African American SEAL Teaches Students: Push Past Limitations

Story Number: NNS091217-06Release Date: 12/17/2009 1:02:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
By Lt. Cmdr. Nikki Peoples

ATLANTA (NNS) -- One of the Navy's elite warriors demonstrated his commitment to giving back to the local community when he paid a weeklong motivational visit to African American students at a local high school and college in Atlanta from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class David Goggins, a role model for African American youth, addressed Morehouse College's faculty and student body offering leadership strategies and tips on pushing past mental and physical limits. He also visited South West DeKalb County High School and Peachtree Ridge High School where he instructed students currently on the wrestling, swimming, and track and field teams on training exercises.

The students seemed to immediately connect with Goggins' honest and humble approach when he shared some of his experiences while serving as a SEAL.

"I'm just human, and I've had to learn my lessons just like everyone else," Goggins said.

He shared that he had to overcome the adversity of losing his father to murder.

"Sometimes I would hear people say 'Man, Goggins looks solid.', but they didn't know that I was really broken down inside," Goggins said. "I was able to push through that because I made a decision to push through -- for myself, my family and those fallen heroes. It's amazing how if you tell yourself you've made a decision to finish something, your body can reset itself -- the pain starts to go away."

Among Goggins' many physical feats is his ability to run 203 miles in 48 hours. Goggins is also no stranger to competing in "extreme" events like the Badwater 135-miler, a run routed through Death Valley. He has also competed in the Furnace Creek 508, which is a 508-mile bike race he completed in 41 hours. A testament to his endurance, Goggins said he often completed physical feats while battling injuries including broken feet, torn muscles and kidney failure.

He's training now for the Race Across America, which will take him 3,000 miles from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., in less than nine days. He trains for more eight hours a day -- with three broken ribs.

Goggins admits he pushes himself to see what type of person he is in the face of a challenge but also feels his physical endurance assists him in being a military leader.

"Good leaders lead from the front and get their people to accomplish things they don't necessarily want to do," he said.

Goggins is well known for the annual support he provides in helping to raise money and awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. This program provides financial aid and counseling to the children of special operations Soldiers killed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, this foundation has raised more than $200,000.

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit

enior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Jason Torey, left, and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) David Goggins coach a prospective Sailor through pull ups.
090707-N-5366K-007 SEATTLE (July 7, 2009) Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Jason Torey, left, and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) David Goggins coach a prospective Sailor through pull ups during a live broadcast of the Q13 Fox News morning show with news anchor Mark Wright. Torey and Goggins appeared on the show to talk about the Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge, scheduled for Aug. 8 in Seattle. The Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge is a free event designed to promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle among Americans. The event consists of a 500-yard swim followed by push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and a 1.5-mile run. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michelle Kapica/Released)
July 8, 2009
Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click Subscribe to Navy News Service .