SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command teamed up with San Diego's Make-A-Wish Foundation March 16 to grant one child's wish of becoming a Navy SEAL for a day.
George Alvarado, a 15-year-old heart transplant patient from San Antonio, realized his dream of camouflage uniforms, high-speed boats, surf passage and the echo of automatic weapons as he spent an entire day enjoying the Navy SEAL experience.
"For the last two years he has been talking about being a Navy SEAL," said Amelia Alvarado, George Alvarado's mother. "This is all he talks about and all he watches on the television, and his goal in life is to be a part of this. This tour is an experience of a lifetime for him."
The day's events kicked off at the front gate of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., where a Humvee was stationed to retrieve Alvarado and transport him to NSW headquarters.
Commander, NSW, Rear Adm. Edward Winters greeted Alvarado as he arrived at NSW headquarters. Winters presented George with the uniform of the day - camouflage pants and blouse, boots and a Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL student helmet. Winters also gave Alvarado his mission orders to have fun and enjoy the experience.
Alvarado's buddy for the day was Chief Special Warfare Operator David Goggins, a SEAL who shares a unique bond with his new teenage friend.
"It was an honor to escort George around," said Goggins. "I know what he has gone through, as I've been through two heart surgeries myself. It felt good to show him around and give him an unforgettable day."
Alvarado's itinerary was packed with memorable events, as the doors to the world of maritime special operations were opened to him.
He enjoyed the opportunity to tour NSW training facilities, including up close and personal observations of weapons live fire and life saving techniques from the underwater observation deck of the combat training tank. He tested his mettle by participating in portions of the NSW obstacle course and joining a mixed crew of SEAL and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students as they rowed an inflatable boat through the San Diego Bay. Alvarado also had the rare opportunity to observe a regularly scheduled practice jump of the Navy Parachute Team and the pinnacle event of fulfilling his Navy SEAL wish - a ride on an 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat.
"My favorite part had to be the SWCC (Special Warfare Combatant Crewmember) boats," said Alvarado. "I felt like I might fall out, but it was so much fun!"
Alvarado's magical day concluded as Winters designated him as an "Honorary Frogman," an honor few civilians receive.
"It was an honor to host George at the Naval Special Warfare Command," said Winters. "His enthusiasm, positive attitude and 'can do' spirit are exactly what I expect of the SEALs today. He is a motivator to all of us, and it was a privilege to designate him an 'Honorary Frogman.' I'm proud to welcome George into the Naval Special Warfare community."
The "Wish Kids" are all beneficiaries of the Make-A-Wish Foundation's mission to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their life with hope, strength and joy.
For more news from Naval Special Warfare, visit www.navy.mil/local/nsw/.