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Description

Product Description

With a postscript describing SEAL efforts in Afghanistan, The Warrior Elite takes you into the toughest, longest, and most relentless military
training in the world.

What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep? In The Warrior Elite, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch documents the process that transforms young men into warriors. SEAL training is the distillation of the human spirit, a tradition-bound ordeal that seeks to find men with character, courage, and the burning desire to win at all costs, men who would rather die than quit.

Review

" The Warrior Elite is the first book that captures how the SEAL spirit is tempered. It reveals all the grit, sweat, mud, and blood of BUID/S training -- real-time, down and dirty. This is a must-read if you want to know what becoming a virtual warrior is all about." -- Governor Jesse Ventura, BUD/S Class 58

"A wonderful, thought-provoking book by Dick Couch and a quick study of human personalities; his conclusions are optimistic and uplifting." -- Vice Admiral James Stockdale (USN. Ret.) Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.


"The Warrior Elite
offers superb insight into the making of a Navy SEAL. Dick Couch takes the reader through the incredible challenges of basic training and into the minds of these unique warriors who comprise our nation''s highly selective fighting force. Having served extensively with Dick in combat as junior officers in Vietnam, I now understand the "how''s and why''s" of his profession and the SEALs'' commitment to mission. The Warrior Elite captures the essence of a Navy SEAL -- the indomitable will to win and steadfast commitment to team." -- Robert J. Natter, Admiral, U.S. Navy, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet

"An authentic voice that spells out what it takes to become a SEAL--the sheer grit to overcome all obstacles. America is lucky that it continues to attract such men as these to serve." -- Theodore Roosevelt IV, Class 36

From the Inside Flap

With a postscript describing SEAL efforts in Afghanistan, The Warrior Elite takes you into the toughest, longest, and most relentless military
training in the world.

What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep? In The Warrior Elite, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch documents the process that transforms young men into warriors. SEAL training is the distillation of the human spirit, a tradition-bound ordeal that seeks to find men with character, courage, and the burning desire to win at all costs, men who would rather die than quit.

From the Back Cover

With a postscript describing SEAL efforts in Afghanistan, The Warrior Elite takes you into the toughest, longest, and most relentless military
training in the world.
What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep? In The Warrior Elite, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch documents the process that transforms young men into warriors. SEAL training is the distillation of the human spirit, a tradition-bound ordeal that seeks to find men with character, courage, and the burning desire to win at all costs, men who would rather die than quit.

About the Author

DICK COUCH graduated at the top of BUD/S Class 45 in 1969. He commanded a SEAL platoon in Vietnam and led one of the only successful POW rescue operations of that conflict. Mr. Couch is the author of four novels and lives in Ketchum, Idaho. This is his first nonfiction book.
CLIFF HOLLENBECK is an award-wining photographer and photojournalist. He served with Naval Special Warfare Units, including Underwater Demolition, and was a naval aviator. He has written numerous books on photography and has two novels in print. Mr. Hollenbeck lives in Seattle.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Beginning

Monday, 4 October 1999. A fine mist hangs over the Naval Amphibious Base on Coronado as a cool marine air layer steals in from the Pacific, extinguishing the stars. The lights along Guadalcanal Road are a harsh, haloed yellow. The base is quiet. Behind a chain-link fence with diagonal privacy slats, Class 228 waits anxiously, seated on the concrete pool deck. The new BUD/S trainees wear only canvas UDT swim trunks. They are compressed into tight rows, chests to backs, in bobsled fashion to conserve body heat. The large clock on the cinder-block wall reads 5:00 a.m.-0500, or zero five hundred, in military jargon. They are wet from a recent shower. Neat rows of duffel bags that contain the students'' uniforms, boots, and training gear separate each human file. The pool-officially called the combat training tank, or CTT-has already been prepared for the first evolution. The students had arrived thirty minutes earlier to roll and stow the pool covers and string the lane markers.

"Feet!" yells the class leader.

"FEET!" The voices of nearly a hundred young men answer in unison as they scramble into ranks.

"In-struct-tor Ree-no!" intones the class leader.

"HOOYAH, INSTRUCTOR REE-NO!" the class responds in full roar.

