Here’s a great story and interview with the legendary UDT/SEAL Moki Martin.  As site Editors, Jack and I feel it’s very important to preserve and share these great stories.

Enjoy meeting Moki.

-Brandon out.

As Written by: Timothy Carlson

The mission was so highly classified that the world didn’t know about Operation Thunderhead until 36 years after Moki Martin and a small group of SEAL teams set out for the North Vietnam coast on June 3, 1972.

His military ID read “Philip L. Martin,” but his SEAL team and all his friends knew him as Moki, a nickname given to him when he was a skinny kid in Maui. He was an accomplished free diver, swimmer and surfer with a taste for adventure that led him to the Navy — and eventually to play a significant role in the early days of triathlon.

The mission was to rescue American prisoners of war attempting to escape a North Vietnamese prison in Hanoi. The initial thrust called for several four-man SEAL teams to embark in darkness in mini-subs to a small island 4,000 yards offshore to await a rendezvous with the escapees. Warrant Officer Martin and Lt. Dry, members of an Underwater Demolition Team element of the SEALs, led one of the teams that embarked from the submarine USS Grayback.

Their 20-foot-long Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) fought strong surface and tidal currents, and ran out of battery power which left them unable to reach shore or return to the Grayback. Dry and Martin and the rest of their team swam the SDV out to sea to prevent it from falling in enemy hands. When a Navy rescue helicopter arrived 7 hours later, they sank the damaged SDV and were ferried to the cruiser Long Beach.