The only easy day was yesterday. (Intro)
When looking to take on a new challenge in life, mentors can make the difference between success and failure. I’m Daniel Fletcher, today we get some wisdom from an NSW Mentor, check it out…
DF: Joe, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I appreciate it.
JF: You’re welcome.
DF: It’s not too often we get to sit down with someone with your experience and learn a little bit about what you do. Hopefully, we can, we can dig in deep and find out all the things that most people would be asking at home. For starters, what is a mentor in the SEAL school or the SEAL/SWCC or NSW environment?
JF: A mentor’s someone that they can go to and find out what they need to do to get through their proper pipeline of training, and it’s good to have one, especially these days, because there’s so much stuff out on the Internet, kind of want to keep it simple, but at the same time, give them the information they need and show them kind of in a way if they come to training what’s going to be expected of them.
DF: So, at what point in the recruiting process do you normally kind of interject or become involved in the recruits’ kind of actions?
JF: It’s a good question. You know, what happens normally is if they don’t know they need to go to the recruiter, they’ll call us, or they’ll call a friend of ours or someone that’s, you know, in the teams or in one of the Spec Op programs, and then they’ll be directed to myself, which happens quite often. And of course, I have to turn around and direct them to their Naval recruiting station. So, they go to their Naval recruiting station in their area, and they have to have a physical before they can work with us. Once they have the physical, they are, you know, more than welcome to come down and work out with our what we call boat crews, and we run boat crews in different areas depending on the size and location of the specific Naval recruiting district that they’re working with.
DF: So, it’s really kind of step one into Naval Special Warfare.
JF: Exactly. Step one is to make sure that they are physically capable and don’t have, you know, some sort of anomaly where it’s going to hold them back or get them hurt when they’re training with us.
DF: So, what types of, I guess you kind of touched on it, people thinking that they can kind of fast-track into the Naval Special Warfare program by, by knowing somebody or, you know, what’s the fast way to do this? It seems like that’s first, the first thing you kind of bring them down to ground zero and say, “Hey, we start from the beginning here.” What other types of maybe anticipations you think people have that aren’t accurate to the program?
JF: Well, a lot of times, if they don’t have a brother, uncle or father in the teams, and they don’t know the proper method, they get on the Internet, and they see what they want to do, and they go from point A to point C without going through point B, and point B is going through that Naval Recruiter because regardless of how they want to handle it, they’re going to go in the Navy first, and they’re going to go through boot camp first, and then they’re going to get their pipeline if they keep their scores, and they keep doing the PST, and they get stronger.
DF: So, would it be fair to say your responsibility is to kind of to guide recruits through the process?
JF: Right, and what I have to tell them, and I end up saying this quite a bit is go get a recruiter and get a physical through the United States Navy. They’ll go to their local MEPS, and once they do that, and they get approved by the doctor, then they can come and work out with the boat crew.
DF: Can you describe a little bit about what you mean when you say boat crew?
JF: Yeah, well, you know, maybe a little bit different in the different NRDs, but basically the way that we do it here, and we find it works pretty well is they’ll have a boat crew leader, and they’ll have a boat crew assistant. So, just like you would have in a platoon or, you know, in the military, you’re going to have a guy in charge, a person in charge, guy, girl, whatever, and then you’re going to have his assistant, and between those two guys, they kind of have the responsibility to line the guys up and run the boat crew. And that way, we have control, and we know who’s going to be there, and we know that the person there has already been checked out by the boat crew leader. He knows that, okay, is this guy, is he working with a recruiter, does he have a, you know, does he have a physical, and then they get to meet and greet, and then we try to get him in, you know, incorporated into that boat crew, and from there, and you got to get teamwork right off the deck.
DF: So, there’s boat crews all over the United States.
JF: Well, yeah, there is. The main thing with the boat crew that I find is it puts people, it makes those guys, gals responsible within that boat crew to take care of that boat crew and to get the word out that, “Hey, we’re going to train zero, whatever time it is, you know, be there, be square, whatever, and get the job done,” and it makes them responsible.
DF: So, is the goal of the boat crews to prep these people for boot camp?