The first day of training has begun for Class 228. It''s pitch black except for the building lights that cut into the mist and the underwater pool lights that illuminate a blue mirror surface. The members of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Class 228 stand at attention in fourteen files, each file forming a boat crew of seven BUD/S trainees. Instructor Reno Alberto, Class 228''s proctor for the two-week BUD/S Indoctrination Course, surveys the pool. Apparently satisfied the CTT is ready, he turns and regards Class 228 for a long moment.

"Drop," he says quietly.

"DROP!" 228 echoes as the class melts to the deck, each student scrambling to claim a vacant piece of concrete. They wait, arms extended, holding their bodies in a rigid, leaning-rest position.

"Push ''em out."

"Push-ups!" yells the class leader.

"PUSH-UPS!" responds 228.

"Down!"

"ONE!"

"Down!"

"TWO!"

Class 228 loudly counts out twenty push-ups, then returns to the leaning rest. "In-struct-tor Ree-no," calls the class leader.

"HOOYAH, INSTRUCTOR REE-NO!" the students yell in unison.

Reno stands off to one side, arms folded, apparently uninterested in the mass of students leaning on their outstretched arms.

"Push ''em out," he commands softly.

"Push-ups!"

"PUSH-UPS!"

After two more rounds of this, Reno leaves them in the leaning rest for close to five minutes. By now the students are twisting and thrusting their buttocks into the air in an effort to relieve the burning in their arms.

"Recover," he says in the same measured voice.

"FEET!" the class responds, this time with less zeal.

"Give me a report, Mister Gallagher."

Lieutenant (junior grade) William Gallagher takes the class muster board from Machinist Mate First Class Robert Carreola, 228''s leading petty officer, or LPO. Gallagher and Carreola are the class leader and class leading petty officer, respectively, as they are the senior officer and senior enlisted trainee in Class 228. Carreola is five-ten, but he appears shorter-partly because he has a broad, highly developed upper body and partly because his lieutenant is six-two.

Bill Gallagher is a slim, serious young man with a shy smile. He came to the Naval Academy from northern Virginia, recruited to play lacrosse for Navy. Gallagher has wanted to be a Navy SEAL since 1982, when his father gave him an article from Parade magazine with pictures of SEALs and BUD/S training. He was seven years old. Bill Gallagher was unable to come to BUD/S from Annapolis, so he went directly from the Academy to the fleet. Now, as a qualified surface warfare officer with two years at sea, he stands at the head of Class 228. His goal is still to become a Navy SEAL. Bob Carreola has been in the Navy for eleven years; this is his second try at BUD/S. He is thirty-one years old with more than a decade of service in naval aviation squadrons. His goal is also to be a Navy SEAL.

"Instructor, Class Two-two-eight is formed; ninety-eight men assigned, ninety-five men present. I have one man on watch and two men at medical for sick call."

"Ninety-five men present, Lieutenant?"

"Hooyah, Instructor Reno."

"That''s wrong, sir. Drop and push ''em out. You too, Carreola."

While Gallagher and Carreola begin pushing concrete, Reno turns to the class. "The rest of you, seats."

"SEATS!" bellows Class 228 as the young men hit the concrete. They return to their compressed boat-crew files. They will sit like this often in the days and weeks ahead, hugging the man in front of them to stay warm. Gallagher and Carreola finish their push-ups and chant, "Hooyah, Instructor Reno!"

"Push ''em out," Reno replies.

This is not the last time that Lieutenant Gallagher and Petty Officer Carreola will personally pay for the sins of the class. One of the boat-crew leaders failed to report to Gallagher that one of his men was UA, or an unauthorized absence. This oversight caused Gallagher to give a bad muster; the actual number of men on the pool deck this morning is ninety-four. When one man in the class screws up, sometimes the whole class pays the tab. Sometimes a single boat crew pays or just the class leaders. But someone always pays.

"Now listen up," Reno says, turning to the class, finally raising his voice. He glances at his watch; it''s 0510. "This is bullshit. You guys better get it together . . . now! Things are going to start to get difficult around here. We know most of you won''t be here in another two months, but if you don''t start pulling as a team, none of you will be here! It''s a simple muster, gentlemen. If you can''t get that done, what are you going to do when you get into First Phase and things really become difficult?" The class listens silently. Gallagher and Carreola continue to push concrete.

