS class 53 started Hell week July 20 1969.
How could one ever forget a man walking on
the moon the same night a group of men were set to jump into San Diego
Buzz Aldrin stepped off the lunar
module onto the moons surface and Vince Olivera stepped out of his
office in Bldg 208 and said "One small step for man and one big
step for you bananas...now hit the bay"!
Nic Walsh was in Seal Team
He made 2 tours to RVN. One as as
Platoon XO and one as Platoon CO. I believe he was a grad from West
Point and requested inter-service transfer in order to attend BUDS. He
received a head wound in RVN and was medically retired. Nic decided to
become a Doctor but due to his injury, had to obtain a special waiver
to attend medical school. He was allowed the waiver but could not
specialize in a field that had any surgery requirements.
Nic became a bone and mussel specialist. He is considered one of the
top in his field in the world and is on a long term International
Council for that specialty. He is a Professor and Chairman of the
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department of one of the top
medical schools and hospitals in the US (UTHSC) and has served as
chair of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
He also is responsible for the Pain Clinic, Physical Medicine and
Rehab portion for the Audy Murphy VA hospital and is heading up the
implementation of the new Poly Trauma Center at that facility.
As a note, he has taken a personal interest in our wounded teammates
who end up at any of the facilities in this area over the last many
Nic was an excellent SEAL operator and OIC in RVN and has carried that
same spirit onto the medical profession.
I am never surprised at the accomplishments in both the Military and
civilian careers of our Teammates. No matter what the challenge, given
the opportunity, the majority of our Teammates will rise far above the
“These are just a few facts of history. We can
examine the excesses by US Forces in Vietnam (MyLai was just one of
the few that were exposed thanks to journalists). For example, former
Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey of
Nebraska acknowledged massacring 25 innocent Vietnamese civilians in a
US Navy Seal attack. Senator Bob Kerrey led a seven-member team of
Navy Seals into Thanh Phong village in February 1969, and murdered in
cold blood more than a dozen women and children.
What hardly anyone knows, and what no one in the
press is talking about, is that Senator Kerrey was on a CIA mission,
and its specific purpose was to kill those women and children. It was
illegal, premeditated mass murder and it was a war crime. He had to
wait nearly 30 years to admit this crime. Why has no one brought
charges against him? Was it a necessary mission? I have never heard
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing ‘disappointment’ at
has ever said Mea Culpa Mea Culpa Mea Maxima Culpa?
----- Original Message -----
To: Doc Rio
From: Thomas Hayden
Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2010 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: some of your photos are here:
I was in the same UDT Training class with Roy Matthews, Hershall
Davis, Harry Constance, Gil Gilloully, John Porter, Bob Thomas, Jim
Fricks and a lot of other guys. I think it was class 36 that graduated
in Dec. 1966 if I remember right.
Gene Fraley, Tom Blaze, John Bakealar, and Mike Boynton were a few of
the instructors...Louie Boink and I went to high school together...lol...
It was a long time ago and I'm 68 years old now, but I still remember
the training area at Little Creek, carrying those goddamn IBS's on our
heads, the log PT and the mudflats....I've always regreted that one
moment of weakness I experienced back then, but I suppose in life
things work out the way they're supposed to.
Later on I was able to go thru Airborne training at Ft. Benning and
become SCUBA qualified, but dropping out of BUD/S haunted me for
years. However, I was able to stay jump qualified with SEAL Team One
in Coronado and still remained friends with guys like Roy and Hershall
over the years and by jumping with the teams in Coronado, I developed
friendships with other guys that still last today. So I guess it all
comes out in the wash.
Thanks for correcting my name to Thomas Hayden; I'll be looking for
the Cu Chi tunnel pics when you post them.
I don't know if you have ever visited my website..www.meetanamericanspy.com/tomhayden
you might want to take a look at it...you'll learn a lot more
about me and how my career developed after I rang the bell at
UDT/R Little Creek Va.
By Mary Rainwater Staff Reporter
Published: September 29, 2009 10:04
While some soldiers tend to keep their battlefield
experiences private, U.S. Navy SEAL, Marcus Luttrell
did just the opposite — writing it all down in what has become a New
York Times best-selling book, “Lone Survivor.”
Luttrell, a Willis native and Sam Houston State University alumnus,
spoke about his experiences as a Navy SEAL on Tuesday morning as part
of the SHSU President’s Speaker Series.
“When I made it back (to the United States) I made a promise to God
that I will never let the memory (of my fallen teammates) die,”
Luttrell said about his reason behind the book. “I thought I would
keep their memory alive by writing the book and that would be it. I
didn’t know I would be giving talks like this.”
The soldiers Luttrell spoke of are the three SEALs lost during his
team’s 2005 mission in Afghanistan called Operation Redwing, where
the four were ambushed by a Taliban force.
While on the mission along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan to
gather intelligence on a Taliban leader with ties to Osama bin Laden,
Luttrell and the three fellow SEALs were discovered by three goat
herders, one of them a young teen.
“We had captured them until we could determine what to do, when
about 100 goats came up,” Luttrell said. “Despite what you may
have heard, war is not black and white — it is very gray.
“Those goats were the biggest instrument in our decision — we
decided to let them go and pushed back to our original position.”
Shortly after, a large Taliban force ambushed the team on a remote
ridge and forced them to fight.
“They were coming down on our flank and were everywhere,” Luttrell
said. “I took a dude out and they unleashed hell on our left side.
We fought for three to five straight minutes.”
Luttrell and his team continued attempts to evade fire from the
Taliban force — tumbling down a bolderous mountain, trading shots
and fighting injury all the way.
It was during that time that his three teammates were killed.
“Matt was on the phone calling for help and was shot,” he said.
“He got up and finished the call before crawling away to take cover.
“I can still hear him screaming my name in agony,” he said. “I
cannot get that out of my head.”
Hours after Luttrell watched all three friends die and was literally
blown off the mountain by a rocket-propelled grenade, a rescue
helicopter carrying 16 special operation forces was shot down. All on
board were killed.
“The whole night was a long night,” he said. “And as hurt as I
was, I was even more thirsty. So I determined that, ‘I ain’t going
down thirsty.’ ”
On his search for water, Luttrell stepped off a mountain, hit a tree
and was shot in the back before crawling seven miles to a small
“I got about two sips of water, when two dudes came up,” he said.
“I got this sick feeling again, about this guy 15 to 20 feet away.
The only English words they spoke were ‘American’ and
But the man turned out to be one of two Afghan villagers from Sabray,
who took him in, cleaned up his wounds and, honoring their tribe’s
custom, protected him from the Taliban at the risk of their own lives.
“They brought me water, cleaned me up and gave me clothes,” he
said. “A doctor came in and bandaged me and gave me medicine for the
The Taliban soon attacked the village and captured Luttrell, hiding
him from noon until about 3 a.m. the next morning.
“The villagers snatched me away and put me in a cave,” he said.
“They moved me around for over four more days and then carried me up
a ridge to a Marine outpost.
“I didn’t know at the time but it was the custom of the over
2,000-year-old village to protect anyone they take in, no matter the
cost,” Luttrell said. “There are good people out there.”
After assisting the military in locating his team, Luttrell was
eventually taken to a hospital in Germany to recover from his
injuries, which included shrapnel wounds, a lacerated face, a broken
nose, torn rotator cuff and three cracked vertebrae.
“The whole experience of that operation took something from me —
something I needed to get back,” he said. “So after I recovered, I
went back to Iraq again for a second tour.”
In the spring of 2007, Petty Officer 1st Class Luttrell retired. He
was awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in 2006 by President
George W. Bush.
During the lecture, Luttrell also outlined his experiences in becoming
a Navy SEAL — from his joining the U.S. Navy in 1999 to completing
SEAL training in 2002.
Before the Afghan mission in 2005, Luttrell served his first two-year
stint in Iraq.
A limpet mine is a type of attached to
a target by ; they are so named because of their superficial
similarity to the , a type of mollusk.
A swimmer or diver may attach the mine, which
is usually designed with hollow compartments to give the mine a slight
negative, making it easier to handle underwater. Normally they are
directly attached, but the warhead of the human torpedo was linked to
the magnets by wires about 1-foot (30 cm) long.
Usually limpet mines are set off by a time
fuse. They may also have an anti-handling device, making the mine
explode if removed from the hull by enemy divers or by explosions.
Sometimes the limpet mine was fitted with a small which would detonate
the mine after the ship had sailed a certain distance, so that it was
likely to sink in navigable channels or deep water out of reach of
easy salvage and making it harder to determine the cause of the
Central Texas UDT-SEAL Association Chapter
The Central Texas UDT-SEAL Association Chapter is based out of
Austin TX. and are reaching out to members that would like to join
us. To date we have found 44 that live within an approximate 2.5
If you are already a member of another Chapter, you can still be put
on our email list to enjoy our events, as some of us will be coming
to yours. We plan to be a "pay as we go" group with no
We had our first meeting 8/23/09, to pick our committee.
The committee members are:
Larry Burchett, Manchaca, TX, President
Tom McCutchan, Bastrop, TX
Kirk Anthony, Cedar Park, TX
Craig Miller, Florence, TX
Stan Seidner, Austin, TX
Our first planned event will be for members and their families on
Sunday October 4th at the home of Larry and Regina Burchett in
Manchaca, TX. This will be a pot luck affair and B.Y.O.B. We ask
that those that plan to come RSVP with a head count no later than
the number gets too large, we will move to a more suitable location.
There will be more details to come for this event. One thing, If you
play a musical instrument please bring it!
For directions and RSVP Contact information:
Larry Burchett, UDT21SEAL [at] gmail.com
Tom McCutchan, tmccutchan [[at]austin.rr.com 512-985-
Peace Medallion Leap Frogs
Roy Dean Matthews ST-2 photo taken from SEAL recruiting poster
Jason R. FRIEWALD
Mark Metherdl Memorial
Larry Theorine, Dave Cassale, A.Dee Clark,
Erasmo "Doc" Riojas, Joe Baimbridge(DV Officer)
----- Original Message ----- from:
Dennis McCormack Class 23
From: DKMSEAL [at] aol.com
To: BullDevine [at] aol.com ; Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 1:17
Subject: Re: The "Frog" Community has lost a great one
Tad & Friends,
I came across this quote in the Parade section of the Sunday paper
years ago, and used it when talking about another friend of ours who
preceded us in that last leg of our life's journey, and believe it is
equally applicable when defining the life of our friend and teammate John
Callahan. I was most fortunate to have spoken to John several
times a few months back, and he definitely was determined to live his
life to the full each and every moment.
" It takes so much to be a full human being, that there are
very few who have the enlightenment or courage to pay the price ---
One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to
the risk of living and loving with both arms. One has to embrace the
world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of
existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.
One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total
acceptance of every consequence of living and dying—Anonymous. "
How more appropriate would it be than to include a prayer for John
written by our honorary SEAL, Navy chaplain, Father
McMahon, a man known to many of us:
" Dear Father in Heaven, if I may respectfully say so,
sometimes you are a strange God. Though You love all mankind, it seems
You have special preferences, too. You seem to love those men who can
stand alone, who face impossible odds, who challenge every bully and
every tyrant -- those men who know the heat of loneliness of a
Calvary. Possibly You cherish men of this stamp because You recognize
the marks of your only Son in them. Since this unique group of men
known as SEALS know Calvary and suffering, teach them now the mystery
of the Resurrection - that they are indestructible, that they will
live forever because of their deep faith in You. And when they do come
to Heaven, may I respectfully warm You, dear Father, they also know
how to celebrate. So please be ready for them (John) when they (he)
insert(s) under your pearly gates. "
HOOYAH to a fantastic true gentleman who now lives forever,
Dennis McCormack Class 23
Friday, November 28, 2008
Story last updated at 11/28/2008 -
Navy SEALS train in Kodiak's cold terrain
By Jan Huisman |
Kodiak Daily Mirror
KODIAK - Everyone in town knows about the Navy SEAL base on Spruce
Cape. Walk along the beach on the cape's north side and soon you'll hit
a fence. On the fence, you see a sign saying do not enter and an ominous
cutout of a human figure.
Ensign Ron Rector, officer in charge at the base, sat down for an
interview to clarify what does and does not go on behind those fences.
"Really, all we're doing here is teaching guys how to survive in
the cold, wet weather," Rector said.
The cutout on the fence? On the first day of training, students are
told to follow their compass through the forest and see if they can land
on the target.
"The forest is so thick, you can walk right by those
SEALs - SEa, Air and Land forces - are the U.S. Navy's special
operations forces, deployed for reconnaissance missions, unconventional
warfare, foreign internal defense and anti-terrorism missions, among
The Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Detachment Kodiak was built in
1987, Rector said, "with the thought of the Korea threat."
"The weather here, the terrain is pretty much identical to what
you see in Korea."
Over the years, the base has served different functions, training
different kinds of units in various stages of their SEAL careers.
Rector first came here in 1994 as part of a platoon doing
"Back then, we just didn't have any gear. We would go into the
field with a pair of long-john underwear and a rain slicker on. That's
all you had, and it was horribly painful," Rector said.
Navy SEAL platoons used to come to Kodiak for advanced tactical
"We used to stake out different places in town. The power plant
used to be a big target. We'd go up on the hills and watch it and act
like it was an enemy compound," Rector said.
