An Odd Question

A while back, I was asked a somewhat unusual question on Quora, the quasi-social media question-and-answer site. It was, “Have any former crack addicts ever been on SEAL Team Six?” There was just one that I’m aware of, and his story is nothing short of amazing. When you hear this man’s story, at some points, you are proud of him, and at other times you are in disbelief at how self-destructive he once was and how much it hurt those who loved him. You’re in awe of the enormous obstacles he overcame to be one of the most elite warriors in the world when 99.9999% of others would have quit and felt sorry for themselves. You hear his story, and you laugh because he was a funny man, a big goofy kid at heart who wasn’t afraid to be himself in front of anyone. But, on the other hand, you feel pathos mixed with anger when you learn what happened when his demons would get the better part of him. Waves of sentimentality sweep over you as you read the heartfelt journal he wrote to his young children during his deployment to war zones.

Had I not known that he was a true story, I never would have believed it. I probably would have laughed at the implausibility of all of it. But the story is accurate, and so is the pain and pride people feel when they remember the life of a man named Adam Brown.

Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Adam Brown. Image courtesy of Facebook

I never had the honor of meeting Adam Brown, but after learning about what kind of a man he was, I feel that this photograph conveys a good image of what he was like. There were many images to choose from, but I kept returning to this one. Adam Brown was a walking contradiction: an incredibly loving husband and father who used to help teach his kids Sunday school class by pretending to be animals from Noah’s Ark, a battle-hardened Navy DEVGRU (aka SEAL Team Six) warrior and veteran of multiple deployments…and he was also a recovering crack cocaine addict.

It was Adam’s wish that someone would share his story with the world if he were killed in action. He wanted to be sure that his story would include (along with his heroic actions and successes) his multiple failures and his battle with addiction.