Inspired by SEALs
There is no shortage of books about SEAL teams, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to catch up. SEAL stands for SEa, Air, and Land, which is where these guys (or operators) operate. SEAL teams of Navy men are called on by their military betters to do dangerous and mostly dastardly deeds for their civilian betters.
I remember a time when SEALs and other Special Operations, or as we In The Know say, “Special Ops”, (Army’s Delta Force, Rangers, Green Beret, the Marine Corp’s Standard Issue Marine, etc) would never talk about their capabilities or missions anywhere outside their dens, let alone write books or make movies. But apparently ya gotta make a buck.
And I’ve enjoyed handing my bucks over to learn about these guys and their world. For example, and the Big Takeaway from this post is…
I know from reading Marcus Luttrell’s book, Lone Survivor, and watching the movie, that Navy SEALs are unique, like the other Special Forces guys, in that they Don’t Give Up. The word “Quit” isn’t part of their vocabulary.
A close friend of mine, who looks remarkably like My Sister, hasn’t seen the movie Lone Survivor yet, and until she has, at least once or twice, she will remain “The Sister Whose Name I Won’t Speak.”
A while back I read Eric Blehm’s book, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown. The late SEAL Adam Brown seems to have brought that “Never Quit” drive to a new level: he kept aiming for, and attaining, new goals (like getting a college education), goals that challenged him even more in an already demanding SEAL job.
Oh— I misspoke: he did quit; he quit an addiction to crack cocaine. It constantly called him back, but he mastered it.
And he mastered shooting —passing the extremely demanding Sniper School— after suffering a slow, painful death in his right eye from getting “dinged” by a high-velocity paintball. Keeping his SEAL rating and Sniper School required completely changing his shooting stance so he could use his left hand to “slowly squeeze that trigger” to coordinate better with using his good left eye.
Then he mastered shooting fast and deadly with his left hand when his right fingers were amputated (then reattached, later) in a Humvee accident. No one in the entire Noble History of Warfare has succeeded in maintaining such high (lethal and humanitarian) standards with his non-dominant hand and eyeball.
As Adam adapted to those physical limitations (for which many people suggested he leave the service), he also—simultaneously—as in, at the same time, decided to try out for the ‘upper tier’ Big Time Team of the SEAL world, (basically, Seal Team Six). Apparently, trying to join the upper echelon of the SEAL world is a goal many ‘regular’ SEALs don’t attempt because the failure rate is pretty high.
As an aside, here I must admit using the words “failure rate” about warriors as proficient and committed as SEALs sounds unpatriotic and a bit foolish…any minute they’re gonna bust down my door and make me retract the insult…. “Ahh! I’m deleting as fast as I can!”
Anyway, Adam graduated to that upper tier, those Most Excellent Warriors, those most likely to be called on for the toppest, secretest, coolest assignments. And I’m impressed all over again. Which begs the question…
What is it these people have? Do they learn it? How much does leadership affect it? Are they born with it, like some Endurance Gene?
At the Labor and Delivery Ward:
Doctor: Don’t push any more, Mrs. Brown!
Mrs. Brown: I’m not! He’s crawling out! He won’t stop!
(Baby leaps out, doctor stops his freefall)
Doctor: Whoa, there! Mrs. Brown, it’s a boy, and he’s Gung Ho!
(Doctor turns the baby right side up) And he’s got gills! And webbed feet! A true Frogman!
(Gives the baby to the nurse)
Nurse: That classic Furrowed Brow Intense Stubborn Expression means he’s bound to become a Navy SEAL!
The best part is, whatever “it” is they have, they aren’t keeping it secret or hoarding it. When I read about exceptional warriors, and their sacrifices, it inspires me to be a better person. To try harder. Whine less. Operate less by my feelings, and more by my convictions. I want to Live Better, as a quiet gift back to them. And I think Adam, and all the others, would be glad for me, and satisfied.
Simplistic? You betcha.
How do you feel, what do you think, after reading (or watching about) Special Ops Forces (SOF)?