SEALs and Delta lads find themselves working together in an infinite number of training scenarios. I’m put in mind of a particular event deep in the triple-canopy jungle of South America. We were paired up with the men of Seal Team Six who are smoking-good hands at riverine operations. We, Delta bros, took in as much knowledge as possible while the SEALs were amenable to teaching us their craft.
Many of us Army guys had come from combat dive teams and advanced waterborne operations. In some cases, there was an instance of delicate pride abounding in some Delta bros who came from such water-specialty teams.
“Swallow your pride, ya scurvy bilge rats; this is a great opportunity to learn the finer points of waterborne operation from the Father Land’s finest.” So many opinions there abounded from SEAL Team Six and Delta, and they were all piggish and… just… wrong. But then every night after training we all lounged about in our single-room, open-air shack and laughed away the tension between the two groups.
In the end, we all went our ways stateside, having made some decent friends between the two units.
A rather striking difference I noticed between the two cultures is how they treated live ammunition, blank fire ammunition, paint rounds, frangible projectiles. (The former three are non-lethal projectiles; frange can kill and is treated thusly.)
Once, we had to conduct a nighttime tactical insertion up a river in small assault rubber raiding boats. We pressed our boat’s nose to the shoreline to let out a two-man reconnaissance team to ensure the immediate area was secure. Suddenly, there was a loud *POP* from an accidental discharge, followed by two persons’ chuckles. We were horrified because Delta treats all ordnance like it is live and life-threatening.
As it turned out, it had been a SEAL who had the AD in our boat and laughed it off. That for me was an eye-opener regarding the differences between the two units and their attitude toward a negligent or accidental discharge of a weapon. For Delta, if a man accidentally discharged, he’d be gone for at least one year before he could reapply to the Unit. To the Navy, it was just a thing to be laughed about and brushed aside.
I’m not saying it was wrong; I’m just saying it was different.
The Delta men were appalled; the Navy men were chuckling away the incident – it was river-water under the bridge. We got over it and drove on with the training, having essentially learned another thing about the difference in cultures between the two services.
It was only about 75 meters from our shack to the river where there was a modest cove. The water stood almost still in the coves along the riverbank, so it was where we moored our combat boats when we weren’t using them. There, in the still water of the cove, we would also bathe and conduct personal hygiene.
One day, three of us Delta men were there in the bath area washing hair, brushing teeth, and the lot, when down from the slope to our shack came a brother SEAL who waded into where we were. Happy we were, in the relative comfort and safety of our river cove. We talked about this and that, forging the tone cordial and amicable.
“This river seems clean enough, you know?”
“Yeah, but the fact of the matter is that this river is wantonly polluted by the residents of the city on the cost. Raw sewage gets dumped into it and rides the current downstream from the coast… from former James Town and such areas.”
“That’s disgusting; it makes me want to get out now – or at least once done brushing my teeth. All of this talk about the pollution makes everything look like the raw stuff – turd logs and the like, ya know? Look at this shit right here that seems to have floated here just as you mention it.”
The group ceased its routine and rallied around the freshly appeared object at a comfortably safe distance. It was about a seven-inch brown cylindrical phenomenon.
“I don’t know… but all this talk about pollution and turds in the river has got me paranoid. Look at that thing and tell me it doesn’t look like a pinched loaf!”
Teeth brushing stopped amid stroke and all concerned stared down the deuce.
Or that should be everyone but our SEAL who sat crouched with water up to his neck and a shit-eating grin on his evil face. He grinned a satisfied grin and pushed the turd out toward the center of the circle of mortified men.
“Dude… why did you do that – you can’t be serious!”
It floated toward me forcing me to conduct some sweeping motions with my hands to float it away and back in the direction of the SEAL.
“Man, you’re not wrapped tight; you need help; you need Jesus, man!”
The SEAL push the poop back toward me by pushing more and more water my way. I answered back with gusto, pushed an even higher volume of poop water back at him.
“That’s enough,” I exclaimed and there came the end of this childish poop dual. “That’s the last of that, brother… we Army guys are particular about our health and bathwater,” I told the SEAL. “Save your shenanigans for when you are with the rest of your crew.” And there was nothing else left to be said.
Bygones were bygones after that episode and none of us were to suffer the same prank from any of our SEAL brothers. It was good to be king if even just only for one day in the South American Jungle, running for dear life from a turd.
By Almighty God and with honor,
Dedicated to US Navy SEAL Frumentarius.
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