JF: Yeah, basically the boat crew, you know, we do workouts on a daily basis depending on where you are and how many people show up. The bottom line is what it does is it makes them responsible to be someplace at the right time and then, of course, the workout, the workout is the meat of the thing, the running, the swimming. And in this area, fortunately, we have quite a few pools to work with. But a boat crew, it adds the military side to it. It makes people responsible, and, you know, my guys, usually the guys that are working out of here, they usually know who’s going to be there, they can tell me a day ahead of time. For instance, they’ll send me, you know, a quick text in the morning and say, “We got five guys or three guys,” today we had five standing by to get on the base, and, of course, they can’t get on the base cause they’re civilians, so we make arrangement to pick them up, usually myself, and then first thing we do is swim, and then we do a run, and what it does is it organizes these guys and gals so that they have a way to get in better shape once the gate is opened, and the gate is getting a military physical and being approved by, you know, their recruiter, the recruiting station in the district.
DF: Can you take a little bit of time and explain to potential candidates to become SEAL or SWCC operators who are these boat crew managers. I don’t know the right word is, manager, but the people that are kind of running these teams or these exercise kind of outfits so to speak?
JF: Yeah, the mentors and the coordinators run the boat crews, and what we like to do is have the boat crews basically run themselves. It’s going to be a little bit different in the different districts, depending again on geographical and the size. You know, we’ve got, last time I knew, we had 12 million people in this, in this district, but you may have districts that have several states, and they’ll still only have one coordinator and one mentor. The bottom line on that is that right now the mentor and the coordinator control the boat crews, and they’re the only ones that can guide the trainees, instruct them in swimming and swimming technique and so on. Based on geographics, again, it’s going to be different, and one of the things about this whole job is that every district is cut into several different states or through different states, and so the bottom line is they’ve all got different places to go and things to do. For instance, in Las Vegas, we have a boat crew in Las Vegas, and we have, we are fortunate to have a person up there in charge of the boat crew that was an Air Crewman, tried to get through BUDS, and now he’s a reservist, and he runs the boat crew up there, and he has a real good idea of what needs to be done, and so, he’s a plus, and he runs a good boat crew, but it’s always going to be different, you know, and once, in one particular area, you might just have one or two guys, and they kind of have to run their own boat crew. So, what’s important is they fill out a log every time they work out, and they ship that log to us, usually scanned or whatever. That way we know that they’re doing the workout.
DF: Okay, so after, after this step of meeting a recruiter, getting involved with the boat crew, how long are they kind of in this, this stage before they’re then off to boot camp or the next step, and how are you involved in that process?
JF: That’s a good point, good question. What happens is they work with the boat crew until they get good enough to be a good enough swimmer, you know, do enough push-ups and pick up a contract, and the contracts aren’t that easy to get because the contracts we’ll put our guys in with the other 25 districts, and they all go back to headquarters, and headquarters puts them up on the wall and starts looking at their scores, so they’ll work with us until their scores get good enough, and they pick up a contract. So, they may be with us a month, or they may be with us six months. We’ve got guys that have been around nine months or a year.
DF: So, you talked a little bit about testing, testing these people, these applicants or potential recruits. Walk us through a little bit about what that testing is like?
JF: Well, yeah, they got to do a what’s called a PST, physical screening test, and a physical screening test consists of a swim and with a 10-minute rest, and then after the 10-minute rest, they do push-ups, and they have a 2-minute rest, and then they do sit-ups, they have a 2-minute rest, and then they do pull-ups, and they get a 10-minute rest, they got to do a run. And we try to hold the line on that and keep the times as exact as we can because when they go to boot camp, and we explain this to them every time, when they go to boot camp, they have that amount of time between each one of those because there may be 35, 40 guys on deck, I’ve had that many before, right now about 25 or 30, and there’s myself and a coordinator and maybe a couple of other scouts helping, but it’s hard for us to hold that line because we have to travel between the pool, and, you know, where we do the push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and then to the track. And so, what we try to impress on the trainees, the prospective Spec Ops folks is that we’re going to try and hold them to the time exact as we can because when they get to boot camp, there’s enough manpower there to make them do it in that amount of time, and they will do it in that amount of time, and so time is of the essence in this PST, and usually they do pretty well. We, you know, you guys got seven minutes to get from here to there, and then you’re going to get a 3-minute demo, and then, boom, that’s 10 minutes we’re doing the next evolution. It’s important that they stay the timeline.
