Friday, January 27, 2012

THE BEST OF THE BEST



The Navy Seals have gotten a lot of press lately. First we learned they had taken out the monster Osama bin Laden who had been hunted unsuccessfully since 9-11-2001. Then they recently pulled a daring raid that secured the safe release of two captives in Somalia. Normally their missions are covert and not front page news.

Both events were executed with precision that resulted in no loss of American life. They perform heroic deeds, yet the public doesn't know who they are individually. They are a rather mystical branch of the Armed Forces.

I used to think that Seals got their name because they swam like seals. However, they take their names from the environments in which they work: sea-air-land.  Jake taught me that.

Jake and I became friends because his mother worked at the same company as I. School always got out before his mom got off work so he would come to the office to wait on her.

He would pull a chair up to my desk and we would talk. He was about ten years old at the time but could carry on a very adult conversation or could be very quiet if I were busy.

Jake was every mother's dream. He was intelligent taking all honors classes in school. He was a fine, multisport athlete, handsome and with a caring heart. I really enjoyed his visits. He became quite special to me.



Then in a blink of an eye, he was grown and choosing to enter the most frightening branch of the Navy--the Seals. I know his mother had hoped he would put his brain to work instead of his muscle and daring but she too saw his desire.

He came to visit before leaving for the fitness training and I literally grilled him for a couple of hours. I didn't want him in harms way and wanted to know what he was getting into.  He totally convinced me of his zeal but frightened me for his safety.

When Jake got ready to leave that day, I gave him a goodbye hug.  I was a bit startled. I have hugged softer trees.  Jake was pure muscle with not a speck of fat. My favorite child was now a young man, lean and ready.

I later learned that Jake had not been chosen for the BUDs program. I know that had to crush him. Even with all he had going for him, he didn't qualify.

That was when I knew that those who do make it, and the percent is minuscule, are the very best of the very best. To those who knew him, he was the best but to the Seals that wasn't quite good enough.

Somehow I felt that the caring heart I so admired was actually a liability to a Seal.  Jake became a Navy diver, though a  choice assignment to be proud of,  I am sure it was only a weak second best for him. 

I know today as he reads of the raids that he is full of pride for the team, yet envious also.

Those who have come here a lot know I am someone who hates war and killing. But I do admire that these fellows accomplish incredible, necessary feats with just a minimum of enemy lives lost.

I salute a very special group of young men.

36 comments :

  1. Hello.. coming by to visit and to wish you have a nice weekend!

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  2. I totally agree. The Seals are truly the elite of the elite. Jake sounds like an exceptional man - he has the heart of a hero and deserves a big salute himself.

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  3. A moving tribute to an astonishing group and to a remarable young man. He may not have made it into the SEALS, but he did make it into your heart, and that is a very special place indeed.

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  4. These special units of the armed forces are so special, the rest of their fellow service branch rarely even know who or where they are.

    I admire their zeal and extraordinary skill to accomplish a mission with few casualities and minimum collateral damage, and with lightning quickness.

    Because of these successes, and military surveilance, manless improvements, wars of the future will be shaped differently with less bloods shed, and fewer men and women in harms way.

    And just maybe therein lies a tiny bit of solution to part of our great national debt.

    However, I worry that all the survivors of war, both the damaged and those who escaped, will find no fit jobs when they return to their family as civilians.

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  5. I read somewhere that SEALs have short careers ending in retirement due to the nature of their job, which requires that they be young and extremely fit.

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  6. I knew a Navy SEAL once. He was also a skydiver, and I was not impressed. He was pretty uncaring about the feelings of other people, so I think you are right, Patti: they choose strong, hard-body men who don't care much for niceties. I also salute these young men for their prowess, but I'm glad I didn't raise one. :-)

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  7. Jake really must have been a very special guy. I agree if they didn't accept him, how spectacular the young men are, that are chosen. This country is much safer because of men like them.

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  8. He sounds like an amazing guy who was not afraid to set his goal high.

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  9. Very good post!!! Thanks for sharing. Jake IS a hero!!!

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  10. I join you in saluting the Navy Seals. I am proud of all of them, those serving now, in the past, and those yet to come.

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  11. I too hate wars and killing, but I can see that sometimes it's necessary. I admire anyone that can do this in a way that avoids killing innocent people.

    Jake sounds like a special person. :)

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  12. The saying, "It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it," comes to mind. I wish we could live in a world where there is not a need for such a trained force as the SEALS.
    Since we don't, I can only be grateful to them.

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  13. Yes the Seals are a unique and very special group of young men.. And I'm sure it's hard to get into that group...

    I'm sure that Jake was disappointed.. Have you heard from him in awhile??? Wonder what he is doing now?

    Hope you have a great weekend, Patti.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. I so agree with you. I too, Salute these very courageous men. And I think you are right about Jake's Heart---And I must say, to me, that is a tremendous asset...So that whatever he does, his Heart will come into it and bring that much more feeling to the work he does. It may not be right for The Seals, but it is right for so very many other walks-of-life, in my opinion.

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  15. I have always wondered why they were Seals. He surely must have been gutted but he plays his part in a different way. I really enjoyed your post. xx

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  16. I could not agree more. It's really hard to give the SEALS the honor they deserve and still keep their work secret. What would our country do without them?

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  17. They are such an elite group, but Jake sounds as if he is right up there with them. Thanks for honoring him and those others who serve so well.

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  18. I agree with you about war, Patti, and also about the incredible feats of the SEALS. They're truly amazing. Your young friend Jake sounds very special as well -- and may accomplish even more in life without being a SEAL. I hope he will find a new dream and, in the meantime, be very pleased with his accomplishments. Thanks for the tribute to a very deserving group of people -- and to this exceptional young man!