But for the past several years, the base has functioned as part of
basic SEAL training, emphasizing survival and navigational skills in
cold, forested, coastal environments.
Six classes averaging 40 students come to Kodiak each year for a
Navy SEAL training may evoke Hollywood images of hard-nosed drill
sergeants and recruits dropping like flies, but Rector said that's not
the idea behind cold-weather training.
"We're past the attrition phase here. We're not trying to get
anybody to quit any longer," he said. "Even though the
training's really tough and there's really tough stuff going on,
compared to what these guys have gone through, this is nothing."
"From here on out, for the rest of training, it's getting these
guys ready to go to their respective SEAL teams and march on from
2009 Roy Dean click
sign to see photos on www.sealtwo.org
2009 Roy Dean Vietnam
2009 Roy Dean
USS Begor (APD-127), 24 December 1950
12/24/50 - Our Squadron mate, Begor, APD 127, off Hungnam evacuation beaches
Demolition teams ashore are blowing up useable supplies and installations
The close of the battle for the Chosin Reservoir, and North Korea
A sad ending to a brilliant beginning
Retired Navy Capt. Robert Bedingfield leads a prayer
during a burial at sea ceremony in Fort Pierce, Fla. The museum is on
the original training grounds of the World War II Scouts and Raiders.
This unique ceremony is steeped in tradition and honors all members of
Underwater Demolition Team and SEAL special operations forces who have
passed. (photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Clark)
Burial at Sea Ceremony in Fort
Retired Navy Capt. Robert
Bedingfield leads a prayer during a burial at sea ceremony
in Fort Pierce, Fla. The museum is on the original training grounds of
the World War II Scouts and Raiders. This unique ceremony is steeped
in tradition and honors all members of Underwater Demolition Team and
SEAL special operations forces who have passed. (photo by Petty
Officer 2nd Class Joseph Clark)
Some these photos of pictures
of photos on the walls of the HoChiMinh City, Vietnam War Museum. Roy Dean
Matthews, Gel Grinnage and Erasmo "Doc" Riojas visited 'nam in Nov
Nam era Stoner Machine Gun .223 cal.
Aboard the USS Coucal ASR-8 and the USS Skylark ASR-20, I
was the independent duty Corpsman. I was also the Medical Diving Tech (HM-8493).
Each Diver had his diving folder in the Dive Locker. The "Doc"
was the man designated by the Diving Officer (usually the XO) to type the diving
forms for diving pay. We got paid for each dive we made and for Five
Cents for each foot we went under. We also got $55.00 a month Diving Pay
if we were assigned to a Navy Diving Billet.
Every Year at the Ft. Pierce FL. UDT-SEAL Muster we have sea burials
SEAL swimmers swim the ashes out beyond
the surf zone and scatter their ashes.
"The Only Easy Day was Yesterday"
CORRECTNESS IN THE MILITARY SURFACED ABOUT 1970
of the great "perks"I have enjoyed as Writer/Editor
of The Jerseyman, is getting to hear from many sailors and Marines
that served in the Navy and Marines at the same time that I did
(1953-1975), and from those that served our nation during World War II
of The Jerseyman, he posting below was received today, and I am
sending this on only to those that I think might have their own
military experiences that might relate as to what is being said.
The author is not identified, but if you served during the 1940's and
through the 1960's, I think you will probably nod your head in
agreement that the author knows what he is talking about. Some
of what he writes actually began changing during the late 1960's...
and by the early 1970's "political correctness" had
permanently surfaced it's ugly head. It's a long read, but
I think it's a good one.
Volunteer Writer/Editor The Jerseyman Before you get all up in my face
'bout what I'm 'bout to ramble on about, lemme first say that I know
the human memory tends to heavily discriminate the stuff it stores,
cataloguing things the way it wants to and reserving special places
for certain select events, sounds, sights, smells, and scenes. And not
only does it selectively edit things in and out, but it tends to
embellish events with its individualized set of filters, ethics,
morals, priorities, and tastes, magnifying some episodes and
That said, I recently came across something that triggered memories of
my early experiences in the Navy. 'Smatterafact, lotsa things do that
as I get older. My holistic retrospect on my 24 years in the USN is
quite positive, and I often willingly go back to relive what were my
most exciting and satisfying times . . . all the way from a raw
unranked boot in San Diego to the guy responsible for maintenance and
repair of elex comm & crypto equipment for CincPac, SubPac,
CinCPacFlt, Com7thFlt, and several other high-powered commands in
Chief Tom Helvig, USN (Ret.)
Volunteer writer/editor The Jerseyman
Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial
62 Battleship Place
Camden, NJ 08103
Home (856) 778-
Fax (856) 778-5668
Email: THelvig [AT] Aol.com
all shaved off. Personal effects confiscated. Clothes that didn't fit.
Strangers yelling stuff at me I didn't fully understand. Food that
tasted like stewed dirt. Beds that spoke of the hundreds who'd slept
in 'em before. Marching in formation with guys wearing exactly the
same clothes I had to wear, carrying an out-of-date rifle with which I
had to master and demonstrate skills useful in no situation my fertile
imagination could conceive.
entire personality dragged out, ridiculed, abused, and tossed on a
scrap heap only to be replaced by one that knee-jerked instantly to
commands and single-mindedly carried out lawful orders, even though no
one had ever explained to me what exactly an unlawful order might have
been. No longer was I a college boy pursuing liberal arts and
intellectual growth but a cog in a 72-man machine dedicating every
single waking moment to causing no demerits to the company during
inspections, drills, skill training, or parades.
was a narrow cot in an open-bay barracks featuring gang showers and
rows of sinks, urinals, and commodes with no provisions for
individuality, much less privacy. Lights out happened when the Company
Commander decided we'd absorbed enough humiliation for that day, that
our lockers were properly stowed, that our shoes were properly shined,
our barrack was properly cleaned, and that we clearly understood that
we were still useless raw meat that some unfortunate Chief Petty
Officer would one day be burdened with molding into halfway decent
was 0500, even before the seagulls which swooped down to pick up the
lungers off the grinder were up yet. Formation was 20 minutes later,
after shaving and dressing and fixing bunks and being reminded that
the coming night would indeed be damned short if we screwed up
ANYthing that day.
was hard-boiled eggs and beans and soggy toast one day,
chipped-something-or-other on soggy toast the next, greasy fried
mystery stuff with soggy toast the next, hamburger with tomato sauce
on soggy toast the next, and all served with something vaguely white
called "reconstituted milk" and a dark, vile,
burnt-smelling but otherwise tasteless fluid some would-be comedian
labeled "Coffee." One good thing, though . . . you could
have as much as you could eat in the 15 minutes you were allowed
inside for breakfast. Lunch and supper were always filling and
nutritious, even if often unpalatable, indefinable, and
was cold all morning out marching around toward no place in
particular, and hot in the barracks at night when the giant
inventory of our individual and collective miscreancies was recited
to us by members of our own group temporarily endowed with
positional authority over us. And I loved it. I'd go back and do it
again if they'd let me and I thought my digestive system could
survive it. Yes, I loved it, yet I counted the days, the hours, the
minutes that I had left to endure in that young-adult Boy Scout camp
before I could go see the real Navy and have some fun . . . AND get
actually out IN the real Navy, I was astonished at the importance, the
almost religious reverence, that people in khakis showered upon two
things: control over the free time of non-rated personnel, and rust.
To me the sole purpose of Chief Petty Officers was to ensure that
anybody in pay grades E-1, E-2, and E-3 get dirty as soon as possible
after morning quarters and NEVER have an opportunity to go ashore and
act like sailors (i.e., drink beer and bring great discredit upon
their beloved United States Navy).
first assignment after boot camp was on a tanker whose duty was to
fuel ships anchored beyond the breakwater, deliver AvGas and MoGas to
detachments on islands off the California Coast (San Clemente, Santa
Catalina, and others), and defuel ships going into the yards for
overhauls or extensive refits.
not involved in the specific act of transferring fuel in one direction
or another, my primary value was in ferreting out and annihilating
pockets of rust everywhere on the ship except in the engineering
spaces, where my red-striped non-rated peers busied themselves at the
same thing, except that their enemy was oil, grease, steam, and water
months later, now a fully-fledged sailor in all respects with three
white stripes on my left arm, I got orders to Electronics Technician
School at Treasure Island (San Francisco), where my primary duty was
to listen to fatally boring lectures on basic electricity and make
absolutely certain that my shoes were spitshined at all times.
giant conspiracy existed amongst the staff, primarily the CPOs, at the
school command to do everything in their power to keep those of us who
had actually been to sea from contaminating the ones who'd come to
school straight from recruit training. The strategy consisted mainly
of ensuring that we fail enough quizzes and tests to require our
spending all our evenings at night study, thereby keeping us from
going into town or to the club to fill our bellies with beer and our
eyes with the silicone boobies of Broadway.
what amazed me even more than the fanatical interest that Schools
Command CPOs had in ascertaining that everyone's shoes reflected light
better than polished onyx was the number of people who couldn't take
the pressure of boot camp or service schools and went to extreme
lengths, such as bed wetting, to get out of the Navy and go back home
than its unnatural interest in shoe shines and haircuts, tho, the
Navy's plan was beginning to make sense to me. First you got stripped
down nekkid, both inside and out, all your strengths were identified
and your weaknesses exposed, you were shown how to do a job, and then
you were sent out into the field to see if you could hack it. In front
of you at all times were both good examples and bad examples: you saw
the carrot side reflected in the gold hashmarks on Chiefs who'd
learned how to work within the system and you saw the stick side in
the red ones on career E-5s who either couldn't cut it or didn't know
how not to get caught.
smoked. Everybody drank beer. Everybody had a disgustingly nasty
coffee cup. Everybody cussed, except when the chaplain or some
officer's wife was around. You did your job, and if you were good at
it, you got pay increases through promotions. You pissed people off
and didn't get the message, you stayed in the lower pay grades and got
really good at handling brooms, trash cans, and scrub brushes.
Navy I joined had the old-fashioned Chiefs, those keepers of
tradition, guardians of ancient lore, solvers of problems . . . those
grouchy, irascible, sarcastic, but indispensable guys who'd been
around longer than anybody else on the ship, except maybe the Captain.
They knew where everything was, how everything worked, what everything
was for, and who was responsible for what.
a CPO was really a big deal in that Navy, involving a time-honored
festival of near-orgiastic silliness designed to close out the years
of irresponsible ignorance with one last naked dance through the fires
of humiliation and excoriation to emerge reborn as full-grown lion
guarding the gates of the repository of all useful knowledge.
the Chief's primary duties were making sailors out of farm kids and
smartalecs and goldbricks and Mama's boys, showing them the skills and
qualities required for them to fill his shoes when the time came for
him to retire his coffee cup. The Chief nominally reported to a young
butterbar whom he had the awesome challenge of transforming into a
leader of those other young men he was making sailors of.
reported to the Ensign, but he delivered the real status to the
Ensign's boss, usually a seasoned Lieutenant or Lieutenant Commander.
Chief generally had a special relationship with both the XO and CO,
both of whom sought his advice and assistance in all sorts of problems
and situations. His niche and his positional authority were well
established and completely understood by every member of the crew. Any
white hat entering the Goat Locker had better have his hat in his hand
and a damned good reason, and Heaven help him if he forgot to knock
. . . I'm not so sure I'd make it. Chief no longer has that special
relationship with CO and XO, and he rarely does business directly with
his department head. As soon as he sheds his dungarees and shifts into
khakis, he enters a confusing political arena of Senior Chiefs, Master
Chiefs, Warrant Officers, and LDOs all doing what the Chief used to
do. He's simply gone from technician to supervisor, and his initiation
has become as watered down as his authority.
the Navy of the 50s and 60s, traditions aboard ship were honored,
cherished, and observed. Various initiations occurred from time to
time, such as making Chief or crossing the equator, during which
rookies or newbies were ritually cleansed, humiliated, and physically
abused to degrees generally powers of 10 more severe than anything the
Gitmo terrorists ever had to endure from their guards.
episodes served the purpose of reminding every member of the crew that
new experiences, new threats, new life-altering events could bring
even the proudest and strongest to his knees. And when the purging was
over, the initiates were welcomed as brothers, tougher than before
because of what they'd learned they could withstand if necessary.
it was a good Navy, a Navy that won wars, intimidated dictators,
brought relief to victims in faraway lands, had fun, and proudly
carried the flag. And I loved it. But I'm not entirely sure that what
we have today is the natural child of that generation.
1960 if you got drunk on liberty, your shipmates got you back to your
rack and woke you up in time for you to make morning quarters. If you
found yourself in jail, the Chief or your DivOff would bail you out
and work with the local cops to fix whatever you broke, or stole, or
lost, or insulted, or forgot to pay for.
you get drunk and you wind up in a rehab facility with entries in your
service jacket that'll haunt you for years.
thing for behavior on the ship. In 1960, you mouth off to the Chief or
get caught goldbricking one too many times and you got a blanket
party, or extra duty, or both until you got your act together. You
also didn't see much of the quarterdeck or the brow, and you could
forget that recommendation to take the next rating exam.
you act like a jerk and you wind up in a seminar, or a counseling
center, or a psych ward and they load you up with a ton of paper that
follows you until you abandon ship and go to work for IBM or AT&T
or the local sanitation service.