DF: The PST, is that something that’s been around for a while? Is this kind of a newer development?
JF: Well, I took it in ’73, 1973, so it’s, I understand it’s always been the same with maybe a little bit of deviation as far as which evolution comes first.
DF: But the same basic movements…
JF: Same basic, yeah, same basic test.
DF: Where can folks find out more about those specific requirements that are in this test?
JF: On the SEAL/SWCC website, and that’s the one that I would use. I advise to use that because there’s a lot of stuff out there, and I say stuff. A lot of it’s good, don’t get me wrong, but the SEAL/SWCC website will give you the information you need to pass that test, to know what the perimeters are to pass that test. They’ll have to pass the test.
DF: Can you describe a little bit of your training kind of philosophy in getting these boat crews kind of up and running, maybe how that might differ than some of the other philosophies out there for training?
JF: Well, we start right from the beginning, and the beginning is usually I want to see them groomed well. If they’re not groomed well, they’ll do push-ups. Amazingly, I ran into that this morning, and I’ll run into it tomorrow. I think hygiene is a big deal with us, with our boat crews, and they understand that. On time, on target, don’t be late. I do it almost every morning, and the only times I don’t do it is when I say I’m not going to do it, and I’m at that gate at 6:15 when here in San Diego, and if they’re not there, they don’t, they don’t get to swim. On time, on target is a big deal. It’s just the basics. Philosophy here is crawl, walk, run, and you’re going to crawl a long time, and just to put that in perspective, they’re going to go to boot camp, then they’re going to go to their pipeline. They’re still crawling. And each one of these phases they crawl, and then they walk a little bit, and then they run. You know, you get out of BUDS, they go through Hell Week, they, they, then they start walking a little bit, and then they go to advanced training. They start all over again. They crawl, they walk, they run. They learn weapons and all that stuff. And then they get through there, and guess what, they go to the teams, and they’re all excited, and then they’re junior man again. They’re crawling again, and they’re going to crawl, walk and run until they get in that platoon, and they become the leading petty officer or the chief or, you know, lieutenant in charge. So, we’re talking three, four years here. This is nothing that’s going to happen for these trainees overnight, and they need to realize that. They need to realize that they’re going to put some real time and real effort into what they’re going to get, but it’s worth it.
DF: For an extended period of time.
JF: That’s right, that’s right.
DF: So, that being said, what other kind of advice or words of wisdom would you dole out to these guys and gals that want to enter the program?
JF: Patience, patience, know what you want, do, look into what you want. We have, we still today, we have trainees that come, and they go down and they get their examination, and they go through MEPS, and they take their, take an ASVAB, and they do all that, and then they get up on deck and, “Why are you here?” “Well, I’m afraid of the water. I want to face my fears.” “Well, we can do that for you, but, you know, let’s make sure that what you want to do is get out the other side, and you want to operate. You want to be a Navy diver, or you want to be a SEAL, or you want to be, you know, you want to rescue people out of a helicopter.”
DF: You think that there’s a lot of kind of difference there in expectations people what maybe joining for the wrong reasons or thinking things are a certain way, but they’re not? Is that something you face a lot?
JF: I have a good example of that. I had a, I just came back from Las Vegas, we have a boat crew up there, too, a good boat crew, and there was a fellow up there who was, he was 23 years old, and he was in the back of the group, and I, “What’s your name?” you know, my introduction, the whole thing, a little harsh maybe but, “What do you want to do?” “Well, I want to be a diver. I want to be a Navy diver.” “Why do you want to be a diver?” “I want to face my fear. I’m afraid of the water.” I told him, I said, “You face your fear by getting a facemask staying in the shower. I said you want to be a diver, you’re going to learn how to run, gear and everything else.” Well, he stayed there during the, you know, during the PT session, and he didn’t come back the next day, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to write him off. You know, he, I just want to give him, being a diver, you don’t go be a Navy diver to face your fear. You can. That can be part of it, but remember, you got to learn how to be a diver to save your own life and save other people, a lot more to it. So, it’s a good motivation. It’s up to him.
