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Secure from Hell Week!

Saturday March 09th 2013 - 6:48 PM EST
Added by: Don Shipley

Secure from Hell Week!

It’s a sad fact that nobody ever hears anything good about BUD/S (SEAL Training). It’s also a fact that most of the horror stories come from guys that don’t make it through. I wouldn’t 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 it’s 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 wasn’t maintained meant a "Beating," as we called it. A beating wasn’t 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 you’re 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. It’s a great feeling, more respect, and even the West Coast SEALs we’d run past each day would lighten up a little on the insults they’d 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, you’ve made it, and everybody knows it. Eight more weeks of weapons and demolitions and YOU ARE a SEAL… The feeling is indescribable, you’ve 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. I’ve 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 PT’s 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 didn’t get away with much…

Nobody hears anything good about SEAL Instructors, and that comes from guys they didn’t like. In at least the thirty Instructors I had during BUD/S, I can’t say I didn’t 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 doesn’t 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 it’s 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, that’s how…

I still see and stay in touch with many of my Instructors. I’ve 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 don’t 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…



Comment by: braxton smith
Monday March 23rd 2015 - 5:27 PM EST

im in high school and i am already training to go through buds. and to even take a physical test just to sign up. ive already planned everything out. but im not applying until after college.

Comment by: JohnnyCharles61
Monday May 30th 2016 - 13:38 AM EST

Combat Shooting I just want to add a few comments First of all I want to tell you all the training is excellent. You
e instructed by the best of best. Master Chief and his team are all retired Navy Seals with combat experience. You will learn to shoot and qualify marksman or better. I just want to mention a few things they don advertise. One, make sure you bring extra clothes because you stay on the property in a cabin or plywood hut. There is no washerdryer so you can do laundry. Also, the shower is outside in a wooden stall. I didn mind too much because Virginia is warm in June and the class was small only twelve so I didn have to wait all night to shower. There is no toilet . You do your business in porta potties. As long as they are emptied your okay. However the first day they were full and nasty. As I mentioned earlier, you sleep in a cabin or a shack. No privacy however one bedroom for a lady or two otherwise you all share the bunk spaces. Guys and girls. Finally, if you want to stay connected make sure you have cell service. The Wi-Fi Is located at the house which is 400 yards away so its basically not usable unless you walk there every time you want to use it. Thats about it. It was a cool camping experience so I liked it however some people decided to go to a hotel. Just thought you all should know this before you signed up . John Chetcuti 360-271-5531

Comment by: KED
Monday January 29th 2018 - 10:07 PM EST

Thanks for the info I am currently researching all about Navy Seal training and its affect on successful SEALs.

A couple questionsHow did this training particularly during Hell Week help you when you completed the training What areas did it help you in your social and family life

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