1960 you came out with four-letter words and some heat in your voice
toward what you saw as petty rules or regs or some would-be
politician, and people either agreed with you or stayed away from you
'til you calmed down.
you say "Hell" or "Damn" and you'd better be
talking about either the Revelation or furry little aquatic animals
with big teeth and flat tails.
1960, when they were in schools or on shore duty, sailors lived in
barracks and ate in chow halls.
in today's Navy or sailors on shore duty live in hotels like the
dormitories rich college kids used to have in the 60s. They're called
"Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing Facilities" and
look like Ramada Inns. And sailors today eat in "Dining
Facilities" like debutantes, and there aren't any grouchy old
Navy cooks in the back stirring the pots or grumbling mess cooks
scrubbing pans and swabbing decks.
1960, sailors leaving the ship or station on liberty wore the uniform
of the day, either Dress Blues or Whites. Officers and senior enlisted
were often privileged to wear civilian clothes ashore, but not always.
sailors wear cammies most of the time, and it's hard to find a sailor
in dress uniform any more.
1960, the Navy Exchange was there to provide low-cost uniform and
toiletry items for sailors and their families. Selections were
limited, but quality was good and savings were considerable on things
such as booze, cigarettes, candy, and trinkets. Today the typical Navy
Exchange is a poorly managed, badly stocked, miserably staffed
business failure that sees more merchandise go out the back door in a
lunch bag than out the front with a sales receipt on it. You want
selection and a good price, go to Wal-Mart. Commissaries aren't much
better except for meat and cosmetics.
1960 many officers had at least some experience in enlisted ranks or
engines or management and were patriotic military men who commanded
respect by understanding the jobs their personnel did and staying out
of their way while they did them, then sending them on liberty when
they got the job done.
of today's officers are politicians who are afraid to say what's
actually on their minds for fear of offending someone's delicate
racial, ethnic, cultural, or religious sensitivities. They're
generally much better at leaping to premature cover-my-six conclusions
than making well-researched but tough decisions.
1960 sailors went to night clubs and titty bars and kept pin-up
pictures of girlfriends or movie stars in their lockers.
Today the girls go to sea with the guys and hope they bought the right
brand of condom. Any sailor looking at a picture of a girl today is
doing it either on his blackberry via e-mail or on a porn site with
his laptop. >
1960 you got medals for doing something extraordinary, such as saving
lives or preventing disasters or killing and capturing enemies in
Today many sailors get medals for not being late for work for more
than 6 months at a stretch and never coming up positive on a random
1960 many sailors were involved in collecting human and signals
intelligence and analyzing it.
the MAAs collect urine and civilian contractor labs analyze it. In
1960 we had clear-cut rules of engagement and unambiguous descriptive
names for our enemies. The basic rule of engagement was to wipe out
the enemy by whatever means available, and we called them "Red
Bastards" or "Commie Sonsabitches" or words our
grandmothers wouldn't like to know we used.
we call people who want to destroy us, cut our heads off, enslave our
women, end our way of life, "Aggressors" or
"Combatants" or "Opposing Forces" or "Islamic
Warriors" to avoid offending them. Our sailors are no longer
allowed to kick ass and take names, only to Mirandize and make
1960, victory meant that the enemy was either completely dead or no
longer had the ability to resist, that all his machines and networks
were captured or out of commission, that he had surrendered or been
locked up, that the fight was over and he accepted defeat.<
we declare victory when the opposing forces call time out, insist that
it was all a big mistake, and that they'll stop resisting if we
rebuild their cities, their refineries, their factories, their
Navy I joined was easy to understand. It was organized and
straightforward. The hard workers got the bennies and the shirkers got
the brooms, and everybody in between was anonymous and safe so long as
his shoes stayed shined and his hair never touched his ears or his
collar. Chiefs ran the place and officers did the paperwork until
required to put on their zebra shirts and referee bouts between CPOs
engaged in pissing contests.
a sailor needed to know, the Navy taught him, from tying knots to
operating fire-control computers on 16-inch guns. A sailor never had
to worry about what he was going to wear; that decision was made for
him and published in the Plan of the Day, which was read every morning
at quarters, usually by the Chief, the source of continuity,
stability, and purpose for everyone in the division.
a kid can't even get in the Navy unless he finished high school and
has a clean record with law enforcement. He's expected to be keyboard
literate from day 1, and he speaks a completely different language
from what his Korean- or VietNam-War grandfather spoke, no matter if
that was English or what. He doesn't play baseball, or football, or
hockey; he plays golf, and tennis . . . more often on a Wii than on a
course or court. The modern Navy doesn't keep people around to dump
trash cans and scrub galleys and clean heads; that's done by civilian
contractors. And the majority of CPOs today are expected to either
HAVE a degree of some kind or be working toward getting one soon.
Today's successful Navy non-com is a paper-chasing button pusher, not
a sweat-stained commie killer.
sailor is in touch with his "significant others" by e-mail
or cell fone almost anywhere he's sent. The idea of a 6-month
deployment to Southeast Asia with no contact other than snail mail
seems cruel and unusual torture to him.
it's doubtful I could succeed in today's Navy as I did in yesterday's.
I prefer my triggers to be on pistols and rifles, not on joysticks
controlling surveillance drones and other bots. My policy as a
division officer was never to tell a tech to do something that I
couldn't do myself, much less that I didn't understand. Today I'd have
to learn a completely new vernacular and become familiar with a
strange culture before even TALKing to my troops.
though it dates me and cements me into a mindset that's fallen out of
fashion, I think I liked the Navy that I joined better than the one we
have today. Yes, of course the capabilities we have now are wider,
more sophisticated, more potentially effective. But they're more
fragile, too, and techs can't even FIND the discreet components in a
printed circuit board any more, much less actually isolate a bad one
and replace it.
let technology pass me by, willingly and completely. My skill set is
anchored in tubes and resistors and 18-guage wire and cathode-ray
tubes and hand-held multi-meters and bench-mounted o-scopes that
weighed 120 lbs. But still, I LIKE those old Chiefs with the pot
bellies and the filthy coffee cups and the scarred knuckles and the
can-do attitude backed up by years of hands-on experience, both on the
job and in the bars all over the world.
LIKED guys like Harry Truman who weren't afraid to make hard choices
and fire egomaniacs and take personal responsibility for their own
decisions. It was GOOD to see people standing on a beach or a pier
waving when the ship pulled in, knowing there'd be dancing and singing
and fistfighting and dangerous liaisons, not snipers with Russian-made
rifles and lunatics planting IEDs along the streets.
we lived with the omnipresent fear of instant nuclear annihilation,
mutually assured destruction, uncertainty about tomorrow, and all
that. But it seemed that the government was on our side, that our
country did good things throughout the world, that the US was the best
place to live on the planet and our presidents didn't feel they had to
apologize for a goddam thing to anygoddambody.
not so much that I want a do-over; I just want teachers, and senators,
and taxi-drivers, and clerks, and college professors, and congressmen,
and judges, and doctors, and kids growing up to see my country the way
we all saw it in 1960 . . . as a strong, charitable, fun-loving,
loyal, don't-piss-me-off place with no patience for petty tyrants and
wonder what my British counterpart might feel about the direction HIS
country's taken in the last 60 years or so. Probably much the same as
what the native-born Roman Legionnaire of the 4th century felt when he
saw what had become of his beloved SPQR.
Note:Erasmo "Doc" Riojas was promoted to HMC(T) in
1961while onboard the USS Fulton (AS-11) while on shake down cruise in
Norfolk VA. from homeport New London Conn.
He underwent full CPO initition !
A gift from Gerry Flowers, Redon USMC, from Vancouver Canada
Original Message -----
From: Robert Stoner, GMCM
"Doc" Riojas, HMC
Sent: Sunday, February
28, 2010 12:45 PM
Fw: Memories of
I don't remember C-rats were ever considered to be
tasty. I do remember you always wanted a small bottle of Tabasco
Sauce handy to liven them up.
I do remember some really vile concoctions.
I do remember some C-rats that were so old that we got the green can
with the three "hockey puck" hamburger patties (along with
an inch-thick white-greenish slab of solidified grease) that were
last procured in 1958.
Almost all the cigarettes were
so dried out that you got about two or three puffs and
that was it.
Of the most despised of
C-rations was the "beef and potatoes", the "beef
with spiced sauce", and that went along with the
"ham and lima beans". Many of those cans got
clipped to the sides of M60 machine guns to help draw the belt to
feed the gun. We threw some "beef and potatoes"
C-rat cans to the Vietnamese on the shore, they took one look, and
threw them back. Hmmmmm.
When using C-4 to boil water
to cook your rations or make coffee or cocoa, one must never stomp
on an unconsumed, still-burning piece of C-4. Reason: it
will detonate with unfortunate consequences.
Pound cake was always
prized. The powdered beverages weren't too bad, but the
instant coffee was more like battery acid than coffee. The
date pudding was ghastly. Ah, but the real prize was the
Hersey's Tropical Chocolate Bar. Whatever Hershey had put
into that bar gave it the consistency of concrete. It simply
would NOT dissolve in boiling water, let alone melt in hot
weather. You might -- might -- be able to break off a chunk
with the severe application of a K-bar or rifle butt.
Bite off a chunk? Are you crazy? You want to break a
Some of us also remember the Long Range Patrol
Rations (freeze-dried meals) that came in a green cloth,
aluminum-plastic bag. The "Lurps" as they were
called, came in a 24 unit case, 8 separate menus to the case.
Seven of the eight were quite good when reconstituted with boiling
water (that's where your canteen cup and a chunk of C-4 came in
handy). Allowed to steep for 10-15 minutes, you had a very
good hot meal. "Lurps" only had two drawbacks for
1) if you ate them for 2 to 3 weeks in a row, you
needed a charge of C-4 to get your bowels regular again and
2) a spoonful of the meal would suck all the
moisture in your mouth out and you need about a 1/3 of a canteen to
get things rehydrated. The most vile and disgusting of the
eight meals was "pork and scalloped potatoes." To me
it resembled a orange-colored puke put in a bag and freeze-dried.
It was positively ghastly.
Fortunately, we had three guys in our
detachments who thought it was some kind of gourmet meal. They
never had to want judging by the growing pile in the corner of the
hooch. Join me for a walk down memory lane.
Hope all is well with you and Lulu down there in
. Actually, my son Brett Lynchwas one of the guys providing some technical guidance on
this show and was on set with the SEALs when they were up in
working on 24. He’s been out there working shows like NCIS,
24, and a few others and had a speaking part in
. Both Jeanette and I are real proud of him doing this on his own
without relying on anyone else, just hard work and focus while he is
working on his degree at the Columbia University of Hollywood.
All the Best,
Jack Lynch, Pres.UDT-SEAL Assn
note: Jack, Thank you for your
information. I am sure the "Boys" are proud of your son,
Brett Lynch, I am very proud of him and wish him much success in his
career and his life. Rio
From Donald P. Bellisario, an acclaimed producer,
comes "NCIS," a
hit spin-off of "JAG," that brings us the inner workings of
the government agency that investigates all crimes involving Navy and
Marine Corps personnel, regardless of rank or position.
Celebrating its 150th episode this season, "24"is
one of the most innovative, addictive and acclaimed dramas on
television. In its first six seasons, the suspenseful series was
nominated for a total of 57 Emmy awards, winning for Outstanding Drama
Series (2006) and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for star
Kiefer Sutherland (2006). Season Six garnered a sixth consecutive Emmy
De un amigo coleccionista, lo he conseguido
comprando en USA, recuerda que hace 30 ańos que colleciono y creo que
tengo una de las mejores colecciones de uniforrmes.boinas y sombreros
de tiges stripe,etc. he puesto mucho dinero pero no me arrepiento lo
he hecho muy feliz.
for a least 30
think I haveone
best collections ofhats
a lot ofmoney
do not regretit
I am veryhappy.
My Home Town: PEARLAND TEXAS ! State Champs 2010 !
An unsentimental personal account of the Vietnam
War. With the assistance of magazine writer Riebling, retired SEAL
master chief Keith chronicles a tale that's oddly refreshing in its
clear-eyed bluntness. The author and his tough-as-nails team had jobs
to do, he writes, carrying out missions protecting friendly villages
from Viet Cong attacks; they simply did not have time to let the
brutal surroundings affect them.
The narrative opens with the SEALs surrounded by
explosions and tracer fire as they wait to be extracted by helicopter.
Keith was not consumed by fear, as most people would be. Instead, he
reflected on how the red tracer fire was "as beautiful as any
Fourth of July fireworks display" and how lucky he felt to be
doing a job he loved. The son of a Navy chief and the grandson of two
Army veterans, from an early age Keith dreamed of entering the
military, and his determination and skill led him to the elite Navy
For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden
tells his story - speaking not just about the raid and the three shots
that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and
his family. And the startling failure of the United States government to
help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their
By Phil Bronstein ESQUIRE Magazine
Published in the March 2013 issue
Phil Bronstein is the former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle
and currently serves as executive chairman of the Center for
Investigative Reporting. This piece was reported in cooperation with
A correction is appended to the end of this story.
The man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden sat in a wicker chair
in my backyard, wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or
pay for their medical care.
It was a mild spring day, April 2012, and our small group, including
a few of his friends and family, was shielded from the sun by the
patchwork shadows of maple trees. But the Shooter was sweating as he
talked about his uncertain future, his plans to leave the Navy and SEAL
He stood up several times with an apologetic gripe about the
heat, leaving a perspiration stain on the seat-back cushion. He paced. I
didn't know him well enough then to tell whether a glass of his favorite
single malt, Lagavulin, was making him less or more edgy. We would end
up intimately familiar with each other's lives. We'd have dinners, lots
of Scotch. He's played with my kids and my dogs and been a hilarious,
engaging gentleman around my wife.