DF: Right, right. Is a large part of your job finding better, talented people or more talented people and getting them through the pipeline successfully?
JF: You know, it’s an interesting question because I don’t really, I really don’t put a stamp on someone. It doesn’t matter who they are. I like to see them in action a little while, and there’s a lot that come, and they stay a day and then come stay a week, but once they get with the boat crew, it’s pretty easy to tell that, “Hey, they like what they’re doing here. Maybe there’s, you know,” you can see it, you can see it registering, “Maybe there’s something I want to do here. Maybe I can really put up with this.” And then we got guys that come in, and I don’t have to worry about this guy, know what he wants to do. Will he make it? That’s up to him, but this guy’s in for, he’s in for the long run, you know.
DF: What are the types of things you see in those people that are unique?
JF: There’s a little bit more maturity, you know, and, but then I can contrast that with the fellow who wanted to be a diver. He’s 23 years old, and the maturity there, he’s married, and he wants to face his fears, but he wants to be a diver. I had a person who came here, we shipped them off to boot camp a couple of months ago, and he wanted to be a SEAL, and he couldn’t swim, could not swim, and so we taught him how to swim, and I mean he took, the guy learned how to swim in a week and a half, and that’s tough. Sidestroke, sidestroke is a tough stroke. If you don’t know how to do it, it’s tough, and he learned how to do it in a week and a half, and he became a very good swimmer. He got it down, down to nine, which is good.
DF: And how long are they swimming? What’s the distance?
JF: 500 yards.
DF: So, 500 yards in nine, under nine minutes is good?
JF: Under nine’s real good, yeah, under ten’s good, yeah.
DF: Kind of put a bookmark on them kind of.
JF: Right, right. They’re just a little bit higher, you know, it’s a little bit higher scores.
DF: So, let’s say I’m showing up at a boat crew, and maybe I know about the PST already, maybe I’ve administered a test myself, and I’m ready to go, you know, I’m confident, and, hell, maybe you even like me, how long will I be in this boat crew before I’m able to kind of move on to the next step? What’s the minimum there?
JF: Well, it’s going to depend on your score, okay. SO scores that are obviously a little bit tougher than the other scores, but what we’re looking at is you need to have, your swim needs to be 11 or less, okay, and your push-ups need to be 50 or more, and those are minimum scores, and your sit-ups need to be 50 or more, and your pull-ups need to be 10 or more or SO, and six or more for EOD, it varies, and, of course, your run needs to be, your run’s got to be 10:30 or less for SO.
DF: So, is it really just, is it really just that simple, hit the numbers, move to the next step, is that true?
JF: Yeah, you got to hit the numbers, but then you got your ASVAB in there, you know, your test that you take when you come in the Navy, and you’ve also got, got your ASVAB, we still have what’s called a C-SORT, a personality score, and it’s, you get a one, two, three or four. I haven’t seen any fours. I’ve seen a couple threes, twos are a little more prevalent; usually most people get ones. There’s several things that you are weighted on. So, you know, you may get just passing scores for your PST, but if you got a good C-SORT, let’s say you got two or three, this is all taken into consideration as any board is in the United States Navy when you’re put up there with a bunch of other folks. So, it depends, but you’re better off to do the best you can on all these because that’s going to make a lot of difference.
DF: Maybe we could paint a little bit closer of an accurate picture in terms of time. Is it something that people can expect to be doing for a month, six months, a year?
JF: It depends on your scores and how far you got to go. It’s just a scoring process like anything else, and you get a hard look. Take a hard look at them, put them in the draft, your draft picks them up or don’t, and they have no idea because they’re going in the draft with 25 other districts, so it’s best for them to do the best they can.
DF: Is there anything that someone can do to prepare themselves other than the PST and the physical aspects to do better in that draft process?
