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Excerpt from: The Awakening Of A Warrior: Past Lives Of A Navy SEAL Remembered

July 11th, 2014 mjaco No comments

The Awakening of a Warrior:

Past Lives of a Navy SEAL Remembered

Copyright 2014 Michael Jaco

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1497521262

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my soul mate and lovely wife, Tracy Jo. She has been a constant source of love, motivation, inspiration, support, and insight in many of my past lives and now in my current life.


Table of Contents

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Foreword

Introduction

Chapter I              King Yudhisthira during the Time When the Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita Were Written, 3500 BCE

Chapter II             How to Access Your Previous Incarnations

Chapter III           Pharaoh Menes’s Nubian Head Charioteer, 3100 BCE

Chapter IV            Egyptian Pharaoh Senusret I, Ruled from 1971–1926 BCE

Chapter V             With Patriarch Abraham as King Abimelech of Gerar, 1800 BCE

Chapter VI            Warrior Sage for Pharaoh Hatshepsut to Traditional Warrior for Pharaoh Thutmose III, 1480 BCE

Chapter VII          King Idomeneus of Crete with Hercules, Crew of the Argo, and at the Trojan War, 1520–1470 BCE

Chapter VIII         Pharaoh Akhenaton’s Warrior Priest, Heir to the Throne as Prince Nakhtmin, and Exodus with Moses, 1400–1350 BCE

Chapter IX           Benaiah, Son of Biblical Uriah, during King David’s and King Solomon’s Reign, Tenth Century BCE

Chapter X             Lycurgus of Sparta, Regent, Lawgiver, and Creator of the Commonwealth of Sparta, 820–730 BCE

Chapter XI           Numa Pompilius, Second King of Rome, 753–673 BCE

Chapter XII          Thales of Miletus, Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher, 624–546 BCE

Chapter XIII         A Jewish General in Captivity in Babylon, 587 BCE

Chapter XIV         Cyrus the Great, Unifier of the Persian Empire, 600–529 BCE

Chapter XV          Ananda, Personal Assistant of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, 500 BCE

Chapter XVI         Parmenides of Elea, Founder of the Eleatic School of Philosophy, 515–450 BCE

Chapter XVII        Themistocles, Greek Politician and General, 524–460 BCE

Chapter XVIII       Pausanias, Spartan General and Regent, 480 BCE

Chapter XIX         Marcus Furius Camillus, Second Founder of Rome, 446–365 BCE

Chapter XX          Thucydides, Athenian General and Historian, 460–411 BCE

Chapter XXI         Xenophon, Greek Historian, Author, Philosopher, and General, 430–355 BCE

Chapter XXII        Lysander, Spartan Admiral during the Peloponnesian War, 405 BCE

Afterword

Works Consulted


Acknowledgments

I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of Kevin Ryerson and his tireless efforts to enlighten humanity. This book would not have been possible without Kevin’s invaluable service as a trance channel. Kevin is a trance channel, which means that when he works, he goes into a meditative state or trance and allows spirit beings to speak through him. Kevin has worked with the famous actress Shirley MacLaine for more than thirty years and is featured in four of her books. Kevin’s own intuitive observations during our many enjoyable conversations together have also led me to research and uncover further past life insights.

I would also like to acknowledge my friend in several former lives, Ahtun Re. In my first channeled session with Kevin, Ahtun Re told me at the end of our conversation that we had been friends in previous lifetimes. Ahtun Re’s last incarnation occurred approximately 3,350 years ago when he served as a high priest and adviser to Pharaoh Akhenaton in 1379–1362 BCE. Ahtun Re still seems like a friend to me, and I enjoy his humor and unique perspectives that have helped me grow my intuitive insights into past lifetimes.

I’d also like to thank Rebecca Shaw of Charleston Hypnosis Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Past life regression is easy and available to everyone, and Rebecca showed me just how rewarding a regression session could be. My regression sessions with Rebecca were instrumental in opening the doors to many of my past lives and continue to do so today. Rebecca’s professionalism and easygoing nature put me at ease and were major factors in making this work possible.


Foreword

Reincarnation has captured the imagination of many in the West and is gaining in popularity across a broad spectrum of ideas and thought. The concept of reincarnation has long been a belief and accepted reality in much of the East for thousands of years, all the way into the present. In the West, the idea of past lives currently receives regular mention in feature films, television, popular books, and popular music.

I believe that many of us that are attracted to certain time periods, eras, lifestyles, people, cultures, and geographic locations on the planet and are very likely having memories of past lives filter into our current reality. We may meet a particular person we have never seen or met before, and upon eye contact or briefly speaking with that person, we have a strong affinity or attraction to them. Perhaps we have known them in a past life or even in many lives and are now reconnecting with them. We may travel to a different location or city that we have never been to before and surprise ourselves in our ability to get around with no problem while others are completely lost. Perhaps we have had a life or several lives in that city before.

More and more people are accepting the possibility of reincarnation, and as the information age continues to undercut and erode old dogmas and outmoded ways of thinking, we will see this process accelerate.

In my last book, The Intuitive Warrior, I wrote about how the energy of love has begun to influence everything in my life. In this book, I will give an account of how my lives as priests developed the aspect of love I talked about in The Intuitive Warrior. I’ll describe how the variation between warrior and priest lifetimes provided the necessary balance for me to get to the point where I was able to utilize the skills of an intuitive warrior. I’ll give you my own personal lifetimes as an example of how we deal with power and how we come back again and again to perfect different aspects of ourselves until we achieve self-mastery. Once we’ve achieved mastery of a particular aspect, we then move on to another aspect and so on until we have developed mastery of all aspects of power.

If we look at the perspective of any two people who witness the same event, they will invariably have a different view. This could be due to their different vantage points at the scene, different educational levels, their ability to articulate words, their upbringing, their political or religious views, as well as a myriad of other factors. Do not get wrapped up in my views because they are only meant to inform. Any reference to living families is not meant to draw favor or to get into any kind of relationship from former lives. I do not mean to intrude, insult, or draw any unnecessary attention to living relatives of my former lives. Nor do I intend to curry favor or influence anyone in anything other than to inspire and motivate others in their own personal search for past life information.

Many of the viewpoints from my own perspective of history may not fit with particular recognized stories or with the way history has been written. History is often written and shaped by the victors or by those with an agenda that does not include promoting what the truth really is. History is occasionally retold incorrectly or completely forgotten through suppression or fabrication. But we can make progress in discerning the truth amid the fog of time in which history has been forgotten, misinterpreted, or manipulated, if we are open to a variety of sources. Memories of former lives from many different people can come forth spontaneously or through different practices and may help to uncover the true history of an era or certain events. I believe, at some point in the near future, past life insights will be commonly recognized and considered a potential part of research into historical events.

Some of the lives I’ve lived are hard to trace, and specific proof is not always readily available by current scientific standards. I’ve tried, to the best of my ability, to hold all of my information to the light of truth. I have also tried, to the best of my ability, to triangulate from different sources, which include historical evidence, experts on the subject, and actual data that has survived through time.

My desire and my intent for writing this book are to spark an interest and perhaps stimulate an awakening in many to their own past lives and how these past lives have shaped and molded them over time. I firmly believe that our entire collective past lives have shaped and guided humanity in its entirety to this current point in time. I did not write this book out of an egotistical need to show how I have lived the life of kings and great conquerors. I have used historically significant figures to draw interest and to show a pattern throughout many lifetimes that can be cross-referenced and validated for those that are skeptical. I am aware that my best efforts at convincing some will likely never be enough. My true desire is to educate humanity and further our collective advancement through a medium that is highly rewarding when approached with a desire to be informed.

So what does learning about past lives do for you personally? Think about your current life and how your experiences in this life have developed you into the person you are today. All of the challenges, frustrations, victories, joys, and moments of love and bliss are all part of who you are today. At unprompted times, some of these distant memories flash before you. A piece of your life will appear, and, if focused upon, a whole stream of memories will spill forth. Now think of the possibility that on the farthest side of your earliest memories exist even more memories. Myriad memories, in fact, and, if you could tap into these, they would reveal amazing things about who you are. Some of these memories would open up the possibility of skills and abilities that would vastly improve your life if you could tap into this treasure trove of information again.

You could possibly remember moments in history that have long been forgotten but would immeasurably improve the knowledge of humanity. This is actually starting to happen with many individuals all over the planet. You could remember an architectural technique that would allow homes to be built cheaper and last longer. Keep in mind that science still doesn’t understand how many of the very ancient structures on Earth were built with such precision, and we are still in the process of decoding the sophisticated geometrical, astronomical, and arithmetical knowledge within the architecture of those structures. The list of possible uses of past life memories is long, and your imagination is the only limit as to what they could offer you and all of humankind as well.

The benefits are potentially many and can include everything from releasing past traumas that may be influencing your current life to achieving an understanding of why you are attracted to certain people, places, or things. Knowledge of a past life can give you insight as to why you are passionate and driven in certain areas and completely averse to other aspects of life. If we can come to a realization that we have had incarnations as people from many different races, cultures, and religions, and that we have been poor, rich, noble, peasants, slaves, male, and female, would we still have the number of wars and conflicts with each other that we have at the moment?

The information in this book has taken me nearly half a century of research and introspection to come to. I’m completely convinced of reincarnation after having read dozens of books, had several past life readings, and experienced many synchronistic events that pointed me to my final conclusion that we all reincarnate. One of the aims of this book is to condense my own intensive personal research over the last several decades so that you can come to your own conclusions much faster than I did. I confidently believe that, if you don’t currently believe in reincarnation, you simply have not investigated this topic thoroughly enough yet. Therefore, you have no cogent evidence, which is unfortunate because past life knowledge is extremely enlightening in a multitude of ways. This book will give you the proof if you are remotely open to it.

In my opinion and in the opinion of many advanced thinkers throughout time, the evidence is overwhelming and irrefutably in favor of spiritual transmigration. If we were to set up a trial of reincarnation in a court of law for perjury, which is defined as the deliberate and willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath, it would be found not guilty. Whether you now believe in reincarnation, are curious but on the fence, or have no belief at all, you will find this book, at a minimum, entertaining, thought-provoking, and persuasive, if not downright enlightening and transformative.


Introduction

I began to have thoughts about the possibility of past lives when I was quite young. Around age eleven, my parents allowed me to stay up late and watch the movie Patton with them on the televised Sunday night movie. George C. Scott’s Oscar-winning performance as the American general and tank commander during World War II absolutely fascinated me. I was especially intrigued when he mentioned in the movie that he’d had past lives. Patton himself immortalized his feelings about reincarnation in a poem, whose verses are truly mesmerizing.

So as through a glass and darkly,

The age long strife I see,

Where I fought in many guises,

Many names, but always me.

So forever in the future,

Shall I battle as of yore,

Dying to be born a fighter,

But to die again, once more.

Reincarnation, which literally means “to be made flesh again,” is the belief that the soul, after the death of the body, comes back to Earth in another body. My understanding is that, a new personality is developed during each life in the physical world, but the soul remains constant throughout the successive lifetimes.

As I matured, I continually came across literature and great works by many people from all times who had believed in past lives. Among them was the industrial trailblazer Henry Ford, who said, I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was twenty-six. Genius is experience. Some think to seem that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives.”

Over time I found more interesting quotes from other well-known people that made me ponder the possibility that I may have had past lives as well. Powerful leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi in India, would have me pause and meditate on quotes like, I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace.”

The accomplished writer Ralph Waldo Emerson similarly stated, The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew as it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal. It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterward return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals—and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise.”

Another contemporary of Emerson and one of my favorites as a boy, after I read the classic book Walden, was Henry David Thoreau who said, “Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil—coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes served as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932. Noted for his long service, his concise and pithy opinions, and his deference to the decisions of elected legislatures, he is one of the most widely cited US Supreme Court justices in history. Emerson’s words deeply impressed him, as he said, Emerson was an idealist in the Platonic sense of the word, a spiritualist as opposed to a materialist. He believed, he says, as the wise Spenser teaches,’ that the soul makes its own body. This, of course, involves the doctrine of preexistence; a doctrine older than Spenser, older than Plato or Pythagoras, having its cradle in India, fighting its way down through Greek philosophers and Christian fathers and German professors, to our own time.”

Many different leaders within several diverse and varied fields would come to deeper insights of our world and share them with us, like Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, an Islamic Sufi poet of the thirteenth century. Rumi, who is my favorite poet of all time, said, “I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as a plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?” Along these lines, he expressed his perspective on the idea that we migrated down as souls to the lowest denominator to experience all of existence through countless incarnations. In this manner, we work our way up through first mineral form, then plant, then animal, and now as humans. But even now as humans, we are still evolving into a higher form of existence. The evolutionary process is in a constant state of flux.

Among the earliest known religious teachings in the world today are the Vedic Hindu scriptures, which state that the soul is immortal while the body is subject to birth, decay, old age, and death. An essential part of these scriptures are the Upanishads, where the term karma originated, which is intricately linked with the idea of reincarnation. In Christianity, the principle of karma is described in the saying “as you sow so shall you reap.” Karma literally means action; it is the product of one’s actions and the force that constantly determines one’s destiny and sets the stage for the next reincarnation. The cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma, is referred to as samsara. Many religious leaders throughout time believed in reincarnation and spoke openly of it with their followers.

Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became known as Buddha (563–483 Before Current Era, BCE), offered the following on reincarnation: Samsara—the Wheel of Existence, literally the Perpetual Wandering’—is the name by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down, the symbol of this continuous process of ever again and again being born, growing old, suffering, and dying. It is constantly changing from moment to moment, as lives follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time. Of this Samsara, a single lifetime constitutes only a vanishingly tiny fraction.”

The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the leader of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the fourteenth recognized reincarnation of the same soul and the inheritor of a rich tradition and culture, which started with Gendun Drup (1391–1474 Current Era, CE). This fascinating reincarnation story has been ongoing for over six hundred years! Before he dies, the Dalai Lama will meditate on his next incarnation and give the upper echelon of the Gelugpa monks clues as to what he sees through the eyes of his next incarnated self as a two- or three-year-old. After his death, the monks will start their own meditation on the location of the Dalai Lama’s next incarnation, and then they will faithfully search for him. The monks correlate where he is located through previous clues and their own meditations over a two-to-three-year period. They will then travel to the general location and narrow down the potential children through a purposefully designed process of tests to find the true successor.

