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Navy SEAL Training. The Beginning.

Saturday March 09th 2013 - 6:56 PM EST
Added by: Don Shipley



AS THE RAMP of the C-130 opened during a SEAL Training exercise, a freezing blast of cold air filled the aircraft under the glow of red lights and my body was shocked back to reality. Above the Arctic Circle, a bitter Norwegian Fjord waited below. I checked each man in my squad, then myself, as we approached the drop zone and I wondered what my family was doing at home as I hooked my parachute to the static line cable and took my position behind the gear laden boats.

Nothing but blackness looking out of the windy ramp and well past midnight as the eight of us were about to repeat Hell Week again, only this time, much worse. This would be my final jump, in my final exercise, and in my final platoon, and while I love going out with a bang, tonight would be an explosion.

The jump was about to go very bad . . .

THERE ARE THREE things you can do as a SEAL that are a cut above the average SEAL, if there is such a thing as average in the Teams.

1. Our Counter Terrorist Team, as the mission is different and it’s another demanding screening process.

2. SEAL Delivery Vehicles, as anyone who can stay underwater for 10 hours is a cut above. I think the record is 14 hours.

3. In a Winter Warfare Platoon, as just being so severely cold for so long is at the top of food chain in SEAL Team for above average and that’s what I spent much of my time doing.

I spent 24-years in the Navy and most of that as a SEAL. I can’t say I was the best SEAL ever, but I was a damn good one. I can say that I was one of SEAL Teams more aggressive frogmen and it shows in my colorful past.

I did two things as a SEAL; I carried a gun, and when I wasn’t doing that, I taught others to carry one. That’s where the aggressive side comes from. I stayed very busy my whole time.

SEAL Team is the big boy’s club. It’s a testosterone filled society of tough guys and bad asses and the job you do is a difficult one.

To survive as a "small unit," you learn to go around large obstacles rather than through them. You look for another way in, a back door that isn’t being watched so to speak, and when you find one, you fully exploit it. That attitude follows you inside and outside of SEAL Team as you search for the easiest way to do a hard thing in everything you do.

I accomplished some amazing things as a SEAL with that attitude. I also pulled some really dumb moves. In the end, I came out ahead and as one of my Executive Officers told me once

"Shipley, you’re in the hole, but you’re smiling up at me," at times, sums up my career.

While I could write about the many successes my teammates and I enjoyed, they’re not as entertaining or funny as the many things that went wrong. I also write of a dark humor SEALs share and use on each other to get us through tough times. The tough times I refer to is any single day as a SEAL as there are no easy days. None.

I started as a "Deck Ape " on a Navy Frigate at the lowest rung of the Navy ladder and rose to Platoon Chief in a SEAL Team. The whole experience, all of it, was worth every push up I ever did and every mile I swam to get there.

This is my SEAL Blog...





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Comments


Comment by: Kyle Bieber
Wednesday February 13th 2008 - 15:49 PM EST

Its awsome that you started a blog on here.

Reply By: Don Shipley

Congratulations Kyle. You're the first guy to leave a comment on the new blog. When you get up here in May I'll give you a prize. Most guys would not like what you'll be getting but being an aspiring young SEAL and wanting full benefit from the course, I'm sure you'll appreciate the extra attention.

Kick some ass Son... Talk soon..Don


Comment by: Kyle Bieber
Thursday February 14th 2008 - 9:07 PM EST

Thanks, just so we have it straight though I said I'd be there in September.lol
P.S. can't wait to read more

Reply By: Don Shipley

Sorry Bro. I have another Kyle Bieber coming in May and one in June.

When you get here in September I'll be putting you through six months of SEAL Training in a single day for correcting me. You're getting the double treatment...

Kick some ass Son, see you in September... Don


Comment by: jody behnke
Saturday February 16th 2008 - 10:52 AM EST

I read everything in your blog Mr. Shipley. Very good stuff. I can't wait until May to learn from you. Stew Smith is getting me into usable shape again. It'll be worth every pushup, squat, crunch, and mile that I run to be around such people as yourself.

Reply By: Don Shipley

I appreciate it Jody. Getting bored through the Winter, we've tested and added a few new twists making a tough course even tougher. SEAL Team is all about challenges. Whether it's guys like you who aspire to become SEALs or guys looking to challenge themselves doing something most would never do, we're planning on "Blowing the Doors and Taking the Target" here in 2008. Kick some ass...


Comment by: Spencer F.
Wednesday February 27th 2008 - 15:58 PM EST

Been reading them all as they come! Its great stuff, I love hearing about the duty I am going to love so much! I salute you sir for everything you've done! And also can't wait to see you in June! Its gonna be a week of fun in the sun! Hooyah!


Comment by: Missing
Saturday March 01st 2008 - 11:14 PM EST

Senior Chief, the blog is outfreakingstanding!!! i'm staying on track looking foward for the big move!!


Comment by: Kyle
Friday March 07th 2008 - 10:07 PM EST

Define-"Blowing the Doors and Taking the Target"
Whatever its supposed to mean I'm looking forward to it,and love the blogs can't wait to read more.

Reply By: Don Shipley

"Blowing the Doors" is a explosive breaching term for entering the target. When a Target, (building) is hostile, the doors, walls or windows are blown before entering in an attempt to surprise or incapacitate the bad guys inside.

It is also used as a term of aggression for guys as in "Im going to blow the doors off this thing" and means Im going to do well at what ever is being talked about and could be something as simple as doing a PT evolution.

"Taking the Target" simply means seizing your "Objective." Whatever your mission is, when you have "Taken the Target" you have completed your primary objective of the mission but you still have to safely extract.


