Tomorrow, June 28, is the anniversary of Operation Red Wings. We lost several SEALs in that raid, which is chronicled so well in Marcus Luttrell’s great book, Lone Survivor. Luttrell is also one of the SEALs Dick Couch wrote about in his book about the SEAL training, The Warrior Elite, The Making of SEAL Class 228.
I understand that as civilians, we might not fully grasp or understand, let alone believe, what a man has to do to graduate from BUD/S training. And I’ve been told the TV documentaries and these books don’t show everything, maybe perhaps half of what kinds of endurance is required to graduate. They say the failure rate is 70%-76%, but that only accounts for people who wash out and then are re-admitted, or are rolled back until they heal their injuries. Yes. They break bones. They get Mono. They get shin splints.
Some men don’t make it, don’t make it through the training. No shame in that. Anyone who would even try is a hero in my book.
But also some don’t come back. I’ve included some pictures of brave young men who did not come back. People you should know about. Good people with lives, parents, grandparents, children, friends and buddies. And while every loss of life in war is a tragedy, we honor those who serve to protect and defend, without questioning the orders given. It does take a special person to do that. They act outside of politics. They complete the mission they are given.
In writing Fallen SEAL Legacy, the second book in my SEAL series, I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time there, thinking about the ones who didn’t come home, because that is the premise of my book. Due to a Fallen, the hero, Navy SEAL Calvin Cooper, and heroine Libby Brownlee, get together in a way that heals them both.
Some days I feel totally ridiculous making romance out of such courage and sacrifice. Feel almost guilty I get to work the rich dark soil and fresh green produce in my vegetable garden. Get to cut the fragrant roses and lilies this time of year. Dead-head the Sweet William and daisies. My ordinary life seems just that: ordinary.
But that’s what the stuff of life is all about. Beauty of life and death. Frail exquisite beauty of everything around us, no matter where we live, no matter what our mission. And the mission I was given: bring these and other stories to light. Give a reader a few hours of pleasure, a few hours of fantasy.
Because that’s what these brave young men would want.