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The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 Paperback – January 28, 2003

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The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 + The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident + Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There is a pod of good books on the SEALs, but this one is unique. Couch, a Vietnam-era SEAL and retired naval reserve captain, was given the most complete access possible to the demanding BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) course and has recorded his observations, those of one who has been there and done a good deal of that. His account of Hell Week, the culmination of a formidable three-phase course intended to produce men who are physically, psychologically, and technically the best in the world at what they do, may leave the average reader short of breath. Few Hollywood stereotypes are on view; in their stead are a man who passed BUD/S at age 39, a superb swimmer who was disqualified for sinus problems, and a trainee at the low end of the fitness scale who subsequently won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Also on view is much serious thought by serious thinkers on the making of warriors at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"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 Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (January 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400046955
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400046959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

DICK COUCH is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who has served as a Navy SEAL and as a CIA case officer. He has written six novels and the nonfiction works Down Range, The Finishing School, and The Warrior Elite. He lives in central Idaho.

Customer Reviews

This book is very well written and fascinating to read.
This is a great book that chronicles Seal Class 228 through buds.
curtis templeton
Thank God we have young men like this in our country, too.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By M. Flegal VINE VOICE on May 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There are lots of books on SEALs out there, some good, most bad, very few great. This is one of the great ones. Why? Because it takes a theme that has been done to death, the training of the Navy SEALs, and writes what is probably the definitive book on the subject while doing what none of the other books has done. For the first time, a book follows the trainees through BUDs, through Hell Week, and keeps going all of the way to the assignment to an active team. It emphasizes the fact that the vaunted Hell Week, long portrayed as the horrible endurance contest that it is, is in fact just one of the gut checks along the way to becoming a SEAL. It's not a magical peak where everything after is easy, it's a point that weeds out many but is more preparation for the rigors ahead than a line to cross. To put it bluntly, there is no need to write another book on the training of the Navy SEALs, this is the final word. If you have dreams of becoming a SEAL, read this book. There is much wisdom in these pages. Ever think that "your reputation begins at BUDs"? You'll learn that here.
Finally, a book that reaches the levels set by books such as "Brave Men, Dark Waters" and "Class-29 : The Making of U.S. Navy SEALs". Well written, insightful, and just simply excellent. Buy this book!
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By M. Strong on August 22, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let's start with the positive, because there's so much here that's so good. The Warrior Elite tells an incredible story. As a reader, you get to ride along with a class training to become Navy SEALS. Couch, a former SEAL himself, does a great job of capturing the details of BUD/S training so that you understand the challenges and trials these young men face to become SEALS.

You come to know the men of Class 228 well and you quickly learn the differences between movie SEALS and real SEALS (not many 6'3" 250 pounders to be found on the real SEAL teams). You also have the interesting experience of simultaneously being inspired and realizing your own limitations. It's almost impossible to read this book without imagining what parts of SEAL training you could handle and what would be your undoing. You end up realizing that we are all capable of more than we think, but not many of us have what it takes to become a SEAL (far better candidates than I'd be fell out of Class 228 pretty quickly).

So what keeps this from being a five-star book? The writing; and that's hard to say, because after reading this book you respect Couch so much for what he's accomplished as a SEAL. Even so, the writing is mechanical, the structure slows down your reading considerably, and you will be painfully aware of the repetitive use of some unique phrases.

That said, Couch does give you a great view of something that most people will never see, and he does it from the perspective of someone who's done it himself. This book is absolutely worth reading for anyone interested in the SEALS. For a similarly great story with story telling to match its content, check out Inside Delta Force by Eric Haney. The two books are great to read back-to-back to compare and contrast not only Delta Force and the SEALS, but also two different writers.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. Kaczmarek on June 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first became interested in the Navy SEALs during a Learning Channel 5-part series that follows class 324 thru BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition, Seal training) To see the various evolutions these young men had to go thru was inspiring. Thus when I was on Coronado Island I decided I had to get a book that dug deeper into the forging of a Navy SEAL. I was recommended this book by the owner of a Coronado bookstore. Dick Couch, the author and former Navy SEAL was given access to BUD/s class 228 to tell the story of the men who make it to graduation and beyond. Throughtout the book you get a real sense of what it would be like to go thru the training, and all the internal thoughts that you need to fight off to make it. There is a great deal of detail put into Indoc., First Phase, Hell Week, Second Phase and Third Phase. While that entails all phases of BUD/s graduation there is much more training ahead for the graduates, that most likely gets told in Finishing School.
I highly recommend this book, to at the bare minimum understand the trials these men go thru, and at the max. to push yourself to achieve things you never thought possible.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. Osius on January 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Dick Couch, a former SEAL, takes an in depth look at the BUD/S, the training school that future SEALs must go through. I am an avid Navy SEAL fan and have read as much as I can on the subject. This is THE book I would recomend if somebody asked me which ONE book they should read on SEALs. After having learned about what a SEAL must go through to earn his Trident Pin (the official point at which you are a SEAL) I only have more respect for those men.
As a former SEAL, Couch gets an unprecident look at this school. He is the only author I know of who has been allowed to truly document the training from Indoc (the first training session) all they way through their first deployment. You get a close look at the four phases of training and not only do you see WHAT they do, but Couch interviews many of the trainees and reveils what they are thinking and what keeps them going (or not as the case may be) despite being cold, wet, tired, hungry and in pain. What was especially interesting was the section on Hell Week. A period when the trainees must work for five straight days with only about four hours of sleep total. Of the 60 or so trainees who made it to the begining of Hell Week, only 15 or so made it out.
I consider this book a must have for anybody who is a SEAL buff. However, I also believe that it was a wider appeal as a look at the pysche of men who never, ever stop trying no matter how hard the situation.
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