FORT PIERCE, FL – The National UDT-SEAL museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., hosted the 27th Annual Muster honoring former and current Underwater Demolition Teams and Navy SEAL operators, Nov. 11-12.
More than 10,000 people attended the two-day event which featured a capabilities demonstration by an East-Coast based SEAL(Sea, Air, Land) Team and guest speakers including Adm. William H. McRaven, Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Representative Allen West and retired Navy SEAL Congressional Medal of Honor recipients Michael Thornton and Thomas Norris.
The capabilities demonstration included a SEAL Team performing a helicopter assault, simulated sniper shot and the use of a military working dog. The U.S. Navy SEAL Parachute team, the “Leap Frogs,” were also part of the demonstration and performed various aerial displays.
Tommy Norris, a former Navy SEAL, described the difficulties that the original UDT and SEAL teams faced during the Vietnam Conflict.
“Through the efforts and the heroic courage of the members of those two units, legends were born within the teams.,” said Norris. “Some of those legends are in the audience with you today…they won’t tell you who they are, but the team members know and I’m humbled to be in their presence.”
The ashes of eight fallen SEALs were laid to rest during a dedication ceremony on the beach adjacent to the museum. Active-duty SEALs swam the ashes out to sea.
The museum also hosted a 5k run/walk on the beach next to the museum, a skeet shoot and a live auction.
McRaven said that the number of attendees had doubled since the previous year.
“Twenty-seven years have passed since this museum opened,” said McRaven. “Back then there was some angst and curiosity as to whether this relatively small facility could even survive.”
He said that in the same way that the museum has grown and flourished, the Navy SEAL teams have expanded.
He remarked that the SEALs performing the demonstration exemplified the qualities that warriors require.
“The author Henry Stanley Haskins once said ‘what lies before and behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us,” said McRaven.