In my yard, the Shooter told his story about joining the Navy at
nineteen, after a girl broke his heart. To escape, he almost by accident
found himself in a Navy recruiter's office. "He asked me what I was
going to do with my life. I told him I wanted to be a sniper.
"He said, 'Hey, we have snipers.'
"I said, 'Seriously, dude. You do not have snipers in the
Navy.' But he brought me into his office and it was a pretty sweet deal.
I signed up on a whim."
"That's the reason Al Qaeda has been decimated," he
joked, "because she broke my fucking heart." I would come to
know about the Shooter's hundreds of combat missions, his twelve
long-term SEAL-team deployments, his thirty-plus kills of enemy
combatants, often eyeball to eyeball. And we would talk for hours about
the mission to get bin Laden and about how, over the celebrated corpse
in front of them on a tarp in a hangar in Jalalabad, he had given the
magazine from his rifle with all but three lethally spent bullets left
in it to the female CIA analyst whose dogged intel work and intuition
led the fighters into that night.
When I was first around him, as he talked I would always try to
imagine the Shooter geared up and a foot away from bin Laden, whose life
ended in the next moment with three shots to the center of his forehead.
But my mind insisted on rendering the picture like a bad Photoshop job -
Mao's head superimposed on the Yangtze, or tourists taking photos with
cardboard presidents outside the White House.
Bin Laden was, after all, the man CIA director Leon Panetta
called "the most infamous terrorist in our time," who devoured
inordinate amounts of our collective cultural imagery for more than a
decade. The number-one celebrity of evil. And the man in my backyard
blew his lights out.
ST6 in particular is an enterprise requiring extraordinary teamwork,
combined with more kinds of support in the field than any other unit in
the history of the U.S. military.
Similarly, NASA marshaled thousands of people to put a man on
the moon, and history records that Neil Armstrong first set his foot
there, not the equally talented Buzz Aldrin.
Enough people connected to the SEALs and the bin Laden mission have
confirmed for me that the Shooter was the "number two" behind
the raid's point man going up the stairs to bin Laden's third-floor
residence, and that he is the one who rolled through the bedroom door
solo and confronted the surprisingly tall terrorist pushing his youngest
wife, Amal, in front of him through the pitch-black room. The Shooter
had to raise his gun higher than he expected.
The point man is the only one besides the Shooter who could verify the
kill shots firsthand, and he did just that to another SEAL I spoke with.
But even the point man was not in the room then, having tackled two
women into the hallway, a crucial and heroic decision given that
everyone living in the house was presumed to be wearing a suicide vest.
But a series of confidential conversations, detailed
descriptions of mission debriefs, and other evidence make it clear: The
Shooter's is the most definitive account of those crucial few seconds,
and his account, corroborated by multiple sources, establishes him as
the last man to see Osama bin Laden alive. Not in dispute is the fact
that others have claimed that they shot bin Laden when he was already
dead, and a number of team members apparently did just that.
What is much harder to understand is that a man with hundreds of
successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of
our age, who capped his career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing
pad in civilian life.
Back in April, he and some of his SEAL Team 6 colleagues had formed
the skeleton of a company to help them transition out of the service. In
my yard, he showed everyone his business-card mock-ups. There was only a
subtle inside joke reference to their team in the company name.
Unlike former SEAL Team 6 member Matt Bissonnette (No Easy
Day), they do not rush to write books or step forward publicly, because
that violates the code of the "quiet professional." Someone
suggested they might sell customized sunglasses and other accessories
special operators often invent and use in the field. It strains
credulity that for a commando team leader who never got a single one of
his men hurt on a mission, sunglasses would be his best option. And it's
a simple truth that those who have been most exposed to harrowing danger
for the longest time during our recent unending wars now find themselves
adrift in civilian life, trying desperately to adjust, often scrambling
just to make ends meet.
At the time, the Shooter's uncle had reached out to an
executive at Electronic Arts, hoping that the company might need help
with video-game scenarios once the Shooter retired. But the uncle cannot
mention his nephew's distinguishing feature as the one who put down bin
Secrecy is a thick blanket over our Special Forces that inelegantly
covers them, technically forever. The twenty-three SEALs who flew into
Pakistan that night were directed by their command the day they got back
stateside about acting and speaking as though it had never happened.
"Right now we are pretty stacked with consultants," the
video-game man responded. "Thirty active and recently retired
guys" for one game: Medal of Honor Warfighter. In fact, seven
active-duty Team 6 SEALs would later be punished for advising EA while
still in the Navy and supposedly revealing classified information. (One
retired SEAL, a participant in the bin Laden raid, was also involved.)
With the focus and precision he's learned, the Shooter waits and
watches for the right way to exit, and adapt. Despite his foggy future,
his past is deeply impressive. This is a man who is very pleased about
his record of service to his country and has earned the respect of his
"He's taken monumental risks," says the Shooter's
dad, struggling to contain the frustration that roughs the edges of his
deep pride in his son. "But he's unable to reap any reward."
It's not that there isn't one. The U.S. government put a $25
million bounty on bin Laden that no one is likely to collect. Certainly
not the SEALs who went on the mission nor the support and intelligence
experts who helped make it all possible. Technology is the key to
success in this case more than people, Washington officials have said.
The Shooter doesn't care about that. "I'm not religious, but I
always felt I was put on the earth to do something specific. After that
mission, I knew what it was."
Others also knew, from the commander-in-chief on down. The bin
Laden shooting was a staple of presidential-campaign brags. One
big-budget movie, several books, and a whole drawerful of documentaries
and TV films have fortified the brave images of the Shooter and his ST6
Red Squadron members.
There is commerce attached to the mission, and people are
capitalizing. Just not the triggerman. While others collect, he is
cautious and careful not to dishonor anyone. His manners come at his own
"No one who fights for this country overseas should ever
have to fight for a job," Barack Obama said last Veterans' Day,
"or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when
they come home."
But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves
after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue,
arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets
from his employer and a grateful nation:
Nothing. No pension, no healthcare for his wife and kids, no
protection for himself or his family.
Since Abbottabad, he has trained his children to hide in their
bathtub at the first sign of a problem as the safest, most fortified
place in their house. His wife is familiar enough with the shotgun on
their armoire to use it.
She knows to sit on the bed, the weapon's butt braced against the
wall, and precisely what angle to shoot out through the bedroom door, if
necessary. A knife is also on the dresser should she need a backup.
Then there is the "bolt" bag of clothes, food, and other
provisions for the family meant to last them two weeks in hiding.
"Personally," his wife told me recently, "I feel
more threatened by a potential retaliatory terror attack on our
community than I did eight years ago," when her husband joined ST6.
When the White House identified SEAL Team 6 as those
responsible, camera crews swarmed into their Virginia Beach
neighborhood, taking shots of the SEALs' homes.
After bin Laden's face appeared on their TV in the days after the
killing, the Shooter cautioned his older child not to mention the Al
Qaeda leader's name ever again "to anybody. It's a bad name, a
curse name." His kid started referring to him instead as "Poopyface."
It's a story he told affectionately on that April afternoon visit to my
He loves his kids and tears up only when he talks about saying
goodbye to them before each and every deployment. "It's so much
easier when they're asleep," he says, "and I can just kiss
them, wondering if this is the last time." He's thrilled to show
video of his oldest in kick-boxing class. And he calls his wife
"the perfect mother."
In fact, the couple is officially separated, a common occurrence in
ST6. SEAL marriages can be perilous. Husbands and fathers have been
mostly away from their families since 9/11. But the Shooter and his wife
continue to share a house on very friendly, even loving terms, largely
to save money. "We're actually looking into changing my name,"
the wife says. "Changing the kids' names, taking my husband's name
off the house, paying off our cars. Essentially deleting him from our
lives, but for safety reasons. We still love each other."
When the family asked about any kind of government protection
should the Shooter's name come out, they were advised that they could go
into a witness-protection-like program.
Just as soon as the Department of Defense creates one. "They
[SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in
Milwaukee" under an assumed identity. Like Mafia snitches, they
would not be able to contact their families or friends. "We'd lose
"These guys have millions of dollars' worth of knowledge
and training in their heads," says one of the group at my house, a
former SEAL and mentor to the Shooter and others looking to make the
transition out of what's officially called the Naval Special Warfare
Development Group. "All sorts of executive function skills. That
shouldn't go to waste."
The mentor himself took a familiar route - through Blackwater,
then to the CIA, in both organizations as a paramilitary operator in
Private security still seems like the smoothest job path, though many
of these guys, including the Shooter, do not want to carry a gun ever
again for professional use. The deaths of two contractors in Benghazi,
both former SEALs the mentor knew, remind him that the battlefield risks
do not go away.
By the time the Shooter visited me that first time in April, I had
come to know more of the human face of what's called Tier One Special
Operations, in addition to the extraordinary skill and icy resolve. It
is a privileged, consuming, and concerning look inside one of the most
insular clubs on earth. And I understood that he would face a world very
different from the supportive one President Obama described at Arlington
National Cemetery a few months before.
As I watched the Shooter navigate obstacles very different from
the ones he faced so expertly in four war zones around the globe, I
wondered: Is this how America treats its heroes? The ones President
Obama called "the best of the best"? The ones Vice-President
Biden called "the finest warriors in the history of the
The Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden used this gear during the
May 2011 raid.
1 APRIL 2011: THE MISSION
The reason we knew this was a special mission, the Shooter said as
ourinterviews about the bin Laden operation began, is because
we'd just finished an Afghanistan deployment and were on a training
trip, diving in Miami, when a few of us got recalled to the Command in
Virginia Beach. Another ST6 team was on official standby - normally
that's the team that blows out for a contingency operation. But they
were not chosen, to better cloak what was going to happen.
There was so much going on - the Libya thing, the Arab Spring. We
knew something good was going to go down. We didn't know how good. The
first day's briefing, they actually kind of lied to us, being very
vague. They mentioned underwater cables because of the earthquake in
Japan or some craziness. They hinted at Libya. They said it was a
compound somewhere in a bowl and we were going to have two aircraft get
us there and we don't know how many are inside but we have to get
something out. You won't have any air support.
I assumed it was WMD, a nuke, because why else are they sending us
Every question the Red Squadron ST6 members asked was answered
with, "Well, we can't tell you that." Or: "We don't
It was also weird that the entire Red Squadron was in town, but
they kicked everyone out of the briefing except those guys who were
going, twenty-three and four backups. We'd leave the room to get coffee
and stuff, and the other guys were like, "Well, what are you guys
doing?" We were telling them, "I have no idea."
The Shooter was a mission team leader. Almost everyone chosen
had a one or two ranking in the squadron, the most experienced guys. The
group was split into four tactical teams, with the Shooter as leader of
the external-security group - the dog, Cairo, two snipers, and a CIA
interpreter to keep whoever might show up in the area out of the
The group left Virginia on a Sunday morning, April 10, to drive
to the CIA's Harvey Point, North Carolina, center for another briefing
and the start of training.
The Master Chief was saying JSOC [Joint Special Operations
Command] would be there, the Secretary of Defense might be there, the
Pak/Afghan CIA desk, too. That's when the wheels started spinning for
me: This is big. I've had some close calls with death, bullets flying
past my head. Even just driving, weird stuff. Every time, I would tell
my mother, "There's no way I'm going to die, because I'm here to do
something." I've been saying that for twenty years. I don't know
what it is, but it's something important.
By Monday the team was assembled in a big classroom inside a
one-story building. They actually had security sitting outside. No
one else was allowed in. A JSOC general, Pak/Afghan and other D.C.
officials, and the ST6 commanding officer were there. The SEAL
commander, cool as ever, said, "Okay, we're as close as we've ever
been to UBL." And that was it. He kind of looked at us and we
looked at him and nodded. There was none of that cheering bullshit. We
were thinking, Yeah, okay, good. It's about time that we kill this
motherfucker. It was simple. This is what I came for. Jealousies aside,
one of us is going to have the best chance of killing this guy.
During the daylong briefing, the SEALs heard how the government
found the compound in Abbottabad, how they were watching it, analyzing
it, why they believed bin Laden might be there. He, UBL, had become
known as the Pacer, the tall guy in satellite imagery who neither left
nor mixed with the others.
It was the CIA woman, now immortalized in books and movies, who gave
the briefing. "Yeah," she told us. "We got him. This is
him. This is my life's work. I'm positive."
By then, government and military officials had been considering four
options. They were either going to bomb the piss out of the compound
with two-thousand-pound ordnance, they were going to send us in, do some
kind of joint thing with the Pakis, or try what was called a
"hammer throw," where a drone flies by and chucks one fucking
bomb at the guy. But they didn't want any collateral damage. And they
wanted to make sure he was dead and not in a cave or a safe room.
After the group settled into "motel-like" rooms, with
common areas that had TVs and a kitchen, the team started strategizing
with a model of the compound on a large table. Then they drove to a
full-scale mock-up for a walk-through.
