HOW TO BECOME A SEAL OR SWCC
You want to join Naval Special Warfare? Recruiting can be a confusing process. A Navy Recruiter, a SEAL and a SWCC break it down for you.
Episode #6 | 4/25/18
The only easy day was yesterday. (Intro)
00:00:15:27 - TRT: 00:00:14
DF: Welcome to “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday,” the official Navy SEAL podcast.
Whether you dreamed about becoming a Navy SEAL as a kid, or just found out that being a SWCC is something you want to learn more about, you probably have a lot of questions. I’m Daniel Fletcher, and today I’m speaking with three experts on the SEAL and SWCC recruiting process. We’ll hear personal experiences from an active duty SEAL and a SWCC operator, whose names have been changed for security.
00:00:39:26 - TRT: 00:00:39
DF: So, from the top here, let’s just have you guys introduce yourselves. I’ll start with you and then go across, and you guys can just give us a brief summary of what you guys do here.
00:00:48:25 - TRT: 00:00:48
S: Okay, awesome. My name is Sean. I’m a United States Navy SEAL, here stationed at the SEALs SWCC Scout Team with these other two gentlemen beside me, and just basically part of our job is to do outreach and reach out to the youth, high school kids, the college kids to give them ideas of what it takes to be a Navy Seal or a SWCC.
00:01:06:06 - TRT: 00:01:06
BM: My name is Chief Brian Murray. I coordinate the outreach efforts, plan the trips, help put the budgets together and act as kind of the liaison between the operators and the recruiting districts.
00:01:19:26 - TRT: 00:01:19
F: Hi, my name is Frank. I’m a SWCC operator, special warfare combatant craft crewman. I’ve been doing that for about ten years, and my role here at the SEAL SWCC Scout Team is essentially the same as Sean’s. We go out, we talk to high schools and colleges, narrow down to athletes and try to give a real-world perspective on what it takes to be a SEAL or a SWCC.
00:01:41:24 - TRT: 00:01:41
DF: Nice, well thank you guys for taking the time to talk with us again. Let’s go through this process from the beginning from your perspective, kind of first just steps for somebody that might be interested in it, in a career in naval special warfare. Yeah, if you could go ahead and just give a little brief…
00:01:56:15 - TRT: 00:01:56
BM: Okay, so for anybody that’s interested in this program, the first step that they need to take is to go down to the local recruiting station. What’s going to take place at that meeting first is they’re going to get mentally, morally and physically qualified. What that means is they’re going to take an ASVAB test or a practice ASVAB test to make sure they meet the minimum requirements academically. They’re also going to screen them, check and see if they’ve ever been in any kind of trouble. If so, what waivers are available for them, and then they’ll also set up a physical at MEPS to make sure that they don’t have any physical problems, surgeries, things that they need waivers for. So, they’ll, once they get prequalified, we’ll schedule a MEPS day, and MEPS will bring them in, check their heart, check their vision, their hearing. Once we determine that they are qualified for this program, they’ll start working out with local Navy recruiting district scouts similar to what these guys do but a little different. They’re just responsible for the local area, guys and girls, and they’ll take them out, they’ll do physical screening tests, different things on a local level and get them ready for the process until they are selected.
00:03:04:06 - TRT: 00:03:03
DF: Maybe we can go a little bit deeper into that from your perspective. These are, these are any Navy recruiting centers, or is it a specific Navy SEAL or Special Operations kind of track that these people have to go take?
00:03:16:04 - TRT: 00:03:15
BM: Well, first they’re going to need to go visit a traditional Navy recruiting station. The reason that is, is because to join the Navy as a Special Warfare Operator, you first have to join the Navy. So, you have to get qualified to do those things. Now, they can go get prequalified without joining the Navy and still go work out with the Special Warfare Operators scouts. They’re there to get them physically ready, but they can’t actually take the step of joining until they’ve visited a real recruiting station, and those typically, if you go onto Navy.com or our website, SEALSWCC.com, they’ll have links to those recruiting stations, and they’ll be able to find, put in their zip code and figure out whatever is closest.