The monks then present several artifacts from the previous Dalai Lama’s life to the children in question, such as an old worn toy that he had enjoyed, but they will also present a new and shiny one. The right child picks his previous toy and other artifacts such as prayer beads, staffs, and so on for a count of around ten different objects or questions. Satisfied, they ask for the child from the honored parents, and he is brought up as the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama. So far, this has always happened in Tibet, but the current Dalai Lama said that he would probably not reincarnate in what is now China and that he might even come back as a woman, “but a beautiful one!” he said jokingly.

The Dalai Lama wrote, in the preface of the book The Case for Reincarnation by Joe Fisher, that “reincarnation is not an exclusively Hindu or Buddhist concept, but it is part of the history of human origin. It is proof of the mind stream’s capacity to retain knowledge of physical and mental activities. It is related to the theory of interdependent origination and to the law of cause and effect.”

In all three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, there are several references to reincarnation. Josephus, the best-known Jewish historian from the time of Jesus, said that “all pure and holy spirits live on in heavenly places, and in course of time they are again sent down to inhabit righteous bodies.” Other spiritual insights would follow from masters like Yeshua, who is commonly referred to as Jesus. In the account of John 3:3, he said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” In the Pistis Sophia, which is part of the Gnostic Gospels, Yeshua is quoted as saying that “souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of bodies of the world.”

While fasting and in deep meditation in a mountain cave outside of Mecca, an area in present-day Saudi Arabia, the prophet Muhammad received messages from Allah through his messenger Archangel Gabriel. In the Holy Qur’an, we find the verses, And Allah hath caused you to spring forth from the Earth like a plant; Hereafter will He turn you back into it again, and bring you forth anew” and “God generates beings, and sends them back over and over again, till they return to Him.”

Scientific proof of reincarnation is also coming from many different sources. I have read many books by Dr. Ian Stevenson (October 31, 1918–February 8, 2007), who was the former head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia. Before he passed, he was the director of the Division of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia and, over forty years, compiled several thousand cases of reincarnation from all over the world. In his book Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, he gives very credible accounts of children who remembered past lives that he had personally researched.

It is known that the Egyptians believed in reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul from body to body. This was one of the main reasons why they embalmed and preserved the body, so that it could journey along with “Ka,” an animating force that was believed to be an energetic counterpart of the body, the equivalent to what we understand as the soul. This establishes the concept of reincarnation back to the ancient Egyptian religion in 3750 BCE, but many think the concept dates back even further.

A contemporary of Siddhartha Gautama was the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, who taught that the soul is immortal and merely residing in the body, surviving its physical death. His teachings also held that the soul goes through a series of rebirths during which the soul rests between every death and rebirth, where it is further purified in the underworld. The purpose of this continuous process is for the soul to evolve to the point where it can eventually leave the transmigration or reincarnation cycle.

Countless philosophers have discussed the idea of reincarnation such as Socrates (469–399 BCE), who is one of the most acknowledged philosophers of all time. He stated that he was confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence.”

Plato (427–347 BCE), another renowned Greek philosopher who was taught by Socrates and in turn taught Aristotle, shared similar views as Pythagoras about the eternal nature of the soul of man in that it is preexistent and wholly spiritual.

The early Christian philosopher Origen (185–254 CE), is considered one of the most prominent of all of the church fathers. In his Contra Celsum, he states, “A soul enters into a body according to its former actions and then changes body.”

The Latin philosopher Saint Augustine (354–430 CE) was greatly influenced by neo-Platonism, which revolves around the idea of a single supreme being or source of goodness from which all other things in the universe descend. Neo-Platonists support the idea of a world soul, or anima mundi, which bridges the divide between the realm of forms and the realm of intangible existence. Saint Augustine is deemed one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, and in the Contra Academicos, he said, The message of Plato’s reincarnation is the purest and most luminous of all philosophy.”

Truth has a wonderful way of coming back full circle into the forefront of the collective consciousness. The knowledge of reincarnation and the self-realization that it initiates have been lost or suppressed for centuries in many cultures and religions, but now humanity’s awareness is inexorably on its way to setting things straight. You may decide for yourself, as I did over time, that reincarnation is part of who and what we are as spiritual beings having a human experience over many lifetimes.

My thoughts on reincarnation and how we can benefit from our personal studies of past lives are multifaceted. Pulling in the added wisdom and experiences from another lifetime could help expand your horizon in many different ways. You might be able to figure out why you are actually here in this particular life and what you may need to do in order to progress and be more fulfilled. Learning what you have done wrong in past lives could motivate you to not repeat those mistakes in this life.

The awareness of past lives and my connection to them in this life have been part of my own spiritual awakening, a process of awakening that I believe everyone will eventually encounter as they progress on the spiritual path. To deny or suppress this integral part of spiritual ascension of consciousness is to impede or negate one’s own right as a soul in passage through the human experience. It is with this concept of our rights as soul entities that I relate my own personal experiences in the hope that it will enhance or awaken your own personal spiritual development and intuition.

As Edgar Cayce wrote, “In time, we who are trapped in the cycle of birth and rebirth can once again come to know our original state and purpose, and regain our celestial birthright as a companion to God. In time, we can again come to realize that the conditions in our current life are the result of our free actions and choices from past lives.”


I

King Yudhisthira during the Time When the Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita Were Written, 3500 BCE

Even this is my vow steadily pursued, that I never give up a person that is terrified, nor one that is devoted to me, nor one that seeks my protection, saying that he is destitute, nor one that is afflicted, nor one that has come to me, nor one that is weak in protecting oneself, nor one that is solicitous of life. I shall never give up such a one till my own life is at an end.

—King Yudhisthira

The setting was in ancient India in the sumptuous palace of the Pandava clan in the Northern city of Hastinapur. The malice of the rival Kaurava clan was displayed as they took advantage of the eldest clan member King Yudhisthira, who was involved in a deceitful game of dice. The game of dice was an ancient game that determined the direction a person’s life was taking. If a person had an honorable and virtuous life, then that would reflect in the dice or cards. But if the dice were loaded, as was the case for this game, it wouldn’t matter how virtuous or deserving one was. Yudhisthira, being a man of dharma, or in accord with cosmic law and order, had never lost at dice before. The materialistic Duryodhana of the Kaurava clan was using specifically cursed dice to foil and take advantage of the Pandavas.

Yudhisthira, thus, lost his kingdom, all his brothers, himself, and even the Pandavas’ common wife Draupadi as he gambled on. The Kauravas then humiliated the Pandavas and even tried to publicly disrobe Draupadi, who could only be saved by their enlightened cousin Krishna. Dhritarashtra, who was the patriarch of the Kaurava clan, realized that the game had gone too far, and, in order to prevent his son from being cursed by Draupadi, he begged him to nullify the gambling score, but Duryodhana only agreed to one more game.

The loser would have to go into the wilderness, where he would have to stay twelve years in exile followed by one year hidden in disguise. If the other party should discover him during that year, he would forever forfeit all he had lost for the previous twelve years. As the dice were still loaded, Yudhisthira lost this game as well, and the Pandavas were driven into exile. Perhaps this is why I’ve never had a desire to gamble in my current lifetime! In fact, I have found no evidence of gambling throughout all the many lives I’ve researched. Some hard-won lessons last, not only for a lifetime, but also throughout eternity.

The story unfolds in the great literary work called the Mahabharata, the longest epic poem in the world and described as the longest poem ever written. About 1.8 million words in total, The Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the next greatest Indian epic, the Ramayana. The importance of the Mahabharata to world civilization has been compared to that of the Bible, the works of Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Qur’an.

Krishna, an incarnation of the godhead, was a youthful prince and the cousin of both clans, but he was a friend and adviser to the Pandavas. Krishna was the divine incarnation in physical form of the supreme deity of Hinduism, Vishnu. He served as my brother Arjuna’s mentor and later as his charioteer in the great war against the Kauravas. Within the greater work of the Mahabharata is the Bhagavad Gita, which focuses on the thoughts of Arjuna and his discussion with Krishna before the great battle of Kurukshetra. One of the great gifts for humanity to be derived from the story in the Bhagavad Gita are the many life lessons and philosophical insights into human behavior that are interwoven within the greater story.

I’ve personally found, while reading the Mahabharata, that it is not just another tale of endless human drama, but it is filled with a treasure trove of political wisdom, philosophical insights, and religious beatitudes, and it is an overall captivating work of literary art.

In an earlier account, it is said that, prior to the Kurukshetra War, the two heroes meet the god Vishnu after flying across oceans in Krishna’s chariot. Krishna and Arjuna had both been rishis or wise sages together in a previous lifetime. Krishna told Arjuna that they had been brought together again to restore dharma on Earth. Vishnu then spoke and said that Krishna represented wisdom and Arjuna was action. One without the other was useless. Wisdom was useless without action, and action was useless without wisdom. You can only succeed in a battle when both are utilized in synergy.

Easily the most dramatic figure of the entire Mahabharata, Krishna was considered the supreme personality of the godhead himself, descended to Earth in human form to reestablish his devotees as caretakers of Earth and teach the practice of dharma. These godlike men would incarnate periodically throughout the ages in different cultures to help advance mankind.

Dharma is regarded as natural law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. It is a concept that has run throughout every religion throughout time. As well as referring to law in the universal or abstract sense, dharma designates the behaviors considered necessary for the maintenance of the natural order of things. Therefore dharma may encompass ideas such as duty, vocation, religion, and everything that is considered correct, proper, or decent behavior.

The idea of dharma as duty or propriety derives from an idea found in India’s ancient legal and religious texts that there is a divinely instituted natural order of things. Justice, social harmony, and human happiness require that human beings discern and live in a manner appropriate to the requirements of that order. For Krishna, there cannot be dharma without the spirit of generosity, because laws and rules are worthless without genuine love.

Once exiled to the forests, the five brothers of the Pandava clan are assisted throughout the story by various gods, sages, and Brahmins, including the great sage Krishna. During this journey, after they have lost everything, they turn within themselves for answers and learn many lessons of spiritual significance in the secluded and beautiful forests. This contrasts markedly with the Kaurava clan that is materialistic and has no dharma in the pursuit of outer pleasure and gratification. This has parallels throughout time.

Who were the five Pandava brothers and what have been their incarnations throughout time? As the eldest brother, I was Yudhisthira. The strong and powerful Bhima would be the future incarnations of Hercules and more recently General Patton. Arjuna would be the future incarnation of Alexander the Great. The twin brothers Nakula and Sahadeva are currently alive as motivational speakers and successful authors of self-help books. They have even appeared on stage together in a television special featuring their work as new age spiritual masters.

The Pandavas managed to remain undetected for the entire thirteen years and then set out to claim their rightful kingdom. They tried to find a peaceful and diplomatic way to get this accomplished, and Krishna’s elder brother Balarama advised the Pandavas to send an emissary to get the support of the elders of the family. The Kauravas were brought a message saying, “Let us avoid armed conflict as much as possible. Only that which is accrued in peace is worthwhile. Out of war, nothing but wrong can issue.”

While the emissary was in the Kaurava court, the Pandavas wisely began with war preparations. They realized that Duryodhana would probably not be willing to be true to his word after he had cheated and conspired against them before. They also sent messages requesting assistance to a number of neighboring kingdoms. Their ambassador of peace was insulted and turned away by Duryodhana, who was absolutely intent on war, defying the counsel of the elders like Bhishma, who had agreed with the reasoning behind the Pandavas’ proposal. After several failed attempts at peace, war seemed inevitable.

As a last attempt, Krishna traveled to the capital city of Hastinapur to persuade the Kauravas to embark upon a peaceful path with him, but, at the formal presentation of the peace proposal by Krishna at the court of Hastinapur, his peace proposals were ignored, and Duryodhana publicly ordered his soldiers to arrest Krishna. Krishna laughed and displayed his divine form, radiating intense light. The soldiers then refused to arrest Krishna and did not stand in his way as he left.

The Kurukshetra War lasted only eighteen days, eighteen conch shells were blown before the battle, the text has eighteen chapters, and eighteen groups of soldiers were involved, eleven on the side of the Kauravas and seven on the side of the Pandavas. The cross total of eighteen is nine, which in numerology is a completion number and could be a clue to this having been the end of one age and the start of another. Many sages have said that the end of the Kurukshetra War was the start of the fourth age or Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is supposedly the darkest age for humanity and is ended with a return to a golden age. I believe we are just entering the faint edges of a new golden age in our present day.

Kurukshetra was purposefully chosen as the battleground, because, if a sin was committed on this holy land, it was forgiven on account of the sanctity of the land. A number of ancient kingdoms would participate as allies of the rival groups, and overall each army consisted of several divisions of which the Kauravas had eleven while the Pandavas controlled seven.

Each division was under a different general, apart from the commander-in-chief, who was the head of each respective army. A division included 21,870 chariots and chariot riders, 21,870 elephants and riders, 65,610 horses and riders, and 109,350 foot soldiers, for a ratio of 1:1:3:5. The combined number of warriors and soldiers in both armies was approximately four million.

Let me give you an idea of the magnitude of the number of combatants involved. If you took all of the two largest military forces in the world, China and the United States, in the period of January 2014 and combined their total numbers, it would still be several hundred thousand shy. That is all the army, navy, air force, and marine personnel of both sides; if you put them all on one battlefield, plus another three hundred thousand allies, you would finally reach the four million of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

Because the Pandava army was smaller than that of the Kauravas, it relied on strategy and surprise. At various times during the Kurukshetra War, the supreme commanders of both armies ordered special formations. Each formation had specific defensive or offensive purposes as well as specific strengths and weaknesses. These battle formations had been developed on Atlantis after thousands of years of tactical warfare. Later in this chapter, I will go into more detail about the significance of the Atlantean history in regard to the events in India.

