There are a lot of tributes and eulogies in the blogosphere to the 22 SEALs, aircrew, and other warriors that lost their lives in Afghanistan this weekend. But you will read none better than this, from our favorite former Naval Aviator... and here are a few grafs from that excellent post:
I never knew an admiral I respected more as a man than a second class petty officer SEAL.There's more... a lot more... and every single word is worth the short click it takes to get ya there. Lex also posted a link to the Navy SEAL Foundation.
I believed that if I had played the game the way it was meant to be played, and caught a few lucky breaks, I might have made flag rank. I know that I do not have now, and never did have, what it takes to be a Navy SEAL.
The selection process is rigorous, the training syllabus withering. You may think you have what it makes to be a member of the teams. But if the instructional staff has doubts about your intelligence, your dedication, your ability to work as a member of a team, your physical stamina and endurance, you are done. There is no court of secondary appeal. And when they have decided that you do not have what it takes to make the grade, to fight alongside their beloved brothers in arms, you will leave thinking it was your decision. You will ring the bell and be grateful.
For those few who make the cut, those who get to wear the Budweiser, the real challenges are yet to come. The challenge now is not to make the cut, it is not to grasp the intricacies of advanced training. The challenge is to go to places so utterly foreign, and fight foes so thoroughly implacable that to take the mission is to willingly part with all that you have, and all that you love, and place everything in the balance in a desperate gamble.
You will be expensively and thoroughly trained, of course. You will have practiced until your motions seem involuntary. You will have in your company men who know, trust and love you in their own rough way. You will have certain knowledge of the justice of your cause, and the depravity of your enemy. But you will also know that fate plays its own games as you feel the beat of your own heart in your breast, knowing – as young men should never have to know – that when you’re on a mission, the next beat is not promised. Knowing that the fog of war is ineluctable, no matter your training, experience and skill.
Knowing that things can and will go wrong.