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4.8 out of 5 stars59
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on April 12, 2002
Dick Couch gives a great in depth perspective into BUD/S Training. he goes over all of the phases of BUD/S in this book. And I mean the 28 weeks of BUD/S, not the 6-month training after you graduate from BUD/S. Every phase is tough and everyone is nervous, some so nervous they dropped out even before the Indoc phase started. The instructors are nice, and understanding but firm when they have to be. The give the SEALs to be advice to follow to make BUD/S easier (not much easier though). Like when you swim in the pool stay near the bottom, this way you can hold your breath longer, and which ever boat crew wins the IBS race dosn't have to "push'em out" with the other teams, this teaches the SEALs that it pays to be a winner. It also gave me some perspectives that are hard to come by, if you make fun of a guy for quiting BUD/S they drill instructors make you pay, big time. I recomend this book for anyone who wants to join the Navy's elite SEAL teams, or anyone who is interested in SOF stuff at all. After reading this I now have more respect for the SEALs than I ever had before.
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on January 7, 2002
Dick Couch, a former SEAL, takes an in depth look at the BUD/S, the training school that future SEALs must go through. I am an avid Navy SEAL fan and have read as much as I can on the subject. This is THE book I would recomend if somebody asked me which ONE book they should read on SEALs. After having learned about what a SEAL must go through to earn his Trident Pin (the official point at which you are a SEAL) I only have more respect for those men.
As a former SEAL, Couch gets an unprecident look at this school. He is the only author I know of who has been allowed to truly document the training from Indoc (the first training session) all they way through their first deployment. You get a close look at the four phases of training and not only do you see WHAT they do, but Couch interviews many of the trainees and reveils what they are thinking and what keeps them going (or not as the case may be) despite being cold, wet, tired, hungry and in pain. What was especially interesting was the section on Hell Week. A period when the trainees must work for five straight days with only about four hours of sleep total. Of the 60 or so trainees who made it to the begining of Hell Week, only 15 or so made it out.
I consider this book a must have for anybody who is a SEAL buff. However, I also believe that it was a wider appeal as a look at the pysche of men who never, ever stop trying no matter how hard the situation.
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on December 17, 2001
The true story of how the world's toughest and best fighting teams are molded - one day at a time. It is an extremely well-written, fast-paced account giving us a rare glimpse into the making of Navy SEALS. The chapter on Hell Week alone is worth the price of admission.
This is one book where the journalistic and writing skills of the author places the reader smack in the middle of the action. I felt as if I was living the experience of the officer and enlisted trainees as they endured bitterly cold ocean temperatures, endless physical training, and numerous psychological uncertainties. The joy of graduation day for those who finish is impossible to fathom for an outsider, but the author managed to project the feelings and emotions to the extent that I was grinning and yelling HOOYAH in my living room!
Captain Couch has written an outstanding book that every American can be proud of. Its timing is obvious--no doubt some of the fine young men described in the book are laying it on the line in Afghanistan and points elsewhere as we speak. There are plenty of lessons for life and business within the story of SEAL Class 228--stuff that can be applied by everyone who strives to be the best, persevere, and contribute as a team player. Hopefully many of our esteemed civic and political leaders, present and future, will pick up a copy.
As for the graduates of SEAL Class 228 and their brethern, let's jusy say that after reading The Warrior Elite, I believe you will realize how fortunate we are to have them on our side.
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on November 29, 2001
CAPT Couch's account of the officers and men of BUD/S Class 228 is a masterpiece. The class, which began with 147 members and ended with only 10 original members graduating, is followed from Indoc through all three training phases to graduation and beyond. BUD/S training is the most strenuous and demanding in all the world's military and completing it is the first requirement for those aspiring to be SEALs. What most who have no experience with Navy Special Warfare don't know is that just finishing BUD/S does not make one a SEAL. The training, as CAPT Couch shows, never stops. Once assigned to a Team, there is still a probationary period and failing to meet standards can lead to expulsion. Gaining the coveted Trident (the SEAL pin, also called "The Bird") is no sure thing either; the fledgling warriors having to pass a review board of their peers.
This is not just another "gosh, what harsh training!" book. Told in a straight-forward style, the process is presented for what it is with no embellishment or histrionics. As good as the training descriptions are, the last chapter and epilogue are almost perfect evocations of the warrior ethos, its development, future and nurturing by leaders who have all been tested in the same way. The value of the experienced chiefs and senior petty officers is highlighted; truly they are the institutional knowledge of the Teams.
