Skip to comments.SEALs Turned Authors: A Military Reading List
Posted on 08/27/2012 6:02:44 AM PDT by Travis McGee
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Now, it seems that guys can't wait to write books about their SEAL Team experiences. Maybe they are in too much of a hurry to sign a movie deal, perhaps, and grab the big money. At this time no less than THREE movies are in the works about the Osama raid, based on books by former SEALs! (I knew the author of one of them, Chuck Pfarrer.)
For the record, this is why, as a novelist, from the start, I decided to never include anything about the teams. No SEALs or ex-SEALs are featured in any of my novels. I always felt it would be cheesy, and I'm glad I made that decision a decade ago when I wrote my first novel.
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SEALs Osama tale film-bound (NY Post)
The former Navy SEAL who has written his eyewitness account of the slaying of Osama bin Laden is in talks with Steven Spielberg to turn the book into an action movie, Page Six can exclusively reveal.
The author, who uses the pseudonym Mark Owen, was one of the first men through the door on the third floor of bin Ladens lair in Pakistan and was there when he died, according to publisher Dutton.
The book No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden will be released on Sept. 11.
Following the book announcement, Fox News revealed that Mark Owen is 36-year-old recently retired SEAL Matt Bissonnette. Then special operations chief Adm. Bill McRaven said Bissonnette could face prosecution for revealing sensitive and classified information that could cause US forces harm.
Meanwhile, multiple sources tell us Bissonnette has already been in talks with DreamWorks about turning his book into a movie.
One source said, He met with HBOs Richard Plepler, and he also met with Spielberg.
Another source added, He is still talking to DreamWorks and Spielberg, who declined to comment.
A No Easy Day movie would add to an already busy field of bin Laden films. Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow is working on Zero Dark Thirty, about the decade-long hunt for terrorist leader bin Laden, leading to his death in May 2011. The cast includes Scott Adkins, Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain and Taylor Kinney, with release set for Dec. 19
Meanwhile, the Weinstein Company has secured the US rights to Code Name Geronimo, the John Stockwell-directed drama about the manhunt for the 9/11 terror-attack mastermind.
According to reports, Weinstein will put the film in theaters in early fall, a move that would beat Zero Dark Thirty which was delayed after Sony decided not to put it out ahead of the presidential election.
They forget Richard Marcinko?
How long does it take, starting from Day 1 at BUD/S school, until a student is nominally considered to be a fully-trained SEAL?
Marcinko’s books were a joke, crapola, pure fiction written by a ghost-writer with “Demo Dick’s” sea stories as input.
Nobody in the community took them seriously. He had just gotten out of federal prison, and needed to make a buck or two.
In my era it was a year, six months of BUD/S Training, followed by a six month probationary period, which included successful completion of what was then called SEAL Basic Indoctrination in-house at the east or west coast SEAL Teams.
My understanding is that with the past decade’s war footing, it’s a lot faster, and deployed platoons are lucky to go overseas with even a couple of experienced frogs. The “new guy” ratio in the platoons is at an all-time high.
It’s not a question of it being worth reading. It’s a question of opsec, the tricks of the trade that allow SEALs to sneak in, get a job done, and get out alive.
When those current tricks are included in a book, it puts the lives of our specops warriors in direct danger. Or, by outing the tactics, it puts them off the table and makes them unusable.
Either way, it’s a violation of a very basic trust to cash in by giving out current operational tradecraft and other secrets.
And that’s the way it should be. They shared their honor only among themselves until many, many years after the war.
They were true warriors, then.
> It was not until 20 or so years after the VN war that books by VN-era SEALs about their experiences came out.
And if someone were to check, many of those missions are probably still classified and divulging them or the tactics used ought to get the blabbermouth a fast trip to Fort Levenworth.
When I was in the 5th grade at Maude Saunders elementary school they allowed us to order a free paperback book from a list. I can’t recall how often but I got several.
One was about Italian Frogmen in WWII. I can’t remember a whole lot about them but do recall just how successful they were. Another was about German Frogmen and their far less successful attempts on the pontoon bridges over the Rhine.
