Like most of you, I watched the author of “No Easy Day” on
60 Minutes. It was pretty obvious
to me that they were going out of their way to soft pedal this interview
because they think that bringing up Operation Neptune Spear is good for Obama
(which it probably is). I can
assure you that this has been a hot topic burning up the internets in various
secret SEAL only discussion forums.
There are good SEAL brothers on both sides of this issue, but it is
apparent to me that most of the guys who are OK with this kind of disclosure
are younger and have a somewhat narrower perspective, and then there are the
guys who have published their own SEAL books or run political campaigns
extensively using their Trident.
This second group aggressively markets their NSW service, has seen some
success doing so, and frankly welcomes these analogous works to substantiate
what they have made some money doing already.
I don’t know the author of this book, nor had I ever heard
of him before. But I’m about 90%
sure that I do know the Point Man that the author referenced repeatedly on 60
Minutes. You know, the guy who
shot both bin Laden and his son in the face. I have his cell phone number, but it would be unthinkable to call him and ask him about it. There are a lot of reasons for that; starting with me acting
like a douchey fanboy toward somebody I’ve known for 20+ years, which I will
not do, and he would not enjoy.
Then there’s the concept that this really isn’t something that you ask a
fellow Team Guy about. If you are
hanging out and he wants to talk about it (he wouldn’t) then fine, but you
don’t ask about these things. You
just don’t. Maybe if we were both
really drunk and were the last two at the campfire, some things would be said,
but we’d both pretend the next day that we hadn’t mentioned it.
I last saw this guy about 3 years ago waiting to see a
Master Chief SEAL friend of ours that I had just finished talking with in his
office. He was outside waiting to
meet with this Master Chief when I came out, and we were both surprised having
not seen each other for more than 10 years. We exchanged cell numbers and agreed to have dinner and
catch up later that evening. We
spent an hour or two over beers doing just that. He told me about a business project that he had been working
very hard on (while on active duty) that had some foundation in his SEAL
experience, but was a product that would help non SEALs to perform mentally at
a higher level. Kind of a
self-help thing. He had done
extensive research for this project and he’d spent a good amount
of his own money putting it together in the hope that he’d have something for
himself and his family when he finally left the Teams. It’s a really interesting idea, and I
was very excited for him. He had
come to realize, as we all do eventually, that while a SEAL career is amazing
and unique, its not going to provide long term financial security and so he was
taking the initiative to prepare himself for the future.
And then this author just went and cashed in on this story
while dozens of other guys and especially my buddy were left to grind out their
own future endeavors by adding something new to what they had corporately achieved that night.
I have a problem with that.
We all have the great blessing to be able to put “Navy SEAL” on our
resumes, but we still need to go out in the world and put in the additional
work that something new requires.
The author decided that he was going to go ahead and use something they
all did together to benefit himself as an individual. This is something that most Team Guys would never even
consider doing for the simple reason that it is understood that it would be robbing our brothers of something. In the Teams after an operation we
first clean and maintain the Team gear that everybody used on the op like
boats, engines, vehicles and parachutes, followed by individual gear like
weapons, radios and night vision optics, and then finally our own personal gear like
boots, uniforms, and kit. We are
taught this from day one in BUD/S. Aside from the practicality of it, there
is a demonstration there that our success first depends on the gear we all depend
upon, and that our personal needs are secondary. Guys who don’t get this progression don’t last long, and while I’m
sure the author adhered to this in his career, he never learned the greater
lesson in all of it.
This mission is indeed a critical historical event for our
nation and at some point an account of it would need to be made. The author is correct in recognizing
this, but must have thought that he might as well be the historian rather than
somebody else. This is fine in the
abstract having some chronological distance from this operation, but his act of
preemption in the midst of an all time high level of interest in this subject
and prior to the well publicized and ill advised film coming out this year is a
clear play for money rather than history.
It is no excuse to say that since the Obama administration leaked
details of this and cooperated with these filmmakers that a justification
exists for taking this liberty. We
are better than that.
This situation reminds me of the final battle scene in
the film The Patriot with Mel Gibson as Benjamin Martin. The evil British Colonel Tavington who
had sold his dishonorable services to General Cornwallis for an estate in Ohio
tells Martin just before he is to behead him on the battlefield that, “It
appears that I am the better man.”
After Martin turns the tables on him and thrusts his bayonet into this
Tavington’s throat he replies, “My sons were better men.” Yes they were. They were fighting for a free nation
and seeking no recognition for it aside from the satisfaction of having stepped
up in a time of crisis. That is
what better men do.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.