Reno regards the files of young men seated on the pool deck, then turns to the two sweating trainees. "Recover." They scramble up and take their places at the head of their boat crews. "This morning, gentlemen, we''re going to take the basic screening test. You all passed this test at your last command or you wouldn''t be here. If you can''t pass it again this morning, you''ll be back in the fleet just as soon as we can get you there. Understood?"

"HOOYAH, INSTRUCTOR RENO!"

. . .

BUD/S training is conducted in three distinct phases. First Phase is the conditioning phase, followed by Second Phase-diving-and Third Phase-weapons and tactics. In order to prepare them for the rigors of First Phase, the trainees must first complete the two-week Indoctrination Course. Here they will learn the rules and conventions of BUD/S training. They will learn how to conduct themselves at the pool, how to run the obstacle course, and how to maneuver small boats through the surf. They will also learn the complex set of procedures and protocols needed in First Phase and the rest of BUD/S training-customs they must observe if they hope to survive this rite of passage. During this indoctrination period, they also begin to learn about SEAL culture and begin to absorb the ethos of this warrior class. In these first few minutes of the Indoctrination Course, Class 228 has already learned something about accountability and leadership. An officer or petty officer must always account for his men. SEALs have died in combat, but never has one been left behind.

The Indoctrination Course, or Indoc, also helps the trainees to physically prepare for First Phase. Some members of Class 228 have been at BUD/S for a few days, a few for as long as two months. Eight are rollbacks from a previous class-men recently injured in training who are beginning again with Class 228. These two weeks of pretraining are designed to physically and mentally bring the class together. This is a very important time. Most of the students have prepared for this individually. Now they will live and train as a class-as a team.

One hundred fourteen souls were originally assigned, or had orders, to BUD/S Class 228. Most are relatively new to the Phil E. Bucklew Naval Special Warfare Center, Coronado, California, where BUD/S is conducted. Twelve members of 228, like Bob Carreola, are here for a second time. If a student quits, he must return to fleet duty for at least eighteen months before he can return for another try-if he demonstrated potential on his first attempt and was recommended for a second try.

Class 228 had 114 men who thought they wanted to become Navy SEALs. But only 98 are on the roster on the first day of indoctrination. A few of the no-shows were sailors who were unhappy with their ship or duty station. They were fit enough to pass the BUD/S screening exam and accepted the orders to BUD/S as a way to make a change. Others found the relatively modest conditioning swims and runs before Indoc more than they bargained for. And there are always a few who, upon their arrival at BUD/S, are simply intimidated. When they see what SEAL trainees are asked to do, they quit before they begin. So the attrition began even before Class 228 started its first official day of training. Any student at BUD/S, at any time, can DOR-drop on request. All he has to do is say, "I quit." Those assigned to Class 228 who quit prior to the beginning of Indoc will be reassigned back to the fleet.

Today, Class 228 has to earn the privilege of continuing with the Indoctrination Course. Each trainee must again pass the BUD/S screening test:

1.A five-hundred-yard swim using the breast- or sidestroke in twelve minutes, thirty seconds

2.A minimum of forty-two push-ups in two minutes

3.A minimum of fifty sit-ups in two minutes

4.A minimum of six dead-hang pull-ups

5.A mile-and-a-half run in eleven minutes, thirty seconds wearing boots and long pants

All but one in Class 228 passes the screening test. This buys the trainees a ticket to proceed with their training for two more weeks. A few of the men are close to the minimums, but most handle the run and the swim with at least a minute to spare. Eighty push-ups, a hundred sit-ups, and fifteen pull-ups are not uncommon. There are those in the teams and among the instructor staff who think the screening minimums are too low-that the bar should be higher for those entering BUD/S.

This test is not a perfect predictor for who will succeed and who will fail. In the demanding days ahead, a few of those who struggled to pass the screening test will make it to graduation. Those are the ones who arrived at BUD/S with a soft body and a strong spirit. Some of the more physically gifted will find that they have no stomach for the punishment that lies ahead, and they will quit as soon as they become tired and cold. They will be timed and tested during Indoc, but only two things can remove a student from the two-week Indoctrination Course: a DOR or failing a comprehensive psychological evaluation given to each new arrival. Only one member of Class 228 fails the psych exam.

