Ever wonder what SEALs sit around and BS about “inside the Team Room?” Here is your chance to find out. On the Spec Ops Channel, presented by SpecialOperations.com, there is a small gold mine of stories available from four former Navy SEALs—Brandon Webb, Shane Hyatt, Mike Ritland, and the man known simply as “Drago”—in which you get a rare glimpse of what life is like in SEAL training, and in the Teams.
While lounging over beers and booze in the SOFREP hangar, Brandon and the guys chew over everything from why they joined the Navy to what schools they attended as SEAL “new guys.” They dish out healthy doses of ball busting to each other, while also offering insights into what led them to the SEALs, how BUD/S these days compares to BUD/S of old, being the new guy in a SEAL platoon, and SEAL initiation hazing.
If you are considering going to BUD/S and becoming a SEAL, this series of videos is an absolute must to acquire an insightful view into the mindset of guys in the Teams. These are men who have been SEAL platoon junior enlisted men, senior enlisted leaders, and BUD/S instructors. They have been there, and they have done that.
Where else can you hear Mike Ritland talk about leaving Iowa, going to Intelligence Specialist “A-school,” then heading to BUD/S with the admonition to “not fuck up” and make his hometown look bad? Ritland offers stories about not being able to drink as a new guy at SEAL Team 3 because he was only 19, and meeting Dick Marcinko at a book signing in Virginia Beach, where the former SEAL Team 6 leader didn’t hesitate to express to Ritland his doubts that the young man could make it through BUD/S.
Shane Hyatt, meanwhile, grew up “white trash in New Mexico” before going to BUD/S, where a neighbor took him in and motivated him to join the Navy. Brandon Webb worked on a dive boat off the coast of California, where he overcame his fear of night diving at age 13, when he was forced to do a dive in the dark of night, in rough seas, to free a stuck anchor.
You get a good feel in these videos for what kind of men make it through BUD/S and join the Teams, and what their lives were like as active-duty SEALs.
Perhaps the highlight of this entire collection is hearing from the Polish-American former SEAL called Drago. Episode 3 (“Drago’s Story”) and Episode 10 (“Drago Goes Old School”) feature Drago’s tales, and they are well worth the listen.
I will not steal all of his thunder here, but the man spent two years as a political prisoner in Poland before emigrating to America and enlisting in the Navy. After being told he was too old to start SEAL training at 31, and fighting off a bout of kidney stones, Drago went through BUD/S as a 32-year old, and almost drowned getting wet and sandy for the first time.
I could listen to that guy tell stories all day, and Drago’s tale of being a BUD/S instructor, busting the balls of a foreign underwater welder who was mistakenly assigned to BUD/S, is classic. Drago also offers his thoughts on Bin Laden shooter Rob O’Neill, and the latter’s mental toughness in the Teams.
These videos are a treasure trove of BUD/S stories and life lessons from guys who served their time with the SEALs. Where else will you learn the definition of a “non-verbal DOR” during BUD/S? Or that life in the Teams, with no safety net, was often worse than Hell Week? Or that you should not piss in a dry suit? Or that a safety pin punctured through a tongue and lip can save your life?
From Brandon’s brutal experiences in BUD/S First Phase, and his defining moment in training when he knew he would make it, to stories about the various training courses one attends as a new SEAL platoon member, these videos provide a great illustration of the mindset it takes to make it through the training and succeed in the Teams.
This is highly entertaining stuff, and worth the watching for a glimpse of what life is like for young wannabe Frogmen going through training and starting life in the SEAL Teams.
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