Annual East Coast SEAL Reunion a Blast

Story Number: NNS070727-18Release Date: 7/27/2007 6:24:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn Whittenberger, Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The annual SEAL reunion was held at Little Creek Amphibious Naval Base July 19-22.

Held in different forms since 1968, the reunion is a chance for past and present frogmen to get together and share the experience with their families. The reunion is the closest thing Naval Special Warfare (NSW) has to a tiger cruise--which gives the families an opportunity to see what their loved ones do down range.

"This weekend I saw a guy I went through training with in 1963, and I hadn't seen him since the day we graduated. When we started talking it was like no time had passed. These guys are my family because of the bond we build in training," said Jack Lynch, president of the UDT-SEAL Association. "The reunion provides an avenue to share stories and experiences with others who have been through the same things, but it's mainly for the NSW families and sharing the experience with them."

The capabilities demonstration showed that the reunion's focus was on those who support NSW.

"To the families in the audience: we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting those men on the front lines of the War on Terror," said Commander Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) 2 Capt. Chaz Heron before the audience watched combat swimmers sneak up to the beach and plant charges.

The next skill showcased was the SEALs' ability to get in and out of an area quickly: a fastrope insertion and special purpose insertion and extraction (SPIE). A fastrope insertion involves a SEAL assault element sliding down a rope while the helicopter hovers anywhere from 10-100 feet above the ground. In a SPIE extraction, the element straps itself onto a rope dangling from a hovering helicopter.

As they flew over the audience, another helicopter swept in, dropping a combat-rubber raiding craft and another SEAL assault element into the water. Both SEAL assault elements demonstrated coming onto the beach before being loaded onto a MK V special operations craft.

A SEAL squad then simulated a desert patrol on the beach from behind the bleachers before taking simulated fire. While simultaneously extracting and providing covering fires, they called in air support. This showed how a special operations helicopter completes a strafing run, and how they would convince a particularly stubborn opposing force that taking out the patrol is harder than expected.

In between the applause for each evolution, the history of NSW was described. The finale, which topped the simulated gunfire from the aircraft and boats, was the sniper. He'd been hidden in the sand, and after blowing apart a watermelon serving as the head of a dummy, he revealed his location after being completely invisible for the hour and a half of the capabilities exercise.

Other events during the reunion included golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, a beach bash, running and swimming competitions and a reunion picnic.

The annual SEAL reunion also included the UDT-SEAL Association business meeting, where the Naval Special Warfare Foundation (NSWF) awarded 43 scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Working with the UDT-SEAL Association, the NSWF provides motivational support, promotes health and welfare programs and perpetuates the history and heritage of NSW. Along with providing more than $100,000 worth of scholarships annually, the foundation also provides tuition assistance supplements for active-duty Sailors supporting NSW.

NSWF also provides a helping hand to families who have suffered a loss by helping cover travel and hotel rooms for families to attend memorials, and works with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to provide those children with full scholarships, text books and room and board to the college of their choice.

"This reunion is very important to the entire NSW family," said NSWG-2 Command Master Chief Charles Williams. "The families bear a significant portion of the stresses from war deployments and the associated operational tempo our Sailors currently face. Even the training schedules require our people to spend a significant time away from loved ones. This is one way of sharing the SEAL brotherhood with our families, and showing them our appreciation and the enormous support network ready to help."

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Navy SEALs exit a helicopter before securing the beach during a capabilities demonstration at the annual East Coast SEAL reunion.
070721-N-8949D-002 NORFOLK, Va. (July 21, 2007) - Navy SEALs exit a helicopter before securing the beach during a capabilities demonstration at the annual East Coast SEAL reunion. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matt Daniels (RELEASED)
July 27, 2007
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