After the screening test, the men of Class 228 gather their gear from the pool deck and hustle off to chow. Following their morning meal, they will run in formation across the Naval Amphibious Base to the Special Warfare Center located on the ocean side of Highway 75, which bisects the base. The Amphibious Base is the host facility for the West Coast SEAL teams and other Naval Special Warfare commands, as well as the Naval Special Warfare Center.

Coronado is a near-island that sits in the center of San Diego Bay, connected at its southernmost tip to the mainland by way of a narrow, eight-mile-long sand spit called the Silver Strand. The Naval Amphibious Base is located on the northern portion of this narrow strand, just south of the village of Coronado. The north end of Coronado proper is occupied by the massive North Island Naval Air Station. Known as NAS North Island, this facility is a major maintenance, training, and repair depot for the naval air arm of the Pacific Fleet. Aircraft Carrier Number One, the USS Langley, moored at North Island in 1924 and pioneered naval aviation in the Pacific. Today, North Island is home for two West Coast-based aircraft carriers. The Naval Amphibious Base, built on reclaimed land in 1943, is a relative newcomer.

Nestled between NAS North Island and the much smaller Naval Amphibious Base on the Silver Strand is the idyllic resort community of Coronado. "Idyllic" is an understatement; Coronado is a neat, manicured residential setting of expensive homes with broad, white-sand beaches on the Pacific side and the San Diego skyline on the bay side. Anchoring the western end of Orange Avenue, a palm-lined main boulevard of eateries, boutiques, and art galleries, is the famous Hotel del Coronado. This historic hotel has been a favorite of presidents, royalty, and movie stars for over a century. When it was built in 1887, it was the largest resort hotel in the world. Today it stands as an elegant architectural monument to the grace and splendor of a past era. Just south of the Hotel del (as it''s sometimes called), between the hotel and the Amphibious Base, is a series of modern, high-rise beach condominiums. These stark, concrete towers, punctuated by pools, gardens, and verandas, couldn''t be more dissimilar to the graceful wooden curves and red-pinnacled roofs of the historic and charming Hotel del Coronado. Further south, the contrast increases. Less than three hundred yards from the concrete condo towers on this gorgeous strip of white-sand beach, the U.S. Navy conducts the toughest military training in the free world.

. . .

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SimpleJimmy
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book, poor Kindle version
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2020
This is one of my favorite books and I’ve been through it a few times. For my latest read-through, I got the Kindle version and that is why I rated this only four stars instead of five. The “pages” stutter when you turn them and highlighting is all-but-useless as the... See more
This is one of my favorite books and I’ve been through it a few times. For my latest read-through, I got the Kindle version and that is why I rated this only four stars instead of five. The “pages” stutter when you turn them and highlighting is all-but-useless as the highlight is just randomly positioned around the page with lots of breaks in it. It’s hard to describe but the result holds no value whatsoever. Of those couple things don’t bother you then go ahead and get the Kindle version. Otherwise, I can’t recommend the paperback more highly. I know of no other book that covers Seal training so thoroughly and competently.
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mrxak
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
They''d rather die than quit
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2013
I''ve now read three books on the US Navy SEALs. This will be a combined review I''ll post on all three books, because I feel each one is important to understanding these elite warriors. Ever since Operation Neptune Spear, and the announcement that SEAL Team Six had... See more
I''ve now read three books on the US Navy SEALs. This will be a combined review I''ll post on all three books, because I feel each one is important to understanding these elite warriors. Ever since Operation Neptune Spear, and the announcement that SEAL Team Six had successfully raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden, I had been wondering why it was that SEAL Team Six had been sent, rather than our other elite counterterrorism unit, the mysterious Delta Force. After all, the mission took off from an airbase in a land-locked country, traveled over land to their target hundreds of miles inland, and then returned, having not flown over any major bodies of water at all. Why send the Navy, when an Army unit presumably could do the job just as well?

I''ve always been interested in the military, and military training. Though that particular life was not for me, I''ve always admired those who choose it, and been proud of my veteran relatives. I''ve watched countless boot camp documentaries, shows on special forces fiction and non-, and I want to understand what it takes to be a warrior. To understand what it takes to be a warrior tasked with taking down the most wanted terrorist in the world, I wanted to read books that would explain their training, their lives, and their physical and mental toughness.