Today we know only the names of the formations and can only guess what they were exactly. My memories are that they were designed for large numbers of forces fighting in unison and displayed the shape or the characteristics of the different animals or other items they were named after. At times, it was common for animals to join forces with men to fight wars. We all know about the use of elephants and horses in warfare, but, in the course of history, almost every species of animal has become involved in some way.

The Mahabharata lists the following battle formations: heron formation, crocodile formation, tortoise or turtle formation, trident formation, wheel or discus formation, lotus formation, eagle formation, ocean formation, galaxy formation, diamond or thunderbolt formation, box or cart formation, demon formation, divine formation, needle formation, horned formation, crescent or curved blade formation, and garland formation.

Julius Caesar also mentions using the turtle formation in his commentaries, which was formed by interlocking shields on the top and along the sides. It was a defensive move inspired by the hard shell of the turtle, which protects the animals’ soft inner tissue from predators, hence the name. The Korean navy also used “turtle ships” shaped like the shell of a turtle effectively from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries CE.

During the Kurukshetra War, the weapons used included bows and arrows, which were the weapons of choice for Arjuna and Bhishma; the mace, chosen by Bhima and Duryodhana; and the sword and the spear chosen by Yudhisthira. I have chosen the spear or lance in many lifetimes as a weapon of choice. The twins Nakula and Sahadeva were both skilled swordsmen.

Before the battle began, my brother Arjuna had misgivings on waging war and confided his deep-seated hesitations to his chariot driver, Krishna. From their conversations within the greater work of the Mahabharata is the more famous and recognizable Bhagavad Gita. Within this particular work are described the reasons for the Kurukshetra War and the duty and honor that Arjuna would be recognized for by having fought. Krishna explains that, without the war, the barbaric actions of the Kauravas would throw the world into deeper levels of darkness that would take even more effort to overcome in future ages. This has echoes throughout history with the most recent being Nazi Germany’s Third Reich.

The Kurukshetra War was characterized by numerous individual combats, as well as mass raids against entire enemy divisions. The victor or the vanquished on each day was determined, not by any territories gained, but by the number killed. This was a war to the death. The survivor would be the victor. If the text is taken to be chronologically accurate, this was one of the bloodiest wars in the history of mankind. Only a few warriors from each side would remain, meaning that close to four million combatants were killed in only eighteen days.

Indications are that many of the surrounding cities and regions of India were also involved; my estimation is that the casualty rate could have easily been as high as several million people there as well. We can tell, through recent archaeology, that more than one million people could have inhabited cities in India’s ancient past. If we look at the population today, throughout the entire region, it would be well over this figure. So it is not impossible to believe that, at one time, this area was able to support these numbers as it does today.

I believe that the high number of casualties in the surrounding regions is due to the fact that their cities were attacked with nuclear weapons or, at least, something similar. I’m fully aware of the implications of this statement, and I will present substantial evidence supporting this claim. But first I want to cover more of the actual accounts in the texts. Try to keep an open mind when considering that our very distant ancestors would not have used the same terms for advanced technology that we use today, simply because we invented the terms we currently use—but maybe we were not the first to invent these technologies.

For instance, one account on the third day tells us that Bhishma arranged the Kaurava forces in the formation of an eagle with himself leading from the front, while Duryodhana’s forces protected the rear. Bhishma wanted to be sure to avoid any mishap. The Pandavas countered this by using the crescent formation with Bhima and Arjuna at the head of the right and the left wings, respectively. The Kauravas concentrated their attack on Arjuna’s position, whose chariot was soon covered with arrows and javelins. Arjuna, with amazing skill, built a fortification around his chariot with an unending stream of arrows from his bow. This sounds like a description of some type of force field technology that is only science fiction today, but who knows what we may come up with in the future or what is already being developed in secret?

Another fantastic story with indications of high technology occurs on the fourteenth day of the war when Ghatotkacha was summoned by Bhima to fight on the Pandava side. Invoking his magical powers, he wrought great havoc in the Kaurava army. In particular, after the battle continued on past sunset, his powers were most effective. Ghatotkacha had received the ultimate boon from Krishna that nobody in all the worlds could match his magical capabilities, except Krishna himself. So it seems that the text is referring to the use of aircraft with advanced weaponry and night-vision capability because apparently it worked better at night.

At one point in the battle, the Kaurava leader Duryodhana appealed to his best fighter, Karna, to kill Ghatotkacha as the whole Kaurava army was coming close to annihilation due to his ceaseless strikes from the air. Karna possessed a divine weapon called Indrastra, granted by the god Indra. It could be used only once, and Karna had been saving it for his archenemy Arjuna, the best Pandava fighter.

But unable to refuse Duryodhana, Karna used the Indrastra against Ghatotkacha and killed him. Ghatotkacha increased in size and fell dead on the Kaurava army, killing thousands of them. This is considered to be the turning point of the war. After his death, the Pandava counselor Krishna smiled as he considered the war to have been won for the Pandavas now that Karna no longer had a divine weapon to use in fighting Arjuna.

Another indicator of remaining Atlantean technology was that the craft was also able to singlehandedly destroy so much of the Kaurava army. Karna fired what appears to be one of the last remaining surface-to-air missiles. When Ghatotkacha’s craft crashed down, it increased in size and killed thousands. It appears to have contained some type of advanced weaponry that had a tremendous blast radius when it was destroyed.

The references in the Mahabharata to technologically advanced flying chariots are absolutely abundant. They are referred to as the vimanas, and they are also mentioned throughout the Vedic epic Ramayana, which predates the Mahabharata by thousands of years. There it reads, “The Pushpaka chariot that resembles the sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravan; that aerial and excellent chariot going everywhere at will…that chariot resembling a bright cloud in the sky…and the king [Rama] got in, and the excellent chariot at the command of the Raghira rose up into the higher atmosphere.”

Adding up all the different ancient sources, there were, at least, four different types of vimanas, some of which were said to be saucer-shaped and others like long cigar-shaped cylinders. They were also described as double-decked, circular, cylindrical aircraft with portholes and a dome. They flew with the “speed of the wind” and gave forth a “melodious sound.” Ancient Indian texts on vimanas are so numerous that it would take several books to relate what they all have to say. The Vaimanika Shastra, the “treatise on vimanas,” has eight chapters with diagrams describing the operation of vimanas, including information on the steering, precautions for long flights, protection of the airships from storms and lightning, and how to switch the drive from a free energy source, which sounds like “antigravity,” to “solar energy.” It outlines the features of three types of aircraft, including apparatuses that could neither catch on fire nor break. It also mentions thirty-one essential parts of these vehicles and sixteen light- and heat-absorbing materials from which they were constructed.

The Vedas describe the vimanas as the flying chariots of the gods that they used to transport themselves not only around the skies but also to other planets. The word airplane is commonplace in Vedic literature, as you can see in the following passage from the Yajur Veda where it says, “O royal skilled engineer, construct sea-boats, propelled on water by our experts, and airplanes, moving and flying upward, after the clouds that reside in the midregion, that fly as the boats move on the sea, that fly high over and below the watery clouds. Be thou, thereby, prosperous in this world created by the Omnipresent God, and flier in both air and lightning.”

In the Sanskrit Samarangana Sutradhara, it is written, “Strong and durable must the body of the vimana be made, like a great flying bird of light material. Inside one must put the mercury engine with its iron heating apparatus underneath. By means of the power latent in the mercury, which sets the driving whirlwind in motion, a man sitting inside may travel a great distance in the sky. The movements of the vimana are such that it can vertically ascend and descend, movement could be accomplished by slanting forward and backward. With the help of the machines human beings can fly in the air and heavenly beings can come down to Earth.”

Not far from India, in the Euphrates Valley, a Jewish ethnologist, Yonah ibn Aharon, who was conversant with all the basic dialects upon which most languages of eastern Eurasia are founded and who produced the first and only Basrai-Aramaic dictionary, discovered two remarkable documents. The oldest document is Babylonian and is believed to be seven thousand years old, forming a part of the Hakaltha, the “holy laws,” and containing a passage saying, “The privilege of operating a flying machine is great. The knowledge of flight is among the most ancient of our heritages, a gift from Those Upon High. We received it from them as a means of saving many lives.”

A little more than ten years ago, the Chinese discovered some Sanskrit documents in Lhasa, Tibet, and sent them to the University of Chandrigarh in Punjab, India, to be translated. There Dr. Ruth Reyna of the university found out that the documents seemed to contain directions for building interstellar spaceships. Their method of propulsion, she said, was “anti-gravitational” and was based upon a system analogous to that of laghima, a mysterious power of the ego existing in man’s physiological makeup, “a centrifugal force strong enough to counteract all gravitational pull.” According to Hindu yogis, it is this laghima that enables a person to levitate.

Dr. Reyna said that on board these machines, which were called astras by the text, the ancient Indians could have sent a detachment of men onto any planet, according to the document, which is thought to be thousands of years old. The manuscripts apparently also revealed the secret of antima, which is the art of becoming invisible, and garima, the ability to “become as heavy as a mountain of lead.”

Indian scientists did not take the texts very seriously, but then they became more positive about their value when the Chinese announced that they were looking into utilizing certain parts of the data for their space program. This was one of the first instances of a government admitting to researching antigravity technology. Today, the Chinese have sent astronauts into space and safely landed them and are now close to sending astronauts to the moon. Have they been utilizing some of the ancient information in their rapid mastery of space?

The manuscripts did not explicitly say that interplanetary travel was ever made, but did mention a planned trip to the moon, though it is not clear whether this trip was actually carried out. However, the Ramayana does contain a highly detailed story of a trip to the moon in a vimana, or astra, and in fact details a battle on the moon with an airship of the Asvin. This is but a small bit of recent evidence of antigravity and aviation technology used in ancient history. Many very accomplished archaeologists, of whom Klaus Dona is a wonderful example, discovered stunning artifacts all over the world that account for a high degree of advancement, sometimes surpassing our current manufacturing abilities, and also include models of many different types of aircraft.

To really understand this ancient technology, we must go much further back in time. The Rama Empire of northern India and Pakistan developed at least fifteen thousand years ago on the Indian subcontinent and was a nation of many large, sophisticated cities, many of which are still to be found in the deserts of that area. Rama existed parallel to the Atlantean civilization, which was located in the Atlantic Ocean and ruled by “enlightened priest-kings” for thousands of years, who governed the different cities of this now sunken continent. The recent findings of a team of scientists are consistent with the theory that an extraterrestrial body impacted Earth in that area approximately 12,900 years ago.

My own past life memories reach back to Atlantis and even farther to the ancient continent of Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean. There I remember being a priest-king when humanity was still mostly spiritual and when there were no wars. Lemurian priest-kings were androgens or hermaphrodites, meaning they embodied both genders simultaneously. The shift away from the androgynous human was the beginning of the shift away from the archetypal priest-king to the warrior-king, as the balance of masculine and feminine was harder to maintain in a separated body. This conflict, unless balanced internally, was the beginning of external conflict and its resolution through war.

In her book The Camino, Shirley MacLaine describes a process that she recalled from a past life where she was a Lemurian androgen that split its male and female bodies in a sacred ceremony in Atlantis. I was one of the scientist priests involved in that event. During several of my Atlantean incarnations, I was a priest-king on the island of Poseidon and later incarnated as scientist-priests, and, toward the end of Atlantis’s days, I reincarnated as a warrior-king. Science and spirituality were inseparable in the earlier part of Atlantis’s long history.

When the separation between the two started, the wars began. In one lifetime as a scientist-priest, I was in charge of what were called the fire crystals. These crystals had an innate intelligence and were used to power cities and run healing devices. In that lifetime, I was approached by the militaristic faction of Atlantis and was asked to use the fire crystal technology for destructive purposes. I refused, but I knew that they would eventually get control of the fire crystals and cause cataclysmic events that would destroy Atlantis, which they did.

Because the crystals had a consciousness of their own, they could not long tolerate the negativity they were being used for. Eventually a destructive force was initiated by the misappropriation of the power of the fire crystals that caused several natural disasters on the continent of Atlantis. The complete sinking of the remaining major islands as the fire crystal technologies were continually abused and ultimately followed a breaking up of the continent into several islands. I had made a vow in that lifetime that I would insert myself into future lifetimes to help mitigate the destructiveness of war. As you can tell, humanity’s warlike tendencies provided the ground for many more conflicts to come where we would experience and learn much more about the possibilities and effects of warfare.

My own memories of the vimanas during my lifetime as Yudhisthira are that they were basically leftovers from a golden age several thousand years before when India was a colony of Atlantis. The epic Ramayana dates from this earlier time frame and chronicles a war with the Atlaneans when India rebelled against their oppressive rule. Toward the later days of Atlantis’s history, it had been bent on tyrannical world domination by force. In that distant time, more than twelve thousand years ago, the vimanas were far larger and more numerous than they were during my lifetime as Yudhisthira.

Of the few remaining and workable airplanes, we had a few options available to us during the time frame of the Mahabharata. Most of the craft remaining were one- or two-seat models. There were only a couple of craft remaining that could hold several people for transportation purposes. The parts and fuel were an issue for some of the models, and we had to constantly take parts from other models to keep fewer and fewer up and running.

Many of the vimanas were fueled by a solid propellant, whereas the more advanced ones were antigravity vehicles, which only the pilots with the most advanced psychic abilities could run. You literally ran them with your mind, and rarely were they used for combat because there were usually no weapons mounted on these vehicles, making them worthy only for transportation or as observation platforms. If your thought processes were not correct or not of an altruistic intent, the craft would not work.

An added benefit of the thought-controlled vimanas was they also enhanced and heightened your metaphysical capabilities. Among the feats that could be accomplished when inside a vimana was the ability to remotely influence other aircraft. Other powers that would manifest over time and with training were the abilities to see into other aircraft via remote viewing or to make your own craft invisible.

Very skilled pilots could even make jumps instantaneously from one location to another. Krishna was one of the few pilots that had this ability. His vimana was exceptional because, while it was moved by thought, it could also utilize weapon systems. To operate such a craft, you had to be a master of the physical as well as the nonphysical worlds simultaneously, because you had to maintain a certain state of mind to run the vehicles. If you got excited or angry, the vehicle would not fly. It would just hover and stand still unless you were relaxed and calm.

