“Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.”
These are the final words in the Navy SEAL code. Whether or not you agree with the “code”, no SEAL can dispute those words, and no one within this community can deny that our “proud tradition” and “feared reputation” are quickly disintegrating before the entire community’s eyes, and I for one will not sit idly by and remain a part of this painful transformation. The “devils with the green faces” have traded their devils horns for high and tights and their green face paint for shaving cream. Our community is made up of some of the toughest and smartest men in the military, but we are losing our identity and our respect day by day. Identifying the problem is easy for most of us.
The first problem, and this is obvious to any frogman, is the insatiable demand for political correctness and sensitivity within the military in general, including the sacred SEAL teams. What’s most disgusting is our willingness to oblige these ludicrous demands that go against what I believe are the very core of what we are supposed to be. Once upon a time “SEAL” was feared, it meant warrior. Now it just means sailor.
Simply stated, men are turning into women not only throughout American society, but throughout our armed services as well. Our leaders have become too weak to stand tall and shoot straight. We no longer opt for the most sensible and practical approach to war, we now consider what those outside our community will think or say if we do this instead of that. The fact is that our leaders are forced to choose between whats best for the task and what is politically correct, or what is best for the task and what is politically correct, or what is best according to?
The politicians and the emasculated. Our morals have been shelved so that we may cater to those weak few who shame masculinity and preach peace and harmony. Well God forbid that United States Military look bad in the eyes of these flag burners, after all, if these people don’t like us, who then will they ask to come on television and talk about military strategy on CNN during a war? Let’s be honest here, winning the war is important, but it is no where near the top of the military’s list. If it were, I might be writing this essay on the combat-proven effectiveness of tactical nukes in OIF or something…
did we join the SEAL Teams to do battle for America or to add a check in the box for our personal resume? To kill terrorists or make rank? To Be “squared away” or to destroy evil? Many of us are here for the wrong reasons. It isn’t difficult to see who is here for the right reasons and who has their priorities straight, and it is those that are here as patriots and warriors are the men we want to lead us and follow us to no end, not the future admirals and CEO’s; the difference is obvious. What kind of a warrior wants to go into battle led by a man who would rather put a bullet in the bad guy? Its men like this who have taken the SEAL teams from the most respected of outfits with unimaginable potential to just another military unit who settles for what’s best for those holding the reigns, not those pulling the sled.
Some guys are more excited to put the trident on their resume than on their chest. That isn’t who we want making decisions for the team, but that is exactly who holds the strings, largely. I realize now that most of the great leaders in our community who the men most respect, are being flushed out of the teams faster than you can say SRB. These are the leaders that we will follow into battle with passion and pride and without remorse. What’s even stranger is that these men seem to be the ones with the most heart and passion for our cause. Out of the 47 graduates from my BUD/s class, only 23 reenlisted after their first hitch, and most of these guys are the best of the bunch. But surely if they’re such great men and devoted patriots they would stay and serve as long as possible right? Not true; it’s just too heart breaking to stay and be tied down and restrained for another deployment. Then why are these great men going away? `
Because greed and politics are taking over, and those who fight for the men and fight for what is morally right as opposed to fight for themselves are hung out to dry and left in the dust; because they spent more time trying to write up their boys for awards and not enough time writing themselves up. Most of the guys that do stay in do so only in the interest of going to Dam Neck (Naval Sea System Command located in Virginia Beach, Va.). The hope is that maybe Dam Neck is what we all thought the teams would be. What seems to be the most frustrating point is that everyone sees the potential of the teams, but we simply aren’t fulfilling our potential. some of the reasons for this are completely out of our hands, but most are easily within our realm to change. It’s easier to stick with what has always worked. It’s easier to be conventional, and that’s exactly what we are, we’re a really, really good conventional force. We have unarguably the most difficult and demanding training known to modern militaries, yet our standards ( post BUD/s) seem to be no higher than the next group’s.
The whole advancement system just plain sucks, and if something doesn’t change, being a SEAL in the Navy will soon be as common as being a paratrooper in the Army. Our leaders shouldn’t be evaluated and promoted based on on self-written reports we know as FITREPs. In this community, we evaluate each other every day, and we should advance in rank based on the merit which is given to us by our brothers and not based on how pretty the words are on a self-descriptive brag-sheet. That is what matters. Instead, the prettiest eval gets the ticket to the next pay-grade, despite the fact that the peer consensus of who should of who should become leaders and who should go away are near opposites to who is in fact being promoted. I hope one day I am sitting before a commanding officer at a mast because I wore black socks instead of white.
With Veteran’s Day soon approaching it is time to remember who mans the front lines. it’s time to give thanks that brave men stand watch while we sleep peacefully in our beds at night. They protect and defend so we can bitch and moan. I often wonder how quickly the politicians who call for “boots on the ground” would line up to be first in the fight in defense of America. I don’t wonder about it for too long, I know the answer already, none.