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The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 Paperback – January 28, 2003
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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 the Audio CD edition.
"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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.