The movie Firefox featured Clint Eastwood as an American pilot who was inserted into Soviet Russia to steal an advanced aircraft. The aircraft was invisible to radar and the weapon system was controlled by thought. Believed to be science fiction at the time of its release in 1982, it is virtually a recognized reality more than thirty years later.

I remember that the central control mechanism of the mind-regulated vehicle was located under the driver’s seat; you just sat down over it and communicated and guided it with your thoughts. In the fueled vehicles, you had a joystick, but all of the airplanes could also be controlled with body movements. If you tilted your body a certain way, you could maneuver the aircraft because the gyroscope mechanism under the seat could read your body movements. The maneuvering capability with the joystick and gyro control made the vimana extremely quick in turns, flips, and twists.

Two people would often operate the planes with weapon pods, but it was not absolutely necessary to have a weapons controller as the pilot could also fire the missiles. Inside a vimana you would not experience any gravitational force, even if you were flying upside down or doing rapid spins. You would not be pulled or pushed a certain way, and, other than some dizziness, if you didn’t focus your eyes correctly, there were no ill effects to the occupants.

The metal of some of the more advanced aircraft would change shape according to your thoughts. Watching or remembering The Terminator science fiction movie series can help in deriving a visual image of what I’m trying to relate. In the second movie, the Terminator robot could shape shift its liquid metal body into whatever form it needed to accomplish its mission. The aircraft I learned to fly would change shape to fit whatever mission I needed to fly. It could even change shape during flight. The metal was silver colored but could change to green if I flew close to Earth where green trees were located so that it could blend in. It could also turn blue to match the sky so that those on the ground could not see it. Because it used a free energy source, no spent fuel trails were visible.

During a long period in the jungle during our thirteen-year seclusion, we learned how to use the advanced systems that were secreted in caves. The advanced priests, or rishis as they were then known, lived deep within the seclusion of the jungle. They trained us in the correct techniques of mental and physical self-control that was necessary to interact with the advanced technology.

Apart from “blazing missiles,” the Mahabharata records the use of other deadly weapons that appear to be powerful lasers. “Indra’s Dart” operated via a circular “reflector.” When switched on, it produced a “shaft of light” that, when focused on any target, immediately “consumed it with its power.”

References to flying vimanas can be found in forty-one places in the Mahabharata. Of these, the air attack of the Asura king Salva on Krishna’s capital Dwaraka deserves special notice. Salva had an aerial flying machine known as Saubha-pura in which he came to attack Dwaraka. He began to shower hail and missiles from the sky. As Krishna chased him, he went near the sea and landed in the high seas. Then he came back again with his flying machine and gave a tough fight to Krishna staying about one krosa, approximately four thousand feet, above ground level.

In one particular exchange, Krishna is pursuing Salva in the sky, and Salva’s vimana is made invisible in some way. Undeterred, Krishna immediately fires off a special weapon, described by him saying, “I quickly laid on an arrow, which killed by seeking out sound.” This powerful weapon hit Salva’s craft in the middle, so that it broke into pieces and fell into the sea. This vivid description of an air attack between flying vehicles occurs in the Bhagavad Gita also.

Other passages speak of things hauntingly similar to nuclear weapons carried on the vimana: “Gurkha, flying a swift and powerful vimana, hurled a single projectile charged with all the power of the universe. An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as ten thousand suns rose in its entire splendor…it was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, and a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes. The entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas…the corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. Their hair and nails fell out; pottery broke without apparent cause, and the birds turned white. After a few hours, all foodstuffs were infected. To escape from this fire, the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment.”

This wash down with water is a standard procedure today to decontaminate personnel and equipment of radioactive fallout. One of my jobs as a sailor in the US Navy was to set up stations to decontaminate personnel and equipment with special detergents and water. I was also responsible for putting on protective clothing and monitoring and measuring the radioisotopes before and after decontamination with special Geiger counters.

“Dense arrows of flame, like a great shower, issued forth upon creation, encompassing the enemy…a thick gloom swiftly settled upon the Pandava hosts. All points of the compass were lost in darkness. Fierce wind began to blow upward, showering dust and gravel. Birds croaked madly…the very elements seemed disturbed. The ground shook, scorched by the terrible violent heat of this weapon. Elephants burst into flame and ran to and fro in a frenzy…over a vast area, other animals crumpled to the ground and died. From all points of the compass, the arrows of flame rained continuously and fiercely.”

Recent excavations at Mohenjo-Daro in northern India add credibility to the notion of atomic weapons use, as they revealed that this city had been completely destroyed quite unexpectedly. There were no traces of natural disasters or wars in that area. Mohenjo-Daro was a well-planned city laid out on a grid with a plumbing system superior to those used in Pakistan and India today. They found the streets littered with “black lumps of glass.”

In 1979, scientists David Davenport and Ettore Vincenti published a major clue to the Mohenjo-Daro mystery. The thousands of black lumps intrigued them, and when they analyzed them, they turned out to be fragments of pottery fused together by extreme heat. According to the scientists’ updated calculations, the clay vessels had been exposed to a blast of heat measuring between 1,400 and 1,600 degrees centigrade. Davenport and Vincenti then studied the site of Mohenjo-Daro in some depth and pinpointed three distinct waves of devastation, which had spread out up to one mile from the epicenter of the explosion.

The scientists put forward a theory saying the ruins had all the marks of a nuclear explosion as they found big stratums of clay and green glass. Similar stratums of green glass could also be found in the Nevada deserts after every nuclear explosion test.

When the excavations of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro reached the street level, they discovered skeletons scattered across the cities. Many were holding hands and were sprawled in the streets as if some instant, horrible doom had taken place. People were just lying unburied in the streets of the city. These skeletons have been found to be at least thousands of years old by traditional archaeological standards. What could have caused such a thing? Why did the bodies not decay or get eaten by wild animals? There are no apparent indications of physically violent deaths like in combat, but these skeletons are among the most radioactive ever found, on par with those at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Other cities have been found in northern India as well that show signs of explosions of great magnitude.

One such city found between the Ganges and the mountains of Rajmahal also seems to have been subjected to intense heat. Huge masses of walls and foundations of the ancient city are fused together, literally vitrified, and since there is no indication of a volcanic eruption at Mohenjo-Daro or at the other cities, the intense heat to melt clay vessels can only be explained by an atomic blast or some other unknown weapon. These cities were wiped out entirely.

While the skeletons have been carbon dated to 2500 BCE, we must keep in mind that carbon dating is based on measuring the amount of radiation remaining after it decays or is lost over time. When atomic explosions are involved, massive amounts of radiation are left over. This makes highly radioactive sites seem much younger than they actually are.

Another example in the area of Rajasthan, India, features an area of three square miles covered in radioactive ash. Researchers began to test the area after locals were experiencing a high rate of birth defects and cancer. The levels of radiation they found were so high that Indian officials quarantined the entire area.

Archaeologists have since found evidence of an ancient city that, between 12000 and 8000 BCE, could have supported approximately half a million people. This fits in with my idea that the Ramayana also depicts a nuclear war with Atlantis before the cataclysmic sinking of that continent and the wiping out of Rama with atomic weapons. Only at some point after this nuclear war did the world collapse into what mainstream scholars see as the final period of the Stone Age. Archaeological evidence suggests that atomic explosions during the war between the Atlanteans and the Ramans destroyed a lot of their progress, which was later followed by another setback after the Kurukshetra War.

In the years that followed the war, Dhritarashtra, his queen, Gandhari, and Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, lived a life of asceticism in a forest retreat and died with yogic calm in a forest fire. Krishna departed from Earth thirty-six years after the war. A hunter, who mistook him for a deer, shot him in his one vulnerable spot, his foot. Yudhisthira had been crowned king of Hastinapur at the end of the war and renounced the throne after ruling for thirty-six years, passing the crown on to Arjuna’s grandson Parikshit.

When they learned of Krishna’s departure, the Pandavas believed it was time for them to also leave this world, so they embarked upon the “Great Journey,” which involved walking north toward the polar mountain that is toward the heavenly worlds, until one’s body dropped dead. Yudhisthira thus left for the Himalayas with Draupadi and his brothers in what was to be their last journey.

One by one Draupadi and the younger Pandavas died along the way until Yudhisthira was left alone with a dog that had followed him all the way. Yudhisthira made it to the gate of heaven and there refused the order to drive the dog back, at which point the dog was revealed to be an incarnate form of the god Dharma who was Yudhisthira’s actual physical father and who was there to test Yudhisthira’s virtue.

Once in heaven, Yudhisthira faced one final test of his virtue, when he was shown only the Dhritarashtra clan in heaven and told that his brothers were in hell. He insisted on joining his brothers in hell, if that were the case. It was then revealed that they really were in heaven and that this illusion had been one final test for him.

I have no memories of this final part of the story and believe it to be an artistic flourish. A hero’s ascension is a common theme in legends and religious stories. Ascension is a possibility for everyone, however. The real stories of ascension are often not so colorful and obvious as we would like to believe.

In 1815 the British army used a secret weapon called “rockets” in the Battle of Waterloo against the French army of Napoleon. They had learned firsthand of these terrible weapons while fighting in India. The Indians had used the weapons with great success against the British, who didn’t quite understand them and were not nearly as effective. Where did the Indians learn their rocket technology?

Julius Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904–February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is often called the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico. Oppenheimer remarked later that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Later, a student asked Oppenheimer, “How do you feel after having exploded the first atomic bomb on Earth?” His reply was, “Not the first atomic bomb, but the first atomic bomb in modern times.” Oppenheimer strongly believed that nuclear weapons were used in ancient India.

Fact can be stranger than fiction at times. I hope that you are beginning to see that these are not stories that I randomly dreamed up. I’m a very centered and rational thinker who is a truth seeker, so making up casual stories for sensationalism would be abhorrent to me. I stake my reputation on these revelations, and I do my utmost to keep them well-researched and accurate.

Why share this particular incarnation? As I’ve mentioned, it is a major turning point in human history. A further sinking into the abyss would need players that would soften the trauma of an event. I will often do this throughout history—be at key points in history along with members of my soul group. We have, throughout time, lessened the potential severity of many negative events’ magnitude or would hold back the tide in barbarism. I am a harmonizing soul that incarnates into out-of-balance environments to help humanity achieve or maintain its poise and equilibrium.

It will become apparent in my outline of future incarnations that this particular life as Yudhisthira is a landmark lifetime that set the stage for future lifetimes. A thread of our many incarnations exists within each one of our lives. The sum total of all of our lives comes together in our “now-life” to shape the mortal cloth we currently wear. I will eventually incarnate as Ananda, cousin and supporter of Buddha in the same area of India as this life, and, then again, as Ashoka the Great, who would unify India and spread Buddhism. The center of the flag of India today has the symbol of Ashoka’s chakra, which symbolizes dharma. Remember that Yudhisthira’s life symbolized righteousness or dharma.

Buddha, who remembered all of his past lives and the lives of those around him, could also see into the future lives of people he met. He once told Ananda that he would either ascend or be the first king of a united India. I guess I chose to be king over ascension. By doing so, I helped spread the work and ideas of Buddha through Buddhism. Ashoka’s life is an interesting one of conflict, battles, and romance, but such is life. I will share Ananda’s story in a later chapter in this book and Ashoka’s in a follow-up book.


II

How to Access Your Previous Incarnations

Past Life Regression is considered one of the most powerful tools available for transformation in the fields of integrative medicine, psychology, and self-awareness.

—International Association for Regression Research & Therapies

An October 19, 2010, radio show and poll about reincarnation on Coast to Coast AM with host George Noory indicated that 55.47 percent of 8,446 people surveyed believed that we all experience a succession of lives to advance and grow. There were 26.13 percent who felt that intriguing evidence for past lives existed, but were not fully convinced though still open to other explanations. Only 18.4 percent felt that reincarnation was just a made-up concept and that there was no real proof for it at all.

It has to be taken into account that Coast to Coast revolves around information and topics that are beyond the mainstream with an audience that is generally rather open-minded, but, since it is one of the biggest radio shows on the planet with more than 3.5 million listeners per week, I would assert that the poll results are significant and a close representation of the overall view on reincarnation. Over half of those polled unequivocally know about or believe in the transmigration of the soul, over a quarter are nearly convinced, and less than a fifth have not yet discovered enough information to side with this idea. So we see that over 80 percent of people are generally going along with the idea of reincarnation.

I feel that never before has it been as important to acknowledge and integrate the reality of past lives and reincarnation into our current awareness. Fragments left in other lifetimes leave unresolved issues and need to be brought to the surface so that they can be solved. By connecting with past lives and settling issues, we become whole and nonfragmented. When we clear past karma and resolve karmic debts, we can connect with our true soul essence. Karma refers to the energy created as a result of our actions and relationships during our current and past lives.

Karmic debt refers to entanglements, whether in this life or previous lives, that must be addressed, brought to a conclusion, and released. This release can happen in the present or at some point in the future, but they must be addressed before you can release the effects on your soul. Once karma is released you can continue on to enjoy your life more fully and freely. My own view of karmic debts is that they are simply life lessons that continue to manifest to us in one form or another life after life, until we learn what it is we need to balance our energies and then move forward. For instance, I once read of a past life regression wherein the soul lived through one thousand incarnations before the person worked through the negative emotion of jealousy.

We can also tap into information and skills at a more rapid pace once we consciously connect with past life abilities that we have developed over many lifetimes. A proclivity for any endeavor that we choose could be because we are tapping into the potential of formerly developed capabilities. By accepting this possibility, we can even further accelerate our development in any given venture.

Between incarnations we usually take time to review the life we’ve just lived. Every word, every deed, and every thought from every life is recorded and can be reviewed. The information for all of our lives is contained within the akashic records (akasha is a Sanskrit term meaning sky or ether). These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. They are metaphorically described as a library; other analogies commonly found in discourse on the subject include a “universal supercomputer” and the “mind of God.”

People who describe the records assert that they are being constantly updated automatically and that they can be accessed between lives and in our current lives. People who are trained or gifted can access the information in the akashic records from our present dimension. To train in this yourself, you need to get into a meditative state and be open to the images and scenes that may come to you, if you request and venture to see them. It is a highly demanding challenge to finally get to the point where one is sufficiently stalwart and composed to really open one’s intuition and look into the past without bias or blinders, and even into our possible timelines for the future.

