Many here on SOFREP—including this author—have expressed emphatic lamentations over the level of suck inflicted on those foolhardy and courageous enough to attend Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. It is nothing new to say that the training program is a kick in the proverbial bangers.

BUD/S is, of course, the U.S. Navy’s basic training course for men desiring to become Navy SEALs. It is a well-documented fact that the training taxes men physically, mentally, emotionally, and in all other ways one’s body and mind can be taxed. The instructors take a substantial levy out of the hides of all those who enter their hallowed training facility in Coronado, California.

They relish their duty as Naval Special Warfare’s gatekeepers. They are the sentinels barring entry into of one of the military’s most elite forces. Theirs is to protect the integrity of the standards, to guard against the encroachment of mediocrity. Theirs is to beat back the forces of convention and degradation. BUD/S instructors cherish this duty, and work tirelessly to guard the integrity and intensity of BUD/S.

One of the evolutions that is most responsible for making BUD/S such a calamitous beat-down of one’s physical being is the five and one-half nautical mile swim along the Pacific coastline of Coronado during Second Phase. This brutal undertaking has a maximum time limit, and falls a short time after the end of Hell Week. To put it in perspective, a “healthy” time frame, post-Hell Week, to accomplish this swim would probably be three or four months, minimum. No such luck.