Once I realized what was going on, I actually moved myself to one
of the assault teams, even if I was no longer a team leader. We didn't
need that many guys on the exterior team, and I'll go fast-rope on the
roof with what I started calling the Martyrs Brigade, because as soon as
we landed, I figured the house was going to blow up. But we were also
going to be the guys in there first to kill him.
One sniper would also be on the roof to lean over and try to
take a shot upside down. The rest of the team would rope again down to
the third-floor windows and get your gun up fast because he's probably
standing there with his gun. If you fell, it would suck.
If the group made it inside, there were other issues. I've been in
houses before with IEDs in them designed to blow everything up. They'd
hang them in the middle of the room so it's a bigger explosion.
I was usually the guy to joke around when we were planning
these things - we all dick around a lot. But I was like, "Hey guys,
we have to take this fucking serious. There's a 90 percent chance this
is a one-way mission. We're gonna die, so let's do this right."
The discussions went on, almost a luxury. We're used to going on
the fly, five, six nights a week on deployment. Here's your target,
we're leaving in twenty minutes. Come up with a plan. This compound was
pretty easy, though we had no clue about the inside layout.
The group reviewed contingencies: How do we handle cars? What if a
helo went down? What do we do if the helo doors don't open? Shit like
that. The first helicopter was going to land in front of the house. We
were going to put our external security out and our bird was going to go
back up and we'd fast-rope onto the roof. So we'd have one assault team
from the other choppercoming up the stairs, and we'd be going
It was March 2012, a blossoming time of year in the capital of
the free world. The intimate dinner party was already under way at a
stylish split-level apartment one block from the Washington Hilton. The
hostess was a military contractor, and there was a lobbyist there, along
with another young woman, a Capitol Hill veteran.
The Shooter's mentor was behind the kitchen counter, putting a final
grill-sauce flair on some huge slabs of red meat when four men, all of
them imposing and fit, came through the front door.
The Shooter is thick, like a power lifter, with an audacious set of
tattoos. He can be curt and dismissive as his default, but also wickedly
funny. It's instantly easy to see why he's considered both a rebellious,
pushy pain in the ass by his command and even some of his colleagues,
but also a natural leader. An outgoing, charismatic, and determined
alpha male in the ultimate alpha crowd. He and his three friends were
all active ST6 members that night, though none of the others present had
been on the bin Laden mission.
This was my first face-to-face meeting with the Shooter,
following several phone conversations and much checking on my journalism
background, especially in war zones. In a corner, pouring drinks, he and
I established some rules. He would consider talking to me only after his
last, upcoming four-month deployment to Afghanistan had ended and he had
exited the Navy. And he would not go public; he would not be named. That
would be counter to the team's code, and it would also put a huge
"kill me" target on his back.
During the dinner, he told mostly personal stories and took care not
to talk in terms of operational security: the deal about the gun
magazine and the CIA analyst, the experience of eyeballing bin Laden.
"Three of us were driving to our first briefing on the
mission," he said. "We were thinking maybe it was Libya, but
we knew there would be very high-level brass there. One of my guys says,
'I bet it's bin Laden.'" Another guy told the Shooter, "If
it's Osama bin Laden, dude, I will suck yo' dick."
"So after I shoot UBL, I bring him over to see his body.
'Okay,' I told him, 'now is as good a time as any.'"
The group talked about hairy moments during other missions, stories
soldiers and foreign correspondents enjoy swapping. But from the start
something was obvious, not just about the Shooter but about his fellow
SEALs, too: These men who had heroically faced death and exercised
extraordinary violence in almost continuous battle for years on end were
fearful of life after war.
This is a problem that is becoming more critical as the "best of
the best" start leaving the most extended wartime careers in the
history of the United States. And it is a problem not just for these men
and their families but for the American government, which has come to
rely heavily on a steady stream of Tier One special operators (including
the Army's Delta Force and the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics
Squadron) - men of rarefied toughness and training like these - to
maintain a sense of international security in an asymmetrical
battlefield. The American way of war has changed radically in the past
decade, so that in the future, "boots on the ground" will more
and more mean special operators. Which means that there will be
increasing numbers of vets in the Shooter's circumstance: abandoned,
with limited choices.
That night, one of the Shooter's comrades, lantern-jawed,
articulate, with a serious academic pedigree, told me: "I've seen a
lot of combat, been in some pretty grisly circumstances. But the thing
that scares me the most after fifteen years in the SEALs?
2. "100 PERCENT, HE'S ON THE THIRD FLOOR."
The Shooter and the rest of the team made one last night run on the
mock-up of the compound in North Carolina, then drove back to their
homes and headquarters in Virginia for a brief break.
There were goodbyes to his wife and sleeping children. Normally
she'd say, 'I'm fine, just go.' This time there was nothing fine about
her. Like this would be the last time we'd see each other. Saying
goodbye is just horrible. I don't even want to talk about it... this is
the last time I'm going to see these children.
The Shooter had bought himself $350 Prada sunglasses over the
weekend, and much less expensive gifts for his kids. Which makes me a
horrible father. But really, he just figured he'd die with some
And think of the ad campaign: "If you only have one day
to live..." When we got to Nevada a few days later, where the
team trained on another full-scale compound model, but this one crudely
fashioned from shipping containers, we turned the corner, saw the
helos we'd actually use, and I started laughing. I told the guys,
"The odds just changed. There's a 90 percent chance we'll
survive." They asked why. I said, "I didn't know they were
sending us to war on a fucking Decepticon."
For the mission, they'd be slipping through the night in the
latest model of stealth Black Hawk helicopters.
There were days more training, run after run, punctuated by briefings
by military brass. They asked us if we were ready. We told them,
"Yeah, absolutely. This is going to be easy."
This was ultimately an assault mission like hundreds he'd been on,
different in only one respect.
A critical moment for the mission came when the tireless SEAL Red
Team Squadron leader briefed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike
Mullen and Pentagon undersecretary Mike Vickers. He was going to sell it
right then. Not just to his superiors but, through them, to the
We're all in uniform to look professional, and our CO, working on
no sleep for days, hit it out of the park. There's no doubt in my mind
we're going to go because of his presentation.
The group discussed what would happen if they were surrounded by
Pakistani troops. We would surrender. The original plan was to have
Vice-President Biden fly to Islamabad and negotiate our release with
This is hearsay, but I understand Obama said, Hell no. My guys are
not surrendering. What do we need to rain hell on the Pakistani
military? That was the one time in my life I was thinking, I am fucking
voting for this guy. I had a picture of him lying in bed at night,
thinking, You're not fucking with my guys. Like, he's thinking about us.
We got word that we'd be scrambling jets on the border to back us
An Ambien, a C-17 cargo-plane ride, a short stop in Germany,
and they were in Afghanistan.
At Jalalabad, the Shooter saw the CIA analyst pacing. She
asked me why I was so calm. I told her, We do this every night. We go to
a house, we fuck with some people, and we leave. This is just a longer
flight. She looked at me and said, "One hundred percent he's on the
third floor. So get to there if you can." She was probably 90
percent sure, and her emotion pushed that to 100.
Another SEAL squadron, which was already in Afghanistan and would
have normally been the assaulters, were very welcoming to us. They
would form the Quick Reaction Force flying in behind, on the 47's. The
Red Team visitors stayed in "transient" housing.
During the day, the group would work with our gear, work out. Nighttime
was poker and refreshments, or what is called "fellowship,"
while they waited for a go from Obama himself. On the treadmill, the
Shooter listened to "Red Nation" by the rapper Game. It's
about leaving blood on the ground. We were the Red Team and we were
going to leave some blood.
Other guys ginned up some mixed-martial-arts practice or
stretched over foam rollers to keep their joints in good shape.
We all wrote letters. I had my shitty little room and I'm sitting
on my Pelican case with all my gear, a manila envelope on my bed, and
I'm writing letters to my kids. They were to be delivered in case of my
death, something for them to read when they're thirty-five. I have no
idea what I said except I'm explaining everything, that it was a noble
mission and I hope we got him. I'm saying I wish I could be there for
them. And the tears are hitting the page, because we all knew that none
of us were coming back alive. It was either death or a Pakistani prison,
where we'd be raped for the rest of our lives.
He gave the letters to an intel guy not on the mission, with
instructions. He would shred them if he made it back.
You write it, it's horrible, you hand it off, and it's like, Okay,
that part's over. And I'm back, ready to roll.
By early September of last year, the Shooter was out,
He had survived his last deployment, and there was a barbecue near
his house to celebrate with about thirty close friends from "the
community." The Redskins were on, his favorite team, and there was
lots of Commando ale, brewed by a former SEAL.
"I left SEALs on Friday," he said the next time I saw
him. It was a little more than thirty-six months before the official
retirement requirement of twenty years of service. "My health care
for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there
was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said
no. You're out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your
sixteen years. Go fuck yourself." The government does provide 180
days of transitional health-care benefits, but the Shooter is eligible
only if he agrees to remain on active duty "in a support
role," or become a reservist. Either way, his life would not be his
own. Instead, he'll buy private insurance for $486 a month, but some
treatments that relieve his wartime pains, like $120 for weekly
chiropractic care, are out-of-pocket. Like many vets, he will have to
wait at least eight months to have his disability claims adjudicated. Or
even longer. The average wait time nationally is more than nine months,
according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The Center for Investigative Reporting's interactive map
of U.S. veterans still waiting for help due to backlogged disability
Anyone who leaves early also gets no pension, so he is without
income. Even if he had stayed in for the full twenty, his pension would
have been half his base pay: $2,197 a month. The same as a member of the
Still, on this early fall weekend, he does not want to commit
to publishing any information from or about him. The book by a friend
and fellow ST6 member, Matt Bissonnette, who claims to have shot bin
Laden in the chest when the Al Qaeda leader was already down and
bleeding profusely, will go on sale in a few days. The Department of
Defense was threatening legal action over breach of confidentiality
agreements and revelation of supposedly classified material. And the
Shooter refuses to identify Bissonnette by name or confirm that he is
the colleague who wrote the book. "I still want him and his family
to be safe no matter what," he says. "If he didn't want [his
name] out, I shouldn't either. That is my thinking, anyway."
Many in the community are also infuriated, the Shooter says.
"There's a shitstorm around this." It has also come to his
attention that Bissonnette's account tends to gloss over - if not erase
- the Shooter's central role in bin Laden's death.
"I don't know why he'd do that," the Shooter says.
Almost since the mission was done, the Shooter himself was suspected
by the SEAL command and other team members of being the one who was
writing a book, the one who would be first to market, spinning gold off
CIA and FBI officials called to ask whether he was going to appear
with Bissonnette on 60 Minutes.
When it became clear that he wasn't the opportunist, there was
an official effort at apology from his superiors and some individual
The Shooter had long ago decided not to write a book out of the gate,
though he is keenly aware that Bissonnette's book will make millions.
There is still loyalty and safety to consider. He also wanted to see how
Bissonnette fared with his colleagues, the U.S. government, and others.
Bissonnette's pseudonym - Mark Owen - lasted about a day before
his real name surfaced and was promptly posted on a jihadi Web site.
But it was his official separation from the Navy that convinced the
Shooter that he should get his story down somewhere, both for history
and for a potential "greater good," to both humanize his
warrior friends as something more complex than Jason Bourne cartoon
superheroes, and call attention to what retiring SEALs don't get in
their complex bargain with their country.
The White House/Flickr
The scene in the Situation Room on May 1, 2011.
3."HEY, MAN, I JUST SHOT A WOMAN."
Waiting in Jalalabad, the teams were getting feedback from
Washington. Gates didn't want to do this, Hillary didn't want to do
that. The Shooter still thought, We'd train, spin up, then spin down.
They'd eventually tank the op and just bomb it.
But then the word came to Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of
Joint Special Operations Command. The mission was on, originally for
April 30, the night of the White House Correspondents' dinner in
McRaven figured it would look bad if all sorts of officials got up
and left the dinner in front of the press. So he came up with a cover
story about the weather so we could launch on Sunday, May 1, instead.
There was one last briefing and an awesome speech from McRaven
comparing the looming raid and its fighters to the movie Hoosiers.
Then they're gathered by a fire pit, suiting up. Just before he got
on the chopper to leave for Abbottabad, the Shooter called his dad. I
didn't know where he was, but I found out later he was in a Walmart
parking lot. I said, "Hey, it's time to go to work," and I'm
thinking, I'm calling for the last time. I thought there was a good
chance of dying.
He knew something significant was up, though he didn't know
what. The Shooter could hear him start to tear up. He told me
later that he sat in his pickup in that parking lot for an hour and
couldn't get out of the car.
The Red Team and members of the other squad hugged one another
instead of the usual handshakes before they boarded their separate
aircraft. The hangars had huge stadium lights pointing outward so no one
from the outside could see what was going on.
I took one last piss on the bushes.
Ninety minutes in the chopper to get from Jalalabad to Abbottabad.
The Shooter noted when the bird turned right, into Pakistani airspace.
I was sitting next to the commanding officer, and he's
relaying everything to McRaven.
I was counting back and forth to a thousand to pass the time. It's
a long flight, but we brought these collapsible camping chairs, so we're
not uncomfortable. But it's getting old and you're ready to go and you
don't want your legs falling asleep.
Every fifteen minutes they'd tell us we hadn't been painted
[made by Pakistani radar]. I remember banking to the south, whichmeant
we were getting ready to hit. We had about another fifteen minutes.
