Two blasts and we began to crawl to the sound of the whistle. We crawled through the sand, still shaking from the cold, until our bodies had warmed just past the edge of hypothermia. Then, "Back in the ocean! Hit the surf! We fought our way through that night and through the next day.
As the sunlight weakened at the beginning of the next night, the instructors ran us out to the beach.
We stood there in a line, and as we watched the sun drift down, they came out on their bullhorns: "Say goodnight to the sun, gentlemen. And you men have many, many more nights to go. When they really wanted to torture us, they'd say, "Anybody who quits right now gets hot coffee and doughnuts. Come on, who wants a doughnut? Who wants a little coffee? Out of the corner of my eye, I saw men running for the bell. First two men ran, and then two more, and then another. The instructors had carried the bell out with us to the beach. To quit, you rang the bell three times. I could hear it: Ding, ding, ding.
Ding, ding, ding. A pack of men quit together. Weeks earlier, we had started our indoctrination phase with over students. Only 21 originals from Class would ultimately graduate. What kind of man makes it through Hell Week? That's hard to say. But I do know—generally—who won't make it. There are a dozen types that fail: the weight-lifting meatheads who think that the size of their biceps is an indication of their strength, the kids covered in tattoos announcing to the world how tough they are, the preening leaders who don't want to get dirty, and the look-at-me former athletes who have always been told they are stars but have never have been pushed beyond the envelope of their talent to the core of their character.
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In short, those who fail are the ones who focus on show. The vicious beauty of Hell Week is that you either survive or fail, you endure or you quit, you do—or you do not. Some men who seemed impossibly weak at the beginning of SEAL training—men who puked on runs and had trouble with pull-ups—made it. Some men who were skinny and short and whose teeth chattered just looking at the ocean also made it. Some men who were visibly afraid, sometimes to the point of shaking, made it too. Almost all the men who survived possessed one common quality. Even in great pain, faced with the test of their lives, they had the ability to step outside of their own pain, put aside their own fear and ask: How can I help the guy next to me?
They had more than the "fist" of courage and physical strength. They also had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose. SEALs are capable of great violence, but that's not what makes them truly special. Given two weeks of training and a bunch of rifles, any reasonably fit group of 16 athletes the size of a SEAL platoon can be trained to do harm.
What distinguishes SEALs is that they can be thoughtful, disciplined and proportional in the use of force. Jak P Mallmann Showell. Werewolf: Revenant Slayer. Dragan Vujic.
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