i see u guys are at a bar drinking so either u guys are drinking really early or super late after its closed haha..other than that i love watching these so keep em coming
Hey Brandon, I've followed you a little here on SOFREP and a few other places (haven't read your book yet), but didn't realize you retired as a Chief, until I read your interview in SOF. You look too young to be a Chief!
Drive on Frogmen, love these vids!
I'm an older (okay, old) woman of the Vietnam generation. Then, I felt it was 'my' war because even though I was home, I saw it 'raw' on TV and my male friends/family were fighting it. I have been uncomfortable with how distanced I felt from the Iraq & Afhgan wars - sound bites on TV and no personal involvement. But it's war and I SHOULD be feeling it, knowing it, so I read books, watch documentaries, send care packages. Yesterday I visited the Puget Sound Naval Museum in Bremerton, WA, where there is a room dedicated to Special Ops and what really struck me was not the physical prowess and he-man stuff, but the absolute intelligence and quick wits it takes to do that job. Sorry, I know I'm not saying this well, but it was clear to me that all the strength, gung-ho and training wouldn't mean diddly if the Seals did not have brains, creativity and technical aptitude. My 'ah-ha' moment probably comes as no surprise to you in this work, but it gave me a new respect and appreciation for special ops personnel. This series of videos just reinforces my new view. Yes, they are strong and tough, but these men show that it takes so much more. So, thanks, guys for making it safe for me to live my day-to-day life and I'm sorry I can't do SOMETHING to show my appreciation. And thanks to the two young sailors in uniform I felt safe enough to approach yesterday and say "I'm lost - could you help me?"
@StormR You are an amazing woman and have hit upon a grand note. So many Americans feel distanced from these wars. God Bless you for supporting and wanting to educate yourself! Military Dogs are VERY active in SOF and there are foundations for these to volunteer or donate. Also, care packages need to be sent and I donate to Sidows. (SEAL Widows) All my books proceeds, 50% got to them, for a lost loved one. You can volunteer, donate, educate, etc. Sounds to me, like you are pretty cool. Blessings.
@StormR Your comments will mean so much to Everyone in uniform, past or present. If only more Americans felt the way you do and were aware that we are at War. 6
Sadly were i work we TOLERATE them we force them to transfer ,but direct action is rare. It Sucks because while it is not high speed special ops combat ,it can be life or death.the one thing it does foster is that as a boss you really cherish the good people you have and you will do anything for them. Anxious to hear how you all deal with them.
My question is when guys get Burned Out as Chris Osman said do they get shown the door? Or do they just get tolerated.
I think this episode illustrated the importance of teaching soldiers and operators about the physiological effects of imminent danger. It's unfortunate that in today's military training, dynamic stress is very rarely spoken about. In the early years (WWII, Vietnam, etc.) the effects of stress were ignored because it was considered to be fear or cowardice. The reality is, every war fighter will experience an "alarm response" of some degree. If a war fighter doesn't understand that response, he is more likely to crumble under fire. It's interesting that the guys never talked about the "alarm response" in this episode. They talked about some of the effects but never referred to dynamic stress directly. If you listen to what they're saying, they speak as the old timers did. It's almost as if the bodies "alarm response" is looked at as weakness which is why I think the subject should be taught more often to our warfighters. Even 3 modern Navy SEALs seemed to want to ignore the subject. We have to get past this thought that dynamic stress response is negative and cowardly. Understanding your bodies natural responses will allow you to be more efficient in the fight and decrease the chance of freezing up.
@FormerSFMedic That is an interesting point that something I've heard about from three generations of combat veterans have talked about, one would think there is enough material to train people how to deal with it. Even in Kilcullen's book, he brings it up and how he would deal with it which I thought was quite a little gem of knowledge.
I think that you bring up a valid point and I will be doing a little more reding on Dynamic Stress as a result of your post. It doesn't surprise me that they were not entirely understanding though, it's never happened to me but if I were in fight for my life and a person that I trusted did NOT rise to the occasion then there would not be a chummy reunion. That said, I'm picking up what you're dropping my point is that it is not so easy to reconcile when it's your life threatened by someone else's action/inaction.
The clear and obvious response to that is: "What if you were that guy?" Well, I've never been shot at or in combat but I have been in seriously FUBAR situations where it was a matter of minutes before something bad(meaning limb or life loss was iminent) happened and for the most part blanked it out. Just wanted to stay alive and the best way to do that was not running away but to have an instant reaction to the situation. What is it they say? If your chute doesn't open, then you have the rest of your life to figure it out. That's kind of my thinking on the matter. Again, I'm no combat vet just a guy who has had a few near-misses while doing his job.
@HugeFan That is the number one reason I started studying the human side of warfighters so many years ago! It's a very interesting path to take and study and gain a whole dimension of understanding people operating in stressful and frightening environments.
Yes, Brandon, training is important. It's also important how the person reacts on those few seconds. If you managed to kick your training in, then you become focused ,however if you panic that first second it is hard to come back. I've seen it first hand both on sustained fights and after an IED where we immediately took small arms fire. Most of the guys took cover in the behind the still burning vehicles and returned fire, however a couple of guys still stunned by the explosion panicked and that was it. Another guy and I had to run to get them while the freaking AKs were still going. Like Laura and kyle said, it's the aftermath that usually drains you. It was for me.
