FOLLOW AND LIKE US -->
EXTREME SEAL EXPERIENCE
324 GALLBUSH RD,
CHESAPEAKE, VA 23322

PHONE: 757-572-7203
You are here - Blogs > Bottom of the Barrel...

Extreme SEAL Experience Blog


Bottom of the Barrel...

Saturday March 09th 2013 - 6:49 PM EST
Added by: Don Shipley



Bottom of the Barrel...

We receive a lot of gifts from guys who attend the courses and all are appreciated, and mean a lot to Diane and myself. It means a lot that guys take the time to send a small token of the time they spent here and a simple "thank you." We’ve received knives, glass from the World Trade Center, tee-shirts, hand crafted arts, coins, books, flowers, cakes, booze, cookies, coffe......e, cards and native ornaments from their Countries, and all mean much to us…

Today… I received a case of crappy wine that means a TON to me. I don’t know who sent it, but I know they heard the story behind the wine from me and it brings back decades worth of my fondest memories in SEAL Team…

Beaujolais Nouveau… The bottom of the barrel wine…

Young Officers in SEAL Team MUST earn respect and more so than young Enlisted men. All New Guy SEALs struggle to earn the respect of their peers as the older veterans in SEAL Team are hard on them. Never given out, you MUST earn that respect…

From being in the Fleet before becoming a SEAL, I can easily say that leading SEALs is the easiest leadership in the Military or the hardest; It all depends on "Respect."

Young Officers in SEAL Team know nothing when they arrive. Nothing much more the Enlisted guys they attended BUD/S training with and we are hard on them. One day, they’ll become Captains and Admirals, and we’re tough on them for a reason…

Ensign Burgess joined my SEAL Team TWO Platoon straight out of BUD/S and he should have arrived waiving a sword over his head when he did. Motivated to take charge and lead us to Hell and Back, Ensign or Mr. Burgess (Mister, Mr. is an old Navy address for young Officers. Past the rank of Lieutenant, they are referred to by their rank) shortly woke up to a rude awakening from the Platoon as to the pecking order… Mr. Burgess had to earn our respect first before we’d just Goose Step around for him.

I was a young SEAL in my third Platoon at SEAL Team ONE years before. We’d finished our deployment and were assigned a new Platoon Commander, who we had never met. All of us were lounging around the Platoon Hut one morning when the door FLEW opened and in walked a HUGE SEAL Officer, a Lieutenant. He quickly looked at all of us and swiftly kicked a small trash can across the room and a foot away from my head before it crashed into a wall.

LT. Hopkins ordered us outside to our Conex Boxes where he dumped and trashed everything in sight. It was reminiscent of the SGT Hartman foot locker inspection in the movie "Full Metal Jacket, and we all wondered "What just blew into town "

LT. Hopkins was an X-Enlisted SEAL, a former BUD/S Instructor and held a pull-up record. Immediate respect, LT didn’t need to prove anything to us and he became my favorite Platoon Commander during my career.

Ensign Burgess could NEVER have done that…

Mister Burgess learned to relax and became a welcome member of the Platoon but he longed to show "What he had," he longed to contribute and gain that respect. His chance came when we went to France in 1995.

Ensign Burgess was an experienced rock and mountain climber. And he fully set up a major trip for us to the beautiful Aix-en Provence part of France to climb. He’d run the whole ten day trip and instruct us each day. It was his baby, it was his time to shine…

We arrived at a beautiful hotel, old and rustic, it had cast iron tubs in each room and huge, soft beds. Everything was a brilliant white.

16 of us were ushered into a large sitting room by the owner. An older woman, I still remember how beautiful she was. Large Victorian tables and chairs, the walls were covered in paintings from the oldest French eras.

It was small and swank… It was NOT a Crazy Eight motel…

The center table was full of cheese, crackers and meats. Jellies, butter and breads, it was also full of bottles of red wine and we helped ourselves. And I remember thinking, "Wow… We’re getting the First Class treatment, we must be special guests," and we all toasted Mr. Burgess…

The owner informed us shortly that the "Spread" was meant for all the guests. By that time all that was left was whatever we had dropped on the floor…

The wine, we discovered was called "Beaujolais Nouveau," and we had arrived for the start of the "Wine Festival" in Provence. Beaujolais Nouveau came from the bottom of the wine barrels and was not aged, just served kinda raw and the whole area celebrated…

They celebrated in a BIG WAY…

Mister Burgess told us we’d all meet the next morning at 0800 in the lobby and for all of us to get a good night sleep. We’d be scaling some large mountains the next morning, the best climbing in all of Europe…

Mr. Burgess showed up promptly at 0800, well rested and acted like it was Christmas at an Orphanage. He was dressed in his BEST climbing clothes and reminded me of something out of the movie, "The Sound of Music," like a little Austrian Boy who lived in the Alps. He had all his climbing gear and chalk bag on a belt, and wearing his best, brand new climbing shoes and shorts.

I only remember seeing him with one eye opened, while I laid on a lobby couch with a bucket next to me to throw up in.

The rest of the Platoon was scattered around the lobby in cammies and Jungle Boots dry heaving after a night of the wine festival. We we’re useless… And I saw the blood drain from Mr. Burgess’s face as his shining moment evaporated before his eyes. Kinda like driving to Wally World and the park is closed.

Undaunted… Mr. Burgess loaded us in vans for a drive through the French Countryside to the mountains. The drive was occasionally interrupted when one of us opened a van door to throw up before we went back to sleep…

In the ten days we were there, we climbed a total of zero mountains, but we never missed a night out for the wine festival.

In total… We had 15 very happy SEALs, one pissed off young SEAL Officer, and memories for a lifetime…

We worked very hard through our workup and deployment… We rated a trip to blow off some steam…

By not overreacting. For excepting our good, with our bad… Mr. Burgess earned our undying respect and we’d have done anything for him…

Mr. Burgess became a fine SEAL Officer…





Tags:


Comments


No Comments Yet! Click Here to be the first


Recent SEAL Blogs +

Navy SEAL Training. The Beginning.

Saturday March 09th 2013

Kick Some Ass, Nick. Thank you, Bro

Saturday March 09th 2013

The Water Fountain Incident

Saturday March 09th 2013

Bottom of the Barrel...

Saturday March 09th 2013

Secure from Hell Week!

Saturday March 09th 2013

R.I.P, Warrior...

Saturday March 09th 2013

Marines only like other Marines...

Saturday March 09th 2013

About 150...

Wednesday April 29th 2009

Site Development © 2014 Internet Marketing and Design
Website Content © 2014 Extreme SEAL Experience