Category Archives: SEALs

Retention

By lex, on May 7th, 2011

In the Navy, the retention of trained personnel is a high priority during ordinary times. We spend significant sums recruiting qualified personnel, and the technical training they receive can make them both difficult to replace, and particularly valuable to civilian employers who will 1) pay them more, and 2) promise not send them to sea for months on end with thousands of their closest friends sleeping in intimate proximity.

They do things a  little differently in Navy Special Warfare:

The pinnacle of SEAL training is known as Hell Week, a period of continuous tests and drills during which most classes sleep only a total of two to five hours. Every man has a different story of Hell Week; he remembers particular classmates and instructors, his own most difficult moments. But every Hell Week story is also the same: A man enters a new world aiming to become something greater, and having subjected himself to the hardest tests of his life, he has either passed or failed.

My Hell Week began in the middle of the night. Sleeping in a large tent with my men, I woke to the sound of a Mark-43 Squad Automatic Weapon. The Mark-43 has a cyclic rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute. It is the primary “heavy” gun carried by SEALs on patrol. A blank round is not nearly as loud as a live one, but when the gun is rocking just feet away from your ears in an enclosed tent, it still sounds painfully loud.

We soon started surf torture. We ran into the ocean until we were chest deep in water, formed a line, and linked arms as the cold waves ran through us. Soon we began to shiver. Instructors on bullhorns spoke evenly, “Gentlemen, quit now, and you can avoid the rush later. You are only at the beginning of a very long week. It just gets colder. It just gets harder.”

To the outside observer, the process certainly appears to work.

 

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Sensitive Site Exploitation

By lex, on May 3rd, 2011

The Navy SEALs who took down “Geronimo” had the time and presence of mind to go rooting around a bit, even after having to flex to a “Plan B” extraction:

The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.”

The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid that killed bin Laden, officials told POLITICO.

“They cleaned it out,” one official said. “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”

U.S. officials are about to find out. The material is being examined at a secret location in Afghanistan.

“Hundreds of people are going through it now,” an official said, adding that intelligence operatives back in Washington are very excited to find out what they have.

“It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” the official said.

I somehow doubt his browser history will be very revealing

 

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A Peek Behind the Curtain

By lex, on May 3rd, 2011

Navy SEALs, like the ones who double tapped bin Leaded, are a famously tight-lipped group. But retirees feel free to open up a bit, like the proprietor of Coronado-based McP’s, who is quoted in today’s Sandy Eggo Union Tribune: Continue reading

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Fire Discipline

By lex, on February 22nd, 2011

The truly remarkable thing in the denouement of the Sailing Vessel Quest hostage taking, is how utterly unremarkable were the actions of the special forces who attempted to come to the rescue of the hostages after shots were fired:

On Monday, two pirates had peacefully come aboard the USS Sterett to negotiate with naval forces for the release of the hostages, and remained aboard overnight.

But at 8 a.m. East Africa time Tuesday, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired from the Quest at the USS Sterett, a guided-missile destroyer 600 yards away. The RPG missed and almost immediately afterward small arms fire was heard coming from the yacht, said Vice Adm. Mark Fox, commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain.

U.S. forces converged on the Quest in small boats and some pirates moved to bow and put up their hands in surrender.

A member of a U.S. special operations force killed one of the pirates with a knife, Fox said. A second pirate was also killed, and the bodies of two other pirates were discovered on board, bringing to 19 the total number of pirates involved. The U.S. military didn’t say how those two died and it was not known if the pirates had fought among themselves.

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Silver Star

By lex, on February 16th, 2011

Having read the Sigacts summaries back when I was on active duty, I was routinely impressed with the quiet professionalism of the heroes from explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD. When the story of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are finally told, they would be the unsung heroes.

But one among their number was recently awarded the nation’s third highest award for combat valor:

It was approaching midnight Sept. 7, 2009, at the Malmand Bazaar in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when the leader of an explosives disposal team was horribly wounded after stepping on a pressure-activated IED — an improvised explosive device — buried in the dirt.

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OV-10 Bronco In Perspective

Found this vid out on the interwebs tonight. It has some of the best Bronco footage I’ve ever seen. Flight, weapons and development test, combat in Vietnam (including VAL-4 “Black Ponies”), a subsystems overview and a performance and specification summary.

Some of the best-est Bronco footage I’ve ever seen.

You’re welcome xbradtc 🙂

 

 

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Synchronicity

Since signing up for Netflix, Saturday night has become “Movie Night”.

On Saturday last, I was perusing the offerings to see what was new. To see what was worth a couple hours of my time.

And there it was, “Act of Valor”.

I remember when this film came out and swore that I would go see it at the theater.

Like many films I have vowed to go see, time passed, other events occurred, and the moment was lost. Saturday night was an “oh yeah, I want to see that movie” moment.

After the movie started, and I was a good 15 minutes into it, was when I had a “hair standing up on the back of my neck” moment. Now this was not related to the film itself. I was completely immersed in what was happening on the screen. This was one of those moments when two events collided and became one.

Earlier in the day I was here, perusing “The Daily Lex” and sometimes, as I am wont to do, rambling through some of Lex’s other posts. And there I found, and read, Lex’s post Propaganda, a post which was, in essense, Lex’s review of the very same movie I was to watch Saturday evening.

When I stumbled across the movie and decided to watch it, I had more or less forgotten having read Lex’s piece earlier that day. But then, about 15 minutes in, it struck me that I had indeed read Lex’s thoughts on this movie. That very morning.

It gets worse. Lex had written that post on the 28th of February of this year, 2012. That post went up exactly one week before Lex was taken from us. It struck me that this may have been one of the last, if not the last, movie Lex ever watched.

I watched the remainder of the film with a lot of sadness. Even more than the movie itself demanded of me. The ending of the movie was moving and intensely sad. As I watched the names of the SEALS who paid the ultimate price since 9/11 scroll by, I thought of all of those who paid for my freedom.

At the same time I couldn’t help but feel a certain oneness with Lex. Here was an experience we shared. Far removed in time and space yes. But nevertheless, a shared experience.

I also couldn’t help but think that there are many experiences that we, as Americans share. Let’s never forget that.

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