Liked that analogy about skydiving Brandon. I recall feeling that way about flying off frigates in the SH-2f. Once you lifted off and cleared the ship you were good. Then the butterflies came back as you line it up to recover. If you haven't seen this yet, I think this pilot has some of the best skills I've ever seen on a cyclic. There's something like 25 feet of deck pitch on this landing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcEKmhHbceI
Dude, loved the "TomTom" on the panel... it's not but it definitely looks the part. Yeah, I want that guy to be my pilot the next time I have to go anywhere. Looks like the Baltic, so perhaps a German, Swedish or otherwise NATO country is getting their tax dollar's worth out of that guy. Sean, thanks for that brother!
@HugeFan Your guess is good as mine. I figured North Sea Straights myself and Dutch Navy maybe. Not UK, they don't operate little coastal patrol boats like that. But that guys flying skills!!! WOW! First time I saw that video was last year sometime and I had a cold sweat and racing pulse when it was over. It's funny how a video like that can effect you all these years later. As an AW, I was in helos that landed in weather like that. The hell of it was that you had 2 hours flying around thinking about landing in that sea state. And you definitately think about dying and you are scared. But you get to this place where you just say; "Fuck it. If I'm gonna die there's nothing I can do about it" and you just do your job and don't look out the windows too much. Some guys just could not get to that point and they would transfer out to P-3 Orions(land based) or they would quit flying completely and unvolunteer themselves for flight duty. I think the length of time it takes you to get from "Shit scared" to "resigned to death and functioning" is the difference between freezing up under combat stress and not freezing up. Does that make sense?
@SEAN SPOONTS wow. That was freaky.
@LauraWalkerKC Isn't it? I've got a good buddy who's a Marine tanker who did three tours in Iraq. We were talking about Iraq and he asked me if I knew what it was like to be in combat. I said; "Do you mean facing the possibility that you are going to die in the next few moments? Do you mean accepting that possibility as a matter of your routine day in an day out and still doing your job? Do you mean the euphoria of suviving another day, another landing, another launch?...Do you mean knowning something about yourself that you can't know unless you're an instant from death? I know what THAT"S like. Is that anything like combat?"
@SEAN SPOONTS I really can't say I have any idea what it is like to engage in combat - facing live fire on a regular basis. I hope if I am ever put in that situation, I mange to be useful.
I found out by accident, years ago, how I react with a gun to my head. A surprisingly stealth, filthy crackhead with an even filthier revolver carjacked me one night. It turns out I am very calm, clear headed and strategic, and I managed to narrate to Mr. Crackhead how we were going to manage the transaction, quietly and smoothly. Which is how it happened.
It took about 24 hours for me to come down from that weird coolness and get the shakes and freak out about what might have happened. And I did, I got really scared after. The way I sort of expected I would be during such a thing.
This demeanor in high tension/dangerous situations has carried on into other areas (medical emergencies, etc), so it is just something I know about myself. A lot of people do not know that about themselves - how they will react when their life is being threatened.
Listening to you guys talk about this- and the experiences in the books - gives me an appreciation for not just your own ability to deal, but the added strangeness that even with all the training in place, you are in a team, relying on each member to follow through with their role, relying on trained guys - and there is the possibility someone will not snap to it.. So you have to still function as a team with a weak link - and pick up their slack while in the middle of serious shit.
How do you not just rage on that guy?? You guys are professionals - so I imagine you stay in the operator mode no matter what, during But I suspect if I had a partner punk out on me in the middle of something, I'd deck them, and then I'd be all jacked up mad and useless.
@LauraWalkerKC Go Laura. It is a good thing to know about yourself isn't it? My first experiences with it came from helping people with injuries etc. Same feeling and same after effects.
Thank you so much! This interview is a summary of why I started studying small unit mil history in the first place. How do people react and operate in very scary situations. Amazing. The patrol story where you saw the emplacement 20yds above pretty much made my hair stand on end.
@katgirl231 You know I wondered about that in the book myself. Brandon didn't really go into more detail after that. I wondered if the the lights being on made the bad guys think they were friendlies and made them hesitate. Or, perhaps they bugged out without waiting to find out. The Mooj are pretty scared of fighting our guys and from what I've read and heard don't like fighting at night. Perhaps the glare from the light gave Brandon and his guys some cover when they dismounted and when they didn't move the Mooj figured the truck didn't drop anyone off. Maybe Brandon will share any reflections he might have on this incident?
@SEAN SPOONTS it could be one of those things one would never find out but hearing them talk about it and reading about it added another dimension to it.
I didnt completley understand what Brandon said. so the afganis set up an ambush for Brandon's patrol. Brandon thinks that they scared they away. how were the marine snipers involved?
Lucky for me, I never saw enough action for it to get that everyday quality. Lot's of training, a few NATO exercises, accident investigations, NIS, (now NCIS) support, few detachments working directly for CHINFO. Lots of pics but very little going boom. Just us old Cold Warriors, sharpening our knives and waiting.
Brandon, your so lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.
awesome episode guys. burn-out has got to be a problem with the ops tempo SOCOM has been at for over a decade.
Love these videos, very informative and a great insight of SEALs kicking ass and taking names. Hooyah boys!!!!