What do Navy SEALs think about fellow SEALs who cash in on the brand post-service?

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Retired Navy SEAL Matthew Bissonnette who took part in Operation Neptune Spear when Osama bin Laden was killed
Retired Navy SEAL Matthew Bissonnette (Photo: Wiki)

Bad news. At DEVGRU (Team 6 to the uninformed) they have a Grave Stone / Rock of Shame. You do something atrocious or sellout… your name is on it. You are henceforth banned from coming to the command ever again including reunions.

Author: Jason Murray (Current Enterprise Architect, Former SEAL)

I know many of the guys who do the circuit (I will allow them to remain unnamed) and they disgust me. It has gotten to the point where I am sick of hearing “Seals.” It used to be a badge of honor (even if you’re quiet about it, it comes up…job interviews especially) but its gotten to a point where I feel it is borderline shameful. Just a few guys ruining it all for the majority. You know what, I will name one: Jocko Willink. He is famous for his stint at Team 3 as Commander of Bruiser—supposedly the most decorated of Iraq…blah, blah, blah. I knew him as an enlisted trainer at Team 1 when I was stationed there. He was a tool then and he is a bigger tool now. His interviews with captions like, “How a SEAL Thinks” “Typical Personality of a SEAL” “Epic Speech About Discipline from a Combat Proven SEAL” “I Can Do Anything But Be in a Room With Kryptonite!” Makes me want to punch my monitor. I do specialized work in Qatar (IT/Intelligence) and most of my comrades in the company where I work (but not on my project) are former DELTA guys. We bust each other’s balls all the time: me on them about Army and them on me about Navy. It’s usually a pretty good quid pro quo but the final dagger is ‘Jocko’. I have no response when they pull out the Jocko card.

Look, people, we’re not that special. Yeah, training sucks. Yeah, lives are on the line. But it’s something like (guessing) how movie stars exist. From our angle, we only see clips of champagne and caviar (cue music from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) but in the end, its a day to day job. You don’t feel special because you are surrounded by tons of people who have done exactly what you have. No big deal, really. Don’t look up to a Seal because they are a Seal. Some are great guys—most are great guys—but there are a fair amount of big-headed douches. Ask questions…sure. Buy a beer for em…sure (we are veterans after all). But for God’s sake…do NOT revere or idolize any of us. We wipe our butts the same as anyone else. Some can fight…most cannot. Some can pick up women…most cannot. Some are smart…most are not (at least exceptionally high IQs).

I am not bashing my Brothers in Arms. I love them. I was one for crying out loud. Not knocking anyone just being realistic. Being disciplined, calm and focused on warfare are traits which are incredibly commendable so I don’t want to completely knock over the Seal Jenga tower. But, and most would agree, I do not nor will ever accept idolization. These guys are ruining it for us silent warriors. I only write this because I am sick and tired of this constant deification of Seals—usually perpetuated by a small group of Seals. Do you want to be an elitist? Take care of your wives, girlfriends, kids, and family. Love them, respect them, do the daily grind. Pay your taxes. Help an old lady in need across the street. Donate to the needy. Assist at your church. Read your Bible. Pray diligently. Whatever…that is who deserves the pat on the back.

God bless friends.

P.S. Luttrell is in the clear (and Kyle) because the Navy approached them about writing books. They didn’t seek it out. Big difference. Their names remain good in the Teams.

* The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Spec Ops Magazine.