I suspect swimming in the Rhine was particularly difficult as my Father told me you could put your hand down in the water and it would splash up.
I guess being on the losing side didn’t help their publicity either.
The MAC/SOG stuff didn’t come out for probably 30 years after. That’s long enough.The tactics discussed in the SEAL books about ops inside of VN itself were old news by the time they were written about.
I refuse to support either.
While I fully appreciate and respect the idea that secrets must be maintained for a variety of reasons, I think a major play here is that why can’t the military members make money on their fame just like the politicians do? I mean, if Obama and his staff can leak the information for political and financial gain then why can’t the frogs leak it for the same reasons? The information is going to be leaked so why let the polidiots have all the glory?
Clinton leaked information that still has the intelligence community hurting and no one said anything so it has continued to this day. There has been a systematic dismantling of our most critical secrets that the general public would never know about, so this isnt just about the SEAL teams, but about the entire presidential level players due to an abuse by the likes of Clinton, Obama and others at that level, including some Republican players. The necessary level of trust by the military operators of the executive branch just isnt there anymore. No one trusts anyone else anymore.
When there is a breakdown in discipline and loyalty to the country by those in DC it will affect all levels of players.
Like a fish, it would appear our military is beginning to rot from the head: their civilian masters in Mordor.
Are you sure that's what they are called? :)
I don’t understand why anyone would publish something like this, knowing that it could compromise operators who are currently in the field.
Makes no sense to me, how someone could endanger brothers-in-arms who are still “downrange”.
I understand it’s a story that needs to be told, but isn’t there a better way to tell it....?
” The former Navy SEAL who has written his eyewitness account of the slaying of Osama bin Laden is in talks with Steven Spielberg to turn the book into an action movie”
The truth just went out the window....
But recently retired SEALs should stick to a higher standard. It is their own buddies who are still down range. That said, I haven't read the new book, and don't know how many operational secrets have or have not been compromised.
Admiral McRaven, the top SEAL on active duty, who is now threatening jail to SEALs who write unapproved books, also sets a terrible example, glory-hounding the OBL raid in his own way. He's spoken at Soros' "Aspen Institute" and other venues where he promotes specwar (and himself) as if he were a corporate CEO flogging a new product line. His brown-nosing of Hillary Clinton has also been disgusting to watch. And not even POTUS can force him to pimp himself in uniform, wearing his SEAL trident at the last SOTUA on camera while Obama thanked him for the OBL raid. He could have bowed out of that gig, but didn't.
Instead of looking for a book or movie deal payout, McRaven seems to be angling for political office or an agency directorship after he retires in the near future. SEALs are already dangerously overexposed, and McRaven is just another self-promoting glory hound at this point.
Geez, I was promised 30 years hard labor if I published something like Navy Communications Technician - My Favorite Submarine Message Traffic
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I imagine there is a little ‘tongue in cheek’ here^^, BUT, I went to IB in 57 for “R” between not liking etc, was sent to an APA in AUG 57.
I found out many years later (after doing some research on ships I was stationed on) that no less than 6 other people from IB went aboard the same and ended up in the same Radio Shack as RM’s....and never once had a conversation about it till I discovered the data.
To this day I don’t ‘discuss’ what we ‘did’ in school or what the mission was - unless the person was in the same field, we may feel each other ‘out’ etc....
Don’t know if we took the ‘Secret/TS’ roll over zealously, were just taught you were no better than your word, or had heavy jail sentences over our heads.
Probably a combination of all 3.....<:
The new guy ratio
Are you sure that’s what they are called? :)
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Sad to think even the top frog acts like a toad. Good tactics always need protection for future warriors to use. They are timeless.
“I found out many years later (after doing some research on ships I was stationed on) that no less than 6 other people from IB went aboard the same and ended up in the same Radio Shack as RMs....and never once had a conversation about it till I discovered the data.
To this day I dont discuss what we did in school or what the mission was - unless the person was in the same field, we may feel each other out etc....”
