Extreme SEAL Experience Blog
Lack of Communication.Friday April 11th 2008 - 15:00 PM EST
Mikey W was a Thai SEAL Officer in my BUD/S Class. He was already qualified as a SEAL in Thailand surviving that arduous training and why elect to go through BUD/S with us; he was just tough. A small guy who always smiled, he was popular in the class and he came with another Thai Officer. During Hell Week one of our instructors told Mikey to tell a joke in Thai. Mikey began a rambling babble for 40 of us which no one could understand and when he hit the punch line the other Thai began laughing. While we didn’t understand the joke we almost threw up laughing when the other Thai did.
A few years later my Platoon from SEAL Team ONE arrived in Thailand for Joint Training with our counterparts. The Thais compound was on an island that housed their only Team; SEAL Team ONE and Mikey was the Commanding Officer. Their BUD/S Training was in the same compound and they put one class through a year.
We had a deep respect for the Thais as they did so much with so little. Very little support, they would operate alone without much of what we had in the way of Naval Gunfire, Gunships, Jet Fighters and the sort. They had common clashes with the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians along their borders. They lined up a squad of Thais once armed and equipped for an operation. As the translator went down the line explaining what each man was responsible for and what he was carrying he pointed to a rifle and said "This man Kill, Steal." He’d point to a rucksack and say "This man Kill, Steal." With us finally understanding that most of what they were carrying from weapons and equipment was captured and taken from dead enemy.
All of them were happy, honest and likeable. They were also vicious fighters and my worst nightmare would be being a captured enemy tied to a tree in the jungle with them sitting around a fire looking at me planning what they were going to do.
There were always communication problems working with other Countries speaking different languages but none I remember so well as the Jungle Survival Training in Thailand.
The Thais inform us of a couple day Survival Training we would go through. The Thais do a lot of foraging in the Jungle on operations and raiding villages for food. On patrols they were constantly pulling food from trees and vines as they moved quietly through the Jungle.
We thought GREAT... Being experts, the Thais are going to show us how to catch a monkey and spear fish... Real survival stuff...
We packed nothing to eat and began a long patrol through the thick Thai Jungles. Mikey came along with a squad of his guys and we humped all day. Exhausted and hungry we finally arrived at where the training would be conducted and began to string up hammocks. While doing this, all the Thais sat in a circle around a fire began cooking rice and eating things they had brought while we just watched knowing we had a problem from lack of communication.
Mikey approached us and speaking great English he understood immediately and yelled something in Thai and all his guys jumped and got in a neat line.
Mikey went up and down the line thumping guys in the chest and yelling wildly at all of them. After a couple minutes of the tirade two Thais ran into the Jungle and were gone.
We said nothing...
Wondering what was going on, we finally got the message when hours later the two Thais returned. On each mans head was a large wicker basket filled with chickens who’s heads were sticking out from every opening cackling and they each had the end of a large closed wooden box between them.
Dinner had arrived...
The Thais showed us how to clean the chicken and work began. The only parts not eaten were the head and ass. All the intestines were opened with a bamboo sliver; cleaned, cut up and added to the rice. Feet were cooked along with everything else.
When finished preparing the chickens the Thais gathered us around in a big circle and kicked the wooden box over revealing a MONSTER cobra who was not happy being a guest at the party. Where they got the chickens and cobra in the middle of the jungle has always been a mystery but we prepared for a show from the Thais as to the proper way to dispatch a cobra and expected something dramatic.
Instead of dramatic, one of them picked up a stick and clubbed the beast which was quickly cleaned and cooked. We stuffed ourselves like fat men eating every bit of snake and chicken and the survival training ended
Only in Thailand...