00:03:57:05 - TRT: 00:03:56
DF: Okay, can you tell us a little bit about the ASVAB test for people that might not be familiar with it?
00:04:01:21 - TRT: 00:04:01
BM: Okay, so the ASVAB test, it’s an aptitude test that’s broken down. I believe it’s eight different categories. It’ll be everything from mathematics, arithmetic, reasoning, spelling, word comprehension, mechanics. There’s a couple that I’m leaving out, but you probably get the gist of what it is. So, we’ll test them in several different categories. Each job field will require a score made up of a couple of those categories, maybe two to four, depending on which job it is, and they’ll take those scores to make sure that they’re eligible for these programs.
00:04:35:09 - TRT: 00:04:34
DF: Do people have a chance to retest, or is this something that’s kind of like a once and done thing, or how does that work?
00:04:39:23 - TRT: 00:04:39
BM: That’s a good question. You can take the ASVAB from the first time you take it, if you don’t do as well as you want, you can take it again 30 days later. If you still don’t get the best score that you want, you can do it 30 days after that, but after that third test, you have to wait six months until you take another ASVAB. So, the best advice I can give you is to go online. There’s a lot of practice ASVAB tests. So, to do those online as much as you can before you take the actual test.
00:05:04:26 - TRT: 00:05:04
DF: And what is MEPS?
00:05:06:10 - TRT: 00:05:06
BM: Military Entrance Processing station. That’s where they go into to take their physical, so that’s their entry into the Navy basically.
00:05:15:09 - TRT: 00:05:15
DF: Okay, so after the regular Navy recruiting process, how does the process differ for Naval Special Warfare?
00:05:25:01 - TRT: 00:05:24
BM: So, they, the process is only different as in they get additional training. Instead of just going to learn to be a sailor and about their specific job, they actually have physical requirements that they have to maintain throughout the process. So, what they’ll do with these scouts is typically a couple times a week, two to three, it just depends on the scout’s schedule, they’ll take them through and work them out. We actually just visited the recruiting district in Denver, and Sean actually helped monitor the physical screening test. So, they’ll do that a couple times a week, whereas somebody that joins in a traditional job rating, they would not have to do that.
00:06:03:25 - TRT: 00:06:03
DF: Okay, so, physical requirements, athletic requirements, we’ll say, are kind of the main difference at that stage, and then the steps that follow that, maybe you could just walk us through the next steps through I guess you call the selection process, or if there’s another term for that.
00:06:18:04 - TRT: 00:06:17
BM: So, it is. They call it a draft. It’s similar to I guess you could maybe compare it to a sports draft. They will perform the PST as many times as they can and get their scores as elevated as possible. Once they get done to the point to where they’re competitive nationwide, they’ll be put into the draft system. Naval Special Warfare will pick as many candidates as they need or they feel that they want to take on each month, and they’ll select from that group of individuals.
00:06:49:09 - TRT: 00:06:48
DF: So, other than the PST scores, what are the people in the, looking for in the draft? Maybe are they looking at the metrics of the person’s physical stature, or is it a collection of things? Could you maybe tell us a little bit about that?
00:07:02:04 - TRT: 00:07:01
BM: It is, it’s a big collection of things, and it can be complex at times. First, they’re going to look at their ASVAB score, their PST scores, they’re going to take a, kind of a psychological test. It’s called the CSORT. For those of you that don’t know what CSORT stands for, it’s Computerized Special Operations Resiliency Test.
00:07:23:21 - TRT: 00:07:23
DF: So, this is something that’s done on a computer I’m guessing.
00:07:25:21 - TRT: 00:07:25
BM: It is done on a computer in a recruiting station, and you will have a proctor that won’t be in while you’re taking the test, but they have to administer the test, and they will print out your score, and that will be sent in with your application package.
00:07:39:10 - TRT: 00:07:38
DF: How long does that take normally would you guess?
