Ahhh, BUD/S. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. Twenty-six weeks or so of pure Hell. Not a good time to be found during that period. Well, okay, maybe a few good times, here and there, in rare instances of instructor absence or of uncharacteristic generosity. But mostly, just Hell. Hell everywhere.

I recently spent an hour with an 18-year-old young man who wants to be a SEAL. He wants to go down that road of great trial and pain. He wants to put his body and mind to the test, to see if he has what it takes to make it through the crucible of BUD/S.

Truth be told, it was a chance for yours truly to spend an hour regaling one of today’s young people with stories from my own youth. It never fails to amaze me how easily BUD/S stories flow once I start down that road. It doesn’t matter if I am speaking with another SEAL — active duty or former — an aspiring SEAL, or just a curious buddy. Once we start down the long, dusty road of BUD/S stories, come around sundown we’ll still be going at it, saved only by the night.

I never pass up the chance to meet with these young men who want to go to BUD/S. When you live where I do, far from the nearest active-duty or retired SEAL, you get a fair amount of requests like this, “Hey, can you talk to my nephew? He wants to be a SEAL.” I always agree and answer whatever questions I can. Let’s be honest; I enjoy it.