CORONADO, CA — Vice Adm. Sean A. Pybus, deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, addressed an audience of SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) graduates, their families and Naval Special Warfare community members at the Naval Special Warfare Center Sept. 23.
Pybus, nearing the end of a distinguished 37 year career as a SEAL graduated Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in December 1979 with Class 105. He has served in multiple joint special operations duty assignments and is the highest ranking Navy SEAL serving today.
Many adversaries threaten America’s national security, and Pybus believes those threats will keep the SEALs employed for the foreseeable future.
“Special operations forces are only doing what is strategically important to the nation, and you must understand where you are in that dynamic. There is lot of work which is the good news; the bad news is there is lots of work.”
Pybus congratulated the new SEALs on their achievement and spoke to them about the way ahead.
“This is your day and each of you have spent over a year to get here,” said Pybus. “It is the world’s toughest military training both mentally and physically.”
“I love coming down here,” said Pybus. “It is a chance for those who have served to come back and reconnect with our friends, family and to regenerate and recharge. We have been training frogman since World War II, and this is the result.”
Those first generation frogmen hold a special place with Pybus as he believes they paved the way for the highest quality operators that we have today.
“You take good kids from high school and college and then mix in some saltwater and sand, make it hot and cold, and make sure they are completely committed to what they’re about to enter into,” said Pybus. “There was about 200 people that thought they wanted to be a team guy and joined the Navy and pursued this route, and these men are the end result right here.”
In his speech to the new warriors, he made a promise to their wives and loved ones that “We will keep their treasures safe,” but with his promise came a few demands.
“As you cross the quarterdeck of your next command, you owe us several things,” said Pybus. “You owe us to continue your development. Listen, learn, strive, lead, you have to commit to it. You will make mistakes, but I am living proof that you can make a lot of mistakes and still hang around.”
Humility was a watch-word during his speech to remind the graduates of the SEAL ethos.
“Admiral Szymanski owns you guys and you are now his weapons platform,” said Pybus. “You belong to us, and if something happens to you, it is really hard to replace you. There are not many frogmen, and that is why I am pleading seriously about this, so take care of yourselves and remember our ethos.”
Pybus remarked on a conversation he had with the Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Tim Szymanski, the night before the ceremony.
“We should stay and work in the shadows, but the admiral said, ‘Today there aren’t any shadows, so we need to create our own.’ It is about keeping your profile as low as possible, so we can preserve all our options for the future, but we have to keep the moral high ground and we depend on all of you to do that.”
Being a [BUD/S] candidate and then a career SEAL, Pybus has come full circle. He requested the SEALs who will serve 10 to 15 years come back to the Center and give back to the community that made them what they are today.
“That is probably the most important thing we do and that is our foundation, as this is where it starts for us. Come back to teach, train, mentor and stay connected with the men here because your classmates and instructors know you best.”
The SEAL training pipeline consists of eight weeks of preparation conducted at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes. Then, after a three-week orientation at the Center, the infamous 21-week BUD/S training begins. After that, students complete 22 weeks of SEAL SQT and nine weeks of advanced training. Altogether, it takes at least 63 weeks to train and qualify an entry-level SEAL operator.