00:07:42:09 - TRT: 00:07:41
BM: From, are you referring to the draft in general, the test? It depends on the person. If the person is really spending a lot of time trying to answer the questions perfectly, it could take them a couple hours. But in reality, there is no perfect answers, so you should just take the test, answer whatever your first instinct is for the answer, and it typically would take an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.
00:08:09:03 - TRT: 00:08:09
DF: I see. So, they’re looking to select people that will make it through the training process and become an active operator.
00:08:17:10 - TRT: 00:08:17
BM: The CSORT is almost a predictor mentally for who can make it. Obviously, physically, I mean there’s a lot of variables that could happen while they’re in training, but, and this isn’t a definite answer. I mean this is just something that they use to gauge. So, let’s say if somebody gets a low CSORT score, they’re going to have to have elevated physical standard scores. If they do really well on the CSORT, meaning mentally they’re prepared as much as, you know, this test says they need to be, then maybe they’re physical scores can be a little lower, but they’ll use a combination of those.
00:08:51:08 - TRT: 00:08:51
DF: Is there anything that you would recommend, in regards to this kind of psychological kind of the evaluation or the ASVAB test, kind of approach to this process, like kind of off the cuff advice you’d give to somebody, like just kind of things that you’ve seen people do wrong or right or kind of dress to success kind of behavior?
00:09:11:06 - TRT: 00:09:11
BM: So, assuming that somebody’s listening maybe their freshman year, 13, 14 year old and trying to figure out how to, how to navigate this to their senior year, the best advice I could give is to take the classes that are going to keep them at an academic standard they need to be. If, if they have the opportunity to take accelerated math and science classes, they should definitely do that. Those, those things are going to be on the ASVAB. The psychological test, there’s really no preparation. That’s by design. That’s something that we will want to know without any preparation what kind of answers they’re going to come up with, but the ASVAB test really just goes back to school. Instead of taking a semester where you take some random elective classes that you don’t need, you really need to focus in on taking math and science classes. And physically, those are things that they need to get on our website, SEALSWCC.com, and we have workouts, and they need to start doing those really from their freshman year on to their senior year. I mean it’s never too late, but it’s never too early to start either.
00:10:15:01 - TRT: 00:10:15
DF: I think that’s some really good advice. Well, next, I’d like, I’d like to open up and talk to you guys about kind of your specific experience going through this recruitment process from the SWCC and SEAL perspective. So, Frank, if you could just talk to us a little bit about your journey through a recruit to being an operator if you could maybe walk us through your journey.
00:10:36:27 - TRT: 00:10:36
F: Sure, yeah, so I would dare to say that things have changed a bit since, since my go around. It’s been nearly ten years, so, but for the most part, I think that there’s so much more information out there nowadays, and it makes, I don’t want to say easier, but so much more accessible….so here’s a for instance. When I came in, most of the process that, that Chief Murray was talking about was mostly the same as far as the physical, screening test, you had to take that in order to be applicable for any of these programs. And so, for those who may not know, the physical screening test is, is comprised of five different evolutions, and the first one is a 500, 500-yard swim, sidestroke and or breast stroke. Then you have maximum push-ups in two minutes, maximum sit-ups in two minutes, maximum pull ups in two minutes and a mile and a half run. And so, the sidestroke was something that was extremely foreign to me when I went to go, you know, take on this challenge. I’d never done, I’d swam in high school. At my senior year, I was on the swim team, but all I did was the 50 free, which was essentially where they put slow people.
00:11:45:29 - TRT: 00:11:44
DF: Is it, you know, something that you pursued because you wanted a career in the Navy or specifically Special Warfare?
00:11:50:24 - TRT: 00:11:49
F: No, actually I was sent to military school my senior year of high school, and well, you had to play sports. It was mandatory. We didn’t have a football team, and the two sports that I, interested in the most were wrestling and swimming. Unfortunately, these two things were both in the same season. I ended up doing both of them, but I was exhausted all the time, but it did make me a lot stronger and more resilient, and I think that did add to my preparation for the training, no doubt. But by the time I actually got to the point where I knew that that was what I was going to do, I still had no clue what the sidestroke was, and when I went to approach it to learn how to do this, all I found was on Navy.com was a two-page hand-drawn diagram of a person doing the sidestroke, and that’s how I learned how to do the sidestroke. So, nowadays, you go onto our website, for instance, and you can find videos or, you know, just going onto YouTube, you can find it. There’s people who train in so many more locations. There’s just, you know, information out there is infinite, so it’s really easy to find that type of stuff to help better prepare, and just like Chief Murray said talking about the, just the workouts alone we have on our website, not to mention any other training programs that are out there.