JF: Yeah, make sure that what they want to get into is what they want to do. The more that they can find out about the program, the better off they are. You know, you may take a guy, say comes in, he wants to be EOD, and all of a sudden, you know, he gets into training and everything, and then he suddenly realizes that EOD is 50 plus weeks of working, you know, in a classroom, you know, figuring out gases, and, you know, all kinds of bombs and everything, so, yeah, they want to think about that.
DF: Well, hopefully this podcast can serve as one of those levels of additional information to help people cause it seems that is reoccurring. More information is key. Know where you’re at and self-reflection, knowing what you want and having goals and such and such.
JF: I’m always impressed with someone that comes in, and they know about what the program, they talked to their dads, their whatever, and they know things about that program.
DF: Right, so after this, this boat crew process, whenever people ship off to boot camp, how are you connected to them all through that process if at all?
JF: I have to tell you the truth. What I find out about the people that are in, going through boot camp and on to their pipeline, I hear it through the guys. And what that tells me is that boat crew is watching each other, and they’re telling each other how they’re doing.
DF: So, it’s word of mouth.
JF: Word of mouth, yeah. I don’t specifically watch for my people to get through. I like to see them get through, but if they prepared themselves correctly, and they have the right attitude and mindset, they’ll get through.
DF: It’s hands off at that point.
JF: It’s hands off, yeah.
DF: So, with that being said, what types of tips or tricks do you think you could interject into this process that, from the insider’s perspective, you think would be really beneficial to hear?
JF: I think proper preparation, you know. If a prospective Spec Ops trainee is interested in a program, I would highly recommend that they take a hard look at the program. They can find a lot of information at the SEAL/SWCC. Go in there and take a look at it, and for them to realize that, you know, they’re going to have a job. If they’ve got a wife or girlfriend, this and that, that if they really want to get through training, all five of those programs are going to take a lot of concentration. So, they’re going to need to dedicate themselves to it. It’s total dedication and especially when they get in their pipeline and…
DF: When you say pipeline, what do you mean by that?
JF: Once they go through boot camp, they’ll be slotted out into one of the five programs that we have, so they’ll either go to SEAL, EOD, SWCC, Navy Diver Air Crew, and they need to take a hard look at that because that’s, that’s the crux of what they’re going to be doing, and they’re going to be doing it for a long time. You know, they’re going to give up their home, and, you know, they’re going to go away from their family. I mean they need to take a hard look and say, “I really want to do this.” I know I did. You know, I wanted, I really wanted to do that, but I had to leave things behind. So, they need to realize that that’s what they’re going to have to do. It’s total dedication, especially SO and especially SWCC and EOD, the diver, too.
DF: Is that because of the workload involved in that training or the criteria that needs to be met or both?
JF: Yeah, correct, correct, well, it’s total concentration. You know, you don’t go on an op without total concentration, and then everything goes to, pardon my language, hell without total concentration, you know, you’re lost, and these trainees will be put in position where they need total concentration they need to be dedicated to what they want to do. They want to be totally dedicated, you know, they want to be in this game. That’s the high of it.
DF: So, I guess you’re kind of more so looking at people that maybe already have that. It’s not so much that you can turn anybody into a Naval Special Warfare operator. You kind of can develop some aspects of it, but a lot of this seems to be kind of born with focus or born with intent or drive.
JF: Yeah, it’s interesting because I listen to the stories. I always ask them why they want to do it. That’s the first thing you ask, why they want to do it. And so, you’ve got a guy, “Well, you know, I was walking down the street, and I seen a poster,” and da, da, da. Then you got the other guy, “Well, I’ve been looking at being a SEAL since I was in 8th grade,” you know.
DF: So, taking a long look at that why seems to be pretty important?
JF: Right, and, you know, you don’t make a judgment there, but if you watch what happens, you know, as this thing unfolds, if you watch what happens with the person that trainee that’s been thinking about this, you know, since grade school, or he, you know, had an uncle or his dad, I mean it doesn’t always work well for the son, but a lot of times, 75% of the time, he knows what he’s doing, he knows what he’s getting into, and he wants to have the pride of getting through that, but he knows what he’s getting into, too, cause his father is going to tell him, his uncle is going to tell him, and his friends are going to tell him.