The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 by Dick Couch was the first book I read. It covers the entire Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training course for Class 228. In the introduction, the making of a SEAL warrior is already made clear. Couch, a former Navy SEAL himself, Class 45 during the Vietnam era, explains that the Marine Corps builds 20,000 new marines a year for a force of 174,000, trained over eleven weeks. For the Army, the very tough Ranger School graduates 1,500 soldiers a year from their eight week course. With a twenty-seven week course, only 250 men a year graduate BUD/S, and even then, they are not yet SEALs. BUD/S only earns you a chance, and at least another six months of training await these men before they earn their Trident, and become a SEAL. The Warrior Elite covers the 27 weeks of BUD/S, following along a single class from day one of Indoc to graduation. But first Dick Couch tells the story of Kim Erksine in Grenada, a SEAL who led his eleven men during a mission that went bad when they were unable to use their radios. Along the way, he describes how their training, beginning with BUD/S, shaped their decisions and actions each step of the way. They made it to the water, many of them wounded, but all of them alive and still fighting. Eventually they swam out into the ocean and were picked up. Kim Erskine credits his and his men''s survival to the knowledge that each of them had survived BUD/S. Already, it''s clear. SEALs don''t quit. So how does the Navy find men who just won''t quit? They do everything they can to make BUD/S volunteers quit, and then trains the rest. 114 men had orders to BUD/S Class 228, and on Day 1, only 98 are still on the roster, 16 gave up before it even started. At any time, a BUD/S student can quit, and many do. After two weeks of Indoc, where BUD/S hasn''t even begun yet, the class is down to 69 men. At graduation, 10 men remain from the original class. Another six would graduate later with another class, having been rolled back for medical reasons. The story of what those men went through to graduate, and to earn the right to continue their training and perhaps become SEALs someday, is what The Warrior Elite explores. Frequently reading the book, I exclaimed out loud "wow", I just couldn''t believe it. Everyone talks about Hell Week, the week in Phase One that weeds out a significant number of students, most on the very first day, but that is just one very hard week out of 27 very hard weeks, and the men who survive it learn that to be a SEAL is to only have harder weeks ahead.

While The Warrior Elite covers post-BUD/S training briefly in the epilogue, The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident, by the same author Dick Couch, covers this training in much greater depth. This second book is a sequel researched and written in the years following 9/11, and as such a higher emphasis is placed on protecting the identities of the warriors who are training to become qualified SEALs in the platoons, and the secret tactics used by SEALs in their operations. In that regard, the book is much less comprehensive, and much less personal. While a great deal of information is given on the recent reorganization of the SEAL Teams and their deployments, less information is given about actual training. It''s hard to read The Warrior Elite without also reading The Finishing School, without the second book you''re missing half the story, but The Finishing Book is sadly not the complete story, either. It''s understandable for security reasons, but for somebody with a fascination for military training and tactics, as well as the men who go through it all, it''s disappointing. Again, though, the lesson is clear in The Finishing School. Not everyone who gets through BUD/S is going to become a SEAL. Some quit, some disqualify for medical or performance reasons, and the graduating class is smaller than the class coming in. One thing that The Finishing School does very well is explain the warrior culture of the SEAL Teams. These are quiet professionals who work together in close-knit groups. All of them are eager to get on deployment, and each of them maximizes their opportunities to continually learn and get better whenever they can. Those who are lone wolves, and can''t work safely in a team, are quickly removed from the organization. As always, it pays to be a winner, and no man is left behind.

The third book is SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper, by Howard E. Wasdin and Steven Templin. This book is very much a memoir, rather than a detailed day-by-day log of the training done in SEAL Team Six. In fact, for somebody wanting to read about the internal workings of the Navy''s most elite-of-the-elite warriors, they wouldn''t get very many details at all. What you get, instead, is a sense of the sorts of men who do what Howard Wasdin did, volunteer, and then keep volunteering, for the hardest jobs they could find, always looking for a bigger challenge. At times, Wasdin comes across as incredibly arrogant. He seems to put down other members of the special forces community, as well as federal law enforcement, at numerous occasions. We may never know, since members of SEAL Team Six, the CIA, and Delta Force are so tight-lipped, just how much of it is completely accurate. But nonetheless, this is a story of the sorts of brutal childhoods that spawn special forces operators, and the psychology of a warrior during training and in combat. Wasdin, I think, is more humble than he comes across. What he is, is a straight-shooter. If somebody else screwed up, he says so. At times hilarious, and at times horrifying, the story of Howard Wasdin from childhood to adulthood, with military service in between, is incredibly engaging. I had difficulties putting it down, and read through the entire book in just two sittings. While nowhere near as comprehensive as The Warrior Elite or The Finishing School, it gives us a window into the minds and lives of the men who got bin Laden.