I think that I heard of similiar rumors of CTA’s serving as a Captain’s yeoman, with no watches when in home port. Often making more money as a lowly PO with pro pay, sea duty pay, and haz. duty pay than the junior officers on the ships.
It was rumored, that the CO’s of these A’s made it very clear to the senior petty officers and other officers, that these A’s only reported to the CO. In other words, no bs and leave them alone.
It was rumored, that the COs of these As
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I am talking ‘drop outs’.
I (pat yourself on back) was the better of the lot as far as code copying RM etc, but a lot of IB dropouts became SM and a few FT/GM’s....
One reason ‘we’ were kept in Communications was because it required a full BI just to get accepted to CT school and it basically followed you, because it was the ‘full monty’. I hung around USN another 7 or so years and don’t recall ever filling out the ‘paper work’ again, and that included one gruesome tour at OPNAVCOMM - which ‘drove me out’ as I ‘loved’ Sea Duty.
> The MAC/SOG stuff didnt come out for probably 30 years after. Thats long enough.The tactics discussed in the SEAL books about ops inside of VN itself were old news by the time they were written about.
*** It may be old news, but much of it is still classified and disclosure is a felony. ***
Speaking of publicity and self promotion.
Almost no one will know that code talkers was an Army thing, which they started in WWI and kept using in WWII in the Pacific, Europe, and North Africa.
Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Meskwaki, and they were not all Indians, Basque radio operators were also code talkers for the US Army.
It must be weird for them to see how the Marine public relations activities created such a mythical hero status for the radio men who spoke Indian, who were in the Marines.
Use of Cherokee
The first known use of Native Americans in the American military to transmit messages under fire was a group of Cherokee troops utilized by the American 30th Infantry Division serving alongside the British during the Second Battle of the Somme. According to the Division Signal Officer, this took place in September 1918. Their outfit was under British command at the time.
Use of Choctaw
In the days of World War I, company commander Captain Lawrence of the U. S. Army overheard Solomon Louis and Mitchell Bobb conversing in the Choctaw language. He found eight Choctaw men in the battalion. Eventually, fourteen Choctaw men in the Armys 36th Infantry Division trained to use their language in code. They helped the American Expeditionary Force win several key battles in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign in France, during the final big German push of the war. Within 24 hours after the Choctaw language was pressed into service, the tide of the battle had turned. In less than 72 hours the Germans were retreating and the Allies were in full attack.
These solders are now known as the Choctaw Code Talkers.
Use of Comanche
Adolf Hitler knew about the successful use of code talkers during World War I. He sent a team of some thirty anthropologists to learn Native American languages before the outbreak of World War II. However, it proved too difficult for them to learn the many languages and dialects that existed. Because of Nazi German anthropologists attempts to learn the languages, the U.S. Army did not implement a large-scale code talker program in the European Theater. Fourteen Comanche code talkers took part in the Invasion of Normandy, and continued to serve in the 4th Infantry Division during further European operations.
Use of Meskwaki
Meskwaki men used their language against the Germans in North Africa. Twenty-seven Meskwaki, then 16% of Iowas Meskwaki population, enlisted in the U.S. Army together in January 1941
On the Code Talkers own website, is found a petition to congress for recognition of other code talkers:
"It is estimated that at least 18 tribes have contributed Code Talkers to both world wars. These include Cheyenne, Comanche, Cherokee, Choctaw, Osage, and Yankton Sioux in WWI, and in WWII, Chippewa, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, Hopi, Kiowa, Menominee, Muscogee-Seminole, Navajo, Oneida, Pawnee, Sac and Fox (Meskwaki) and Sioux (both Lakota and Dakota dialects). There may be others - this still needs to be fully investigated."
Not quite long enough for some of it.
There are still folks in Congress who get mighty testy about some things that happened back then, including who in Congress blew the whistle on the Son Tay POW raid, and the little matter of the attempted sinking and deliberate murder of 34 US Sailors in lifeboats and aboard the U.S.S. Liberty during the 1967 Arab-Israeli Six-Day War.
The truth just went out the window....