00:13:09:06 - TRT: 00:13:08
F: So, so that being said, when I came through, there was a lot less information, but it was something that I really knew I wanted to do starting about mid, midway through my senior year, and I just made the leap, went through the recruiter’s office, and I’d heard a lot of stories that I think a lot of people can sympathize with this if you have listeners that are already in the Navy or people who are thinking about it, maybe they’ve heard these stories before, where you hear these horror stories of dealing with military recruiters, right. So, that was my, that was my thought going in that I’m going to go in, they’re going to hassle me, they’re going to try to sell me on something, and I didn’t experience any of that. I went in, and I was confident about what I wanted to do, and I think they sensed that. I think they knew that I was a man on a mission, and so they just pretty much like, “Okay,” you know, and they made things happen the best they could. Once I went in, first I went to all the different recruiting offices, went Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines just to kind of narrow down my decision. I always tell people when we go do our presentations that’s exactly what I did, so I suggest that’s what you do, that way, you’re making the most informed decision. And then I decided finally on the SWCC pipeline.
00:14:19:02 - TRT: 00:14:17
DF: Let me just interject real quick. For people that don’t know, SWCC versus SEAL, to my knowledge, that’s a relatively new kind of distinction. Can you describe a little bit or guess explain for the laymen what a SWCC is?
00:14:34:06 - TRT: 00:14:33
F: Sure, yeah, absolutely. So, SWCC stands for Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman. Military loves acronyms, so it’s a lot easier to say that way, right. So, SWCC, our job is the Maritime Mobility Asset for Naval Special Warfare, and what that really means is we drive the fast boats for Naval Special Warfare. So, we have a range of missions. Primarily and what we’re most known for is insert extract of SEALS or other SOF forces, whether that’s at a beach landing site or visit board search and seizures, so like a pirated vessel, but we also have direct action missions, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, there’s all different types of things that we provide. Another thing that we’re famous for is our ability to launch our boats out of the back of airplanes and jump in with them so that we have kind of like a quick assault, quick reaction type element, so that’s, that’s SWCC in a nutshell.
00:15:32:03 - TRT: 00:15:30
DF: So, where, where through the process did you realize, “Hey, this is for me?”
00:15:35:22 - TRT: 00:15:34
F: That was just kind of doing my research. From the beginning, I knew that I was going to do Special Operations. It was just my mentality on things is that I wanted to join the military, and once I really discovered that I wanted to join the military, I knew I had to do something that was just so much more of a challenge. I needed to do, to be the best, and I wanted to have the most effect on the war on terror, so I was like, “Special Operations is where I want to be.” So, I went to all the, you know, I talked to the recruiters, the Army recruiters about the Army SF and Rangers, and I talked to the Marines about Recon. I talked to the Navy about SEALs. I actually never heard of SWCC until I talked to the recruiters.
00:16:06:20 - TRT: 00:16:05
DF: So, at what point did, did the training kind of diverge into boat specific for you in the SWCC track?
00:16:13:24 - TRT: 00:16:12
F: Okay, yeah, everybody, regardless of Special Operations or not, goes to Navy boot camp. So, I went to Navy boot camp, and that’s in Great Lakes, Illinois, and then after that, I went to Coronado, out here in Coronado. Back then, they didn’t have the prep course, which is they have now, and it’s about an 8-week course in Great Lakes before you come out here, and that’s for SEAL and SWCC candidates, [DF: So even more tools now.] Exactly, yeah, it’s really, it’s really an added benefit that they have, and I wish that they had had it when I went through, but, you know, I was still successful, so.
