Extreme SEAL Experience Blog
Secure from Hell Week!Saturday March 09th 2013 - 6:48 PM EST
Secure from Hell Week!
Its a sad fact that nobody ever hears anything good about BUD/S (SEAL Training). Its also a fact that most of the horror stories come from guys that dont make it through. I wouldnt want to spend five more minutes...... at BUD/S, but I can honestly say BUD/S holds my fondest memories from my SEAL days and I had a great time in training.
I spent six-months there. I cried for three months and I laughed hysterically for the other three months.
BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training is SEAL school, and its the "Big Boys Club." We were given a lot of rope to run with and we had few rules. Nobody told us when to go to bed, where we could go, how much we could drink. We were just expected to show up on time and ready to perform each day.
Training was where we had rules; a dull knife, a dirty weapon or a life jacket that wasnt maintained meant a "Beating," as we called it. A beating wasnt a beating as in instructors punching us, but a lengthy physical evolution and they SUCKED, but it corrected the students deficiency QUICKLY.
There are three distinct parts of BUD/S Training where you are dressed differently to reflect a new milestone achieved. Each change brings more respect from the instructors and a longing from the classes behind you, to wish they were with you, to wish they were in your shoes.
The first is finishing Hell Week and you take off your white tee-shirt and replace it with a green one, a brown one now at BUD/S. It tells everybody that youre tough enough to be there, you proudly wear it and you are treated differently.
The second is going from First Phase into Second Phase, the diving phase. You lose the green helmet and don a blue one. Its a great feeling, more respect, and even the West Coast SEALs wed run past each day would lighten up a little on the insults theyd hurl at us EVERY DAY, but just a little…
Lastly is losing the Second Phase blue helmet and wearing a Third Phase red one. Unless you do something stupid, youve made it, and everybody knows it. Eight more weeks of weapons and demolitions and YOU ARE a SEAL… The feeling is indescribable, youve made it through BUD/S.
Hell Week was easy… But nobody ever hears that about BUD/S. Point A to point B, just still be there 5.5 days later. No stopwatches, no grading, Hell Week was pass or fail. If you wanted to be a SEAL, you just had to finish Hell Week. It was an unimaginable pain and complete exhaustion highlighted by moments of extreme triumph. Ive done harder things as a SEAL than Hell Week in BUD/S, but nothing was more rewarding than being told "Secure from Hell Week."
First Phase sucked, but Second Phase sucked more. By the end of the 8-weeks before you even got to Second Phase, you were just plain broken down physically and mentally. We were tired. Second Phase was the diving phase and we were in the water day and night, it was December. Long days and long nights of constant diving only broken up with extreme, detailed classroom work in the rigs we were diving, dive medicine and dive physics.
The only thing worse than having to pass the numerous written tests, was trying to find time to study and staying awake doing it. We were wiped out…
By the time you entered Third Phase, the weapons and demolitions phase, you were so beaten and exhausted that you were use to it. The days and nights were even longer, the PTs and runs were longer and harder, but the end was near… You could taste it.
Obviously, shooting machine guns, throwing grenades, and blowing stuff up was a lot of fun, but we also had a lot of fun in Third Phase by pushingggg the limits with our instructors a little farther each day to see what we could get away with.
We didnt get away with much…
Nobody hears anything good about SEAL Instructors, and that comes from guys they didnt like. In at least the thirty Instructors I had during BUD/S, I cant say I didnt like or not respect a single one, not one.
First Phase Instructors are a bit moody, but that comes from the fact that 75-80% of that BUD/S Class doesnt belong there and tempers are short from constant stupidness from Trainees. After Hell Week, as the class number drops, the Instructors lighten up "Slightly." You spend long days and nights with them, and there is plenty of time for some one on one. You ask questions and get answers, you find out about their families, their careers, why they became SEALs, and they find out about you.
Next minute… You get a beating for doing something stupid…
Second Phase Instructors are a bit stressed, but we get to know and love them. The only reason I became a SEAL was from a very understanding Second Phase Instructor who helped me, one on one, when I should have been thrown out for failing two dive physics tests. The diving is dangerous, and the dives are complex and difficult. They are there to teach you the most demanding part of BUD/S and its quite an accomplishment to see them successfully launch 50-men on a long night dive and recover you safely. As student divers, our job is to make it as hard on them as we can by doing endless stupid shit and trying to kill ourselves each day.
I think the Second Phase Instructors have it harder than the other phases.
Third Phase Instructors are the coolest. Most of the guys that make it to Third Phase belong there and we only lose a few, and no SEAL ever minds shooting and demo, or instructing it. Part of their coolness comes from the fact that we spend much of our time on San Clemente Island, and far from watchful eyes that San Diego has. The Instructors pretty much do whatever they want to successfully conduct the training. Nobody can hear us scream on San Clemente Island and Third Phase was a lot of fun.
I got a call from a young man today that said he knew a SEAL named Chuck that was missing a few fingers. I replied back with Chucks last name and he was shocked. "How do you know Chuck, he asked "
Chuck was one of my Third Phase BUD/S Instructors, thats how…
I still see and stay in touch with many of my Instructors. Ive served in Teams and on SEAL Platoons with them, and we always have a laugh.
SEAL Instructors teach you how to be a SEAL. If they like you, and respect what your capable of, they will do ANYTHING, right or wrong, to see you become a SEAL.
If they dont like and respect you… The exact opposite happens and you will NOT make it through training…
You quickly learn there is nothing fair in Special Forces. BUD/S is BUD/S for a reason…
I had a great time…