Navy SEALs – a Marine’s Perspective
Diatribes of a Knucklehead 160926
Throughout the US military it is well known that Navy SEALs are arrogant, narcissistic assholes. At least that is the stereo type; but surely not my experiences with SEALs.
My first direct experience with SEALs was with SDVT-1 (SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team) stationed on Ford Island Hawaii in 1993. I was contacted by the Team Senior Chief who requested some joint training. He explained that many of his SEALs were unhappy about being stationed with an SDVT, rather than a SEAL team. I was an Instructor assigned to the Brigade Schools on Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station. I gave them four seats to our next STA (Surveillance and Target Acquisition) course. All four of the SEALs did really well and kept their mouths shout until asked their opinion. When they did give their opinion it was always respectful and profession. We continued some cross training with our STA Platoon (3/3) over the next couple of years. We used their climbing wall and they shot with us.
During the mid 1990s I was attending a school with four fellow Marines, five SEALs (West Coast) and 40 Army Special Forces soldiers. The SEALs and Marines hung out together nightly; we were locked down and could not leave the facility. There was a small club for the entertainment of all the students. We played many hours of shuffle board while drinking draft beer; cool dudes – all of them.
During the mid 1990s I was contacted by an old Marine buddy, who then was a Senior Chief with a West Coast SEAL Team. He was requesting two quotas to our next III MEF SOTG Urban Sniper Course; they flew into Okinawa for the course. These two SEALs were just like all the other students (Marine Scout Snipers and army SOTIC (Special Operation Target Interdiction Course)) trained snipers. They meshed well and never complained. Not even the SEAL who showed up at the course with a .300 Win Mag sniper rifle. We fired 1,000 sniper rounds per student and his shoulder was black and blue the first day. He finally had to tape soft knee pads on the butt pad of his rifle. They passed all events and graduated.
During 2009 while I was the Squadron SgtMaj for VMAQ-4 and I was invited to a party on the SEALs compound (a compound on Al Asad Airbase, Iraq). I was amazed at what I saw. The SEAL Platoon was holding a BBQ for all of their support personnel on their compound and many of the individuals in the area of operations that supported them throughout their deployment. The only time they were not extremely gracious is when anyone other than a SEAL tried to do any work. They were having a good time taking care of their guests and support personnel.
The moral of the story: Although many stereotypes are based on some fact, do not prejudge people; give them a chance.
Photo: two SEAL Snipers on their SR-25 from the 31st MEU 1998.
FYI, I was about to beat the shit out of a support Marine in the photo.
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