Comment by: John Novak
Sunday March 09th 2008 - 9:24 PM EST

Just finished reading the blog, badass stories man. Thats all I got to say.


Comment by: Ben Rohlfing
Tuesday March 25th 2008 - 8:19 PM EST

"as there are no easy days. None."

hey wait a minute i thought yesterday was the easy day?


Comment by: Lance Baxter
Wednesday October 29th 2014 - 8:37 AM EST

Mr. Shipley. My name is Lance Baxter. I am from Newport, Tennessee. I served 4 years in the US Navy and 6 years in the US Coast Guard. It was my privilege to provide support to US Navy SEALS throughout my military career, however, I am in your arena in getting really angry when people PAD their resumes and state they were Navy SEALS. I worked long enough around Navy SEALS to know 1 without having been told. A Navy Seal can be recognized by his actions and demeanor. I have provided support to your brothers and I cannot believe folks will do something as low as to build themselves up while downgrading the name of a Navy Seal. I appreciate your work P.S. My mom went to school with your wife. Her name is Ida Baxter /Ida Cureton. I hope you can keep doing what you are doing as far as exposing frauds. If there is anything I can do to help you expose these people, I am in Charleston, SC. (My 1st duty station with SATURATION DIVE TEAM SUB GROUP 6) I will help any way I can. Good luck to you Mr. Shipley and thank you for your service.


Comment by: Bobby Sue
Wednesday January 21st 2015 - 6:06 AM EST

I only have one question as far as it all goes Why can a woman take your training I have the heart and the determination and I will have the strength to take one of your courses.


Comment by: Michael
Tuesday September 01st 2015 - 7:55 AM EST

Did you ever consider writing a book I would guess it would be a hot seller, especially right now where the public is aware of you guys and your exploits.


Think about it - might be worth considering


Comment by: MICHAEL S. WHITLOCK
Monday September 07th 2015 - 12:18 AM EST

THANKS SO MUCH FOR WHAT YOU YOUR SPOUSE ARE DOING TO OUT THE MIL-PHONIES I AM 65 YEARS OLD A 5 YEAR VOLUNTEER WITH THE SEMPER FI SOCIETY OF BRAZOS VALLEY, TX. I NEVER SERVED IN ANY BRANCH OF THE US MILITARY, BUT WAS HONORED ON 10 NOV 2014, WHEN I RECEIVED MY HONORARY MARINE CERTIFICATE MY GROUP SEMPER FI VEST. THIS PAST MAY I WAS COMMISSIONED AS A COLONEL IN THE HONORABLE ORDER OF KENTUCKY COLONELS THE LEATHERNECKS I SERVE, ATTENDED THE CEREMONY. THEY ARE A TRUE BLESSING TO ME AND AN HONOR TO HAVE SERVED CONTINUE TO SERVE THEM FOR THEIR SERVICE. AGES 25-95 AND THEY ARE ALL VERY PRECIOUS TO ME. PLEASE KEEP UP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND KEEP YOUR SHOTS IN THE 10-RING. SEMPER FI OOORAH ---PVT. SLICK SLEEVE WHITLOCK, SEALY, TX. 77474


Comment by: John
Wednesday September 30th 2015 - 9:10 PM EST

Im 44 now and was in the US Army years ago. Your classes have inspired me and I will be attending next year. Just take it easy on me, my body isn what it once was...LOL. But, I never quit.


Comment by: Cowboy
Sunday June 05th 2016 - 8:28 PM EST

Sir[s] I was a at Pascagoula, April, 8, Playa Del Rey in 80, many others stateside. Beirut twice, Phillipines, the whole GT. I well-sufficed requirements for a proper 214... so now I get to call and be insulting to myself as well as the J.A.G. and others - yippee. disabled and disavowed and Port Everglades ? and carried a rick-shaw in Saigon in 8 for 10 days. Lakemen, L. is the rouge - UDT. Lydias 1st husband at the UA.


Comment by: David
Friday December 09th 2016 - 7:33 PM EST

Love your stuff on Youtube Don.


You have real insight about the nature of liars, something I was never able to figure out.


Why can people just be happy with who they are and enjoy their life.


I really don think serving a hitch in the military is such a big deal, career military is a different matter. Shoot, there are over 20 million in the US, and most of us were just rear echelon.


Again, love your stuff. Hope you have a great holiday.


David


Comment by: Larry Brantley
Friday July 28th 2017 - 14:34 AM EST

I like the Youtube vids and the BLOG. I guess I just don get the guys that say they are something they aren . I served 26 y 4 m and 24 days and retired as a Chief Electricians Mate Surface Warfare. I served on 1 SSN, 2 FFs, 1 CGN, 1 LPH, 1 CV, 1 AS, and a couple of overseas Units. Somewhere in between I had the distinct pleasure of serving at SBU-22 located at Stennis Space Center. There I encountered a very large stag in the early morning fog my first day on my way in, wild turkeys, spiders, water moccasins, spiders of all descriptions, and some of the wildest life of all including SeaBees, SWCCs, and SEALS our training cadre. I was assignedduties as 3m Coordinator yeah, that maintenance admin puke. One of the first things I learned was that SEALs and SWCCs don do any admin crap if they can get out of it. What they did document they did half-assed. I worked with the people in Panama City FL, Little Creek, and our Reserve Det in Sacramento, and we came up with an early computerized version of software that made documentation almost painless. Maybe that was why they didn dog my ass too bad at morning PT. The support people finished earlier while the SWCCs and SEALs did their own thing, which is probably unmentionable on a family BLOG. Seriously, though, I never wanted to be a SEAL or a SWCC, but Im sure glad you guys are there




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