A Navy SEAL Reveals His Training


– I’m Clint Emerson, retired Navy SEAL.
I spent time at SEAL Team
3, the NSA, SEAL Team 6.
(rock music)
I was no incredible athlete
nor was I some genius.
I was your average kid growing up in Texas
who just had a lot of
passion to go down this path.
I was a troublemaker at heart, I still am.
I enjoyed getting in trouble,
but more importantly, I
enjoyed not getting caught.
That somehow extended into
an adult profession of roaming
the planet, causing trouble,
and not getting caught.
(rock music)
First, you have to take a leap
of faith and join the Navy.
You have to be willing
to be a sailor first
before you can be a SEAL.
For me, I wanted nothing
to do with being a sailor.
I wanted nothing to do
with those big, gray ships.
I knew since I was 10 years old,
I just wanted to be a SEAL.
I went it, I was still in college.
I joined the Navy, I
signed the dotted line.
Didn’t tell my parents.
Nobody knew I was going
until about two weeks
before the plane took
off to go to Chicago,
up at Great Lakes is where
you go through Boot Camp.
Boot Camp is roughly eight weeks.
In about Week Three or Four, they’ll say,
“Hey, who wants to be a SEAL?
“Who wants to be EOD?”
That starts the process.
They tell you, “Hey, you need
to show up on this morning,
“at this time, over at the swimming pool.”
The first thing you have to do is a swim.
Then you have to do pull-ups, push-ups,
sit-ups, and then you have to do a run.
All of which has to be done
in a certain amount of time
on the swim and the run,
and then your push-ups, pull-ups,
and sit-ups have to meet
a minimum standard.
Then from there, you just
finish out Boot Camp.
You get orders, and your
orders will be either,
you know, to an A School,
which gives you a MOS,
or a job that you’re
going to do in the Navy,
or you’re gonna go to BUDS.
I had to go to an A School,
and I picked the medical route.
I went to Corpsman School,
and so that was in additional three months
after Boot Camp where you learn
basic EMT skills and nothing more.
Then I went to BUDS,
which is in San Diego.
First thing they had me do
while I was in my dress blues
was go hit the surf
zone, get wet and sandy,
and that is the big welcome to BUDS.
You know exactly where you’re at
when that happens
because the Pacific Ocean
is always around 55 degrees.
It’s cold, getting sandy
is part of your life
from there on out.
Every guy has their own
anxieties about different
challenges they know
they’re going to face in BUDS.
For me, it was a particular
section of pool comp.
Pool comp is inside of the
second phase of training
which is focused all on
everything from dive
physics to dive medicine
and then, of course, being
comfortable in the water.
Pool comp is truly testing
how comfortable you are underwater
while you’re breathing on SCUBA
and making sure that you can remain
calm in stressful situations.
You got your fins, you got your mask.
You got all the common equipment,
and you’re just going back and forth
along the bottom a very deep swimming pool
known as the Combat Training Tank.
While you’re going back and forth,
the SEAL instructors are
above doing shark attacks.
Of course, they wait until
they see all the bubbles
come out and then they come down,
taking your air away,
ripping your mask off,
maybe thump you in the head,
take your weight belt off
to mess up your buoyancy,
and then start pulling other
straps and stuff apart.
Once they get down,
then it’s on you to put yourself
all back together again in a proper order.
If you don’t do it in the right order,
well, then you’re out, you fail.
You have to do all this
with whatever air you
have left in your lungs,
and of course, if you go to the surface,
that’s considered quitting, so you’re out.
This just goes on and on
until you get to the point when they
do what’s called the whammy knot.
You’re going back and forth,
they strip you down,
give you a little bit of a beating,
tie your hoses in this huge knot
that you know you can’t get out.
You have to sit there and work on it
until they come down
and give you the okay.
The goal is just make
sure you remain calm,
conserve your air that
you have in your lungs,
work the problem.
The relief is when they come down,
they get face to face
with you, mask to mask,
and they give you the okay
to head to the surface,
and you know you’ve passed.
It’s probably the longest
20, 30 minutes of your life.
As you approach the end of BUDS,
you come back from the island,
you just start prepping
for graduation from BUDS.
It does not make you a SEAL.
For me,
you graduated and then
I went off to my
specialty, and so within
the SEAL community,
guys specialize in specific jobs.
You can be a comms guy.
You can be a sniper.
You can be an ordinance guy.
For me, I was a medic,
and so I went to a Special
Operations Medical School.
Somewhere in the middle of all
that, you go to Jump School.
Jump School is one-month Army School,
learning how to be a paratrooper.
It’s all static line
jumping meaning hooking
up a line to a wire inside an airplane,
and I’m either going out a
door or going off a ramp,
and that line is pulling my parachute
out for me so that when
I depart the aircraft,
the parachute pops up behind me
and you float to the ground,
usually at 15 feet per second
and the landings can be, hmm,
sometimes interesting.
And then when you’re done with that,
you check into a SEAL team.
I checked into Seal Team
3, and once you check in,
you’re on a probationary period where
your peers are watching you
and ensuring that you are the kind of guy
they wanna work with.
You have to prove yourself.
Part of proving yourself
is the cheese board and walkthroughs.
The cheese board, they can
ask you any question they want
about being a SEAL, about
the equipment you use.
How fast does a 5.56 round travel?
What’s the velocity?
Well, it’s 28 feet per second.
They can ask you anything under the sun,
and you better answer it accurately
or you have to do it all over again,
and when you’re at a SEAL team,
you only get so many tries
before they get rid of you.
Even though they’ve invested
all of that time, money.
They don’t care
because they wanna always maintain
the best guys in their team.
Now you go to Ordinance,
and all the parts of every weapon
are sitting in buckets, mixed up.
Not one part goes with another part.
You have to go through all these buckets,
and put all the weapons together.
Half a dozen, maybe more,
weapons that at the end,
you’ll have completed.
All put together,
and then they’ll function test them
and make sure you did it properly.
Once you get done with that,
now you go into your platoon,
which is the group of guys
you’re gonna train and work
with for the next year,
two years, three years.
Those guys,
for me when I went through,
was the last step in the
process of getting your Trident.
They decide when it’s
time for you to get it.
Your peers, which personally,
I think is the way to go.
It was a long road to get there,
but well worth it in the end,
and once you get that Trident,
now you are a SEAL,
but you’re still earning
your way as a new guy,
and as a new guy, you’re doing everything.
When you’re not doing everything,
then you’re volunteering
for everything else
and earn the respect
of your more seasoned,
veteran guys that are at the team.
Over time, usually,
I probably didn’t feel comfortable
as an operator versus a new guy
until about somewhere between three
and five years at the Command.
It takes a long time to
not feel like a new guy
which is a good thing.
It keeps every SEAL somewhat humble
and always learning, always training,
always trying to be better,
and never thinking that you are the best
at something ’cause there’s
always room for improvement.
So, are you tough enough,
smart enough to be a Navy SEAL?
Anyone can do anything.
I know that sounds so
cliche, but the reality is
is if you, if you’re
truly dedicated to it,
both mind and spirit,
and you’ve got the passion and the drive,
then you can be whatever you wanna be,
certainly a Navy SEAL.
(rock music)

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