00:16:50:04 - TRT: 00:16:49
DF: So, at BUDS somewhere, you start learning about boats, or is it after?
00:16:54:18 - TRT: 00:16:53
F: It’s a completely separate pipeline, so the way it works is when you come out here, Nowadays, after prep, you would come out here, and then you would, the BUDS and the SWCCs students go through orientation together, and then after that, they split up into first phase and the SWCC pipeline. Then after about three weeks of orientation, you start the actual training. And so, then it was basic crewman training. It’s the selection portion, so much like first phase for the SEAL pipeline, it’s all about making sure, narrowing down, whittling it down to the people that are right for the job. It’s not so much about getting rid of people. It’s just capturing the people that you want. And in the best way, I always say it is for an instructor, they’re looking for the person that they would either want to work with or they would want to replace them. So, and that’s, that’s the way that it’s looked at, and so, anyways, that’s the selection portion of it, basic crewman training, and then you go to crewman qualification training, and that’s where you really start to learn about your job. So, you’re learning about the boats, the weapons, the cons, the skillsets, the operating procedures, all that stuff so that when you actually get to your boat team that you are an asset to your team. Training doesn’t stop when you graduate from training at the center. That’s only where it begins. Once you graduate, go to your team, and then you have another year and a half of preparation before you actually deploy.
00:18:21:05 - TRT: 00:18:19
DF: Oh, wow, okay, I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realize.
00:18:23:07 - TRT: 00:18:22
F: Yeah, yeah, it’s, it is, it’s something that’s daunting to a lot of people when they, when they look ahead at that because they look at the, either graduating BUDS or BCT or, you know, just the whole pipeline as the, you know, the end of things, [DF: Like they’ve arrived when they graduate.] Yeah, and then the problem with that mindset is that when you graduate, now you’re going to a team where everybody has made this accomplishment, so you really haven’t accomplished anything. The bar’s just been set at a different, a little bit higher, but you’re still starting from the ground floor once you get there.
00:18:58:09 - TRT: 00:18:56
DF: And I guess if you could give us an example or, real-world example of maybe, as much as you can tell us, about an active operation, kind of paint a picture of what you do on the boat and maybe what one of your operations would look like from your perspective.
F: So Special Operations, standard rule is you’re always going to be working at night. You’re going to be working when your enemy is not. So, typically, we’re not waking up super early in the morning. More than likely, we’re getting ready throughout the day to operate throughout the night. And so, the main thing is preparation. We always want to be as prepared as possible. We want to stack everything in our favor, so making sure every little minutia of the mission and our gear and our boats and everything is prepared to the best way possible so that we’ve gone over everything and that, you know, if Murphy does visit the mission, then we, you know, we are at least as prepared as we possibly can be, and we can adapt and overcome in that scenario. And so, you know, the missions can range from, you know, going underway and doing a recce on a target, which is reconnaissance, or inserting a SEAL platoon over the beach in more of a stealthy manner, or it could be extracting them in a hot environment, which a hot environment being if they’re getting, you know, if they’re taking on fire, then we have the ability to go in and pull them out.
00:21:59:28 - TRT: 00:20:23
DF: Well, I think that paints a really good picture for a lot of people that don’t know the difference between SEAL and SWCC track or that there’s even a difference or paints a more accurate picture for people that there’s even an option in Navy, Naval Special Warfare other than just becoming a SEAL. Sean, from your perspective as a SEAL, is there anything that you noticed different from your experience going through the recruitment process as you’re listening to Frank talk about his journey becoming a SWCC operator?
00:22:28:19 - TRT: 00:20:52
S: Yeah, I can. I didn’t know anything much about being in the Navy SEAL at the time. Me growing up, I grew up with my grandmother in DC, Washington DC on the east coast, and she was the one who pushed me into the military. I had no desire to join, didn’t care, never been in the ocean, never swam anywhere. That was my whole thing. I just went through the regular recruiting situation as going to a recruiting station like Brian talked about, and they kind of talked me into some things of what I could do and some more physical things, so I came in with a AR contract as a rescue swimmer. So, I was already in the military doing something totally different. Then the SEALs came, kind of, I just kind of fell into the situation where I was working with the SEALs, and that’s when I realized, you know what, this is something I want to do. This is, this is it for me. So, I went through that whole growing pain of growing up to be a man and finding what my purpose really was and something that I really wanted to do. So, I went on deployment once, and I came back, put in a package for to go to BUDS and be a Navy Seal, and I went into the program. My class for me was about 300 strong almost, pretty close.
