Defense Media Network

In Memory of Some of the World’s Finest and Fiercest Warriors

It is often asked, “What does it take to be a U.S. Navy SEAL?”

I know that there have been countless tests, trials and experimentation conducted on a selected and even volunteered group of SEALs to try and learn the answer to that question. Tests were run on SEALs at extreme depths, in cold water, performing rigorous activities with various gauges attached, or at extremes in altitudes, and weather.

Not one of us leaves the teams without knee and shoulder surgeries – at a minimum. We all have our own battle scars and memories, and we are all brothers in this fraternity for life. Some may choose to distance themselves for personal reasons, but we are all still considered brothers and will always give help to a brother in need.

For me, I felt that it was a challenge – that I was chosen for this type of fast-paced lifestyle. And I also knew that I did not want to go back on a ship, where I had served my first four years!

When we know that we have completed the most arduous training in the world and have survived a few deployments, then it is time to take the next step to the Tier One Team. That is and should be every SEAL’s test of determination, to be amongst the very best of your peers. SEAL TEAM SIX was a designation I had known, as a member, to be classified and strictly confidential. We could only discuss that in a whisper, so as not to give our identity away or compromise the team. These days, the word confidential seems meaningless to some in the media and government. It still has meaning to me, and I am sure that it does with others.

Those who know us understand not to ask questions like “where were you” or “ where are you off to now?” This business is a strict “need to know” basis only lifestyle. If you do not have clearance authority or the need to know, then you don’t. Just feel safe and happy knowing that we have the best of the best fighting for our freedoms and security; regular guys living not in the White House but maybe in your own neighborhood, maybe even in the house next door.

The vast majority of us are not looking for personal glory or media attention. Those that are may just be feeling that they did not reach the rank or achieve the distinguished awards for merit and bravery they aspired to. For me, the personal goals for every SEAL should be to make it through the “Green Team” training in order to be placed into one of the team areas that are in need of new members.

Green Team training is no cakewalk, nor is it an immediate acceptance into the main team. New and existing members still have to live by the code and pass all mental and physical challenges that lie ahead for them. There have been some who thought – and were sadly mistaken – that being accepted to attend Green Team meant immediate acceptance into the main flow of the Tier One Team.

All of us have our own unique reasons for choosing this type of career. Every day, we do not know if something might happen where we are called into action. If so, we selflessly go on a mission giving 110 percent to win. All of the time, in the back of our own minds, we go over not only the mission, but whether we have all of our bases covered to help our families in the event that we do not make it back. Faith keeps us strong.

We go down our mental checklist of the will, life insurance policy, and whether we gave wives or loved ones account numbers, contact telephone numbers, and so forth.

We definitely do not do this for the money.

God bless our fallen brothers that were killed in action when their CH-47 was shot down in the Tangi River Valley, Afghanistan, this past Aug. 6 by terrorist forces. We all just ask that you pray for our fallen warrior brothers and their families, that they may receive strength and comfort in their time of mourning. All of your prayers for our warfighters deploying into harm’s way are and always will be appreciated.

We can promise you that these terrorists will be relentlessly hunted down until we prevail.

May God bless the USN SEAL teams and may God bless America.

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    James – thank you for this story. All of the families are in my prayers and I thank God for our Navy SEALS.