I had a chance to visit with my old CO (Commanding Officer) during a recent event in DC this Tuesday. The usual media suspects were there, clamoring for a quote that is surely going to end up written out of context.
When I went up to shake his hand after his talk, I let him know that it was me, “Webb”, from SEAL TEAM 3. He shook my hand the way men do (with a firm grip and a straight look in the eye) and said, “of course I remember you Brandon, how have you been?” Then he grabbed my face and rubbed the scruff of my beard and proceeded to give me a hard time for my non reg beard! I wouldn’t expect anything less from one of the finest SEAL officers the community has produced; He is SOF after all, and we love giving each other a hard time.
The old General (Vaught) who lambasted McRaven recently is right to speak up. It’s what SOF operators do – we intelligently challenge one another and share ideas and sometimes disagree violently. From my perspective, both men are right. However, McRaven seems more of a realist in the age of Twitter, Facebook and Digg (to name a few) and the General seems less connected in that way. We are living in the age of lightning fast communication and it’s in the open for all to see. I can’t help but agree that there’s been an abundance of hype about Navy SEALs lately, but what can you do? It’s the same Internet age that fueled “wiki leaks” and the Arab Spring.
For those of us that know better, we realize that the dark ops that happen are still very much under the wraps. The US Special Operations community (and let’s not forget AFSOC and TF-160 among others) has never been more effective and more deadly. The future of Warfare is Special Operations, and it makes sense that SOF would draw attention. I just hope they make another Green Beret movie soon. Or what about AFSOC? I wouldn’t be alive today were it not for a Combat Controller or two. After all, we are all cut from the same SOF cloth.
(Featured Image Courtesy: dvids)