The SEALs I have known and worked with were all quiet professionals, dedicated men who did the hard things that their country demanded. The younger SEALs are the same: willing to go in harm's way, to risk death for all the right reasons. They are truly an elite, even among the other special operations forces. This book lets you know how they got to be the way they are.
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on March 15, 2003
First, I liked this book. The details of BUD/S training rigor and effort is unique among books on this subject. I am interested in SEALs because of their desire to win, their attention to detail, and their ability to do the unexpected and seemingly impossible. Overall, this books is much better than 95% of books about SEALs.
While the books provides great detail on Phases 1, 2 (including Hell Week), and 3, the chapters on Phase 4 and "Beyond the Basics" seemed to have been written in a weekend. As I got to this part in the book, I felt let-down based on the excellent coverage in the first part of the book. The material repeats itself in several places, especially towards the end. However, some topics (e.g., IAD) should have been expanded upon.
It's easy to stand on the sidelines and critique while the man in the arena writes the book. However, I believe that the book lacked a consistent level of detail. So, I am giving it four stars.
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on April 25, 2002
This chronicles an exhaustive review of modern day SeAL development and training. So much so that I had to take a "medical" from how well Captain Couch depicted every evolution, to every swollen joint and sleep deprived hallucination, these men kept going to accomplish the mission. One cannot but be floored by the level of dedication and commitment of these young men, to endure the most "hellacious" test of the human spirit. To be the best our Warriors have to put up with the worst. These men do it without any modern day pronouncements of political correctness, lowered standards based on race or ethnicity, or ashamedly no such notion of "an Army of one." These men win together, are the best and the brightest, and I thank God they are Americans. I wouldn't want to be be on the other side knowing there might be a few SeALs on the loose.
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on January 17, 2003
What the men in this book went through is amazing. You have to wonder if they are on the edge of insanity to put themselves through this. But they aren't They are driven by a need to be the best at what they do, to do more than is expected of them. To read what they put themselves through really humbled me. It made me look at my daily life in a new perspective. It makes me want to push myself to do more, to do better. If they can put themselves through that much torture than I can push myself too. If you like book on the military and special ops, this should be on the top of your list. From Indoc to Graduation, the book covers the full gauntlet of what the BUD/S trainees go through to have the privelge to be called a Navy Seal. Reading this book will let you understand why becoming a Navy Seal is the greatest honor in the military.
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on May 19, 2004
I am so impressed with the story told by Dick Couch about the training and selection process for Navy SEALs. He shows that guys who make it through 'Hell Week' are not just strong, tough guys who won't quit, they're lucky too. Avoiding injury through such physical stress is the real limiting factor for those who are mentally tough enough. The mental toughness though, that's the really fascinating part of the story. Every guy, in some part of his mind wonders, 'If it came down to it, do I have what it takes?' This book shows that Navy SEALs do! I wish I had this book when I was younger. I wouldn't be so cocky as to say that I could do this, but I would have loved to have tried. Great book for a young man, but entertaining for anyone. The trials that these warriors endure puts our every day complaints into perspective.
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on October 23, 2002
This the best book about the Navy SEAL's training that I have come across. In an unprecedented move they allow Dick Couch(ret.) to return to the training grounds as a reporter/writer. He goes through beginning to end with Class 228 and tells you everything they go through. And not only that he gets the trainees response by being able to interview them during the training! This isn't like most books where people try to remember how it was when they went through. There is also a great description of Hell Week in that he was allowed full access to the entire week (although he didn't manage to stay awake for the entire period). The instructors and trainees also ask Couch how things are different from when he went through the training. A must read if you like books about Navy SEALS or just want to know what they really go through.
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on December 19, 2001
I have read many books on the training of Navy SEAL's, and this is by far THE best that I have seen. The level of detail that Dick Couch goes to in describing the process of becoming a SEAL is incredible. Written from both the student's perspective, and the instructor's perspective, it gives you an amazing look at why the training is conducted the way it is. Most books leave you with the impression that surviving Hell Week is the end game. This book takes you through diving phase, as well as land warfare phase . It was amazing to me to learn that even some tough SOB's who made it through Hell Week, and even diving phase, get washed out in third phase as the standards go up. If you are thinking about becoming a SEAL, or just a SEAL enthusiast like me, this book is a must read!
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