Awhile back, I wrote an article, “Have You Ever Been A Tadpole?“, asking readers who have been to BUD/S to come forward and share with us their SEAL trainee experiences in Coronado. Particularly, I wanted them to share with all of us, (especially those young men who are planning to give it their best shot at BUD/S) their story on not making it through the SEAL training program. I have received many responses already and have been in contact with those individuals to bring their unique stories to all of us.
The first response, “The Quitter“, was the first story of many different perspectives of a program that few graduate from. The second response I selected from an individual who gave BUD/S a shot is below. Thank you for sharing your personal story with all of us.
“I was obsessed with going to SEAL training from the time I was in eighth grade. I was so gung ho that I signed up a year early on the DEP program WITHOUT the SEAL guarantee program that was popular at that time. I was nervous as hell that I wouldn’t qualify to get in but in boot camp I passed the PT test and got in for class 235. Little did I know that the Discovery Channel was filming class 234 and my boot camp shipmate was in one scene of the show. I arrived in Jan 2001 and the place so quiet it puzzled me because I was expecting yelling and pushups from the get go.
Anyways I got Indoc’d and met my class. We started to do PT and the obstacle course and swimming. I’m short 5’6” so I was a smurf through and through and I felt that my running and swimming needed a lot of work. I can say that my body responded to the PT like I’ve never seen before. I had striations in my legs that weren’t there before and my body was definitely getting stronger. There was a problem though I think when people say it’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical…that was my problem.
One of the questions I get asked every time it leaks out that I went to SEAL training was….Why didn’t you make it? Every time I pause and don’t know how to answer them. It was a combination of things competing back then. I was young and I kept looking at the possible what-ifs while being in the heat of the punishing moment. I saw the “broke-dicks” limping around on crutches and wondered am I going to get injured and rolled back because I didn’t want to be rolled at all. Finally, this may sound stupid but had a real effect on me while I was there. I had a girlfriend that I was really missing at the time and it bore down on my mind while I was doing a lot of tough workouts and thinking about two possible futures. I tell people I went into the Navy as a 20 year lifer with the intent to become one of the elite SEALs. While I was at BUD/s a question popped into my head, “Can I see myself doing this for 20 years”? The answer was no and that was when it unraveled while I was sitting in the “pit” getting ready to start the day. Of course, my class was the one where our class leader died during training mid Hell Week for which they altered when Hell Week happened during training. I still have the newspaper clip of that.
I’m no longer in the Navy but I work for the Army as a DoD civilian…go figure. I don’t regret any decision except I wish I would have made it to Hell Week. I’m still relatively young and I tell people the experience was/is a part of who I am but not the one experience that defines me. I have time left to make a greater impact on the world just besides that experience. I will never forget that experience though….I sometimes have dreams of doing the obstacle course especially the “dirty name” for which I nicknamed the “midget killer”. I hope this helps others get their mind straight and understand just what it means to go through it because it really is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t gone through it.
I hope this helps. Hooyah”
Photo courtesy of United States Navy Official Website.