It is mostly the conscious or subconscious aversion toward the intense emotional upheaval that blocks the average human today from looking into all that right away, this and the disregard or the distrust in the existence of one’s direct connection to the akashic records. To bring yourself into a position where you can access them on your own, you must know that it is your divine right to do so, and be intent to look at the truth, whatever it is you may find. Really setting out on this endeavor is not to be taken lightly, and be assured that there are guides that you can call on to help you. In essence, the steps on your journey have to be taken by yourself, but there will always be help along the way.

This help can come in the form of your personal guardian angels or other entities. For some people, communication with them is realized more naturally and easily than the establishment of an immediate connection to the akashic records, and that is fine also. In any case, whether you choose to directly access the living library or if you choose to ask somebody to read it to you, discernment is always key. Be vigilant and prudent when scrutinizing information that comes to you in whatever way or form.

Sometimes the influx of such information can come rather unexpectedly, as the case of Suzanne Ward shows. For most of her life, she never had any particular interest or training in the metaphysical, yet currently she has written several books that deal with the afterworld and what we do and experience in that realm. Her books and messages contain information gleaned from her son Matthew, who died in an accident at age seventeen. It was relayed to her independently by several different psychics after her son’s death that he was still observing her and would talk to her telepathically at some point.

Suzanne was particularly impressed by the amount of personal information brought forward by the psychics that they could not possibly have known or come up with on their own, but it was only fourteen years after Matthew’s physical death that the predictions really manifested. Since then Matthew and Suzanne have communicated over many things, beginning with his experiences in the afterworld, which she has shared in many excellent books. Matthew relates that the correct term for heaven is nirvana, and he also shares information about what we can all expect to encounter in that environment between lives. Of course it has to be noted that simply because one is physically deceased and dwelling in the heavenly abode, this doesn’t mean that one’s discernment is suddenly impeccable. As above, so below; just as we are in a learning process while in human form, so is everybody in other realms, but their insights from their vantage points can surely be a great inspiration and guide stones.

There are also living human helpers who can assist you in getting into the meditative state necessary to access your past lives. For instance, in his books Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives and Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives, Michael Newton, a hypnotherapist who has worked with subjects in deep meditative states, has collected many accounts of the akashic records or the “Book of Life.” Another renowned practitioner in this field is Dolores Cannon, author of Between Death and Life and The Convoluted Universe, who found herself very surprised in the early phase of her work as a hypnotherapist in the 1960s when her clients were bringing up memories from previous lifetimes, sometimes not even as a human on this planet, all of which was completely unfamiliar to her back then. But unlike some of her colleagues, she would continue with the therapy. This is a virtue of any good therapist and past life regressionist—to assist and protect the client along his way through the vastness of his memories so that potentially unsettling memories may be processed constructively without any negative effects on the present life of the client.

Integrating and growing through the awareness of the vast information pool available to us is at the core of our evolution and applying the knowledge one can gather in a responsible and sagacious way are what it takes to live this knowledge into wisdom and to consciously expand our awareness through the myriad levels of existence. We can then truly realize the interconnectedness of everything, not merely as an idea that one is sympathetic of, but as a very distinctly experienced reality. In most religions, heaven is a realm in which we exist on a higher dimensional level, a plane of existence that is, of course, different from our three-dimensional reality in which we abide while we are incarnated on Earth.

It is from this other plane of existence that we usually review the impact of everything we did in our previous life after the death of our physical container, or even during our current lifetime when we tap into higher states of consciousness. Because both planes are permanently interwoven, you don’t have to die physically to connect to other levels of existence. You can also do it by intentionally changing your focus, which sounds very simple but actually takes a tremendous amount of inner discipline.

Another possible and rather harsh way to connect to the higher realms of existence is the near-death experience. There is a massive amount of congruent and independent documentation on the specifics of those experiences, clearly indicating that there is a very substantial reality behind them. One of the researchers who was inspired by such an experience was Betty J. Eadie, who has written several books that offer excellent insight into the life between lives. I read her book Embraced by the Light many years ago when it was first released and was deeply inspired by the account of her near-death experience and interactions in heaven where she reviewed her life. There she realized that not only her deeds but also her thoughts affected those around her and their lives in different ways depending on whether her thoughts and deeds were positive or negative. Betty explains how this creates a ripple effect, where we affect the people around us, and, in turn, they affect the people that they interact with, and, in turn, those people affect the people that they interact with ad infinitum.

Throughout this chapter, I’ve already given clues about the attitude necessary to connect with previous lifetimes and the akashic records right now, and I also mentioned concrete ways to accomplish this. To condense and summarize it now, I have broken it down into three categories that can be used individually or together, in any order or combination. It’s the process that I used for confirming and investigating my own past life incarnations.

  1. Intuitively exploring your own past life memories and connections.
  2. Contacting a reputable psychic or trance channel.
  3. Past life regression, PLR, sessions with a certified PLR practitioner.

First of all, try to connect with a historical period that you have been drawn to in your current lifetime. It can be anything from a few years before your birth to very ancient times. As a small boy, I was always drawn to World War II. I would be glued to the television or any movie about this topic. Now that I have learned that my most previous incarnation before this one was during World War II, I can see why I had the strong connection to that period. I was curious how it turned out because I died before the end of the war. Over time, as this curiosity was satisfied, I moved on to other periods of time I was always fascinated with, among them Egypt, Greece, and Rome. And again, through reconnecting with past lives, I began to understand where the pronounced interest for these eras came from.

Once you recognize a connection with a time period, contemplate what most fascinates you about it. Look at pictures from that time period. Do an Internet search and just let whatever comes up that interests you lead you along a path of discovery. Now that I know about particular past incarnations, what I often find is that, when I read articles and books about the relating epochs or do research on the Internet, I find myself either nodding my head in agreement or shaking my head in disagreement to certain events described. Often I don’t have any logical explanation for why I agree or disagree until much further research. It has become kind of fun to get these intuitive flashes that go against the academically recognized and taught history about certain events and to have them later justified.

One occasion where this has happened to me was when I immediately felt very certain about the fact that Pharaoh Tutankhamun was actually the son of Pharaoh Akhenaten. On some level, I just knew it, and I said for years that they were genetically related as son and father, even though no proof existed. But it has now become a recognized fact through DNA sampling that this is indeed the case. I have no doubt that much of what I speak of throughout this book that is not currently accepted as fact or part of the established history will eventually be proven sound. Perhaps some of the information in this book will even motivate others to do further studies on their own. By allowing yourself to be guided by your intuition and your past life connections you may also find similar proofs as I did and uncover more yet unestablished historical facts.

You may have experienced a connection with an event in time where the official account of it didn’t quite seem right to you. Over a period of time, new evidence may have come out about that time frame that really got your attention. New revelations may have provided for an “aha” moment, helping you to fully connect with the actual reality and giving you a sense of relief.

I believe that James Cameron’s 1997 epic romance and disaster film Titanic had exactly that effect on hundreds of millions of people who watched it. The movie is based on a fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic that sank after hitting an iceberg on its ill-fated maiden voyage across the Atlantic from Britain to America. The movie Titanic was an enormous critical and commercial success; it was nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, eventually winning eleven, including those for best picture and best director. It became the highest-grossing film of all time with a worldwide gross of over $1.8 billion—the first film to reach the billion dollar mark—and remained so for twelve years until Avatar, again directed by James Cameron, surpassed it in 2010.

Production on the film began in 1995 when Cameron shot footage of the actual Titanic wreck. A reconstruction of the ship was built at Playas de Rosarito, Baja California, for filming purposes. I remember passing by this site on my way down to Rosarito beach restaurants from my home in Coronado, California, where I was stationed as a Navy SEAL at that time. The grilled and fried lobster was deliciously amazing, and at the time the beachside restaurants were little known or discovered.

I would marvel at the scale models of the Titanic as I passed by during the day on the coastal Mexican highway and wondered excitedly what the highly anticipated movie would reveal. On my return trip to San Diego, I would again pass by the dark mock-up of the ship under a clear starry night sky. I tried to get an image of what it must have been like on that sinking ship long ago under a similar starry sky with the orchestra playing on deck as the cold dark waters of the Atlantic relentlessly rose up the sides of the vessel. What must have gone through those people’s minds?

Apart from the scale models, computer-generated imagery was also used to re-create the sinking for the film, and, before its worldwide release, several documentaries described how the Titanic had broken up when it sank. Scientific proof and analysis of why the unsinkable ship had sunk and what had happened to the metal structure as it sat on the bottom of the cold Atlantic were all covered, much of which had not been generally known previous to that. The depiction of the sinking in the movie promised to be historically accurate with never-before-seen footage of the Titanic on the bottom of the ocean.

My thoughts are that many of us had been incarnate during the sinking of the Titanic and that we had never been fully satisfied with why the ship had sunk. I don’t mean to imply that we were all passengers, although some were, but that we were part of the vast humanity that was shocked and mystified at reading or hearing about the tragedy during that lifetime. That feeling of unresolved trauma that we had intensely felt for the victims of the Titanic carried over for many of us into this life.

I even know of one young man named Evan Justyn whom I met through my website for Intuitive Warrior. Evan was a student at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, who contacted me to express his admiration for the book. Evan was extremely interested in becoming a Navy SEAL, and, in the process of mentoring him, we have become good friends.

Not surprisingly it was Evan’s mother, Daria Justyn, who initially gave Evan the book, thinking that he would connect with the powerful message of how we can use the positive power of intuition and love in every situation in life including war. Daria is a successful intuitive and author of the beautifully written book Angels Whisper to Us: Decoding the Messages in Daydreams and she had me on as a guest speaker in 2010 on her popular BlogTalkRadio show Medium in Our Midst.

Like many women who are connected with their intuitive side and have come across my book, Daria believed that the book would help create a bond of common interest between herself and Evan, because Daria felt that Evan’s own advanced intuitive abilities would not be crushed by becoming a warrior if he connected with the information in the book. I believe Daria is correct, and, if Evan decides to pursue a Special Forces career, he will bring a level of intuitive skill that will help in the transformation of humanity from one focused on war to one of peace.

During a conversation one day at a seafood restaurant in historic Charleston, Evan told me how ironic it was for him to be interested in becoming a Navy SEAL. I will let Evan describe his fascinating story and how events unfolded that led him to the realization that he was one of the passengers on the actual Titanic who died on that fateful night.

“Up until I was three years old, whenever I was speaking, no one could understand anything that I was attempting to say. My mother, Daria, claimed it sounded like a foreign language. She took me to see speech therapists that ended up having me doing ridiculous things like blowing bubbles, but to no avail. She would just sit there and cry as this happened.

“One day when I was about three and a half years old, my mother and I were driving over a canal bridge in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. While we were driving over the bridge, I looked down at the water, and I said to her as clear as could be, ‘I fell off the bridge and drowned, but I was the daddy that time.’ Those were the first intelligible words I ever spoke. From that moment on, I spoke clear enough as a child of that age to be understood with no problem. Growing up I also had a tremendous fear of water. When I was an infant, anytime my mother attempted to wash my head, I would scream. Later, when I was a toddler, I was afraid to sit down in the bathtub and was terrified to get my head washed or let water be poured over it. As I grew a bit older, my family got an above-ground pool, and I would go so far as to go up the ladder but refused to get off of it and go into the water. I was quite happy just letting my toes dangle in the water.

“During this time, my great-grandfather was still alive and living with my grandmother. He had a subscription to National Geographic magazine, which he loved to share with me. One day the shipwreck of the Titanic appeared on the cover of an issue that featured information on how they had developed the technology to find the Titanic and what they had uncovered there since. From that point, I became completely obsessed with anything that had to do with the Titanic. There was also a documentary my grandmother had taped for me about the discovery of the Titanic, and I would spend my time watching it over and over. This was all quite mysterious, but a major piece of the puzzle fell into place when my mother held the copy of that particular issue of the National Geographic in her hands; that was the first time in her life that she saw actual images from the Titanic. She immediately made the connection that it wasn’t a bridge over water I had fallen off of, but the bridge of the Titanic.

“We lived around the corner from the library. We spent a lot of time there because my mother taught art classes there. I got to know all of the librarians and they knew me, because I had requested every book in the Ocean County library system on the Titanic shipwreck. In fact, I would go over to all the libraries whenever I would get a chance searching for anything on the Titanic I hadn’t seen before. It was because of my obsession with the Titanic that almost every librarian knew me by my first name.

“Eventually, James Cameron’s Titanic came out in theaters. I was about ten years old at the time, and my family managed to get tickets to see it on opening night. Unfortunately I do not remember anything of that experience nor of the rest of the night. I am told that I sat there physically motionless throughout the whole movie and that I didn’t say a single word. That night I got into bed, and, when my mom came into my room to say good-night, as always I was already half asleep and somewhat dreaming. She tucked me in and asked me what I thought about the movie. She says I replied, ‘The rooms were much smaller than they appeared in the movie.’

“She also said that I pulled on the collar of my pajamas and said, ‘Those collars felt really stiff and were tight around my neck.’ Following this statement, I just kind of shivered, maybe picking up on how cold it was on the voyage. Asking my mom about it now, what struck her most about my responses to how I felt about the movie was that they seemed like something I really experienced as opposed to something I had only seen on the movie screen.

“One other important factor during all of this was that I had some horrible problems with my lungs as a child. I had serious asthma and had to have a portable inhaler for when I woke up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe. It wasn’t until the time that the movie came out and I started getting adjusted by a chiropractor that it cleared up and disappeared. I have not had lung problems since nor had to use an inhaler to help me breathe.”

Evan’s testament is just one out of many examples illustrating the significant influence that events from past lives can wield in our present lifetime. When we connect with past life traumas, we can then proceed to release the hold they have on us in our current life, which is one of the values of connecting with past lives. Fortunately for Evan, his mother was open, patient, caring, and, best of all, a gifted intuitive who was able to help him work through the past life trauma that was influencing him in his current incarnation.