In the Speelburg version, he'll be Jewish.
I had always wondered about the Son Tay raid with the prisoners having been moved just before they got there. I don’t guess I have ever heard anything about it being compromised, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
The commander, Bull Simons lived on a hog farm not too far from where I grew up South of DeFuniak Springs, FL. I think the fact that he operated a hog farm meant he was not a practicing Jew.
30 years ago I had an interesting assignment. Still can’t talk about it. Taking it to the grave with me, hopefully not for a LONG time.
I’ve met him! He was the real-deal-SEAL! But the list isn’t counting the old books about VN, which were all written decades after the fact, when those tactics were either already widely known, or were obsolete.
Well, I’ve got a couple of books on my shelf by old MAC-SOG guys, and they are still in good standing with the SFA and go to the reunions, the true test.
We’ll see how these new SEAL book writers fare. Chuck Pfarrer, whom I knew well and respected, is not welcome in many circles.
Back in the early days of Israel's 1948 Independence War, a couple of the Israeliu Kibbutzs operated by somewhat less than orthodox Jews [mostly Socialists] raised hogs. Which would have given the Orthodox Jews fits. Not to worry.
They referred to them thereafter as *giant chickens.*
Love that giant chicken bacon!
Write it down, put it in an envelope marked, “Do not open for a long time after I croak.”
If it was honorable, but secret, that is.
In the book about Simon’s rescue of the Ross Perot workers in Iran, it is mentioned that Simon’s Brother wanted Bull to join him and go fight for Israel.
Simons told him no and the reason was he considered himself an American, not an Israeli.
What, no Dick Marcinko?
I know I have read somewhere that the seals grandfathered in some who were earlier frogmen but were not called seals.
How far did it go back? To Viet Nam, Korea, WWII, Maybe all the way back to Swede Momsen in the pre war years?
Will be reading about the Eubonics code talkers down the road?
The best book I’ve seen is called “Brave Men Dark Waters,” put out about 2000. It traces the origins back to pre WW2. There were a few different units folded into the UDTs, which begat the SEALs. They were all frogmen, as are SEALs today. But only SEALs are SEALs. That’s the problem that jerk wrestler had: trying to pretend he was a SEAL, when he was not, not for one day, in a period when there were crucial differences between UDTs and SEALs. Namely, SEALs were hotly involved in daily combat ops in VN, adn UDTs were not.
Also, cannot forget Marcus Luttrell.
A couple of known actors have been cast for the film version of Lone Survivor; Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Alex Ludwig, Emile Hirsch, and Taylor Kitsch have been cast so far.
There has been a generation weaned on self-disclosure, (probably done to get dirt on their parents) between the VN Era SEALS and those now serving. The whole culture has gone nuts about gossip shows, magazines, Facebook, and other emetic media which provide information about personal lives once held sacrosanct.
So few understand operational security because they practice no discretion whatsoever in their private lives. Instead, the revelation of all is lauded, and those who do not are suspect.
No doubt I would enjoy reading these, but I’m horrified at the disclosure of tactics & gear involved. Can’t blame these guys for disgust over polidiots profiting by their efforts; we all share that... Just the same, I’m gonna keep my disposable income out of their pockets.
In following the politicians’ lead, they dishonor what had been honorable acts while endangering OPSEC for those still in service.
What year did mcRaven become top dog?
I thought any books from former active duty military had to go through (submitted before a publisher could even look at it) a DoD “review” board??? If it had accounts of any kind of military operations or system discussions...
I like the character development in your novels because yes, some had military backgrounds, but nothing more than who they were, and where they may have “chewed some dirt”...But the story(ies) “overall”, are what make the things flow...I like that sort of read...
In reality books like these don’t even scratch the surface...And more need to be written, but they need to go through the hoops that are there for a good reason...Not to censure, but to make sure that anything that directs real attention to real personnel, that needs to be very ambiguous to protect them...
Just my opinion...From an old school scope dope...
Dishonorable Disclosures (22:00 Youtube video)
Special Operations (OPSEC) (website to get involved)
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