May 7th, 2011

The making of a SEAL

SEAL reservist Eric Greitens on SEAL training:

What kind of man makes it through Hell Week?…

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.

Physical and mental endurance are hardly mutually exclusive. As Greitens makes clear, prospective SEALS must have both in extremely generous proportions. The physical is a given, and without it the mental would not even matter. But in the end, the mental seems to be the deciding factor that gives the winners the edge.

Just as it seems to be in so many other aspects of life.

10 Responses to “The making of a SEAL”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    When there is a will, there is a way. Until you explode that is.

  2. mary b Says:

    The strong message in the article for me is “They also had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose.” This is beyond mere mental edge or ability, besides physical ability. May we all be so!

  3. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    The ability to go inside and find new reserves when we didn’t think we had any left is something special. To dedicate oneself to a cause, be it a single mission or a lifetime of service, is not out of reach of many of us but few of us attain such. That is why it is so patently ridiculous to try to achieve equality of results when humans abilities to deliver those results differ so widely. The Special Forces represent a culture that values high achievement. A culture where success is respected and desirable. Such a contrast with the equality of results society envisioned by the left.

  4. gs Says:

    By and large, within the boundaries of prudence:

    Success is better than failure.

    A challenge failed is better than a challenge declined.

  5. geran Says:

    (This is meant to be funny, and no slight to our great special OPS teams.)

    Why do we need the military when Obama can take out all the bad guys all by himself?

    Now back to reality….

  6. Rose Says:

    They must face the gom-jabbar. And be found human. therein lies the nobility of man.

  7. Oldflyer Says:

    I doubt that I could make it.

    No real comparison, but I would sometimes look around at my fellow Naval Aviators and marvel. Short chubby guys. Tall, skinny guys. Rare Adonis type. Extroverts; introverts. Loud and profane;quiet and contemplative. Cerebral, or never a serious thought. Few who resembled Tom Cruise or Richard Gere in any way. When the chips were on the line, only what was inside mattered; and the exterior seldom offered a clue.

  8. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    As a former Nazal Radiator myself, I second your comment. The wrapper says little about the package. Hollywood stereotypes ala Cruise, Gere, or Wayne provide a myth not reality.

  9. Hong Says:

    Offer SEAL training to every American in school and grade them instead of the SAT. Hah, would that not weed out the twerps like Holder, Obama, Clintons and the RINOs from public office?

  10. bon homme richard Says:

    I’ll never forget the epitome of moral courage I read in the memoirs of a WWII fighter pilot. There was a pilot in his squadron who was so terrified of the danger he faced that he could not make himself leave the Ready Room and get into his plane. He had to be carried to his plane by his ground crew. (He was fine and a good and brave pilot once he got in the cockpit.) The point is, HE HAD HIMSELF CARRIED TO THAT PLANE EVERY DAY! That’s courage!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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