I personally remember, as a teenager in the mid-1970s, going with my mom to our local museum in Columbia, South Carolina, to see the Titanic exhibit that was traveling around the country. We were both very excited. We were in awe of the artifacts from the wreck, as well as the videos that showed the ship being built and the launch of the maiden voyage. Decades later and several years after the movie came out, there was an even more comprehensive exhibit, and synchronistically Evan had visited it. He shared with me another insight into a further release that he had after he experienced his release that came with watching the movie Titanic. The new exhibit was very realistic and to scale with the original ship’s dimensions; it also held more actual artifacts recovered from the wreck itself.

“I was fortunate to go to the new Titanic exhibit that’s been touring the country. It was on Ghost Hunters due to some of the artifacts being haunted, and it’s currently one of the world’s largest collections of Titanic artifacts.

“I went with my mother, and it was cool, but it also felt very strange at the same time. The exhibit plays a little game with you when you buy your ticket to get in. They give you a replica of a real-life ticket with an actual passenger’s name and information on it. My ticket was a man who had been on a book tour throughout Europe and was on his way back to America with his wife in second class.

“I think my mother’s character was a woman in first class and the second richest person on the ship. When you get to the end, they have a huge passenger manifesto with people by name and class split into two categories, as perished with the ship or survived. Unfortunately my guy died, but, in the iceberg room, there was a quote from him on a banner that his wife, who survived the sinking, had disclosed to reporters. He told her, ‘For the love of God, it’s the last lifeboat! Get on it.’ This really impressed me.

“The whole exhibit was absolutely astonishing; they had it set up as a gigantic ship. I believe they had the original companies who built the rooms for the Titanic build the rooms for the exhibit. You walked onto a reconstructed dock, then through steerage, second class, first class, the sun decks, and so on. They also had the iceberg room where they made a huge block of ice you could touch to feel how cold it was in the water. The interesting part about this is that saltwater has a lower freezing point than freshwater. The water the Titanic sank in was saltwater, which means that in order for the iceberg not to melt, the water had to be below freezing. Just touching the iceberg sent shivers through my spine. Not the best of feelings.

“The entire time you are in the exhibit you are surrounded by objects brought up from the wreckage. Many of the artifacts are perfectly preserved since the area on the ocean floor was so cold, dark, and under enormous pressure. A suit with original stitching, a glass jug that still had cooking oil in it, a leather fanny pack filled with experimental perfume that still had scents to it, and a steamer trunk the size of a fridge were all perfectly preserved and on display.

“I honestly did not know what to expect while traveling to this exhibit. I was excited but at the same time I was pretty quiet during the car ride. It felt like I was going back to a traumatic event, so I didn’t really know how I would react or what to expect. Going through the whole re-created ship and seeing everything in its original state felt like looking at old items you once had. You could sense that emotions were very subdued in the re-created Titanic; it was very quiet instead of it being like a regular museum with comparatively high energy and people talking.

“It was very fascinating for me to experience how, in certain parts of the museum, I was struggling to breathe and had to stand still for a few minutes. In the end I felt like I needed it. It was like the sheer act of going through all this lifted a weight off of me. I got the feeling that a lot of the other visitors experienced something similar there, too. It gave me a lot of closure, and I felt that many people were affected in a very similar way.”

My thoughts are that Evan’s mother was his daughter in the Titanic lifetime. He lovingly saw her off in safety and was not able to rejoin her and went down with the ship. In their current life, she has returned the love by bringing him safely into this world and helping him overcome the trauma of the Titanic’s sinking that he carried through into this lifetime.

I believe that, at different times throughout our lives, we are all affected by past life traumas. They can manifest in many different aspects of our lives, whether it is in relationships or business dealings, or among siblings or parents. We will often switch roles from one life to the next in order to learn and grow in wisdom. As one example, there could be a mother in one life becoming the daughter in the next life and vice versa, as is the case with my wife, Tracy Jo, and her daughter, Christy, who had opposite roles in a previous life. When you closely examine it, you can see the justification for this role reversal, the challenges that are presented, and the lessons that can be learned by both parties.

Virtually any issues or traumas that were experienced in previous lives can be rectified and released in our current life, as we have seen through the example of Evan and his mother, Daria. Fortunately Daria was open and lovingly supportive of the idea that Evan was possibly being affected by a previous incarnation.

Often synchronistic events will show up, like Evan’s grandfather showing him the National Geographic magazine and documentary video that sparked an intense curiosity in Evan. Another powerful synchronicity was Daria making the connection with Evan and the Titanic when she picked up the same National Geographic magazine that had so mesmerized Evan. If we open up to the idea that there really can be an influence on our current life ensuing from past lives, then we can heal from these events and move on to more productive lives. A mysterious or an unusual connection to historical times, cultures, and geographical locales that attract an unusual amount of interest from us can be possible connections with past life times.

Imagine where Evan would possibly be today if he had not experienced the release of the trauma of his death during the sinking of the Titanic. He would most probably not even think of going to Navy SEAL training. He might also suffer from inexplicable anxieties as well. I believe that Evan could find even further release if he could find out who he actually was on the Titanic. I’m sure that from the several clues he has gotten over the years that he may be close.

After the tremendous successes of the movie Titanic, many people were finally ready to let go of the fear and confusion that had held the collective consciousness for more than eighty years. James Cameron provided a tremendous gift and service to humanity by making this film. At least hundreds of millions of people have now seen it, and the veils of mystery and confusion are finally being lifted. The ghosts that have haunted so many are quietly fading and drifting away to a much-deserved rest.

The second thing I would recommend for connecting with the idea of past lives is to contact a reputable psychic or advanced Reiki practitioner who specializes in past life therapy in your area. You can often find out about a good psychic by asking others who have visited a local psychic or Reiki practitioner. Internet searches are good as well and will often contain reviews and recommendations. Many books on reincarnation contain stories of how people have begun past life awareness through psychics. Intuitive individuals have helped people connect with their past lives through their readings, catalyzing a psychological release or opening the door to fascinating discoveries. Often psychics and trance channels will be mentioned and referenced by name, location, and contact information in these books. This is how I got in contact with Kevin Ryerson, whose information and website I found in an excellent book called Return of the Revolutionaries: The Case for Reincarnation and Soul Groups Reunited by Dr. Walter Semkiw. Kevin Ryerson’s own work and insights are contained in his book Spirit Communication: The Soul’s Path, which I still find invaluable and refer to often.

Kevin is a trance channel, who works in cooperation with Ahtun Re, an Ascended Master from ancient Egypt. Ahtun Re is an interesting character and will often ask what you are feeling and what your thoughts are for a particular lifetime, when he accesses information from his location in the higher dimensional spirit world. He is not always forthcoming in revealing information, but Kevin believes that in our sessions he has been revealing an unusual amount of information to support me with my work that is dedicated to helping enlighten and empower humanity. Ahtun Re will usually either confirm your intuitive insights or redirect you to what actually happened and what your relationship was to a particular time frame or historical figure. This procedure helped me substantially with uncovering my memories from many different lifetimes, as you will be able to see throughout this book.

Once you’ve decided to contact an intuitive to give you a past life reading, find out if the person will record your session or if you will need to provide a recording device. Kevin Ryerson, who lives more than one thousand miles from me, fortunately does his readings over the phone and recommends you record your own session. If the person doing the reading will record the reading, I recommend that you still use or bring your own device as a backup. You will definitely want a recording of your reading so that you can refer back to it. Often the information provided can be overwhelming in its revelations and you may miss valuable dialogue as you ponder some profound point that has been revealed to you.

I still refer often to my recorded past life sessions to gather clarity and further information that I have missed or did not fully grasp. Some of my recordings are now over a decade old, and I still receive insights from them.

I remember the first time, many years ago, when I learned that I was incarnate during the lifetime of Jesus and had actually interacted very closely with him during his final ministry. I was astonished when I initially heard it, but, on a deeper level, I knew it was correct. As I drove back to my place in Virginia Beach after my first-ever psychic reading from Mary Roach, I was in tears for much of the drive. My initial past life regressions had the same effect. When you are reconnecting with very intense, long-lost, and often suppressed emotions, you will likely have some powerful releases. These releases are very rewarding because they unravel pent-up energies.

A release will often be followed by a clarity that can bring forward a powerful flood of past life memories and deeper understandings of the nature of your own existence. I have often felt a deep gratitude for connecting with my own past lives. On many occasions, I’ve experienced a profound sense of joy and awe upon finding new revelations of past life recall. Like all new experiences that are of an emotional nature, you gradually condition to the release of information. I’m rarely shocked by the magnitude of revelations that come forth these days, and I’ve found that allows even more material to come through.

The third thing I recommend that you can do to connect with past life memories is to contact a person that does past life regression therapy. Arguably one of the most famous past life regression (PLR) practitioners is Dr. Brian L. Weiss, the author of Same Soul, Many Bodies and Many Lives, Many Masters. He has written numerous excellent books that I can really recommend if you are going to consider PLR research. He has also produced several very effective meditations CDs that can help you get into a meditative state to do your own PLRs. Dr. Weiss also does seminars all over the world but is unfortunately unavailable for personal PLR sessions; however, he does group regressions during his seminars.

After several years of searching for the right PLR practitioner, I came across some information that listed certified PLR practitioners throughout the United States. I searched for someone in my area, and that’s how I found Rebecca Shaw of the Charleston Hypnotherapy Center in Charleston, South Carolina. I would later learn that Rebecca and I had crossed paths in previous lives, and, to be quite honest, such synchronicities aren’t even so much of a surprise to me anymore; they’re rather something to be expected once you really set out to uncover the mysteries of life and to work for the highest and best good of all. The universe has magnificent ways to let things fall into place when you align with this greater focus. So having found someone that I had worked with in previous lives to help me uncover past life memories now makes perfect sense to me. My first few sessions were absolutely amazing and were far more than I had expected. I had vivid recall of my past lives under regression. PLR works because you go through a deep, guided meditation process that allows the intuitive side of the brain to fully come forward. Once you are deeply regressed you are able to open the door to any past life. Rebecca was very intuitive in this whole process and guided me into several lifetimes during many sessions that revealed an amazing amount of information.

I was fortunately guided expertly under deep meditation, and, because Rebecca is very intuitive and aware, she was able to help me gather much of the information for this book. In my first couple of sessions, I had a very strong emotional response. I had tears streaming down my face, but I learned to allow these emotions to surface and dissipate more easily with multiple PLR sessions. I was also more open to allow information to surface as I learned to navigate while regressed in a particular life. At first, like with anything new, you may be in awe of what you are experiencing. I surely was, but you will settle down as you get more PLRs. Rebecca was my guide while in the deep meditative state and seemed to know the perfect time to ask questions and prod me in a new direction. I was moving within a transcended state of no time and accessing multiple incarnations during my regressions.

In one of my favorite regressions, I examined a lifetime during the era of the Spartan King Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae. Kevin Ryerson, through his communications with Ahtun Re, also confirmed much of what I had strongly felt over multiple sessions concerning my experiences during my Spartan lifetime, and much more information was revealed in my own intuitive meditations and in other past life sessions with psychics, whether channeled or PLRs.

All of the past lives that I write about in this book have had multiple confirmations. These confirmations were made without the different parties knowing any of the prior information that I had been exposed to. This multiple-source validation over time has strengthened the entire body of work that I’m writing about in this book. I’m not trying to impress or draw acclaim from a famous past life incarnation.

I have had a fairly humble life this time around, and, in many ways, it serves me better to play out of the limelight. Being a king or extremely wealthy can have just as many drawbacks as benefits. Imagine trying to write books about former incarnations if I was the president of the United States or the king of England. It wouldn’t go over well. Being a decorated former Navy SEAL gives me some credibility. I’ll take a little flak; I’m sure, but I’ve survived a lot of years in combat zones, so I’m pretty thick-skinned at this point.

My own past life research is still ongoing and will probably last for the rest of this life. The reward and satisfaction of researching, discovering, and then further investigating my own past lives has held many benefits, which will become more apparent throughout this book. I have also begun to notice the people around me in former incarnations, and it gives me insight into my relationships with others that would never come through without such insight. I sincerely hope that the ideas outlined in this chapter are just as useful to you as they have been for me. I trust that you may uncover and explore your own past life memories more clearly and deliberately after reading this book. Now let’s journey through time together.


III

Pharaoh Menes’s Nubian Head Charioteer, 3100 BCE

Rebirth is an affirmation that must be counted among the primordial affirmations of mankind.

—Carl Gustav Jung

My very first reading with Ahtun Re, who had also experienced a cycle of reincarnations on Earth, was very surprising. Here was a genuine Ascended Master, whose last incarnation was during the time of Pharaoh Akhenaten in the fourteenth century BCE, in which he had completed his personal human curriculum and therefore ascended. Ahtun Re has been watching humanity evolve ever since, serving as a teacher of mankind from the spirit realm. I first read a number of his communications in several of Shirley MacLaine’s books, of which Out on a Limb had tremendously helped me expand my own view on reincarnation. But it was Ahtun Re’s prominent appearance in Dr. Walter Semkiw’s Return of the Revolutionaries that then eventually prompted me to contact Kevin Ryerson. As a trance channel, Kevin allows Ahtun Re to connect with his spirit and to utilize his body in order to communicate with humans, which is why Kevin jokes that as a channel he serves as a “human telephone,” connecting the spirit world with the human race.

It took me a little while to fully grasp that an Ascended Master of the likes of Jesus and Buddha was chatting with me about the mysteries of life and my past lives. It compels respect and humility, but by no means do I think that I was at any time the exclusive recipient of such guidance. As time and space are really relative constructs that are perceived and experienced very differently on different levels of existence and even in different states of consciousness, Ascended Masters can inspire and communicate with countless humans simultaneously. Of course, that doesn’t take away anything from anyone’s personal experience, but it helps to put things in perspective. As I spoke with Ahtun Re over the phone, his easy conversational style and humor quickly put me at ease anyway.

