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Stories by Bill Salisbury

We Did the Dirty Work

Plumbers, Spooks, the Boys in the Band, the Boys Up the River, the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. Or, as former SEAL Dan Cerrillo referred to them when he testified recently at SEAL Lieutenant Andrew ...

Nobody Talks, Everybody Walks

SEALs take bloody revenge

All the recent commotion about U.S. atrocities at Abu Ghraib Prison and elsewhere got me thinking about Ka-Bar knives, which in turn got me thinking about former senator and now member of the 9/11 Commission ...


Bucolic Bonita first bloomed in my experience during a 1965 visit to the shallow valley scooped out across millennia by the Sweetwater River on its run to the Pacific. Even in the mid-’60s the lemon ...

Hardcore Combat

Desert Storm SEALs recall our first go at Saddam.

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 ...

Why (and How?) Did a Navy SEAL Die in Afghanistan?

Perhaps the Pentagon didn’t tell the whole story.

Another incomplete version of Roberts’s last moments emerged in a New York Times article on March 7 under the headline “Combat Mystery: Last Moments of Navy Man Still a Puzzle.”

No One Knew I Had a Knife in My Pocket

Former SEALs square off on airport security

Elson maintained that “The most important issue is not Flynn: it’s the terrible state of civil aviation security. It’s just a matter of time before we have another catastrophic terrorist attack like Pan Am 103.”

Never Say Retreat

The Chosin Few reunite. MacArthur would not be happy.

"It was during this last week in November and the first two weeks in December that MacArthur nearly lost his entire force out of arrogance, out of a refusal to believe the enemy was truly there, out of blind ambition."

The Bull Frog

Complaints about Coronado SEAL training

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 ...

The Battler

Joe Mazares, at 57, still has the trim, muscled body of the lightweight boxer he once was. "I boxed," he tells me, "under the name 'Joey Vincent' during the late '60s and early '70s. Most ...

Young Men, Ship Takedowns, and Property Values

Military men on last week's CH-46 crash off Pt. Loma

I've been thinking about brave young men and ship takedowns since that Marine helo crashed into the Pacific off Point Loma last week. Six marines and a sailor died. During my 16 years as a ...

Jesse "The Great Pretender" Ventura

Was Jesse a SEAL or a UDT guy?

Jesse may not talk about what he did as a SEAL in Nam because he doesn’t have anything to talk about. Why does the media let Jesse get away with this?

Permanent Breath-hold

A plaything for some SEAL instructors.

The buzz took longer than usual to reach me. A Navy seal named Keith Kimura was pulled unconscious from 60 feet of room-temp, gin-clear water on 10 January 1997 and died the next day at ...

Death fated by SEALs

Pre-med student killed outside Bayou bar

On the last night of her life, Jennifer Lea Evans didn’t want to leave the party. She was drawn to the good-looking Navy SEAL. So she told her girlfriends to go on while she stayed ...

America's Roughest Toughest Meanest Mothers

SEALS give first-hand account of America's Cup spying- part 2

Jack and I made our way through the low-intensity night jog of the Bali Ha'i parking lot that was now nearly filled. We reached our vehicles — Jack's Nissan pickup and my Ford Escort — ...

Koch Overboard

SEALS give first-hand account of America's Cup spying, part 1

"Koch's edge over Conner, and later over the Italian team he thrashed to take the Cup, was achieved with the help of espionage tactics... [that included] sending frogmen armed with bubble-free 'rebreathers' to inspect competing ...

Goon Squad in Hell Week: SEALs Without Wetsuits

Navy SEALs will train, come Hell Week or high water

Navy SEALs have gotten a lot of good ink across the years since America first read about JFK’s maritime commandos during the Vietnam War. Esquire, for example, featured them in a 1974 story titled "Mean ...

War Beneath the Waves

When SEALs die: Anger after Panama

Military Bright Ideas have a way of ending disastrously and have been doing so at least since the Great War. — Paul Fussed, Wartime (1988) "Them ops was cluster-fucks. more screwed up than a whore's ...

When SEALs die

Anger after Panama invasion

Military Bright Ideas have a way of ending disastrously and have been doing so at least since the Great War. — Paul Fussed, Wartime (1988) "Them ops was cluster-fucks. more screwed up than a whore's ...

You know Ken

A Grenada SEAL widow tells her story

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. ...

Real Seal: A look back at Vietnam

Why do I sometimes think of movies rather than Vietnam itself?

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 ...

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