Instead of counting, for some reason I said to myself the George Bush
9/11 quote: Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless
coward, and freedom will be defended. I could just hear his voice, and
that was neat. I started saying it again and again to myself. Then I
started to get pumped up. I'm like: This is so on.
I was concerned for the two [MH-47 Chinook] big-boat choppers
crossing the Pakistani border forty-five minutes after we did, both full
of my guys from the other squadron, the backup and extraction group. The
47's have some awesome antiradar shit on them, too. But it's sti
e it, they can send a jet in to shoot them down. Flying in, we
were all just sort of in our own world. My biggest concern was having to
piss really bad and then having to get off in a fight needing to pee. We
actually had these things made for us, like a combination collapsible
dog bowl and diaper. I still have mine; I never used it. I used one of
my water bottles instead. I forgot until later that when I shot bin
Laden in the face, I had a bottle of piss in my pocket.
I would have pissed my pants rather than trying to fight
with a full bladder.
ll a school bus flying into a sovereign nation. If the Pakistanis
Above the compound, the Shooter could hear only his helo pilot in the
flight noise. "Dash 1 going around" meant the other chopper
was circling back around. I thought they'd taken fire and were just
moving. I didn't realize they crashed right then. But our pilot did. He
put our five perimeter guys out, went up, and went right back down
outside the compound, so we knew something was wrong. We weren't sure
what the fuck it was.
We opened the doors, and I looked out.
The area looked different than where we trained because
we're in Pakistan now. There are the lights, the city. There's a golf
course. And we're, This is some serious Navy SEAL shit we're going
to do. This is so badass. My foot hit the ground and I was still
running [the Bush quote] in my head. I don't care if I die right now.
This is so awesome. There was concern, but no fear.
I was carrying a big-ass sledgehammer to blow through a wall if we
had to. There was a gate on the northeast corner and we went right to
that. We put a breaching charge on it, clacked it, and the door peeled
like a tin can. But it was a fake gate with a wall behind it. That was
good, because we knew that someone was defending themselves. There's
something good here.
We walked down the main long wall to get to the driveway to breach
the door there. We were about to blow that next door on the north end
when one of the guys from the bird that crashed came around the other
side and opened it.
So we were moving down the driveway and I looked to the left. The
compound was exactly the same. The mock-up had been dead-on. To actually
be there and see the house with the three stories, the blacked-out
windows, high walls, and barbed wire - and I'm actually in that security
driveway with the carport, just like the satellite photos. I was like,
This is really cool I'm here.
While we were in the carport, I heard gunfire from two different
places nearby. In one flurry, a SEAL shot Abrar al-Kuwaiti, the
brother of bin Laden's courier, and his wife, Bushra. One of our guys
involved told me, "Jesus, these women are jumping in front of these
guys. They're trying to martyr themselves. Another sign that this is a
serious place. Even if bin Laden isn't here, someone important is."
We crossed to the south side of the main building. There the
Shooter ran into another team member, who told him, "Hey, man, I
just shot a woman." He was worried. I told him not to be. "We
should be thinking about the mission, not about going to jail."
For the Shooter personally, bin Laden was one bookend in a
black-ops career that was coming to an end. But the road to Abbottabad
was long, starting with the guys who tried and failed to make it into
the SEALs in the first place. Up to 80 percent of applicants wash out,
and some almost die trying.
In fact, during the Shooter's Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL
training in the mid-nineties, the torture-chamber menu of physical and
emotional resistance and resolve required to get into the SEALs, there
was actually a death and resurrection.
"One of the tests is they make you dive to the bottom of a
pool and tie five knots," the Shooter says. "One guy got to
the fifth knot and blacked out underwater. We pulled him up and he was,
like, dead. They made the class face the fence while they tried to
resuscitate him. The first words as he spit out water were 'Did I pass?
Did I tie the fifth knot?' The instructor told him, 'We didn't want to
find out if you could tie the knots, you asshole, we wanted to know how
hard you'd push yourself. You killed yourself. You passed.'" "
I've been drown-proofed once, and it does suck," the Shooter
Then there is Green Team, the lead-heavy door of entry for SEAL
Team 6. Half of the men who are already hardened SEALs don't make it
through. "They get in your mind and make you think fast and make
decisions during high stress."
There have been SEAL teams since the Kennedy years, when they got
their first real workout against the Vietcong around Da Nang and in the
Mekong Delta, and even during periods of relative peace since Vietnam,
SEAL teams have been deployed around the world. But at no time have they
been more active than in the period since 2001, in the longest war ever
fought by Americans. If the surge in Iraq ordered by President Bush in
2007 was at all successful, that success is owed significantly to the
night-shift work done by SEAL Team 6.
"We would go kill high-value targets every night,"
the Shooter tells me. He and other ST6 members who would later be on the
Abbottabad trip lived in rough huts with mud floors and cots. "But
we were completely disrupting Al Qaeda and other Iraqi networks. If we
only killed five or six guys a night, we were wasting our time. We knew
this was the greatest moment of our operational lives."
From Al Asad to Ramadi to Baghdad to Baquba - Al Qaeda central at the
time - the SEALs had latitude to go after "everyone we thought we
had to kill. That's really a major reason the surge was going so well,
because terrorists were dying strategically."
During one raid, accompanied by two dogs, the Shooter says that he
and his team wiped out "an entire spiderweb network."
Villagers told Iraqi newspapers the next day that "Ninjas came with
lions." It is important to him to stress that no women or children
were killed in that raid. He also insists that when it came to
interrogation, repetitive questioning and leveraging fear was as
aggressive as he'd go. "When we first started the war in Iraq, we
were using Metallica music to soften people up before we interrogated
them," the Shooter says. "Metallica got wind of this and they
said, 'Hey, please don't use our music because we don't want to promote
violence.' I thought, Dude, you have an album called Kill 'Em All.
"But we stopped using their music, and then a band called Demon
Hunter got in touch and said, 'We're all about promoting what you do.'
They sent us CDs and patches. I wore my Demon Hunter patch on every
mission. I wore it when I blasted bin Laden."
On deployment in Afghanistan or Iraq, they would "eat, work out,
play Xbox, study languages, do schoolwork." And watch the biker
series Sons of Anarchy, Entourage, and three or four seasons of The
They were rural high school football stars, backwoods game hunters,
and Ivy League graduates thrown together by a serious devotion to the
cause, and to the action. Accessories, upbringing, and cultural tastes
were just preamble, though, to the real work. As for the Shooter, he
jokes that his choice in life was to "go to the SEALs or go to
jail." Not that he would have ever found himself behind bars, but
he points out traits that all SEALs seem to have in common: the
willingness to live beyond the edge, and to do anything, and the resolve
to never quit.
The bin Laden mission was far from the most dangerous of his career.
Once, he was pinned down near Asadabad, Afghanistan, while the SEALs
were trying to disrupt Al Qaeda supply lines used to ambush Americans.
"Bullets flew between my gun and my face," he says, just as he
was inserting some of his favorite Copenhagen chew and then open-field
sprinting to retrieve some special equipment he had dropped. That fight
ended when he called in air strikes along the eastern Afghan border to
light up the enemy.
Opening a closet door once, team members found a boy inside.
"The natural response was 'C'mon kid.' Then, boom, he blows himself
up. Suicide bombers are fast. Other rooms and other places, "we'd
go in and a guy would be sleeping. Up against the wall were his cologne,
deodorant, soap, suicide vest, AK-47, and grenades."
He's also had to collect body parts of his close friends, most
notably when a SEAL team chopper was shot down in Afghanistan's Kunar
province in June 2005, killing eight SEALs. "We go to a lot of
But for all the big battle boasts that become a sort of
currency among SEALs, the Shooter has a deep fondness for the comedy
that comes from being around the bunch of guys who are the only people
in the world with whom you have so much in common and the only people in
the world who can know exactly what you do for a living.
"I realized when I joined I had to be a better shot and
step up my humor. These guys were hilarious."
There are the now-famous pranks with a giant dildo - they called it
the Staff of Power - discovered during training in an abandoned Miami
building. SEALs would find photos of it inserted into their gas masks or
at the bottom of a barrel of animal crackers they were eating. Goats
were put in their personal cages at ST6 headquarters. Uniforms were
borrowed and dyed pink. Boots were glued to the floor. Flash-bang
grenades went off in their gear.
The area near the Shooter's cage was such a target for outlandish
stunts that it was called the Gaza Strip. Even in action, with all their
high state of expertise and readiness, "we're normal people. We
fall off ladders, land on the wrong roof, get bitten by dogs." In
Iraq, a breacher was putting a charge on a door to blow it off its
hinges when he mistakenly leaned against the doorbell. He quickly took
off the charge and the target opened the door. We were like, "You
rang the fucking doorbell?!" Maybe we should try that more
often, the Shooter thought to himself.
The dead can also be funny, as long as it's not your guys. "In
Afghanistan we were cutting away the clothes on this dead dude to see if
he had a suicide vest on, only to find that he had a huge dick, down to
his knees. From then on, we called him Abu Dujan Holmes.
And then there was the time that the Shooter shit himself on a tandem
jump with a huge SEAL who outweighed him by sixty pounds. "The
goddamn main chute yanked so hard he slipped two disks in his neck and I
filled my socks with human feces. I told him, 'Hey, dude, this is a
horrible day.' He said if I went to our reserve chute, 'you're gonna
fucking kill me.' He was that convinced his head was going to rip off
"Okay, so I'm flying this broken chute, shitting my pants
with this near-dead guy connected to me. And we eat shit on the landing.
We're lying there and the chute is dragging us across the ground. I hear
him go, 'Yeah, that's my last jump for today.' And I said, 'That's cool.
Can I borrow your boxers?'
"We jumped the next day." The Shooter's willingness
to endure comes from a deep personal well of confidence and drive that
seems to also describe every one of his peers. But his odyssey through
countless outposts in Afghanistan and Iraq to skydives into the Indian
Ocean - situations that are always strewn with violence and with his own
death always imminent - is grounded by a sense of deep confederacy.
"I'm lucky to be with these guys. I'm not going to let them down. I
was going to go in for a few years, but then I met these other guys and
stuck around because of them." He and one buddy made their first
kills at exactly the same time, in Ramadi. Shared bloodletting is as
much a bonding agent as shared blood.
After Team 6 SEAL Adam Brown was killed in March 2010, Brown's
squadron members approached the dead man's kids at the funeral. They
were screaming and inconsolable. "You may have lost a father,"
one of them said, "but you've gained twenty fathers."
Most of those SEALs would be killed the next year when their
helicopter was shot down in eastern Wardak province.
The Shooter feels both the losses and connections no less keenly now
that he's out. "One of my closest friends in the world I've been
with in SEAL Team 6 the whole time," he says. The Shooter's friend
is also looking for a viable exit from the Navy. As he prepared to
deploy again, he agreed to talk with me on the condition that I not
"My wife doesn't want me to stay in one more minute than I have
to," he says. But he's several years away from official retirement.
"I agree that civilian life is scary. And I've got a family to take
care of. Most of us have nothing to offer the public. We can track down
and kill the enemy really well, but that's it.
"If I get killed on this next deployment, I know my family
will be taken care of." (The Navy does offer decent life-insurance
policies at low rates.) "College will be paid for, they'll be fine.
"But if I come back alive and retire, I won't have a pot
to piss in or a window to throw it out for the rest of my life. Sad to
say, it's better if I get killed."
4."IS THIS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER DONE, OR THE WORST?"
When we entered the main building, there was a
hallway with rooms off to the side. Dead ahead is the door to go
upstairs. There were women screaming downstairs. They saw the others get
shot, so they were upset. I saw a girl, about five, crying in the
corner, first room on the right as we were going in. I went, picked her
up, and brought her to another woman in the room on the left so she
didn't have to be just with us. She seemed too out of it to be scared.
There had to be fifteen people downstairs, all sleeping together in that
one room. Two dead bodies were also in there.
Normally, the SEALs have a support or communications guy who
watches the women and children. But this was a pared-down mission
intended strictly for an assault, without that extra help. We didn't
really have anyone that could stay back. So we're looking down the
hallway at the door to the stairwell. I figured this was the only door
to get upstairs, which means the people upstairs can't get down. If
there had been another way up, we would have found it by then.
We were at a standstill on the ground floor, waiting for the
breacher to do his work. We'd always assumed we'd be surrounded at some
point. You see the videos of him walking around and he's got all those
jihadis. But they weren't prepared. They got all complacent. The guys
that could shoot shot, but we were on top of them so fast.
Right then, I heard one of the guys talking about something,
blah, blah, blah, the helo crashed. I asked, What helo crashed? He said
it was in the yard. And I said, Bullshit! We're never getting out of
here now. We have to kill this guy. I thought we'd have to steal cars
and drive to Islamabad. Because the other option was to stick around and
wait for the Pakistani military to show up. Hopefully, we don't shoot it
out with them. We're going to end up in prison here, with someone
negotiating for us, and that's just bad. That's when I got concerned.
I've thought about death before, when I've been pinned down for an
hour getting shot at. And I wondered what it was going to feel like
taking one of those in the face. How long was it going to hurt? But I
didn't think about that here.
One of the snipers who'd seen the disabled helo approached
just before they went into the main building. He said, "Hey, dude,
they've got an awesome mock-up of our helo in their yard." I said,
"No, dude. They shot one of ours down." He said, "Okay,
that makes more sense than the shit I was saying."