00:23:29:05 - TRT: 00:21:52
DF: You mean the graduating class or just starting out?
00:23:31:00 - TRT: 00:21:54
S: Starting out, starting out. It was about 300 strong my class, and I see what I want, and this is what I’m going to do. I have to go after this. And I went to the program. We got into the ocean and started doing 2-mile ocean swims, again, something that I was never familiar with growing up from where I come from, and it was just, it was hard. It was really hard for me. I barely passed almost every physical test. Now, I was always a physical guy, though, so I could, I could gut through it, but 2-mile ocean swims, never even thought something about that, 4-mile timed runs, 4 in the morning, wasn’t into that either, you know. Swimming in the pool with your hands and feet tied up behind your back, that was something totally different for me also, so I had a lot of growing pains through all those situations.
00:24:23:19 - TRT: 00:22:35
DF: Yeah, I think you bring up a good point….I think a lot of people might be averse to thinking that this is something that they could even do. Or let’s say that someone’s got a colored past. You know, they, you know, whatever, it’s like, “Well, there’s no way I could do that,” you know, I think that your life experience says otherwise, and I think that’s, that’s something a lot of people should think about if they might have, you know, gotten into a little trouble in their lives, or, heck, I’ve never even been to the ocean. That’s not going to stop you from doing this. I think that’s important for people to realize.
00:25:12:14 - TRT: 00:23:05
S: No, not at all. Physically, I was always a strong guy. You know, I played sports in high school. I was a football star, I ran track, so I did those things, but, again, that was all on the ground, and that was more of a sprinting type thing for me, but everything I did when becoming a Navy SEAL, joining the military was totally opposite for me, and it was never a thought. So, no, you’re right. ….People just don’t understand they can be more than whatever situation they’ve grown up in. You don’t have to live that lifestyle and believe that’s going to be your life. If you really want something, you can just do it. You just got to focus on it.
00:26:34:17 - TRT: 00:23:37
DF: What do you say to those people that might think that like, you know, maybe I could do this, but, you know, I can’t do that.
00:26:40:25 - TRT: 00:23:42
S: I would say is, inspiration is what it is. Inspiration is what’s going to take you to get through anything that’s going to have challenges to it. For me, I would say to anyone like that, you know, find out what the inspiration it could be….It’s all in your mind, and if you can control your thoughts and control your mind, you can tell your body to do whatever, but you just need to find what the inspiration is for you, and then you just focus on that, and then it’ll help you get through any challenge that you ever face, and that’s what I believe. So, for any kid, just find inspiration that you have in your life growing up. And if you feel like you don’t have one, there is one out there. You just got to find it. You just got to find out what it is that you really want and who it is that you want to be a part of your success, and you just, you just follow them….You know, did I ever thought for an instant that I was going to be that guy? Not one time, but because of my drive and my inspiration, I decided I was going to be the guy who was going to grind hard, and I was going to make this no matter what. Nobody was going to get in my way, and it didn’t matter the instructor, didn’t matter the other kids in the class. I wanted this, and I was going to grind hard, and I was going to crush this whole program, and I had to study a little harder than most because in high school I didn’t, I didn’t do what I needed to do to, you know, prepare myself mentally to comprehend dive physics and all these different things. I never even thought about all the math we talked about for ASVAB. I kind of just blew that stuff off in high school, so I had, when I got to this portion of training, I had to really study a little more than everyone else, so I was up late nights, long, long tiring, and then, but it helped me. I graduated, I passed those tests, those written academic tests, and I passed the physical tests, and I was a leader, and I wanted everybody to follow me, follow behind me at the time, so and that’s what puts me right here right now, and I enjoy giving back to these kids, and when we’re done talking to these kids, they always come up and talk to us about certain things that they took out of our presentation that they can relate to, that they want to use and probably show me something, and I’m happy to be an inspiration to some of those kids at the same time.