I highly recommend all three books, and in the order I read them. Having read each one, I''ve come to understand, perhaps, some of the reasons why President Obama ordered SEAL Team Six to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. I''ll leave it put to you to decide for yourself why that might''ve been, but if I learned anything at all about SEALs, reading these three books, it''s that they always work as a team, it pays to be a winner, and they''d rather die than quit.

The Warrior Elite gets 5 stars for being as comprehensive as it is, and a truly astonishing tale of 10 men from Class 228, and the others who didn''t graduate with them.
19 people found this helpful
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David M. Smith
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wanna'' be a Navy Seal
Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2021
Dick Couch was a Seal in Vietnam and he knows his stuff. This book and the followup "The Finishing School"give you an in depth insight into the evoloution of the Naval Special Warfare over rom its beginnings in World War II until present day. The proper selection and... See more
Dick Couch was a Seal in Vietnam and he knows his stuff. This book and the followup "The Finishing School"give you an in depth insight into the evoloution of the Naval Special Warfare over rom its beginnings in World War II until present day. The proper selection and training of a Navy Seal is now a science. I read both books back to back. Bought three more Dick Couch books at the Book Bag in Gulfport, Ms and ordered Three more online because I know I will be reading them. Check out Dick Couch, Captain, USN.
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FunHog
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great insight, well written
Reviewed in the United States on January 19, 2012
There isn''t a whole lot I can add that the numerous other reviews haven''t said but here goes: First, it''s the best book of genre; in depth description of the training, touches on mental and physical aspects of those who have what it takes, and gives some personal... See more
There isn''t a whole lot I can add that the numerous other reviews haven''t said but here goes:

First, it''s the best book of genre; in depth description of the training, touches on mental and physical aspects of those who have what it takes, and gives some personal history of the trainees, so you have a perspective of what drove them there.

Second, Dick Couch''s discussions of own personal history as a Vietnam era seal and his training adds to the book. His views on the modern "Warrior Culture" of the seals/special forces was insightful.

Third, he made reading about situps, pushups, swimming, running and assorted physical challenges very interesting. Much of the training aspect is known via the discovery channel, military channel or other books about Seals, but one thing this book really conveys is the hardcore intensity of the training; some guys who gutted out hell week fail because their bodies are so destroyed they don''t recover in time to begin Phase II training.

Somewhere else I read that more college football players will get drafted to the NFL this year than men qualify as Navy Seals - this puts the elite statement often used to describe Seals into perspective. Reading this book really drives the point home. It is a metaphor for any great accomplishment - some God given talent, discipline, focus, unwavering commitment and a little bit of luck. The luck part comes in because to make through training, even if you have all the tools -physical and mental- to not get injured or sick through 6mos of training or a physiologic issue with diving, involves some luck. You read about a few guys who had what it took and failed because of bad luck and your really feel for them- when a book can make you feel for something or someone it''s a mark of a good writer.

Overall, great book. Also amazing is that the intense, three phase training of Buds is only the begining- it takes up to two years to become an operational seal. I will certainly read his follow up "The Finishing School."
2 people found this helpful
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Chris Jaronsky
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The only easy day was yesterday. Now there is an understatement!
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2010
First off, let me just say if you are interested in becoming a SEAL, know someone who is or wants to become a SEAL, are just interested in elite warrior teams, or just like to read about how people can endure incredible amounts of physical and mental torture at the hands of... See more
First off, let me just say if you are interested in becoming a SEAL, know someone who is or wants to become a SEAL, are just interested in elite warrior teams, or just like to read about how people can endure incredible amounts of physical and mental torture at the hands of loving instructors, then you need to read this book.

