From UDT 12 cruise book, Ventura on far left. SEAL Team One, with roughly the same number of men as UDT 12, had 34 killed during the war. I knew many of them. UDT 12 lost but a single man. 34:1.
Bill Salisbury an ex-SEAL, wrote for the Reader from 1990 to 2000.
Editor's picks of Salisbury stories:
- If you like your Navy SEALs or frogmen big, brawny, stoked to the eyeballs on steroids, and filled with comic-book bravado, then Captain Ed Bowen will disappoint. His size inspires nicknames like “Peanut” or “Li’l Bit” in our shared home state of Georgia. (Dec. 14, 2000)
Ken Butcher. "I hear his voice sometimes. I mean I’ll get a phone call from someone who sounds like him."
- Lee Ellen Butcher is Ken Butcher's widow. Ken was a Navy SEAL lost at sea during the Grenada invasion. Ken and I served together with Underwater Demolition Team Eleven at the Amphibious Base in Coronado before Ken volunteered for SEAL Team Six on the East Coast. I interviewed Lee Butcher in San Diego two years after Ken's death. (October 4, 1990)
- 17 January has come and gone and with it the 12th anniversary of the brutish, nasty, and short Gulf War. With Gulf War II looming, the media has sought out veterans of Gulf War I to tap their nostalgia. Channel 10, for example, interviewed an F-14 pilot and a nurse. As I watched the interviews I thought of a Navy SEAL I’d talked to about his experiences in our first encounter with Saddam. (Feb. 6, 2003)
- Shortly after the 1998 gubernatorial elections, everywhere you looked on TV he seemed to loom from the screen: that great domed head anchored by a linebacker’s neck to a professional rassler’s torso. And you heard him rattle off one-liners such as, “Sure I can be a good governor for Minnesota! It’s not like I’ll have to transplant kidneys!” (Dec. 2, 1999)
Keel of the Stars & Stripes. "This time, Dave took super video of the keel and made all the measurements undetected."
Photo by Robert Burroughs
- I was knocking back triple espressos at Bay Books in Coronado when I came across this revelation buried in a feature article on "Wild Bill" Koch, the Kansas billionaire bad boy who had kicked ass and taken names during his 1982 quest for the America's Cup. I was disappointed Koch didn't elaborate on how these "frogmen" — who in fact were U.S. Navy Seals — had helped him. (May 4, 1995)
- FK’s maritime commandos during the Vietnam War. Esquire, for example, featured them in a 1974 story titled "Mean Mothers With Dirty Faces: The SEALs joined the Navy to scare the world." On its cover, Esquire called SEALs “The roughest, toughest men in the U.S.A.” A photo appearing with the story showed the mud-encrusted face of a SEAL trainee in Coronado who looked as if he were about to rip the photographer’s head off and use it for a toilet.(March 12, 1992)
Paitilla airport. "The mission was to deny Noriega the use of Paitilla Airfield in Panama City or to capture him if he tried to use it."
- We were all old sailors: SEALs and frogmen retired for one reason or another. Dinosaurs. Ancient mariners gathered once again to talk about team misadventures in Nam, Grenada, and Panama. SEALs had the most casualties for our numbers of any Navy unit in Vietnam, had lost 4 of the 16 US. dead in Grenada, and most recently suffered 4 of the 23 U.S. dead in Panama. (October 4, 1990)
Our mission was simple: turn the ambusher into the ambushee.
- The year was 1982, and I was fortysomething. Another autumn and the cooling weather had turned the trees outside my office window pale yellow. The leaves trembled in a breeze fresh off the Pacific, blowing down from Point Loma toward Baja. Through my window I could see the curve of the Coronado bridge and glimpse part of the Navy hospital above the freeways that circle Balboa Park. A friend who had spent several months in that hospital 13 years ago had called last night from Texas. (Aug. 2, 1990)