1. Ha, ha… look at the sun —
      1. sad, pouty ol’ face. You can always tell Mr. sun is tired by that droopy face of his; he always gets that same goofy look late in the evening. You can even see it through the haze of sea mist at dusk. Poor Mister sun; heavy eyes, sagging corners of his mouth… boo-boo lip! It was about to get dark at sea.

Our boat was a flat-bottomed ACU-type Navy vessel. Such a hull made for a rough ride at sea for it didn’t slice neatly through the water like a boat with a keel does. It favored a transit with constant pitching and diving, rolling, and yawing. Most of the men were full-caliber seasick or at least leaning that way. I faced my super-human self abeam and longed for a horizon to stare at to stave off nausea… there was none to be found.

Naval landing craft of type ACU; flat-bottomed boats make the rockin’ world go round.

We headed to a point 7,000 meters from shore to launch a tactical team surface swim connected to a double Budweiser line; that is, two nylon strap configurations that hooked in six men each, like a six-pack of beer, and then the two six-pack lines were to be clipped end to end. The whole matter seemed like disenfranchised madness to me, though my role wasn’t to question why; it was to swim or die.

Author’s crude diagram depicting two Budweiser team swim lines that are joined together end-to-end to allow a full 12-man team to swim together.

“The forecast calls for hell tonight, boys,” one of my team’s senior sergeants said, “but we’re going to suck it up, that’s just how it’s going to be. You know the deal: let him who ain’t got the stomach for the fight… give him money ‘n shit and let him go — Isiah six whatever.”

“Sergeant, that was actually The Feast of St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V.”

*lengthy pause and motionless stare*

“Henry the what? Shake-spear?? Water-U… some kinda homo-sexyool faggot?”

And so it went.

That what was coming not going to be enjoyable was an über understatement. Three nights ago we had swum 1,000 meters, two nights ago we had swum 3,000 meters, last night 5,000 meters, and tonight… Three thousand meters seemed like the edge of what we could endure swimming as a 12-man team, 5,000 was the very vortex of insanity and tonight…