I have read a few books about the SEALs. I was under the assumption that BUD/S and Hell week were the pinnacle of the incredibly tough and demanding training these men have to endure. I was wrong. BUD/S training lasts about 6 months, Hell week happens before month 2. And the pace never lets up. This book covers the additional training these men receive after BUD/S training. They must also complete STT, (SEAL Tactical Training) US Army Airborne training, and a host of other choices like language schools, sniper school, SDV (SEAL Delivery Vehicle) etc. After BUD/S training it will be at least 6 months of arduous training just to get to the point where they have their review board and are deemed qualified to receive their SEAL Trident. Then its another year or so of training before they will deploy somewhere and start earning their keep. That is at least two years, and sometimes even more, before these guys are ready to go start contributing to the war on terror, or whatever other international problem we may have that needs special attention at the moment.

I was pleasantly surprised to read about the SEALs "zero tolerance" for alcohol related offenses. After seeing Hollywood characterize these men as hard drinking Rambo types, and after reading about some of the SEALs in Marchinkos books, you would think drinking was a requirement. But the newer policy makes a lot of sense. These men are incredibly well trained, why would you allow someone like that to possibly get drunk and lose control? That would be a scary thought. It is already pretty scary thinking about how well trained these men are, and the calm level of control they maintain. I feel sorry for anyone that is not on their side.

I have a renewed interest in the Navy SEALs at the moment. Many, many years ago, right after I finished Navy dive school (which I absolutely loved, maybe I am a glutton for punishment?) I started to seriously think about going to BUD/S. There were a few reasons why I decided not to go, and I put that part of my life behind me. Instead of being cold, wet, and tired, I started a family and had 4 boys. My oldest just turned 18 and was accepted to a great military college in Virginia. His plan is to get his degree (which I have told him was non-negotiable, a degree is a must) and then he plans on becoming a Navy SEAL. Its funny how fate keeps bringing this back into my life. That is why I read this book.

I have given this book to my son to read. If he is still set on this course after reading it, I will help him to prepare for his journey. I know I can help him to get to an even higher level mentally and physically and that will be of some help to him. I can only hope it will prepare him for what he will have to overcome.

Getting back to the book, I have an even higher opinion of these men than I did before I started reading this book. I am very proud of what they do and I am even prouder that they are on our side! The level of professionalism these men achieve and maintain is incredible. It is hard not to stand in awe of what they can accomplish.
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AM
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Good Look at What it Takes to Become a SEAL
Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2011
Dick Couch, a Vietnam veteran and former SEAL, guides us through Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S), the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL. For about six months, BUD/S recruits are wet, sandy, and cold all the time (not to mention exhausted). Couch takes the... See more
Dick Couch, a Vietnam veteran and former SEAL, guides us through Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S), the first step to becoming a Navy SEAL. For about six months, BUD/S recruits are wet, sandy, and cold all the time (not to mention exhausted). Couch takes the reader along as Class 228 runs for miles on the sand, swims for miles in the ocean, performs thousands of reps of calisthenics, paddles in rough waves, runs obstacle courses, and carries rubber boats or logs above their heads for hours -- and typically do it all on very little sleep. In the case of Hell Week, they do it on virtually no sleep at all, but Hell Week isn''t the end. In fact, it''s quite near the beginning, and BUD/S recruits and trainers refer to it as a mere "speed bump" in training. It''s no wonder that roughly seven out of ten recruits don''t make it through BUD/S.

But BUD/S is more than toughing it out through sleepless nights and pushups in the sand. Recruits are expected to think on their feet and conduct complex missions while extremely stressed and tired. Among other things, these SEAL hopefuls learn about navigation (on land and underwater), demolitions, communications equipment, first aid, dive tables, and immediate action under enemy fire. It''s no wonder that many successful BUD/S enlistees are college graduates, and that most of the officers who didn''t attend the Naval Academy seem to have graduated from Ivy League universities.

Couch writes very well, and he has a good sense for when to give an anecdote of his own SEAL experience, and when to back off and give a "fly on the wall" perspective of Class 228. He also avoids "in my day" bravado, and praises BUD/S today (citing, for example, increased safety measures). He also gives recruits of the current generation a fair appraisal. He says they are no stranger to the gym and have a greater understanding of fitness than in his day, but are part of a "feel good" generation not used to real hardship, giving them a balanced chance in his view.

