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"What kind of man makes it through Hell Week?"

Eric Greitens takes us inside the Navy SEALS:

SEALSWhat kind of man makes it through Hell Week? That's hard to say. But I do know--generally--who won't make it. There are a dozen types that fail: the weight-lifting meatheads who think that the size of their biceps is an indication of their strength, the kids covered in tattoos announcing to the world how tough they are, the preening leaders who don't want to get dirty, and the look-at-me former athletes who have always been told they are stars but have never have been pushed beyond the envelope of their talent to the core of their character. In short, those who fail are the ones who focus on show. The vicious beauty of Hell Week is that you either survive or fail, you endure or you quit, you do--or you do not.

Some men who seemed impossibly weak at the beginning of SEAL training--men who puked on runs and had trouble with pull-ups--made it. Some men who were skinny and short and whose teeth chattered just looking at the ocean also made it. Some men who were visibly afraid, sometimes to the point of shaking, made it too.

Almost all the men who survived possessed one common quality. Even in great pain, faced with the test of their lives, they had the ability to step outside of their own pain, put aside their own fear and ask: How can I help the guy next to me? They had more than the "fist" of courage and physical strength. They also had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose.

Read the whole thing and appreciate all the more the calibre of men who make up our elite special forces.

Damned good stuff.  Damned good men.


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Comments (12)

I've heard a little bit of ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

I've heard a little bit of body fat helps you get through BUDS - (1) fat floats, muscle sinks, (2) insulation from the cold, (3) stored energy.

When I went through naval t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

When I went through naval traning in the Great Lakes from Jan-the first week of April, it was cold. On the way to chow every morning sometimes you would spot a group of six tranees running through the snow with a rubber raft over their heads. Sometimes in the boxers. (I assumed they messed up) Later in training, they asked me and a few others if we wanted to transfer to UDT. That is what they called it then. Underwater Demolition Tactics. Of course I said I am not interested. They are a tough, dedicated breed. Later they changed their name to SEALS for sea, air and land. Anyway, no doubt a very tough bunch with real laser focus. ww

In WWII weren't they called... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

In WWII weren't they called Frogmen?

Razorgirl,Official... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:

Razorgirl,

Officially in WWII they were the UDT (Underwater Demolition Teams). They performed beach and reef hydrographic reconnaissance and demolition of natural and man made obstacles on landing beaches and the approaches to them. Nicknames included the Naked Warriors and the Frogmen.

I've heard that chicka was ... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:

I've heard that chicka was demanding the qualifications of someone else to speak of / comment on the SEAL's and that when challenged for his own qualifications to so opine, none were forthcoming.

WildWillie,The SEA... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:

WildWillie,

The SEAL's were formed in 1962 from the ranks of the UDT. Eventually the UDT were disbanded in favor of the SEAL Teams, but their basic training course is still Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUDS) training and is still run from the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado CA.

Appreciate the information.... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

Appreciate the information. My father is a WWII Navy vet (93 years old). He has mentioned the frogmen on several occasions.

I've heard a little bit ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

I've heard a little bit of body fat helps you get through BUDS - (1) fat floats, muscle sinks, (2) insulation from the cold, (3) stored energy.

Won't help without the basic determination in the first place.

"What kind of man makes it ... (Below threshold)
Drago:

"What kind of man makes it through Hell Week"?

Well, if you ask Wendy Chamberlain, dem/lefty in good standing, the kind of man that makes it through Hell Week is........

...wait for it....

Obama!!

http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1105/03/cnr.05.html

Wendy Chamberlain: " But he made that decision to go without telling Pakistan and that took some real courage, as much courage as our Navy SEALs did in pulling off a near flawless operation."

Yep.

obama.

As courageous as Navy SEALs.

Hey, why don't we just throw a Medal of Honor obama's way?

He could put it right next to his Nobel prize and his Grammy's for (no kidding), simply reading his books into a microphone.

I have known a few SEALs si... (Below threshold)
Howie:

I have known a few SEALs since my time in the Navy. The best story was one who was awarded the Navy Cross for Afganistan. I knew him for two years, before I found out he was a SEAL. Small, wirely guy, who was very humble.

I suspect the author took s... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

I suspect the author took some artistic freedom with this piece. I have never been through Hell Week. However I heard it is similar although not the same as the Army SF Selection Course at least in principle. Yes there was no particular body type or background. Some that made it though were muscular body builder types, small and big in size, timid, aggressive, tattoo, non-tattoo, etc. However none that I knew made it through who was out of shape or had the basic strength to complete many of the tasks. Also simply surviving through the two weeks didn’t mean you made it and were selected. Those who sandbag were usually discovered and not selected. Maybe the SEAL’s Hell Week differs in that aspect.

Usually there would be SEALs that would go though the Q course with their Army counterpart. Good enough guys but to say they didn’t like to put on a show would be a misstatement. The same could be said about some of the Army personnel, usually done in good fun. The SEALs and Army SF have the same missions but what they concentrate on differs and I leave it there.

I always take these types of articles with a grain of salt and suggest others do as well.

The only Easy day was yeste... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

The only Easy day was yesterday!
SEALS as well as other SF

Relentless dedication, physical aptitude, initiative are all aspects of people who make it through.





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