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Back to the Shadows NSW??

Ocoka

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#1
I hear the line, you can't blame the unit for the actions of a few bad apples, and as true as that may be...when bad apples and other controversies keep cropping up, year after year, maybe the whole damn apple tree has some inherent issues that need to be addressed.

Of all the SO forces in the US and Western militaries, we know way too much about the operations of NSW thanks to NDA violations and the apparent need to fuel the media hype about SEAL activities etc.

It seems to me any supposedly clandestine military unit that gets this much publicity, both good and bad, risks corruption and compromise. Maybe that has already happened.
 

Devildoc

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#2
I had a friend whose brother was a SEAL in the 80s and early 90s. In fact, was an extra on Navy SEALs with Charlie Sheen. When I first met him in the mid-80s, I heard about SEALs, but didn't know much about them. I understand that with the proliferation of 24/7 electronic media, the GWOT, etc., the public is going to clamor for information, and I understand that we aren't in the veiled 'dark ages' and books and info are bound to get out there.

That said...it does seem of all the SOF units we now know more about NSW than ever; including the doesn't-really-exist DEVGRU. Some if it has been good: you have to have bodies to go into the pipeline, and the books, TV shows/documentaries, and websites are good for recruiting; however, most of it, not so good. You don't see a commensurate volume of media about Delta, nor do you hear about corruption, legal troubles, NDA issues, and security violations when you do.

I am not going to reach for any kind of conclusion or speculation, but my opinion is that there is an undeniable correlation between the volume of attention/media and the magnification of the 'bad stuff.' My mother would say when I acted up, "don't draw attention to yourself...all you will do is make people see how bad you can be."
 

Frank S.

L'homme qui rit
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The Mountains of Madness
#3
I think society expects machine-like levels of performance from its military. Its medical professionals. Its law enforcement personnel.
The professionals in those fields know all about what it takes, what can go wrong and what is needed, but when it comes to meeting increasingly complex goals in constantly shrinking time frames, everything and everyone familiar becomes an unknown liability.
There are no second chances and we're out of time.

Now some will clamor for a scalpel and a band aid.
 

Topkick

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#4
When I enlisted in the mid 80s, the Green Berets were truly Quiet Professionals and I have a few friends from that era that are now retired Green Berets. When I hang out with them now, I am always the one to tell people they were Special Forces soldiers because I am proud to call them my buddies. You would never know it and they would never mention it. I adopted the Quiet Professional motto for my own military career, because of them, and always tried to impart this on my soldiers. Today, I even use the motto to inspire my 15 year old son. There can be no doubt that SEALs, Rangers, and other SOF units know their shit and I am glad they exist. I just wish they would all be Quiet Professionals. My .02
 
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DC

Navy Diver
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🖕🏽
#5
I had a friend whose brother was a SEAL in the 80s and early 90s. In fact, was an extra on Navy SEALs with Charlie Sheen. When I first met him in the mid-80s, I heard about SEALs, but didn't know much about them. I understand that with the proliferation of 24/7 electronic media, the GWOT, etc., the public is going to clamor for information, and I understand that we aren't in the veiled 'dark ages' and books and info are bound to get out there.

That said...it does seem of all the SOF units we now know more about NSW than ever; including the doesn't-really-exist DEVGRU. Some if it has been good: you have to have bodies to go into the pipeline, and the books, TV shows/documentaries, and websites are good for recruiting; however, most of it, not so good. You don't see a commensurate volume of media about Delta, nor do you hear about corruption, legal troubles, NDA issues, and security violations when you do.

I am not going to reach for any kind of conclusion or speculation, but my opinion is that there is an undeniable correlation between the volume of attention/media and the magnification of the 'bad stuff.' My mother would say when I acted up, "don't draw attention to yourself...all you will do is make people see how bad you can be."
Those frogs( intel O, EOD guy and helo pilot) in that movie I served with.
 

CDG

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Off safe. One away.
#6
I think the Teams have created and cultivated a culture that was inevitably going to end up in some major events. They have opened themselves up to criticism by the rest of the military, and the civilian populace, with their need for everyone to see how cool they are. There have been way too many stories about SEALs in the last few years to act as though they are simply a victim of the 10% rule. They did this to themselves, and hopefully there will be some consequences. I think NSW needs a leadership overhaul, and that a message has got to start being sent that there are behaviors that will not be tolerated just because you wear/wore a Trident. Unauthorized media consulting, books, television shows, articles, drugs, alleged war crimes, and now the potential murder of a USSF soldier. Add to that that there is almost no one I have talked to who has worked with the Teams, and has a positive viewpoint. Myself included.
 

Teufel

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#7
Marcinko started it all with his book “rogue warrior” and promoted a culture of the elite cowboy who battled the rules and the close minded system to get the job done. He also introduced the idea of self promotion plus exaggerated exploits equals dollar signs. He was the first SEAL to discover that you can squeeze money out of a trident.
 