00:29:16:20 - TRT: 00:25:34
DF: Sean, so if you could tell us a little bit about what SEAL life is like from a professional standpoint.
00:29:23:02 - TRT: 00:25:40
S: Okay, no problem. So, we’re going to go right into right when you graduate SEAL Qualification training, right, that’s when you get your pin, and from there, you get assigned to your SEAL team, whether east coast, west coast or the one out in Hawaii, SDV team. For me, I got orders out to SEAL Team 1 in San Diego, so what happens is each SEAL team is on a rotation. You normally deploy, deploy every two years, but depending on when you arrive at that SEAL team, you may be just getting in before they deploy, while they’re on deployment or a few months prior to deployment, where they’re getting ready to start working up. So, we’ll break it down into you’re getting to your SEAL team right when you’re getting ready to start working up to prepare for deployment. So, they call it a 6-month time period of work. We call it workup, where you start to train again, you get back into it, you’re training nonstop, you’re flying here, flying there, staying in hotels, you’re out in the desert, California desert, and you’re doing so many variations of training to kind of put you in position to understand your job. For me, I was a breacher, and some of us also get school, so I was, when I first joined my first SEAL team, they sent me to Virginia, where I had to go to breacher school. Breachers are what most people understand as the people that plant C4 on doors to get us in, what you see in the movies or other variation things, so I had to learn about demolition, C4, how to calculate demo charges. So, I went out to that school. That was primarily my main job as I was the lead breacher for my team, so whenever we came to an obstacle, I was the guy who, you know, figured out the obstacle, I figured out a way to get in and find a charge, and we’d blow it, and we’d get in. So, that school is about two months. It was amazing. I enjoyed it, very difficult. While I went there, other guys go to sniper school, some goes to com school. It just depends on whatever school or whatever specific job you really want to be in.
00:31:09:09 - TRT: 00:27:27
DF: Does that kind of dependent on what the team needs at the time, or is that dependent more on your ability, skills, your size, anything like that?
00:31:16:05 - TRT: 00:27:34
S: Kind of all of that in the mix. What the team needs, each platoon in a SEAL team, there’s about nine platoons. Each platoon has about 16 to 20 SEALS in each one, and depending on which platoon, you may need so many snipers, so many breachers, so many coms guys, and they’ll send a certain amount of numbers out to these schools to get these qualifications so when we deploy, we’re set because you’re never deploying, an entire SEAL team never deploys together. Each platoon will go somewhere else. I’ve always been to Iraq when some platoon is in Guam, some platoon is in Africa, all over the world, you know, so, and so you need to be self-sufficient because once you have what you have, and that’s it, and you don’t have a short amount of men. So, yeah, with that, so I got breacher. It was great, and you come back together, everybody come back together, and we start doing our workups, and then we’re in California desert for a few months, and we’re working on our tactics, you know, calls. Everybody’s getting training, from our lieutenants to our senior enlisted advisor guys. We’re all getting training, we’re all just learning what it’s like, so that is like rigorous training for six months hard, nonstop. If you’re married, kids, it’s hard on them because you’re in, you may come back home to reorg, you’re in for like a week, a week and a half, and then you’re gone again. You’re gone again for like three weeks, to a month, and you come back again, you’re gone, you’re only home for a week, so it just constantly goes on for six, seven months. After that, you have about a month and a half, two months before of just, just sitting around, just kind of like getting used to your family, seeing your family, spending time with them. Deployments last about seven, seven to nine months on average, depending on what’s going on, depending on the area of the country you’re going to, so you’re gone again, again, you may not have much abilities to reach out and talk to your family through email, phone services and all that stuff because we really operate, you know, isolated from a lot of different things.