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  19. Nicely written! I am not surprised Jake found the most interesting lady in the office to sit and exchange words with. I love your heart.

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  20. Great to hear about Jake and the Seals, some things are for a reason.

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  21. reanaclaire,
    Thank you so much for stopping by. Back at ya for the week end.

    Rae,
    Thanks Rae. He was and is a special guy.

    LC
    Thanks. He has a secure place there.

    Nitwit,
    Won't it be wonderful when wars will be fought with out all the loss of life. We can hope.

    gigihawaii
    That would make a lot of sense. Pretty sure they have a narrow window to serve.

    Djan,
    To do what they have to do, I am sure feelings would be a liability. I was actually happy for my sake that he didn't make it.

    Muffy,
    They do a job that needs done and their standards are extremely high.

    islandwonder,
    You are right. He really did set the bar high for himself.

    turquoisemoon,
    He sure is to me and his family.

    Miss Dazey,
    I fear there will always be a need for them and I am so glad that men choose to do that.

    LLCool Joe,
    I agree, anything that eliminates "collateral damage." is a plus for me.

    Olga,
    That is exactly how I feel. Sorry we need them but glad they are there.

    Betsy,
    I haven't seen him since I moved here but he is a married with children business man these days.

    OOLOH,
    It may not have served him well wanting to become a Seal, but you are right, in everyday life, he is head and shoulders above the rest.

    Angie,
    Thanks so much. Yes he was but he did get to do some remarkable jobs as a diver.

    Linda,
    Yes. It is human nature to want applause, they quietly work with out it.

    Retired English Teacher,
    He was so close which is ahead of most.

    Dr. Kathy,
    His life now days is pretty ordinary, except to those who know him. Now he lives for his family.

    Grayquill,
    Aw thanks GQ. Pretty sure he liked my being a good listener the most though.

    Linda Starr,
    I agree that things happen for a reason.

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  22. Isn't it curious how those hunks we once swooned over are now our grandsons?

    Seals are tough for sure, and now the US is building a floating base somewhere in the Near East from whence they will launch future operations against the Somali pirates, Al Kaida and if necessary Iran. At least that's what the Washington Post writes today. Dianne

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  23. I agree! A young man of our acquaintance went through the program and was almost there when a bone in his arm broke during a training exercise. That was the end. That was WHERE they wanted to learn if bones were going to break--in training exercises instead of on a mission.

    Good luck to Jake.

    And I'm with you. . . the Seals are AMAZING!

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  24. Jake sounds like a special young man. I'm sure he will excel at anything he does in life. I first noticed the skill of the Seals a few years back when they rescued that ship's captain who was in a boat with his captors. A few shots took out all the pirates without harming the captain. It's good to know these guys are around in this often evil world.

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  25. This is such a fabulous post. I didn't know what SEALS stood for either. As a mother of a son who would have liked to try out for something like this, I can't help but think Jake's mom couldn't have been heartbroken that he didn't become a SEAL. Jake sounds like an incredible young man who can contribute much more to society by being safer.

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  26. They always instill a sense of pride in me whenever I hear about them. Jake sounds like a wonderful friend- and he has a lot to be proud of being a Navy diver. Their work can be very dangerous also.

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  27. "Here! Here!" she said, lifting a glass to those heroes and to your remarkable friend.

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  28. troutbirder,
    You bet.

    Inger,
    I remember that episode also and was so amazed at the time. It is sad they are needed but I am so glad they are there.

    marylee,
    Oh how devastating for your friend. Soooo close. I understand the reasoning however.

    Dianne,
    I read that also. If they are needed anywhere, that is the area. Those pirates need to be stopped.

    Kay,
    Thanks so much and you are right. She was torn between sad for her son and relieved for her self. I felt the same way. Any branch of the service terrifies a mother.

    Southwest Arkie,
    I know, they repeatedly perform impossible tasks with speed, efficiency of life and success.

    NC Mountainwoman,
    Thank you, they do deserve it.

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  29. I made a few Seal friends while stationed in Virginia. Those guys were not only physically superb but I found them to be highly intelligent and articulate too.

    A Navy Diver is also a select and profession -- so I figure Jake fits in pretty good.

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  30. They are a select few and very brave indeed. I salute both groups for their actions and bravery. Have a good evening.

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  31. I too had a friend who's son tried to get into this elite group and gosh, even to opportunity to try is rewarding it would seem. Great post!

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  32. It's too bad he didn't get his wish, but it sounds like he is doing an amazing job right where he is. Next time you see him, thank him from us.
    Sandy

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  33. I, too, salute the amazing Navy Seals. I also salute your friend, Jack. His work is important as well and not everyone could do what he does.
    I hate wars as well, but I salute all our brave young men and women who serve our country to keep us safe.
    Have a great week, it's supposed to be 67 here tomorrow!

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  34. Hi Patti, what a wonderful post ... to Jake and for teaching us more about the Seals. I like the thought of Jake coming into visit and growing up before your eyes. He sounds like a great person.

    Thanks so much for stopping by to see me, I appreciate it a lot.

    Hugs,

    Kathy M.

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  35. Jerry,
    I agree. I too have met a couple Seals, rather ex-Seals and have been impressed. They are the complete package.

    Patty,
    Yes,unfortunatly they are necessary in this violent world we live in.

    Tracy,
    I agree. It is extremely hard and they have a 90% drop out rate.

    Mom of 12,
    I will do that and thank you.

    Cheryl,
    I agree and wish they weren't necessary but am grateful for those who volunteer.
    We hit 70. Yikes.

    Oregon Gifts.
    You are right. I was very flattered and pleased that he came to see me before he left.

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