This is a great book for anyone with ambitions of becoming a SEAL. It''s also a great way to get a glimpse of the hardship and sacrifice of some of the world''s greatest warriors.
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David VanScott
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fly on the Wall
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2014
It''s one thing to hear about how intense Navy SEAL training is, but it''s another entirely to walk through it with a class. Dick Couch does a phenomenal job of giving the reader a "fly on the wall" look at how these elite warriors are trained. You really see how... See more
It''s one thing to hear about how intense Navy SEAL training is, but it''s another entirely to walk through it with a class. Dick Couch does a phenomenal job of giving the reader a "fly on the wall" look at how these elite warriors are trained. You really see how fitting his title in as you watch these young men get molded in the fire of the most intense training the world has ever known. My only beef with the book is toward the end after 228 graduates. Everything about STT felt rushed, like he knew he was gonna be writing another book about that process specifically. He jumps around a little and it breaks up the great, measured pacing of the rest of the book. Besides that though, really great look at these incredible soldiers.
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Bill
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great read. I like the way the Author took ...
Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2014
A great read. I like the way the Author took the story, it helps to understand the thinking of these brave men. The one thing I guess I''ll never understand is why The country spends so much time, money and effort and then second guess these guys. They really are the... See more
A great read. I like the way the Author took the story, it helps to understand the thinking of these brave men. The one thing I guess I''ll never understand is why The country spends so much time, money and effort and then second guess these guys.
They really are the last stop before the smelly stuff hits the whirly thing, and yet they die for there country, it really would behest the country to support those that put their life on the line, fighting horrors we will probably never get to see or hear about, in countries that are basically living in another century, except for their very rich and connected overlords whom it seems get educated in the very elite Colleges and universities around the world, in the countries they are trying to hurt. Go figure.
To all you Warriors out there, we salute you and thank you for your selfless service for us, and bless you for looking after the very freedom''s that we take for granted.
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CLCAULFIELD
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 22, 2014
A brilliant read. I do not know how these men even survived their training. Well written by an expert and super informative
A brilliant read. I do not know how these men even survived their training. Well written by an expert and super informative
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Gregory
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Buy this.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2014
A Must read. For any SEAL hopeful, and likewise for any other man.
A Must read. For any SEAL hopeful, and likewise for any other man.
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Norm Phillips
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What a man will do to prove themselves worthy
Reviewed in Canada on August 17, 2018
It was amazing to read about how much it takes to be one of these elite warriors, and how unforgiving the selection process is. Truly remarkable how these young men have the desire, fortitude and ability to win the trident.
It was amazing to read about how much it takes to be one of these elite warriors, and how unforgiving the selection process is. Truly remarkable how these young men have the desire, fortitude and ability to win the trident.
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Alex
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Consigliato
Reviewed in Italy on December 25, 2014
So che questo potrebbe fare sorridere ma questo libro e'' stato utile anche per il mio lavoro. Da piu'' di 20 anni sono in una multinazionale americana come manager dell''area marketing e vendite e il libro e'' stato utile a capire certe dinamiche in termini di appartenenza al...See more
So che questo potrebbe fare sorridere ma questo libro e'' stato utile anche per il mio lavoro. Da piu'' di 20 anni sono in una multinazionale americana come manager dell''area marketing e vendite e il libro e'' stato utile a capire certe dinamiche in termini di appartenenza al gruppo, al perseguimento del target ad ogni costo e per l''approccio alle cose in termini di resilienza.
So che questo potrebbe fare sorridere ma questo libro e'' stato utile anche per il mio lavoro. Da piu'' di 20 anni sono in una multinazionale americana come manager dell''area marketing e vendite e il libro e'' stato utile a capire certe dinamiche in termini di appartenenza al gruppo, al perseguimento del target ad ogni costo e per l''approccio alle cose in termini di resilienza.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I''m sure I will enjoy every word of it
Reviewed in Canada on October 23, 2016
I got a collection of 11 books to read, I brought with me to southamerica 6 of them and this one is in the list, I''m sure I will enjoy every word of it...the delivery ETA couldn''t be any closer than what it was, almost space mission accuracy, thanks a lot!!
I got a collection of 11 books to read, I brought with me to southamerica 6 of them and this one is in the list, I''m sure I will enjoy every word of it...the delivery ETA couldn''t be any closer than what it was, almost space mission accuracy, thanks a lot!!
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