The breacher had to blast the door twice for it to open. We
started rolling up. Team members didn't need much communication, or any
orders, once they were on line. We're reading each other every second.
We've gotten so good at war, we didn't need anything more.
I was about five guys back on the stairway when I saw the
point man holding up. He'd seen Khalid, bin Laden's
[twenty-three-year-old] son. I heard him whisper, "Khalid... come
here..." in Arabic, then in Pashto. He used his name. That confused
Khalid. He's probably thinking, "I just heard shitty Arabic and
shitty Pashto. Who the fuck is this?" He leaned out, armed with an
AK, and he got blasted by the point man. That call-out was one of the
best combat moves I've ever seen. Khalid had on a white T-shirt and,
like, white pajama pants. He was the last line of security.
I remember thinking then: I wish we could live through this night,
because this is amazing. I was still expecting all kinds of funky shit
like escape slides or safe rooms.
The point man moved past doors on the second floor and the four or
five guys in front of me started to peel off to clear those rooms, which
is always how the flow works. We're just clearing as we go, watching our
They step over and past Khalid, who's dead on the stairs.
The point man, at that time, saw a guy on the third floor, peeking
around a curtain in front of the hallway. Bin Laden was the only adult
male left to find. The point man took a shot, maybe two, and the man
upstairs disappeared back into a room. I didn't see that because I was
looking back. I don't think he hit him. He thinks he might have. So
there's the point man on the stairs, waiting for someone to move into
the number-two position. Originally I was five or six man, but the train
flowed off to clear the second floor. So I roll up behind him. He told
me later, "I knew I had some ass," meaning somebody to back
him up. I turn around and look. There's nobody else coming up.
On the third floor, there were two chicks yelling at us and
the point man was yelling at them and he said to me, "Hey, we need
to get moving. These bitches is getting truculent." I remember
saying to myself, Truculent? Really? Love that word.
I kept looking behind us, and there was still no one else
By then we realized we weren't getting more guys. We had to move,
because bin Laden is now going to be grabbing some weapon because he's
getting shot at. I had my hand on the point man's shoulder and squeezed,
a signal to go. The two of us went up. On the third floor, he tackled
the two women in the hallway right outside the first door on the right,
moving them past it just enough. He thought he was going to absorb the
blast of suicide vests; he was going to kill himself so I could get the
shot. It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen.
I rolled past him into the room, just inside the doorway.
There was bin Laden standing there. He had his hands on a woman's
shoulders, pushing her ahead, not exactly toward me but by me, in the
direction of the hallway commotion. It was his youngest wife, Amal.
The SEALs had nightscopes, but it was coal-black for bin Laden and
the other residents. He can hear but he can't see.
He looked confused. And way taller than I was expecting. He
had a cap on and didn't appear to be hit. I can't tell you 100 percent,
but he was standing and moving. He was holding her in front of him.
Maybe as a shield, I don't know.
For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him.
Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face
on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That's him, boom, done.
I thought in that first instant how skinny he was, how tall
and how short his beard was, all at once. He was wearing one of those
white hats, but he had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I
remember all that registering. I was amazed how tall he was, taller than
all of us, and it didn't seem like he would be, because all those guys
were always smaller than you think.
I'm just looking at him from right here [he moves his hand out
from his face about ten inches]. He's got a gun on a shelf right there,
the short AK he's famous for. And he's moving forward. I don't know if
she's got a vest and she's being pushed to martyr them both. He's
got a gun within reach. He's a threat. I need to get a head shot so he
won't have a chance to clack himself off [blow himself up].
In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap!
Bap! The second time as he's going down. He crumpled onto the floor in
front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. That time I used
my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was
out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath.
And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of
air, I thought: Is this the best thing I've ever done, or the worst
thing I've ever done? This is real and that's him. Holy shit.
Everybody wanted him dead, but nobody wanted to say, Hey,
you're going to kill this guy. It was just sort of understood that's
what we wanted to do.
His forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V.
I could see his brains spilling out over his face. The American public
doesn't want to know what that looks like.
Amal turned back, and she was screaming, first at bin Laden and then
at me. She came at me like she wanted to fight me, or that she wanted to
die instead of him. So I put her on the bed, bound with zip ties. Then I
realized that bin Laden's youngest son, who is about two or three, was
standing there on the other side of the bed. I didn't want to hurt him,
because I'm not a savage. There was a lot of screaming, he was crying,
just in shock. I didn't like that he was scared. He's a kid, and had
nothing to do with this. I picked him up and put him next to his mother.
I put some water on his face.
The point man came in and zip-tied the other two women he'd
The third-floor action and killing took maybe fifteen seconds.
The Shooter's oldest child calls the place his dad worked
"Crapghanistan," maybe because his deployments meant he
regularly missed Christmases, birthdays, and other holidays.
"Our marriage was definitely a casualty of his career,"
says the Shooter's wife. They are officially split but still live
together. Separate bedrooms, low overhead. "Somewhere along the
line we lost track of each other." She holds his priorities
partially responsible: SEAL first, father second, husband third.
This part of the Shooter's story is, as his wife puts it,
"unique to us but unfortunately not unique in the community."
SEAL operators are gone up to three hundred days a year. And
when they're not in theater, they're training or soaking in the company
of their buds in the absorbing clubhouse atmosphere of ST6 headquarters.
"We can't talk with anyone else about what we do,"
the Shooter says, "or about anything else other than maybe
skydiving and broken spleens. When it comes to socializing, it's really
His wife understands that "so much of their survival is
dependent on the fact that their friends and their jobs are so
intertwined." And that "we lived our lives under a veil of
SEAL Team 6 spouses are nicknamed the Pink Squadron, because the
women also rely on their hermetic connections to other wives. When you
have no idea where your husband is or what he's doing, other than that
it's mortally dangerous, and you can't discuss it - not even with your
own mother - your world can feel desperately small.
But his wife's concerns, and her own narrative, convey a
faithfulness that extends beyond marital fidelity.
She has comforted him when he was "inconsolable" after a
mission in which he shot the parents of a boy in a crossfire. "He
was reliving it, as a dad himself, when he was telling me." Not
long after, she tended to him when she found him heavily sedated with an
open bottle of Ambien and his pistol nearby.
The command had mandatory psych evaluations. During one of
those, the Shooter told the psychologist, "I was having suicidal
thoughts and drinking too much." The doctor's response? "He
told me this was normal for SEALs after combat deployment. He told me I
should just drink less and not hurt anybody."
The Shooter's wife is indignant. "That's not normal!"
Though she knows that "every time you send your husband off to war,
you get a slightly different person back."
The alone times are deeply trying.
Several years ago, a SEAL friend had died in a helicopter
crash. The Shooter's wife had just been to his funeral, consoling his
widow. The Shooter was on the same deployment, and she had not heard
anything about his status.
"I came home and was inside holding our infant child. Our
front door is all glass, and I see a man in a khaki uniform coming up
the steps. All I could do was think, I'd better put the baby down
because I'm going to faint. So I set the baby on the floor and answered
the door. It was a neighbor with a baby bib I'd dropped outside. I swore
at him and slammed the door in his face."
It was four days more before she heard that her husband was safe.
Given all of that, she has a surprising equanimity about her
life. Talking with them separately, the couple's love for each other is
evident and deep. "We've grown so much together," she says.
"We'll always be best friends. I'll love him till the day I
She remains in awe of "the level of brilliance these men
have. To be surrounded by that caliber of people is something I'll
always be grateful for." Her husband's retirement has been no less
jarring for her. "He gave so much to his country, and now it seems
he's left in the dust. I feel there's no support, not just for my family
but for other families in the community. I honestly have nobody I can go
to or talk to. Nor do I feel my husband has gotten much for what he's
accomplished in his career."
Exactly what, if any, responsibility should the government have to
The loss of income and insurance and no pension aside, she can no
longer walk onto the local base if she feels a threat to her family.
They've surrendered their military IDs. If something were to happen, the
Shooter has instructed her to take the kids to the base gate anyway and
demand to see the commanding officer, or someone from the SEAL team.
"He said someone will come get us." Because of the mission,
she says that "my family is always going to be at risk. It's just a
matter of finding coping strategies."
The Shooter still dips his hand in his pocket when they're in a
store, checking for a knife in case there's an emergency. He also keeps
his eyes on the exits. He's lost some vision, he can't get his neck
straight for any period of time. Right now, she's just waiting to see
what he creates for himself in this new life.
And she's waiting to see how he replaces even the $60,000 a year he
was making (with special pay bonuses for different activities). Or how
they can afford private health insurance that covers spinal injections
she needs for her own sports injuries.
"This is new to us, not having the team."
5."WE ALL DID IT." Within another fifteen seconds,
other team members started coming in the room. Here, the Shooter demurs
about whether subsequent SEALs also fired into bin Laden's body. He's
not feeding raw meat to what is an increasingly strict government focus
on the etiquette of these missions. But I would have done it if I'd
come in the room later. I knew I was going to shoot him if I saw him,
I even joked about that with the guys before we were there.
"I don't give a shit if you kill him - if I come in the room, I'm
shooting his ass. I don't care if he's deader than fried chicken."
In the compound, I thought about getting my camera, and I knew we
needed to take pictures and ID him. We had a saying, "You kill him,
you clean him." But I was just in a little bit of a zone. I had to
actually ask one of my friends who came into the room, "Hey, what
do we do now?" He said, "Now we go find the computers."
And I remember saying, "Yes! I'm back! Got it!" Because I was
Then I just wanted to go get out of the house. We all had a DNA
test kit, but I knew another team would be in there to do all that. So I
went down to the second floor where the offices were, the media center.
We started breaking apart the computer hard drives, cracking the towers.
We were looking for thumb drives and disks, throwing them into our net
In each computer room, there was a bed. Under the beds were
these huge duffel bags, and I'm pulling them out, looking for whatever.
At first I thought they were filled with vacuum-sealed rib-eye steaks. I
thought, They're in this for the long haul. They've got all this food.
Then, wait a minute. This is raw opium. These drugs are everywhere. It
was pretty funny to see that.
Altogether, he helped clean three rooms on the second floor. The
Shooter did not see bin Laden's body again until he and the point man
helped two others carry it, already bagged, down the building's hallways
and out into the courtyard by the front gate. I saw a sniper buddy of
mine down there and I told him, "That's our guy. Hold on to
him." Others took the corpse to the surviving Black Hawk.
With one helo down, the Shooter was relieved to hear the sound
of the 47 Chinook transports arriving. His exfil (extraction) flight out
was on one of the 47's, which had almost been blown out of the sky by
the SEALs' own explosive charges, set to destroy the downed Black Hawk.
One backup SEAL Team 6 member on the flight asked who'd
killed UBL. I said I fucking killed him. He's from New York and says,
"No shit. On behalf of my family, thank you." And I thought:
Wow, I've got a Navy SEAL telling me thanks?
"You probably thought you'd never hear this,"
someone piped through the intercom system over an hour into the return
flight, "but welcome back to Afghanistan."
Back at the Jalalabad base, we pulled bin Laden out of the
bag to show McRaven and the CIA. That's when McRaven had a tall SEAL lie
down next to bin Laden to assess his height, along with other, slightly
more scientific identity tests.
With the body laid out and under inspection, you could see
more gunshot wounds to bin Laden's chest and legs.
While they were still checking the body, I brought the
agency woman over. I still had all my stuff on. We looked down and I
asked, "Is that your guy?" She was crying. That's when I took
my magazine out of my gun and gave it to her as a souvenir. Twenty-seven
bullets left in it. "I hope you have room in your backpack for
this." That was the last time I saw her.
From there, the team accompanied the body to nearby Bagram
Airfield. During the next few hours, the thought that hit me was
"This is awesome. This is great. We lived. This is perfect. We just
did it all."
The moment truly struck at Bagram when I'm eating a
breakfast sandwich, standing near bin Laden's body, looking at a
big-screen TV with the president announcing the raid. I'm sitting there
watching him, looking at the body, looking at the president, eating a
sausage-egg-cheese-and-extra-bacon sandwich thinking, "How the fuck
did I get here? This is too much."
I still didn't know if it would be good or bad. The good was
having done something great for my country, for the guys, for the people
of New York. It was closure. An honor to be there. I never expected
people to be screaming "U.S.A.!" with Geraldo outside the
The bad part was security. He was their prophet, basically. Now we
killed him and I have to worry about this forever. Al Qaeda, especially
these days, is 99 percent talk. But that 1 percent of the time they do
shit, it's bad. They're capable of horrific things.
We listened to the Al Qaeda phone calls where one guy is
saying, "We gotta find out who ratted on bin Laden." The other
guy says, "I heard he did it to himself. He was locked up in that
house with three wives." Funny terrorists.
At Bagram, the point man asked, "Hey, was he hit when
you went into the room? I thought I shot him in the head and his cap
flew off." I said I didn't know, but he was still walking and he
had his hat on. The point man was like "Okay. No big deal." By
then we had showered and were having some refreshments. We weren't
comparing dicks. I've been in a lot of battles with this guy. He's a
fucking amazing warrior, the most honorable, truthful dude I know. I
trust him with my life.
The Shooter said he and the point man participated in a
shooters-only debrief with military officials around a trash can in
Jalalabad and then a long session at Bagram Airfield, but they left some
details ambiguous. The point man said he took two shots and thought one
may have hit bin Laden. He said his number two went into the room
"and finished him off as he was circling the drain." This was
not exactly as it had gone down, but everyone seemed satisfied.