The information that he conveyed matched what I had heard from other psychics, what I had found out in past life regressions, and what I had gleaned intuitively during my meditations, without anyone involved having collaborated or shared any information prior to that. He also helped me to connect with information that I had not yet been fully aware of. For example, at the end of our first conversation when he volunteered, “Oh, and by the way, we had two lives together as friends.” One of those had been with Pharaoh Menes, in which both of us had been Nubian warriors. Ahtun Re told me that he had been the head general of the pharaoh’s armies, and that I had been the pharaoh’s general of the chariots. The chariot drivers, Ahtun Re related, were the equivalent of today’s Special Forces warriors.

This book is currently available in paperback (July 10, 2014) at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/The-Awakening-Warrior-Remembered-Volume/dp/1497521262/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1405112096&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=the+awakening+of+a+warrior+michael+jaco

The book will also be available in digital format by 24 July 2014 and available at all online retail outlets in paperback and digital format by 24 August 2014.


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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Thirteen

June 12th, 2014 mjaco 2 comments

The image of the first SEAL Team Five patch shows a UDT Frogman coming out of our primary insertion medium the surf zone. Freddie the frog has a cigar in his mouth which is used to light dynamite to illustrate one of our capabilities, demolition. He is carrying a stoner machine gun which was mainly used in Viet Nam with a bandoleer of ammo for the weapon around his shoulders. Carrying the stoner was a mark of a badass operator and many wanted to carry it. Freddie has a white Navy Dixie Cup Hat on to signify he is a sailor. In the background the sun is setting on UDT 11 which was the foundation and linage of SEAL Team Five.

This patch was picked out by the senior guys in the command at the time the transition. was made and was not well liked by many of the young guys who wanted to see a SEAL on the emblem. I remember waiting outside the large classroom with the other junior team five operators. The classroom was where we would conduct pre-mission briefings and other important functions as a command. The senior guys on this rare occasion decided to exclude the new guys and didn’t let us have a say in the decision making.

Many people disregarded UDT members as inferior to SEAL team members and the young guys wanted to make the break with the past linking them to the perception of substandard abilities. To me this was like thinking any SEAL, other than a SEAL Team Six Assault Team Operator, who are considered the pinnacle of being a SEAL operator, is inferior. The only difference is the training focus. ST-6 SEAL’s are chosen from the SEAL Teams as a whole so it would be ridiculous to think any SEAL substandard. In my mind it was the same as a UDT operator being compared with a SEAL operator. We were all a band of brothers just with different levels of training and focus. When those young guys at SEAL Team Five that didn’t like the Freddie the frog patch eventually moved up the ladder in rank and were in charge what did they do?

Note to those in leadership positions, don’t disregard your junior peoples ideas. Perhaps if we had been let in on the conversation for a new command patch Freddie would still be around.

I was working in the diving department of SEAL Team Five wondering how I was going to get in on the action as a SEAL operator in a new platoon when I was asked to help start up the new training department of SEAL Team Five. I only had one platoon under my belt but I had a lot of well rounded experience as a former Navy Fleet Diver. I was being honored

I was one of the first chosen by the new Training Department Head, Steve, an LT. with Platoon experience as an assistant officer in charge. His senior enlisted assistant was a Master Chief Petty Officer with Combat experience in Viet Nam named Roy.

Steve was perfect for the position because he was extremely inquisitive about SEAL operations and desired to make ST-5’s nascent training cell comparable to ST-1’s training department or better. Steve was of average build and lean. His somewhat boyish face was offset by a mustache.  A fast talker and quick with a joke he loved a good laugh. He could be overly focused and temperamental at times but he was a great officer to work with.

Roy was a legend in his own time. A powerfully built man that was quick witted and usually had the whole command laughing hysterically at gatherings. There are times in your life when you are deeply influenced in a positive way that lasts a lifetime and Roy had that effect on me and most of the other men in training cell and eventually our platoon. All of the men that were hand picked from the best in the command at ST-5 would also go on to start our own platoon together.

I look back and see these events in my life as some of the most rewarding times in my career not just as an operator learning new information but also as a young man maturing in a great environment of respect and mutual goal setting. I had superior role models and would fashion my own leadership after what I was fortunate to be learning. What I learned in this formative period would carry positively into very successful leadership roles of my own in the future.

We began to formulate curriculum and outline the blocks of training time frames necessary to train platoons for SEAL deployments. Fortunately the next platoon that would be deploying would be the familiar UDT type deployment. SEAL Officers In Charge, OIC’s were usually responsible for training their platoons to the necessary level of proficiency in a UDT platoon. In a SEAL team their was a training cell  dedicated to training the SEAL platoons.

An officer by the name of Steve was the next to deploy his platoon and he was doing most of the traditional work of lining his training up but we were helping in various ways while we formed up the new Training Department. The platoon commander Steve would coincidentally be one of my Red Assault Squadron OIC’s at ST-6 at a future date.

The training cell we were forming would also be the first actual SEAL platoon to leave out of the newly formed ST-5. We were being hand picked from all the teams on the West coast.

Eventually we began to turnover our responsibilities to others who would in turn train us for six months before we deployed.

My favorite block of training was land warfare. We headed out to our desert compound in Niland, Ca at the foot of the chocolate mountains. So called because of their dark brown to black coloring. It would be the peak of the summer with temperatures during the day well into the hundreds and in the eighties at night. We initially focused on weapons and patrolling. Our training cell was augmented by former ST-1 guys who knew the tactics and lay of the land to get the most benefit out of the training in a short period of time.

Our camp in Niland was named Billy Machen. Billy had payed the ultimate sacrifice as a SEAL team one point man in Vietnam who alerted and saved his platoon by opening up on an enemy ambush position before his platoon patrolled into the kill zone.

This was a great time for us as a platoon. We got to know each other on a deep level. Long hot days that went well into the night were followed by hilarious nights in the open bay metal quonset hut barracks cooled by what were called swamp coolers that only cooled the outside air temperature by about twenty degrees on a good day. Around ten at night they would get the temps down into the low 80’s. We joked about the day poking fun at each other and laughing till tears filled our eyes. After about an hour of this it would settle down until someone would make an obscure joke that had us laughing until we fell asleep and dreamt of tactical maneuvers with live fire and demolitions charges going off.

After one night of practicing night helicopter insertions with live fire we came back to clean our weapons. It was one of those rare occasions when Roy would open up about his experiences in Viet Nam. He was the only one in our group with combat experience and we hung on his every word. He told us about how his platoon had snuck in and assaulted a North Vietnamese, NVA,  barracks complex.  He was a primary stoner machine gunner that was supposed to fire his weapon down the line of NVA sleeping in their cots while another team mate raked the other side of the barracks filled with cots with Stoner fire. He said that when he went in his gun jammed after just a few rounds. The Stoner was notorious for jamming. When it fired well it was devastating and when it didn’t it sucked.

You could tell Roy was reliving the event as his eyes seemed to have that far away look. Everyone had been cleaning their weapons under wooden awnings that cover the weapons cleaning bins. The lights shown down from above and illuminated the area as moths and other insects danced in the glow in the hot summer night.

“I fired a few rounds up the left side of the cots grouped close together, he said, their were dozens on my side that I could make out in the darkness. The NVA were completely unaware of our presence. My gun jammed. I looked back at the man that was supposed to be my backup in case of a jam. All I could mutter was, MMMM… I was so scared I couldn’t speak!” he said with a laugh. We all reflected on this and still to this day I see this as an important lesson.

It doesn’t matter how well you are trained and how much pressure you have been put through even in combat situations you still are going to have your moments when you are going to freeze up. It’s been nearly thirty years ago since this lesson and I can reflect back on my own combat experiences and honestly say that I have had similar moments myself. Sometimes I performed flawlessly in combat and a few other times I was caught off guard by something unforeseen and unexpected and I had a moment of “aw shit”. Fortunately it was my extensive training in overcoming adversity that helped me work through it as Roy did when he and his platoon continued their assault through the entire NVA complex creating havoc and destruction.

It’s the truly great leaders that can humble themselves and admit vulnerabilities to help teach others and that night was one of those moments when our veteran hero shared a rare teaching moment.

We eventually ended our training with what we call an FTX or final training exercise to measure and grade what we had learned and if it was up to speed. Every block of training was the same. You practiced and then you were graded. Every capability was trained and graded over and over again during the six months of redeployment training. Eventually a platoons training would be broken into several six month blocks. Similar to what we did at ST-6 there would be a period of training where personal qualifications of the individual were honed or new one learned. I would be learning many different skills over the years. Many top secret skills are learned by SEAL’s throughout their careers. I was fortunate to learn some of the more rare and obscure qualifications. One of these was to be inserted deep behind enemy lines to destroy mountain passes.

The next block of training was when the entire group came together and trained for specific mission capabilities like diving, parachuting into water which I loved because the landing was so gentle or land warfare like we were currently involved in. Our FTX was very memorable. We were required to hump through the desert for over fifty miles over a three day and night period and assault a target with live fire and destroy it with demolitions. We were then to exfiltrate to a designated point for pick up. All of this was to be done undetected while we were being hunted day and night by opposition forces.

Hauling water and gear for that long in the peak point of summer is incredibly challenging. As an M-60 heavy weapon machine gunner I had the heaviest load. Just my weapon and ammo weighed nearly one hundred pounds.

Water, food, medical, radio, pistol and ammo etc was nearly another hundred pounds. I was carrying nearly my own bodyweight in gear. The good thing is that I was lightening my load everyday by drinking and sweating it out.We had jelled to the point as a platoon where we didn’t need to do hand and arm signals anymore to communicate. We just knew what the group was doing.

There was a canal that ran through the dessert close to where we operated at. As we would get close to this area it was cooler and provided more cover because of the vegetation that grew from the close proximity to the water source. The problem was that rattlesnakes liked this area as well. I remember our point man Glen didn’t like to move in that area so we stayed on the fringe of it and walked fairly well and rapidly the first night. I was so exhausted after the first night that just before the sun came up I just through down my poncho and laid on the ground and passed out. We had found a good hiding spot for the day to lay up until we could move again the next night. I remember my eyes snapping open just as the first rays of light broke over the mountains to the east and seeing a tarantula walking slowly by my head checking me out. You seem to go into another kind of reality when you get silent, walk and sleep with the earth. Some of my most memorable times in life were as an operator walking silent under a billion stars in remote areas of the earth. I felt the big spider was no threat and fell back asleep.

One thing you learn as an operator is how to sleep when you get the opportunity. I have fallen fast asleep in the most challenging environments and circumstances. We slept the sleep of the dead throughout the day alternating watches for an hour then falling asleep again until it was close to sunset. The heat had been incredible during the day and it was a challenge to drink because the water felt like it was near boiling point. But you had to drink or you’d die. So drink we did. After all it lightened the load.

We moved out again as it grew dark the sun just setting over the mountains to the west. The sun would have been shining still on our home along the silver strand in Coronado. I thought of floating in the cool water of the Pacific and my body temperature seemed to drop. We headed back towards the canal later in the night at the insistence of our OIC Steve. Glen resisted and in our halted position facing outward we heard their whispered debate. We headed to the canal and it’s cover as we neared our target. As the 60 gunner I’m near the back of the patrol of eight men. I could hear the sound of rattles from far ahead. I head the quick shuffle of feet and excited breathing, “That was a big one!” Glen said with almost a giggle. Steve relented and we moved away from the canal. Later before the sun came up we again cautiously moved back to the canal for cover during the day. Throughout the night we had ducked for cover as helo’s searched for us. Today we would have to find more cover as they continued their intensive search near the target area. Amazingly it began to rain as we were in monsoon season. It was a welcome relief for awhile until our gear and clothes became soaked. Fortunately the sun never came back out but it became humid and was almost worse than the dry heat and sunlight beating down on us. The rain stopped and the helo’s buzzed around looking for us like angry hornets.

The next night we linked up with our other squad that had been humping through the desert from a different direction and assaulted our target late in the night a couple hours before sun rise. After carrying a thousand rounds of linked ammo I was happy to let it fly. My barrel got so white hot I could see the rounds going through it. I worked the tracer rounds back and forth across the target area ripping through anything that might have survived. The riflemen went quickly through a dozen magazines and the few men that had 40 millimeter grenade launchers attached to their weapons let several explosive golden eggs fly. Gold was the identifying color of High Explosive, HE, rounds.  Next we set an overwatch position and the demolition team went in and set up explosives on simulated communication towers. After they had finished and rejoined us we moved rapidly off the target. A few minutes later an earth shaking thunderclap ripped through the steamy hot night.

We moved to our rondavous spot and were picked up by helo’s for a nice cool ride around the desert before they set us down outside our compound. We debriefed our operation and were given a thumbs up from training cell. Of course every training cell can think of a hundred ways you could have done the operation better but in the end we knew we could pull off a mission like this successfully.

We had an exceptional group of operators and I still see this group as one of the best I’ve ever worked with. Every platoon should be so lucky as to have the best of the best.

We would go on to impress many groups over our training cycle with our ability to pull off the impossible. We even did a mine clearance operation with new technology gear that no one else had been able to effectively use and find and clear a mine field that everyone knew was impossible to do. The best of the best in several other communities had given us the mission knowing we couldn’t pass it as we surreptitiously found out later. If we had been able to find and neutralize 80% of the mines it would have been a success but we had a 98% success rate. When they went back to find the mine shapes they had placed for us they had trouble finding them. It took them over a week to locate them all.

It had been an incredible training period and everyone was satisfied with our performance. Now we would go overseas to prove that a new SEAL team could send out a qualified platoon in short order. Many new SEAL teams would be confidently and successfully formed over the next several decades following this example.

In my next chapter I’ll share the thrill and excitement of a deployed platoon overseas.

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Twelve

April 18th, 2014 mjaco No comments

In the early morning hours before the sun came up a few of my anxious platoon mates and I could see the faint outline of the coast far ahead on the horizon. The familiar and distinctive cliffs of Point Loma and the lighthouse with the same name marked the entrance to San Diego Bay. The hum of the giant diesel engines deep within the body of our home for the last six months reverberated through the steel hull and I could feel tingles of it in the soles of my jungle boots. Ships and sailors grow an affinity for each other over time and I would miss this old girl. She had kept me safe and sound and I would carry the memories of her for the rest of my life.

