All SEALs are free-fall parachutists. A lot of us are direct and indirect
weapons qualified — things such as
rockets and mortars. I hold a lot of
instructor qualifications, so I can
teach mortars, rockets and standoff
weapons. I don’t have any time with
the SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams, so
I don’t have a lot of those quals.
Back in the early ’90s, I did a lot
of submarine operations. I have a
few submarine qualifications, but
they have lapsed in currency.
Being a sniper is just one of the
tools in our tool bag. It is such
that, when that specialty is called
for, then you step up to the plate
and use the skills you have.
As a SEAL instructor/mentor, I
mentor the staff at Basic Training
Command [BTC] and we mentor the
future of NSW [Navy Special
Warfare]. In one year, I can influence
200-300 SEALs and 70 SWCC
[Special Warfare Combat Crewmen
— boat operators]. In this role, I
have a great opportunity to influence
the next generation of SEALs and
SWCC coming into the community.
Back when I went through, it
was just get through the pain and
get to the SEAL teams. The commanding officer here at BTC likes
to call it the “whole man concept,”
and when I say “whole man” it is
gender neutral. We look at not just
your physical performance but
other character traits as well —
honesty, commitment to the program, discipline and, of course,
there is mental and physical toughness. Just the courage to come to
the program, as rough as it is, really shows what a person is made of.
It’s been an incredible career.
Mainly, what brought me in is what
kept me in. We’ve got a saying:
“Earn your Trident every day.” I
went through BUD/S 20-some
years ago, but that really doesn’t
make you a SEAL. You have to
keep pushing yourself and better-
ing yourself, constantly trying to
do better. Look for new challenges.
My current assignment is challenging. I have new recruits every
eight weeks I can influence and mentor, and keeping up with 19- and 20-
year-olds is quite challenging.
I’m not old, but as my peers are
now admirals and captains, it’s interesting to see how everybody has
matured and grown up. I have a great
wife. We’ve been together 17 years.
We were dating for two weeks before
she realized I was a SEAL. When I
first told her, she almost pulled over
and kicked me out of the car, but we
obviously worked through it.
She is very strong willed and very
committed to our family, and a great
mother to our two children. As I am
committed to the Naval Special Warfare, she is committed to the family,
she certainly holds us all together.
She has been very supportive of me
in my career decisions.
Part of dealing with the pressure
is not to let it build up. You need to
talk to people, get it out, so you
talk to your peers, it is a very close
community. You certainly have to
know when to ask for help.
[Special Operations Command
Commander] ADM [William H.]
McRaven’s big initiative is stability,
because he sees the wear and the
tear that the constant deployments
have had on the families.
If you want to keep your com-
munity strong at work, you have to
keep a strong home as well. If one
of them falls, it’s just a house of
cards. It’s all going to come down.
We have attended some of the
Navy’s resiliency programs like
FOCUS — Family Overcoming
Under Stress — which is great. The
wife dragged me — I mean, “Yes,
honey, I’ll go.” As a family, we took a
cooking class and got to talk to
counselors and just have a good
time. The wife and I have had a
chaplain come over to the house, as
a marriage counselor before we
actually needed it. We were told
once that you have to empty the
“trash” out every once in a while.
You can’t have your trash overflowing, causing trouble in the home
and at work. We deal with the stress
by keeping an open line of communication with family and friends and
it doesn’t seem to build up. It certainly has not for the wife and me.
I’ve obviously committed myself
to Naval Special Warfare. I’m
always trying to better the community and myself. I feel when I’m no
longer contributing to the community, it is time for me to get out.
Until I find myself more of a detriment than an asset, I want to keep
pushing through, keep challenging
myself and helping the nation.
A lot of people thank me for my
service. I don’t know why I feel embarrassed. We don’t do it for the
recognition. We do it for the honor
and courage and commitment to
our nation. We appreciate a pat on
the back every once in a while, but
it is not a necessity. I don’t know if
it’s right to feel a little embarrassed
when people thank me for doing
something I love — we would gladly die for our country if we
were called to do so.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
“It’s like eating an elephant. One bite at a time and you’ll get through it. It can be
overwhelming at times, but just maintain the standards, push through and, eventually, that elephant will be eaten and you’ll have a Trident [SEAL qualification
insignia] on your chest.”