The following letter was written by PO1 Steven Voigt of SEAL Team Eight two days before he was killed in an SH-60 helicopter crash in the Persian Gulf on October 25, 1996. This letter captures the essence of Steve Voigt and typifies the hours and months of the distinctively unglamorous and unappreciated side of a Navy SEAL’s life on deployment.
Steven Voigt’s letter
It was read by Steve Voigt’s sister, Martha, at the NAB Little Creek Base Chapel on 6 November 1996:
“Alarm goes off. I wake up. It’s 0600. Same time I woke up yesterday. And the day before. Actually since June 28, almost 120 days ago. Four months. That’s OK, though, because if anyone in the Persian Gulf tries to interfere with the policies of my sacred country, the United States of America, I’ll be there to stop them. Two months ago, it was anyone in the Mediterranean. Actually, we could stop anyone in the world.
“Breakfast time. Forty-five-minute wait in line. Every meal is the same. Stand in line sweating. That’s OK, though. There are people in my country who neither know nor care that their freedom is being protected at this very moment. That too is OK, because I do know. I’m doing it.
“Go to work. The same routine day in and day out. It could be compared to being in jail except that the work we do is too hard and too dangerous to impose upon a common criminal. It would be considered inhumane. That’s OK, though, I understand freedom and the sacrifices that have to be made for freedom to be achieved. The life we live at the cost of our military members cannot have a price put on it. If you saw our paychecks, you would understand.
“Dinner time. Chicken and rice again. That’s OK. The opportunities we have in the States are limitless. There is nothing that any person cannot achieve if he/she has the heart. They don’t have those opportunities in the parts I’ve visited. They don’t even have Taco Bell.”
10 August 1962-25 October 1996