DF: So, is that a big part of, of your job, is kind of informing people, “Hey, this is, this is what it’s going to be like. This is the type of responsibility you need. This is how you’re going to have to act. It’s not getting easier from here.” Is that a lot of it?
JF: I take a little bit different, yeah, I tell them that for sure, but I take a little, I show them. I show them, yeah. Pay attention to detail, crawl, walk, run, you know, it’s one team, one fight. Everybody drops down, and they push them out. That’s the basic premise, you know. Got to learn how to work as a team, got to be a team man.
DF: That seems a huge part of it and especially since it’s coming into the process so early.
JF: It’s interesting to watch them get that. They finally get that, you know. I know they got that when I show up, and there’s 20 guys standing there.
DF: Cause they’re holding each other accountable, right?
JF: They just, yeah, yeah, they just, they just want to do this thing, and they know when I step out of the car, most of the time somebody’s messed up, they drop down. I mean that’s, they want discipline. You can tell when a guy or a gal wants discipline. They stay. They get it done. We’ve got a female up in Las Vegas, and she has brought her run from 16 minutes down to 12. Will she get there? I don’t know, but I’ll tell you what, she’s in the game.
DF: That’s important, yeah.
JF: She’s in the game, and anybody like that’s going to get a lot of help, you know. We’re going to assist them…
DF: Because they want it.
JF: We’re going to assist them. That’s right, yeah, we’re going to help them…Recruiter, myself, we’re going to, you know, boat crew leader.
DF: When recruits show up to a boat team, what can they expect to see and do?
JF: Well, what usually happens, and I’ll, I’ll just take a day without the pool. Guys will start out, we’re really fortunate here because we have the beach, so our guys start out with a 45-minute soft sand run. Now, they can run down the beach in the soft sand and come back to hard pack, or they can run down the beach in the hard pack out by the water and come back up soft sand, but they’re going to do that way. They’re going to half in the soft sand and half on the beach. Number one, it’s good running, and it takes some effort, and number two, it’s a lot better on your joints, and I just expect that the guys would do that. If they come in for the swim in the morning, these are just examples. It’s different where you don’t have ocean everywhere, we don’t have pool everywhere. If they come in early for the, in the morning, to do the pool work, they still will be standing tall to do the run afterwards in the sand. And these are the, this, once they get that going, they feel better. They know they feel better, and they know they’re on their way, and that makes a lot of difference. And then after that, they’ll bust the gate, usually about ten minutes to 11, and they’ll meet up with me again, and we’ll either do some more swimming, or we’ll do some calisthenics. And when we do calisthenics, we do just the basic top to bottom workout of the body. I introduced the boat crew up in Las Vegas to turnover boat crews, so the person in charge knows what’s going on. I introduced them to BUDS type PT, and it’s the same PT I’ve been doing for 45 years, and I can do this PT in 30 to 35 minutes. I did it this morning before they got here. And I introduced it to the guys in Las Vegas, that boat crew up there. It took me an hour and a half to get halfway through it one day, and then the next day, they came back at 0:400 in the morning. We start at 4:30. It took me another 45 minutes to get through the rest of it, and I still wasn’t totally done. So, what I try to introduce is I would rather see you do one push-up right than to do 100 the wrong way. And so, it’s important to pay attention to detail, and, you know, the best, the only thing you really have to go to war with until we give you all your equipment is this. You know, you just have your body, that’s it, so you have to be in good shape, and all five of those programs, you got to be in good shape. People’s lives depend on you being in good shape and knowing how to use your, your gear, and who’s going to give somebody a million dollars worth of gear if they don’t know what the heck they’re doing, and they can’t handle it?
DF: Or know how to take care of themselves.
JF: Exactly, exactly.
DF: So, is being a part of this boat crew a requirement to go through the pipeline?
JF: Everybody wants to be part of something. And so, you know, the guy that’s the boat crew leader, he went through the same thing maybe four months prior or maybe, you know, six months prior or maybe a month prior. It just depends on where we’re at. I’ll take the senior guy, the guy that’s been doing it, the guy that’s doing good, or let’s say the guy is doing good, and then all of sudden he ends up not doing good. Maybe he’s got some sort of problem or something. Well, he’ll be fired, and I’ll move the assistant up, just like the military. It’s got to be handled like the military. It doesn’t got to be, but it works better that way.
