Command Master Chief Rudy Boesch, an old school, hard-charging Navy SEAL who came to prominence after his participation in the first season of “Survivor,” died last week.

Master Chief Boesch died aged 91 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He died peacefully in hospice in Virginia Beach, VA.

The legendary Navy SEAL served in the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community for almost half-a-century. Master Chief Boesch joined the Navy during the later phases of World War II. To his disappointment, the war ended before he graduated from his training. In the 1950s, he volunteered and was selected for service in the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), the forefathers of the SEAL Teams.

In 1962, he transferred to SEAL Team TWO (ST-2), which alongside SEAL Team ONE (ST-1) were the first SEAL Teams, and became a plankowner of the unit. Master Chief Boesch completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star. With close to 50 combat operations in Vietnam, Master Chief Boesch was key in setting the operational and physical training standards in the newly established ST-2 – which would eventually spread throughout the other SEAL Teams.  As a platoon chief his platoons’ missions in southeast Asia ranged from Direct Action (DA) raids to Special Reconnaissance (SR) in the Mekong Delta to Foreign Internal Defence (FID) – training and advising partner forces.