Ooh-Rah

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#8
Marcinko started it all with his book “rogue warrior” and promoted a culture of the elite cowboy who battled the rules and the close minded system to get the job done. He also introduced the idea of self promotion plus exaggerated exploits equals dollar signs. He was the first SEAL to discover that you can squeeze money out of a trident.
Could not agree more with this post. I was still in the Corps when Rogue Warrior came out...everyone, and I mean EVERYONE had a paperback copy in their cargo-pants pocket. As a young impressionable Marine I remember feeling both awe and shock at his antics. There are some lessons from a leadership point that I still follow today, but his literal celebration of circumventing the 'rules' never sat well with me.

One story in particular always sticks with me, and for some reason I think of it often. It's been a few years since I've picked up the book; so I am paraphrasing a bit. Marcinko was in Vietnam and did not like the missions he was being sent on and was required to file a plan by "X" time for the following day. He'd file it at the last minute and begin it with, "UOD" (Unless Otherwise Directed) and write out the mission he wanted to go on, not the one his command wanted him to go on. His absolute disdain for nearly everyone whom he reported to was fascinating to read...and from his perspective he was "right". Those weenie officers above him had been out of the game too long and forgot what it took to fight a war...only Demo Dick and his merry band of SEAL's had what it took to get the real jobs done. Or something like that.

I've always believed that book in particular was a literal blueprint for the future perceived disfunction within the SEAL teams.
 

Devildoc

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#9
More than just the book itself, Marcinko's devil-may-care command attitude at ST6 set the stage for dysfunction when by his direction/lack of direction they got into legal trouble. When you are openly permissive about breaking rules, this, now, is what you get. But his whole we're-better-than-thou command philosophy at ST6 was magnified from that same attitude that's always been pervasive with much of NSW.

To what @CDG said, it's the 10% rule, and it sucks and it may be unfair, but they brought it on themselves. And to echo @CDG , as a group of guys with whom to work, they are terrible. That said, there are some true studs (as there are in any unit) that are at the opposite end of the spectrum of those we are discussing, a few I am proud to call friends.
 

DA SWO

SOWT
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San Antonio Texas
#10
Could not agree more with this post. I was still in the Corps when Rogue Warrior came out...everyone, and I mean EVERYONE had a paperback copy in their cargo-pants pocket. As a young impressionable Marine I remember feeling both awe and shock at his antics. There are some lessons from a leadership point that I still follow today, but his literal celebration of circumventing the 'rules' never sat well with me.

One story in particular always sticks with me, and for some reason I think of it often. It's been a few years since I've picked up the book; so I am paraphrasing a bit. Marcinko was in Vietnam and did not like the missions he was being sent on and was required to file a plan by "X" time for the following day. He'd file it at the last minute and begin it with, "UOD" (Unless Otherwise Directed) and write out the mission he wanted to go on, not the one his command wanted him to go on. His absolute disdain for nearly everyone whom he reported to was fascinating to read...and from his perspective he was "right". Those weenie officers above him had been out of the game too long and forgot what it took to fight a war...only Demo Dick and his merry band of SEAL's had what it took to get the real jobs done. Or something like that.

I've always believed that book in particular was a literal blueprint for the future perceived disfunction within the SEAL teams.
I always thought the UOD was genius, and used it in my last SOF assignment, but you are correct in the overall assessment.

IIRC one of the lessons learned from Grenada was ST6 not running full mission profiles, they'd go jump, or shoot or swim but didn't didn't parachute in and assault a target, that led to the four SEALs being grossly overweight when they parachuted into the water that day.
 

8482farm

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#11
He was the first SEAL to discover that you can squeeze money out of a trident.
This couldn't be any more true. You see plenty of former SEALs and other SOF personnel on social media and mainstream media now using their experiences and status as a gateway into promoting their personal businesses like books, motivational speaking, entertainment consultants, clothing brands, food brands, and PT programs. Although the invaluable leadership skills and positive characteristics that you gain from service can be more than applicable in the business world, it's probably important that their communities draw a obvious line between what is and what is not acceptable in their endeavors after service.


Side note:

Business Insider has produced many videos which take premises that apply to everyday life and have them "explained by a Navy SEAL" which I think is pretty funny. "A Navy SEAL explains how to shop for car insurance" that's not a real video title but you get the idea.
 

DasBoot

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#12
This couldn't be any more true. You see plenty of former SEALs and other SOF personnel on social media and mainstream media now using their experiences and status as a gateway into promoting their personal businesses like books, motivational speaking, entertainment consultants, clothing brands, food brands, and PT programs. Although the invaluable leadership skills and positive characteristics that you gain from service can be more than applicable in the business world, it's probably important that their communities draw a obvious line between what is and what is not acceptable in their endeavors after service.