Early government versions of the shooting talked about bin
Laden using his wife as protection and being shot by a SEAL inside the
room. But subsequent accounts, from officials and others like
Bissonnette, further muddied the story and obscured the facts.
What the two SEALs did discuss after the action was why there'd
been a short gap before more assaulters joined them on the third floor.
"Where was everybody else?" the point man asked. I told him we
just ran thin.
Guys went left and right on the second floor and it was just us.
Everything happened really fast. Everybody did their jobs. Any team
member would have done exactly what I did.
At Jalalabad, as we got off the plane there was an air crew there,
guys who fix helicopters. They hugged me and knew I'd killed him. I
don't know how the hell word spread that fast.
McRaven himself came over to me, very emotional. He grabbed
me across the back of my neck like a proud father and gave me a hug. He
knew what had happened, too.
Not long after, a senior government official had an unofficial
phone call with the mentor. "Your boy was the one," the mentor
says he was told. The Shooter was alternately shocked and pleased to
know that word got back to the States before I did. "Who killed
bin Laden?" was the first question, and then the name just flies.
And it was the Shooter who, when an Obama administration official
asked for details during the president's private visit with the bin
Laden team at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, said "We all did it."
The SEAL standing next to the Shooter would say later,
"Man, I was dying to tell him it was you."
From the moment reporters started getting urgent texts hours
before President Obama's official announcement on May 1, 2011, the bin
Laden mission exploded into public view. Suddenly, a brilliant spotlight
was shining where shadows had ruled for decades.
TV trucks descended on the SEAL Team 6 community in Virginia Beach,
showing their homes and hangouts.
"The big mission changed a lot of attitudes around the
command," the Shooter says. "There were suspicions about
whether anyone was selling out."
It had begun "when we were still in the Jalalabad hangar
with our shit on. There was a lot of 'Don't let this go to your head,
don't talk to anyone,' not even our own Red Team guys who hadn't gone
The assaulters "were immediately put in a box, like a
time-out," says the Shooter's close friend, who was not on the
mission. "'Don't open your mouth.' I would have flown them to Tahoe
for a week."
But even with the SEALs' strong history of institutional modesty,
there was no unringing this bell.
The potential for public fame was too great, and suspicion was
high inside SEAL Team 6.
The Shooter was among those reprimanded for going out to a bar to
celebrate the night they got back home. And he was supposed to report
for work the next morning, but instead took the day off to spend with
Twenty-four hours later came the offer of witness protection, driving
the beer truck in Milwaukee. "That was the best idea on the table
"Maybe some courtesy eyes-on checks" of his home, he
thought. "Send some Seabees over to put in a heavier,
metal-reinforced front door. Install some sensors or something. But
there was literally nothing." He considered whether to get a gun
permit for life outside the perimeter. The SEALs are proud of being
ready for "anything and everything." But when it came to his
family's safety? "I don't have the resources."
With gossip and finger-pointing continuing over the mission,
the Shooter made a decision "to show I wasn't a douchebag, that I'm
still part of this team and believe in what we're doing."
He re-upped for another four-month deployment. It would be in
the brutal cold of Afghanistan's winter.
But he had already decided this would be his last deployment,
his SEAL Team 6 sayonara.
"I wanted to see my children graduate and get married." He
hoped to be able to sleep through the night for the first time in years.
"I was burned out," he says. "And I realized that when I
stopped getting an adrenaline rush from gunfights, it was time to
May 1, 2012, the first anniversary of the bin Laden
mission. The Shooter is getting ready to go play with his kids at a
water park. He's watching CNN.
"They were saying, 'So now we're taking viewer e-mails. Do you
remember where you were when you found out Osama bin Laden was dead?'
And I was thinking: Of course I remember. I was in his bedroom looking
down at his body."
The standing ovation of a country in love with its secret warriors
had devolved into a news quiz, even as new generations of SEALs are
preparing for sacrifice in the Horn of Africa, Iran, perhaps Mexico.
The Shooter himself, an essential part of the team helping keep
us safe since 9/11, is now on his own. He is enjoying his family,
finally, and won't be kissing his kids goodbye as though it were the
last time and suiting up for the battlefield ever again.
But when he officially separates from the Navy three months
later, where do his sixteen years of training and preparedness go on his
résumé? Who in the outside world understands the executive skills and
keen psychological fortitude he and his First Tier colleagues have
absorbed into their DNA? Who is even allowed to know? And where can he
go to get any of these questions answered?
There is a Transition Assistance Program in the military, but
it's largely remedial level, rote advice of marginal value: Wear a tie
to interviews, not your Corfam (black shiny service) shoes. Try not to
sneeze in anyone's coffee. There is also a program at MacDill Air Force
Base designed to help Special Ops vets navigate various bureaucracies.
And the VA does offer five years of health care benefits-through VA
physicians and hospitals-for veterans of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan but it offers nothing for the shooter's family.
"It's criminal to me that these guys walk out the door naked,"
says retired Marine major general Mike Myatt. "They're the greatest
of their generation; they know how to get things done. If I were a
Fortune 500 company, I'd try to get my hands on any one of them."
The general is standing in the mezzanine of the Marines Memorial
building he runs in San Francisco. He's had to expand the memorial
around the corner due to so many deaths over the past eleven years of
He is furious about the high unemployment rate among returning
infantrymen, as well as homelessness, PTSD, and the other plagues of new
veterans. General Myatt believes "the U.S. military is the best in
the world at transitioning from civilian to military life and the worst
in the world at transitioning back." And that, he acknowledges,
doesn't even begin to consider the separate and distinct travesty
visited on the Shooter and his comrades.
The Special Operations men are special beyond their operations.
"These guys are self-actualizers," says a retired rear admiral
and former SEAL I spoke with. "Top of the pyramid. If they wanted
to build companies, they could. They can do anything they put their
minds to. That's how smart they are."
But what's available to these superskilled retiring public
servants? "Pretty much nothing," says the admiral. "It's
'Thank you for your service, good luck.'"
One third-generation military man who has worked both inside and
outside government, and who has fought for vets for decades, is
sympathetic to the problem. But he notes that the Pentagon is dealing
with two hundred thousand new veterans a year, compared with perhaps a
few dozen SEALs. "Can and should the DOD spend the extra effort it
would take to help the superelite guys get with exactly the kind of
employers they should have? Investment bankers, say, value that
competition, drive, and discipline, not to mention people with security
clearances. They [Tier One vets] should be plugged in at executive
levels. Any employers who think about it would want to hire these
For officials, however, everyone signing out of war is a hero,
and even for the masses of retirees, programs are sporadic and often
ineffectual. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have both made transitioning
vets a personal cause, though these efforts are largely gestural and
don't reach nearly high enough for the skill sets of a member of SEAL
The Virginia-based Navy SEAL Foundation has a variety of
supportive programs for the families of SEALs, and the foundation spends
$3.2 million a year maintaining them. But as yet they have no real
method or programs for upper-level job placement of their most practiced
A businessman associated with the foundation says he understands that
there is a need the foundation does not fill. "This is an ongoing
thing where lots of people seem to want to help but no one has ever
really done it effectively because our community is so small. No one's
ever cracked it. And there real-ly needs to be an education effort well
before they separate [from the service] to tell them, 'The world you're
about to enter is very different than the one you've been operating in
the last fifteen or twenty years.'"
One former SEAL I spoke with is a Harvard MBA and now a very
successful Wall Street trader whose career path is precisely the kind of
example that should be evangelized to outgoing SEALs. His own life
reflects that "SpecOps guys could be hugely value-added" to
civilian companies, though he says business schools - degrees in general
- might be an important step. "It would be great to get a panel of
CEOs together who are ready to help these guys get hired." Some big
companies do have veteran-outreach specialists - former SEAL Harry Wingo
fills that role at Google.
But these individual and scattered shots still do not provide
what is needed: a comprehensive battle plan.
In San Francisco recently, I talked about the Special Ops issue
with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and venture capitalist and Orbitz chairman
Jeff Clarke. Both are very interested in offering a business luminary
hand to help clandestine operators make their final jump. There is
enthusiastic consensus among the business and military people I have
canvassed that this kind of outside help is required, perhaps a new
nonprofit financed and driven by the Costolos and Clarkes of the world.
Even before he retired, the Shooter's new business plan
dissolved when the SEAL Team 6 members who formed it decided to go in
different directions, each casting for a civilian professional life
that's challenging and rewarding. The stark realities of post-SEAL life
can make even the blood of brothers turn a little cold.
"I still have the same bills I had in the Navy," the
Shooter tells me when we talk in September 2012. But no money at all
coming in, from anywhere.
"I just want to be able to pay all those bills, take care of my
kids, and work from there," he says. "I'd like to take the
things I learned and help other people in any way I can." In the
last few months, the Shooter has put together some work that involves a
kind of discreet consulting for select audiences. But it's a per-event
deal, and he's not sure how secure or long-term it will be. And he wants
to be much more involved in making the post - SEAL Team 6 transition for
others less uncertain.
The December suicide of one SEAL commander in Afghanistan and the
combat death of another - a friend - while rescuing an American doctor
from the Taliban underscore his urgent desire to make a difference on
behalf of his friends.
He imagines traveling back to other parts of the world for a few days
at a time to do dynamic surveys for businesses looking to put offices in
countries that are not entirely safe, or to protect employees they
already have in place.
But he is emphatic: He does not want to carry a gun. "I've
fought all the fights. I don't have a need for excitement anymore.
After all, when you've killed the world's most wanted man, not
everything should have to be a battle.
"They torture the shit out of people in this movie, don't
they? Everyone is chained to something."
The Shooter is sitting next to me at a local movie theater in
January, watching Zero Dark Thirty for the first time. He laughs at the
beginning of the film about the bin Laden hunt when the screen reads,
"Based on firsthand accounts of actual events."
His uncle, who is also with us, along with the mentor and the
Shooter's wife, had asked him earlier whether he'd seen the film
"I saw the original," the Shooter said. As the action
moves toward the mission itself, I ask the Shooter whether his heart is
beating faster. "No," he says matter-of-factly. But when a
SEAL Team 6 movie character yells, "Breacher!" for someone to
blow one of the doors of the Abbottabad compound, the Shooter says
loudly, "Are you fucking kidding me? Shut up!"
He explains afterward that no one would ever yell,
"Breacher!" during an assault. Deadly silence is standard
practice, a fist to the helmet sufficient signal for a SEAL with
explosive packets to go to work.
During the shooting sequence, which passes, like the real one,
in a flash, his fingers form a steeple under his chin and his focus is
But his criticisms at dinner afterward are minor.
"The tattoo scene was horrible," he says about a
moment in the film when the ST6 assault group is lounging in Afghanistan
waiting to go. "Those guys had little skulls or something instead
of having some real ink that goes up to here." He points to his
"It was fun to watch. There was just little stuff. The
helos turned the wrong way [toward the target], and they talked way, way
too much [during the assault itself]. If someone was waiting for you,
they could track your movements that way."
The tactics on the screen "sucked," he says, and
"the mission in the damn movie took way too long" compared
with the actual event. The stairs inside bin Laden's building were
configured inaccurately. A dog in the film was a German shepherd; the
real one was a Belgian Malinois who'd previously been shot in the chest
and survived. And there's no talking on the choppers in real life.
There was also no whispered calling out of bin Laden as the SEALs
stared up the third-floor stairwell toward his bedroom. "When Osama
went down, it was chaos, people screaming. No one called his name."
"They Hollywooded it up some."
The portrayal of the chief CIA human bloodhound, "Maya,"
based on a real woman whose iron-willed assurance about the compound and
its residents moved a government to action, was "awesome" says
the Shooter. "They made her a tough woman, which she is."
The Shooter and the mentor joke with each other about the latest
thermal/night-vision eyewear used in the movie, which didn't exist when
the older man was a SEAL.
"Dude, what the fuck? How come I never got my four-eye
goggles?" "We have those." "Are you kidding
"SEAL Team 6, baby."
They laugh, at themselves as much as at each other.
The Shooter seems smoothed out, untroubled, as relaxed as I've seen
him. But the conversation turns dark when they discuss the portrayal of
the other CIA operative, Jennifer Matthews, who was among seven people
killed in 2009 when a suicide bomber was allowed into one of their
black-ops stations in Afghanistan.
They both knew at least one of the paramilitary contractors who
perished with her. The supper table is suddenly flooded with the surge
of strong emotions. Anguish, really, though they both hide it well. This
is not a movie. It's real life, where death is final and threats last
The blood is your own, not fake splatter and explosive squibs.
Movies, books, lore - we all helped make these men brilliant
assassins in the name of liberty, lifted them up on our shoulders as
unique and exquisitely trained heroes, then left them alone in the
shadows of their past.
Uncertainty will never be far away for the Shooter. His government
may have shut the door on him, but he is required to live inside the
consequences of his former career.
One line from the film kept resonating in my head.
An actor playing a CIA station chief warns Maya about jihadi
"Once you're on their list," he says, "you never
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated
the extent of the five-year health care benefits offered to cover
veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans
Affairs offers comprehensive health care to eligible veterans during
that period, though not to their families. In light of this change, we
have also revised an earlier passage in the story referring to the
shooter's post-service benefits. Also, the original version of this
story did not include a few sentences that ran in the issue printed last
week. They have now been restore