00:33:03:17 - TRT: 00:29:21
S: When you come back from a deployment, NSW, Naval Special Warfare, I want to say they’re really good with giving you the time to relax with your family when you come back from deployment. So, go home and spend time with your family, your kids, get back to them, and even while you’re gone, they have a lot of, we call them ombudsmens, and they have a lot of things they try to like include your wives, kids, family members, girlfriends or whatever into what’s going on possibly overseas while you’re gone. So, they try to bring them in to kind of make them feel at ease at the same time, but it’s still a pain. It’s still a struggle. When it’s time to work, we work, and it’s nonstop. You’ll be up all day, all night. We train harder than our deployments are meant to be because they want to put us in a position where if you face any, any kind of hardship or crazy, you know, chaos, chaotic situation on deployment, you’ve already seen it during training, so you already know you can defeat it, you know. So, we train harder than we deploy, and that’s the main gist of it. We train to fail because you know if you ever see anything crazy as this, then you know you can overcome it. That’s why our trainings are meant to beat you down. You’re tired, you’re exhausted, and, you know, that’s where, that’s what you want to be if you want to be a Navy SEAL, you want to be a part of Naval Special Warfare period. That’s what you have to have if you want to be successful at it. That’s what we, we’re really good at what we do. That’s why the president calls us up when he needs a real mission to go down.
00:34:18:13 - TRT: 00:30:36
DF: Well, real quick before we finish, I’d like to touch back with you guys real quick after hearing everyone talk, if you guys could give us each a nugget of information to a potential recruit, a piece of advice or maybe something that you did wrong that you would say, “Don’t do this.” Go ahead and start with you, Frank.
00:34:34:07 - TRT: 00:30:52
F: My main piece of advice is just be, have a willingness to struggle and suffer. And it might not be as, as eloquent as some people would like, but that’s what it really boils down to, is you’re in this line of work, or you’re trying to get in this line of work for a purpose, and it takes a lot to get to that. So, just be willing to put up with all of the, the struggle and the hardship that it takes in order to get on the other side, and it’ll all be worth it.
00:35:02:27 - TRT: 00:31:21
DF: And know that it’s coming down the pipe for you, yeah. I got you. Chief Murray?
00:35:07:12 - TRT: 00:31:25
BM: Best advice I can give is to use our website. We have workouts. We have links to everything you need, and we can offer a lot of information, whether it be on the phone or in person, but that website is there, and we have people that are standing by ready to help, and we can’t answer questions that we’re not asked, and all you have to do is log on that website, get interactive with the moderators that are on there, and we’ll get whatever information that you need to you.
00:35:33:06 - TRT: 00:31:50
DF: And if you want to plug that website real quick, go ahead.
00:35:36:00 - TRT: 00:31:53
BM: It’s SEALSWCC.com.
00:35:38:15 - TRT: 00:31:56
DF: Can you spell that out for us.
00:35:39:20 - TRT: 00:31:58
BM: [SPELLS WEBSITE]
00:35:21:21 - TRT: 00:32:02
DF: Nice, and Sean, any last bits of advice you could give for us?
00:35:48:22 - TRT: 00:32:07
S: I will say just get comfortable being uncomfortable. This job is, it comes with a huge, you know, you get a lot of significance from it, you know, a lot of, you enjoy it, but you’re going to do a lot of stuff you’re not comfortable with, and you got to get used to being uncomfortable with that, being comfortable with that, doing stuff like that, and just, just do it. You know, don’t overthink it. If you want to be a SEAL, if you want to be a SWCC, don’t try to, you know, try to think you need to understand every single thing about what it needs, what it takes to be us, to be in our shoes, to do the job. I don’t think you need to be the most tiptop shape guy in the world. Let it come to you. When you sign up for the programs, go into it. It’s all about your mind. It’s all about your mindset. If you want it bad enough, you’ll finish it. Definitely be in shape, some kind of shape, but don’t think you need to be, you know, the baddest person in the world. Just do it.
00:36:24 - TRT: 00:32:55
Find out more at SEALSWCC.com, and join us again for the next NSW Podcast.