SEAL Team 6

SEAL Team 6


SEAL Team 6, whose existence has never been officially acknowledged, is the group of men who entered Pakistan and killed Usama Bin Laden at his home. They are just like the super quiet helicopters used to fly into Pakistan undetected, just 1 hour from its capital city.

Vanity Fair has an excellent article with excerpts from a book by former SEAL Team 6 member Howard E. Wasdin. The whole article is worth reading, but here are the highlights.

On the first morning of indoctrination into BUD/S, we had to do the physical screening test again… That evening, the SEAL instructors stood before us and introduced themselves. At the end, Lieutenant Moore told us we could quit if we wanted to by walking outside and ringing the bell three times.

“I’ll wait,” Lieutenant Moore said.

I thought the lieutenant was bluffing, but some of my classmates began ringing the bell.

The O-course helps prepare a man for that kind of work. It has also broken more than one trainee’s neck or back — climbing over the top of the 60-foot cargo net is a bad time to lose arm strength. Much of our training was dangerous, and injuries were common.

A number of the race horses were the biggest crybabies. They’d probably been No. 1 much of their lives, and now when they had their first taste of adversity – BUD/S style – they couldn’t handle it.

Losers would pay with their flesh — it pays to be a winner.

Our boat climbed up the face of the wave. I saw one of the other boats clear the tip. We weren’t so lucky. The wave picked us up and slammed us down, sandwiching us between our boat and the water.

As the ocean swallowed us, I swallowed boots, paddles, and cold seawater.

I realized, This could kill me.

Drown proofing

Drown Proofing

We arrived at the pool located at Building 164 and stripped down to our UDT swim shorts. An instructor said, “You are going to love this. Drown-proofing is one of my favorites. Sink or swim, sweet peas.”

I tied my feet together, and my swim partner tied my hands behind my back.

“When I give the command, the bound men will hop into the deep end of the pool,” Instructor Stoneclam said. “You must bob up and down 20 times, float for five minutes, swim to the shallow end of the pool, turn around without touching the bottom, swim back to the deep end, do a forward and backward somersault underwater, and retrieve a face mask from the bottom of the pool with your teeth.”

The torment continued throughout each day — push-ups, runs, push-ups, calisthenics, push-ups, swims, push-ups, O-course — day after day, week after week. We ran a mile one-way just to eat a meal. Round-trip multiplied by three meals made for six miles a day just to eat!

We did squat thrusts, eight-count bodybuilders, and all manner of acrobatic tortures until the sand rubbed our wet skin raw and nearly every muscle in our bodies broke down. It was my first goon squad — and the only one I ever needed. I may die on the next timed run, but I ain’t doin’ this crap again.

As my upper body hung over the valley in the V of my homemade trouser flotation device, I felt relief. I had been so concerned about drowning that I had forgotten how frigid the water felt. Now that I wasn’t drowning, I started to remember the cold.

In psychology this belief is called self-efficacy. Even when the mission seems impossible, it is the strength of our belief that makes success possible. The absence of this belief guarantees failure. A strong belief in the mission fuels our ability to focus, put forth effort, and persist.

“All of you have to swim 50 meters underwater. You’ll do a somersault into the pool, so no one gets a diving start, and swim 25 meters across. Touch the end and swim 25 meters back. If you break the surface at any time, you fail.”

Our world is a meritocracy where we are free to leave at any time. Our missions are voluntary; I can’t think of a mission that wasn’t.

Related:
Discovery Channel: BUDS Class 234

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