DF: So, this is a big resource, a huge resource, and I would say a big advantage to being a part of one of these crews. As a mentor, what other aspects are you really largely involved in?
JF: Well, I’ve got the paperwork end of it. Today, I’ll go back and put the guys in what’s called the tracker. They do the PST tomorrow, and all those scores go in there, official scores, and they’ll go into the tracker. And the people back east, the headquarters can read the tracker, so we can follow these trainees from day one all the way through. The people that are looking at these guys when their name’s on the wall, they get drafted, and they go back there, they can look in the tracker and see what this guy’s been doing. So, it’s very important that what they do and how they react and what their scores and just if they’ve got an anomaly or something, you know, they’re really good, or, well, this guy here he’s a little weak in a couple of words, put that in the tracker, and we can follow these guys, which is something very, very good to have.
DF: I would imagine it would be comforting to know and also good advice to know that the days you show up and what you do, your performance, your attitude, it’s tracked. It’s not just one guy looking or nobody looking when you’re taking a break. This is something that’s from the step one measured, so take a good look at yourself.
JF: They show up, they sign in, they sign their name. Everybody that worked out today has signed their name, their evolution, the location, the evolution, what they did. Some guys swam, so they got an extra hour and a half, so they probably got five and a half, six hours. Some guys just did the run and the workout. They got four hours. Today, they got three and a half, but they’ll make up for it.
DF: But just knowing that what you’re doing there is going to affect the draft.
JF: Sure, it sure will, yeah. And we, you know, we’re looking for the good, we’re looking for the guys that are going to get it done, and it’s competitive. It needs to be competitive. But, you know, they’re all, they show up, and they work out, and they keep coming back every day and hitting the wall, they’re good people. They’re good people, but we’re looking for the best of the best. That’s what we try to do. I think, you know, it’s follow through.
DF: Can you set that up a little bit? What do you mean by that?
JF: Well, it’s from day one, learning your general orders. Okay, this is the Navy. You got to know your general orders. You got to know your Sailor’s Creed, right. A guy shows up and he knows them, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him, I’m impressed. I’m impressed. Crawl, walk, run. Spec Ops is part of the Navy, you know. Without the Navy, we have no Spec Ops, so, again, it’s…
DF: So, yeah, don’t put the carriage before the horse.
JF: Exactly, keep your priorities right. Go through the boot camp, do a really good job, know your general Sailor’s Creed, and then go to your pipeline and get it done. Make sure that what you want to do is what you really want to do. Look ahead, and look into the background of the program you want, whether, whether it be Air Crew or SO. Do a little bit of research. Don’t just walk up and say, “I want to face my fears.” The bottom line is do some research, and, of course, the younger you are, the less research they tend to do, and they come here 17, 19, and I get someone at 23, usually they got pretty solid idea of what they want to do. It’s all about maturity, but we get, you know, we get guys, gals that are 18. You know, the girl up in, I think she’s 19, and she’s, I’ve asked her a couple times, “You sure you want to do this?” she’s working so hard, she said, “Yeah,” and she’s dropping her time down, so I have a lot of, I have a lot of belief that she just might get it done, you know.
DF: Aside from the physical attributes or I guess physical capabilities of these people that are, that are trying to become Naval Special Warfare operators, what other aspects other than physical fitness are you looking for in, in Special Operations candidates?
JF: Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork. You got to work as a team, and, of course, character, character is everything. You know, we don’t want to run into someone that, “Well, I was late today because my dog ate my homework,” you know what I’m talking about. We want people with character to start with, and basically most of the kids that show up on deck have good character. We find out right away if they, if they realize, you know, if they didn’t realize what they were trying to get into, we find that out right away, and if they come back, and they keep hitting the wall, then that’s the kind of person we’re looking for, and it kind of works itself out.
DF: I think it’s great words of wisdom there. Thank you for taking the time to sit with us and give some knowledge to the recruits. Appreciate it.
JF: It’s my pleasure.
DF: Find out more at SEALSWCC.com, and join us again for the next NSW podcast.