Mud-Bespattered Sailors Stumble Through"Hell"

                             "The only easy day was yesterday!"    


By Bill Pate 

LITTLE CREEK - Fifteen bone- weary men hit the Naval Amphibious Base beach here Friday for a day-long session of hell. 

The stumbling, mud and sand-covered group was all that was left- of 76 -trainees who began the, Navy's East Coast replacement course 'for underwater demolition: teams five weeks ago. 

Lt. Cmdr. H. A. Williams, of' the ship - to - shore department charged with their training, watched the six officers and nine enlisted men drag themselves over an obstacle course at 11 am. 

For six hours the group, had been undergoing all the harassment and Punishment UDT instructors could throw at them. 

'They're just about at the breaking point now," Williams. said. "I'd say they've got about four or five more hours in them." 

A short distance away, Lt (jg) Jim Wilson was guarding his 'trainees on the slide-for life obstacle obstacle, two taut stretches rope slanting from a high platform across dirty water. 

'Today 'if's 'So Solly Day' for these men. It's the peek of 'Hell Week, Williams explained. They've been going like this since midnight Sunday. 

"You can see this eliminates those who are physically mentally and psychologically unsuited for UDT." Williams stopped when one of the trainees let go the rope with an exhausted grunt add fell into the water. . 

"1 hope to hell' he comes up," he said. 'The man did. "This," Williams continued, "is a job 'you you have to want to do." 

The UDT replacement course is a grueling 16 week long. It. I qualifies a man for a berth on one of the Navy demolition outfits stationed here or at Coronado Calif. 

By early afternoon most of the group were wet. Ragged swaying 'men. Wilson called for an inspection. 

"We have just been chewed out because of your slovenly appearance," he told, them afterwards. Some of you have torn uniforms and' and we can't allow that.' ' 

So as they shuffled off, Wilson's men ripped sway whole sleeves and trouser legs and handed them to their owners. 

The next 11 weeks hold more harassment. for the trainees. It includes a seven mile Swim, and an 18.5 -mile trek from here to Camp Pendleton on the run. 

"Hell Week?' ended' Friday at 14:30-p.m., 12 hours after the trainees began the day. 

But the course doesn't make UDT men, Williams pointed out. It only proves them capable of learning the Reconnaissance, sabotage and underwater demolition of UDT. 

Instructors drawn, mainly from Little Creek based UDT-2l, led the trainees away to the mud flats where they wallowed in black ooze up to their armpits. 

At nine demolition courses long the beach, they crawled and huddled together with faces in the sand to let explosions jar them. 

They crawled into the ocean and out again, tumbled head ova heels down, a sand dune. and trotted across the sand. Wherever they went Wilson and his men kicked sand in their faces


article taken from a newspaper\


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