Side note:

Business Insider has produced many videos which take premises that apply to everyday life and have them "explained by a Navy SEAL" which I think is pretty funny. "A Navy SEAL explains how to shop for car insurance" that's not a real video title but you get the idea.
“Are you a brain surgeon?”
“No but I did graduate BUD/S... and stayed in a Holiday Inn last night..”
 

Devildoc

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#14
I have mixed feeling about trading the trident for dollars. I mean, who doesn't like taking classes with Larry Vickers because he was Delta? Jeff Gonzalez is a legit instructor. It's a natural business seque from the field to teacher. Where to draw the line? It's like defining art to me....I do not know, but I'll know it when I see it. Aside from penalties for violating NDAs and such, not sure how much teeth NSW has in enforcing any code of behavior once the sailor is out.

I will tell you, though, having SEAL behind your name as a credential (or SF, Recon, whatever) will allow you to build a cult-like following. A lot of my workout buddies do GoRuck, and are enamored with the cadre. For veterans day I led a veterans day workout in boots-and-utes, and for shits and giggles had a full ALICE load out. They were stunned...."how could you do that, you weren't a SEAL!" They had zero idea that non-SOF still had to hump a lot of heavy shit a long ways fast.

The moral of the story is, it sells.
 

Ocoka

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#15
I don't have a problem with retired or former Special Operations people exploiting their bona fides to make a buck selling mattresses or can openers...or whatever.

Kyle Lamb can make all the money he wants teaching big shots with money how to dress and shoot like a Delta operator and that's just fine with me...because he's teaching skills not discussing classified operations. When our member SAWMAN took the TV gig on that marksmanship series, I never considered it inappropriate.

But I do have a problem when they try to make a buck violating their NDAs and publishing information that the public (and our enemies) don't need to know.
 
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#16
Is there an issue with NSW or is there perhaps a broader leadership issue within the Navy or maybe even DoD? If we're objective, are their issues really that disproportionate from those of their peers (we can all do hasty Google searches for examples)? NSW doesn't have a monopoly on this.

Virtually nothing in our society is secret these days; just look at the stuff we hear about in the news on a regular basis as an example (all the leaks in Washington, regardless of Administration). If you really want to know something, how much can you find on the internet? The information available to us is unprecedented. Look at all the behind the scenes documentaries, etc. DoD approved, ex. all the "Making the Cut" series or whatever they were called; seems like every unit had at least one. Add to this the fact that every minutia of action can be, and is, dissected down to the gnats ass. Who decides where to focus the microscope? This drives the info we see. With such a constant level of focus, there can be never be a misstep without greatest dissemination available, especially from those just waiting for the misstep to occur.
 

Teufel

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#17
I have mixed feeling about trading the trident for dollars. I mean, who doesn't like taking classes with Larry Vickers because he was Delta? Jeff Gonzalez is a legit instructor. It's a natural business seque from the field to teacher. Where to draw the line? It's like defining art to me....I do not know, but I'll know it when I see it. Aside from penalties for violating NDAs and such, not sure how much teeth NSW has in enforcing any code of behavior once the sailor is out.

I will tell you, though, having SEAL behind your name as a credential (or SF, Recon, whatever) will allow you to build a cult-like following. A lot of my workout buddies do GoRuck, and are enamored with the cadre. For veterans day I led a veterans day workout in boots-and-utes, and for shits and giggles had a full ALICE load out. They were stunned...."how could you do that, you weren't a SEAL!" They had zero idea that non-SOF still had to hump a lot of heavy shit a long ways fast.

The moral of the story is, it sells.
Here is one difference. You go to Larry Vickers, who happens to be a highly trained SOF professional, for training. The other day I saw the, “Navy SEAL guide for dog training”. No kidding. That’s what I take umbrage at. No one SEAL or other SOF individual can speak for the entire community, unless I suppose they are the Commanding General. SEALs love that shit. Now you have Navy SEAL pull up bars, rotating push up pads, SEAL nutrition books, countless official SEAL knives, SEAL watches, more SEAL exercise books than you can count, an entire section of SO THERE I WAS books, SEAL movies, SEAL video games, SEAL leadership books (which I assume include chapters on “looking cool” and “let your guys do whatever they want to include drugs, mutilating the dead, fraud, theft, and murder”), and even a SEAL book on gender transition.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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#20
Marcinko was in Vietnam and did not like the missions he was being sent on and was required to file a plan by "X" time for the following day. He'd file it at the last minute and begin it with, "UOD" (Unless Otherwise Directed) and write out the mission he wanted to go on, not the one his command wanted him to go on.
I've this at times and it is actually kind of genius. Level Zero Heroes has a passage that details how they had to file Level Zero CONOPS or else a risk adverse command would deny them. I know an SF team that did the same thing, understating the perceived risk so that higher would approve the mission. "Gangsta' shit" is necessary at times, but when it becomes your day in and day out MO you have a problem.