Shots fired. Rounds incoming.

As discussed recently here on SOFREP in an article by Brandon Webb, Jack Murphy, and Desiree Huitt, Navy SEAL Lieutenant Forrest Crowell wrote a master’s thesis for the Naval Postgraduate School in which he rather stridently disparaged those SEALs who “go public” and discuss the SEAL teams in the media. As noted in the article, and amply evidenced by his thesis, Lt. Crowell holds a dim view of those of us who dare speak about the SEALs in public. This author is, of course, included among that group of “rogue” SEALs, as are many others out there in the public eye.

Concurrent with SOFREP coming across that academic paper, this author was also personally provided a copy from an active-duty SEAL friend. The friend happens to be a long-time acquaintance, from long before either of us ever became Navy SEALs. He and I had a good discussion about it, and although we came at it from different points of view—he sees it from the perspective of a rising SEAL officer soon to assume command of a SEAL team, while I read it from the perspective of a former SEAL who comments publicly on various aspects of naval special warfare—we both agreed that it is a controversial subject these days within the SEAL teams, and that there are no easy solutions to alleviate the current conflict within the community.

Let’s face it: There is a segment of the SEAL population, both active duty and retired, that will never be okay with SEALs discussing the SEAL teams in public. That is just a fact. Some can never justify what they see as active-duty or former SEALs seeking public acclaim and/or glory. They cannot abide discussing SEAL operations or training in any way, nor would they ever be caught dead speaking or writing publicly about the teams.

That is their right, and they are obviously entitled to that opinion. They should never be forced to comment publicly, nor should they ever feel that they must sanction it in their own minds. I respect their point of view, especially since some of my own family members and friends adhere to this very philosophy. I just disagree with it.

One of the models of this “quiet professional” approach is retired SEAL Admiral Eric T. Olson, a hero in every sense of the word, and a 38-year career naval officer. He served with honor and distinction in the SEAL teams and has rarely ever made public appearances to discuss any aspect of his career or the teams.

Admiral Olson would probably disapprove of me even mentioning his name in this article, but he is not a “secret” figure.  He was, after all, the first Navy SEAL to achieve three- and four-star rank, the first SEAL to command U.S. Special Operations Command, and a public figure in every sense of the word. Still, he chooses to refrain from maintaining a public profile, and that is his right.

Those of us who have assumed a public profile, on the other hand, including Brandon Webb, Eric Davis, and myself here at SOFREP, as well as many other SEALs, have chosen to do so for our own, and probably different, reasons. Glory, fame, and money are not usually the driving factors, in my experience. Yes, earning money is great, and I have mouths to feed just like everyone else. Nor do I write for free here on SOFREP (although, I probably would, but don’t tell Brandon). And yes, through writing, radio, and television, we become well-known to the audience that follows our content. That is just the nature of the game.