The time before dawn when the stars are still visible and the light of a new day is about to break is one of my favorite times at sea. The slight rocking of the ship as it was gently pushed by ocean waves created a meditative rhythm. I contemplated what was ahead for my life when we docked the ship and departed with our war gear.

We cruised into the opening to San Diego Harbor early enough to avoid the many sailboats that darted around the bay and often flitted mindlessly in front of big grey hulls that could run over them and churn them into small bits of flotsam. When I was on the sub rescue ship we would often come into the bay in the middle of the afternoon. I remember the curses of our captain ringing out as he screamed out “all stop!” if that was followed by “all astern full” you knew the stream of curse words would be even more vociferous. I never saw him get angry over anything unless we had to pull into port during the afternoon. It was almost as if the sailors on the sailboats were drunk and playing a game of chicken with us.

I was working out at my favorite Jack La Laine fitness gym around this time frame when an elderly gentleman came up to me and complained about how the sailboats had the right of way in the bay. I said nothing during his tirade but had heard my captain say that Naval ships had the right of way! My thoughts on the subject were common sense should prevail and that no one should ever tempt insulting the law of gross tonnage to make a point.

We continued past Point Loma in the gathering light and off to starboard or right side of the ship I watched as  North Island Naval Air Base located on Coronado Island glided silently by. Just south of the place where the first aircraft landings were practiced and then performed off the coast was the famous Hotel Del Coronado where Marilyn Monroe had become an international superstar filming “Some Like It Hot.” Just a little further south along the beach voted the best in the United States was the headquarters and compounds of the UDT/SEAL Teams. We glided serenely under the pale blue Coronado Bay Bridge the famous land mark of one of the most beautiful bays in the world and then docked at San Diego Naval Base. I saw my old ship the USS Florican docked nearby and thought about how far I’d come in such a short time. It was like a whole different world for me now. We quickly unloaded our gear and headed up over the Bay bridge we had just went under back to Coronado Island. We put our gear away and were dismissed until the next day for morning quarters.

I had put my car in storage for six months on the amphibious base in Coronado as I would do on many occasions in the future. Like all good SEALs I wanted to operate and get back into a platoon as soon as possible. I was no longer a F__ing new guy and I was ready to prove myself as a seasoned operator.

After we were back for a few days it became evident that the next platoon was already full. BUD/S was starting to churn out new SEAL’s at a growing rate. It was the dawn of a new era. I would eventually become part of SEAL Team Five and the sun filled era of UDT would set forever. The mission of SEAL’s deploying on ships has not gone away however and still exists today with only the name changed although the level of training and capabilities has increased since my first days in the Teams.

We were off for a few days and all the guys of my platoon dispersed into departments, got out of the service or moved on to new commands and new opportunities.

I was looking for a place to rent in Coronado which is difficult because they get snatched up quick. After just a week of being back all the commands on the strand were called into the large multi use classroom at UDT-12. We were all briefed by a SEAL officer from the experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Florida about a new study for extending the new Drager rebreathing dive tables. They needed volunteers from the teams for several months worth of studies. We were told that you would get partial extra money everyday for food and live in Condo’s on the beach.

The caveat was that during these experimental dives in a controlled wet tank environment you may suffer seizures from oxygen toxicity at depth. When this was first put out most of the crowd laughed out loud at the idea that they would volunteer for being Guinea pigs for circumspect results.

In my mind, with my hard hat diving background I considered this one of those good deals of a lifetime. I was the only one from UDT-12 to volunteer and one of only four other guys from the West coast teams that would join me on this adventure.

I put my car back in storage and headed out two days later for Florida. Most of the guys that showed up for this dive experiment were East coast SEALs. I knew none of the guys other than a couple of the SEAL Team One guys I had partied with briefly in the Philippines during one of my Platoons brief stops there earlier that year. We had a total of about twenty guys. The Two senior enlisted SEALs that were at the experimental dive unit would assist us in the diving.

The diving day was broken up into groups of divers that would each dive either in the morning or afternoon. Some days you would dive and some days you would be a tender or would sit on a stainless steel bench out of the water and keep an eye on your assigned buddy. This was for safety in case he suffered from the effects of O2 toxicity.

We were thoroughly briefed on the physiological effects of O2 at depth and how the study was calculated through careful scientific analysis to be safe. We were the last evidence that the scientists needed in the equation to make the new tables a reality.

When SEAL’s are on combat dives they need to stay undetected just below the water to their target. It could be a ship that is going to be sunk with mines, a ship that is to be boarded, or a sneak attack behind enemy lines. Going too deep into the water causes pure O2 to become toxic to the body. The ideal dive depth that was safe was between fifteen and twenty feet. Any deeper and you ran the risk of a worst case seizure. Not a good thing when you are trying to be stealthy.

We already knew that we could safely make excursions to deeper depths. The reason for this might be enemy search boats passing close by or the unknown or unpredictable ship passing by. You had to get deep enough when this happened to not get sucked up into the props of a passing ship and become hamburger meat.

We were going to calculate the safe limits of sustained dives for as long as several hours with excursions to deeper depths for several minutes periodically throughout the dive.

For the first several weeks we got comfortable with the schedule and working with each other.

It was late January and although warmer than most of the US during this time frame it was still chilly in the morning and evenings. We were in the pan handle of Florida and in the spring time this place would be packed. Spring breakers from colleges all over the country would flock to this area and the parting would be off the charts. Now it was subdued and the huge bars and night clubs on the beach were almost empty even on friday and saturday nights.

I was at one of these bars on a Friday night at a place called the Spinnaker Beach Club. The club was exceptional with great views of the ocean and a huge dance floor and stage for concerts. It was fairly immense and labyrinthine with different bar areas throughout a building that could hold several hundred people at one time.

I was dancing with some girls and one of my new East coast SEAL buddies. We were having a great time hanging out. The two Florida locals told me that I was a great dancer and should dance with their friends on ladies night at the club. “What do you mean?” I asked. “They are male strippers!” they said. They both said they would be glad to introduce me to the head of the group who they were good friends with and who also owned the biggest fitness gym in town. I thought, what the heck, why not give it a try. It could be fun having women screaming and going wild while I shook my bootie around on stage. What red blooded male wouldn’t like that?

Ever since I was a teenager growing up in Columbia, SC the girls had lined up to watch me dance with other girls. I had some good moves and the ladies liked them. I was super fit after having gone through SEAL training and was always in the gym even when I was growing up. It just might be feasible that I could pull this off.

I worked out at the owners gym in town a couple of days later with the girls from the club. The gym was packed with beautiful, fit Florida girls. Something about lots of sunshine and the beach life does wonders for people. I met the gym owner and head of the Dance group. He was a successful bodybuilder and had won several bodybuilding shows. His trophies were all over the gym on display. He told me that they didn’t normally take outsiders but had seen me working out and his friends had talked me up so he would give me a shot in a couple of nights on ladies night that thursday night!

I’m normally an introvert. You wouldn’t know it by this point but it’s true. I would be just as happy curled up at home on a friday night with a good book reading to my lady love as being out on the town. But as my teammates would often say we were young, dumb and full of …it. Dancing was my outlet for many years and now I would get the opportunity to fully express that creative aspect of me.

I would like to say my first dance was amazing and a big hit but alas it was not so perfect. I’d had a suit made in Hong Kong that I brought with me on the trip. I didn’t know how to tie a neck tie at the time. All mine growing up had been the pre-tied type that you just clip on. One of my SEAL buddies tied one for me and I had it so I could slip it over my head and around my neck and then tighten it. I was a little nervous for my first strip show. Fortunately the crowds were not large yet. Just a few dozen women for my first stage performance. It took all my SEAL courage to got on stage and start stripping it off. We would do a set of two songs. I eventually learned that you slowly strip your clothes off during the first set and then really get into the sexy dancing on the second song.

The first song of my first set as a male exotic dancer had me striping that suit off to the cheers of the crowd pretty quick. I was doing all right until I got to that damn tie. It would not come loose for nothing? I even tried to elicit help from some ladies in the crowd but they couldn’t free that sucker either. I ended up wearing it around my neck the whole time. Didn’t seem to matter to the ladies though. They filled my swim suit briefs with money. Payday!

I got to be good friends with the other guys in the group. The other two guys were hard working construction men that worked out at the bodybuilders gym. All of them except me of course had grown up and lived all their lives in Panama City, Fl. There were four of us total. The head guy would come out and do poses as a bodybuilder which was his also his stage name. The announcer would call out ladies please give a warm welcome for the “The Bodybuilder!” His girlfriend was drop dead gorgeous and was always by his side. She was the only female that was allowed in the VIP section where we would change and watch each other perform. She always had good advice for us and watched over us like a mother lion.

The Bodybuilder decided I needed a stage name and called me “The Snake” because of my mesmerizing moves. It was lots of fun. My SEAL buddies loved it because I started getting a following amongst the local women. Whenever I went anywhere in town with my friends they thought they were male strippers also and were an instant attraction.

My friends also loved to hear my stories. I have been to strip clubs and watched women strip and it is nothing like what happens in a male review. Men sit around quietly mesmerized by women strippers. Women are a completely different story in a male review and get totally wild and scream with complete abandon. We had to be escorted by bouncers to the stage so that we didn’t get mauled by the women. Bouncers also had to be right there along the stage to keep women form leaping up and grabbing us. Eventually when it got to spring break the bar was filled with hundreds of women screaming as if they are going to loose their minds.

I got pretty creative on stage towards the end of my trip at the Spinnaker. It was funny how I came up with this idea because it was a team effort from my SEAL buddies. We would discuss my previous stage performances from the prior week and it was decided that i should do a performance with a wet suit on. It was a cool looking wetsuit with lots of zippers so I could easily remove it. One of my SEAL buddies lent me his speargun for the show for added effect.

I came from the ocean side door to the stage as if I had come right out of the ocean for my performance. It was dark inside and I slithered through the crowd as the ladies shouted with delight. The music was thumping out the beginning of my set.  Strobe lights and multicolored accent lights spun and twisted to the raw beat of the music. I reached the stage in my black rubber and started to move my body in time to the music. Slow undulations followed by rhythmic thrusts of my hips to the pounding beat. The club was full of hundreds of women. The energy was electric and hot.

I found to my amazement as I danced around that if I thrust the spear gun at someone they would react as if I had sent a bolt of electricity at them. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to work the crowd around the stage with my magic talisman. I would point the spear during a cresendo in the music or a strong beat and shrieks of pleasure would erupt. I had the whole area around the stage going wild.

I remember when I was going through twelve weeks of Naval bootcamp that after our third week my entire company of over one hundred young and impressionable young men saw a councilor in a classroom. He was the only nice guy we saw the whole time as most were yelling or screaming at us to perform. At least that’s what it seemed like to me. This guy was an enlisted senior chief petty officer and asked us, “how is everything going?” He was an expert at getting us comfortable and talkative very quickly and then asked, “what are the top ten things you guys miss the most?”

We began shouting out things like friends, cars, food, family etc until the sixth thing yelled out was sex! We all had a good laugh. This was a group that the average age was probably nineteen years old. I was barely eighteen at the time and most of the guys in the company were closer to my age than they were to the upper range or over. We had one guy that was in his early thirties and we called him pops. The Senior Chief stopped writing out our list on the board and turned and looked at us with a grin. “That was what I was looking for,” he said quietly. The room grew serious. What was he getting at I thought.

“I’ve been here for over three years and have had thousands of young men like yourselves call out this same answers and usually about the sixth to eighth thing most missed is sex. He paced back and forth in front of us in his khaki uniform making eye contact with everyone in the room. He had greying hair at the temples and his face and eyes were serene and relaxed as if he were a minister in a church. As you all know this is the only place out of the three Naval recruit training bases where women come for training. San Diego, California and Great Lakes, Chicago recruit training bases have no women recruits. I always see the women recruits and ask them the same question about what they miss the most. I was in rapt attentiveness as I sat at attention at my desk as I had been taught. In all my years of working here the women always say the number one thing they miss the most is sex!”

After years of reflecting on this revelation and now watching women going wild as I danced suggestively before them I came to realize that women internalize and fantasize very well. When it comes to a point where they can let these feelings flow they are comfortable expressing themselves openly. Men on the other hand are mostly externalizing themselves and are not as adept at internalizing their feelings and fantasies. In a reversal and in contrast to women they are quiet and in awe at exotic female reviews. Men rarely allow themselves to experience the world of internal fantasy that women are very comfortable with. This is very likely the major contributing factor to why romance novels are the best selling genre of books.

Another benefit that my friends quickly learned to exploit was to tell the bouncers at the door they were my friends. On ladies night a line of men several hundred long would be waiting outside the Beach Club during our male review. My SEAL friends would be the first in the door and get instantly snatched up by hot women. Everyone should have this much fun.

On occasion after the show I would walk among the crowd after the other dancers and I had a few drinks together in the VIP lounge. The women acted like they didn’t know me or recognize me around their male friends. They had switched back into their internalizing mode. I remember looking into the eyes of many of these women that had just recently been screaming at me as if in the throes of ecstasy and now they acted as if I was just another guy. I do remember one extremely attractive lady that gave me a very seductive look one night after a show and motioned me with her finger to come hither. I thought “Oh boy” but kept my own cool game face on. As I drew near she whispered in my ear, “My husband is going to be so happy later thanks to you.” I smiled and told her wistfully, “Glad to be of service.”

It was a few weeks into the experimental diving that a SEAL Team One guy named Dave had a Grand Mal seizure. I wasn’t there that morning but the guys that were said it was brutal to watch. They were really shook up. When an O2 toxicity event happens all the muscles fire at once. The body goes ridged and you can loose consciousness. Not a good thing to happen if you are on a combat mission. The only way to treat it is to get the diver to the surface and have them breath fresh air. If this happened then the enemy would probably be alerted if you were close to the target. We had all made the decision internally that that wouldn’t happen.

Several of the volunteers found out after Dave’s seizure that their commands needed them and un-volunteered themselves. This left the rest of us with the need to do more dives. For me this was no problem because I love diving. It’s like a meditation to me. Focusing on your breath, weightless like in space, just your thoughts to entertain you. I would end up doing more dives than anyone else during the experiment which was ok by me.

We began to increase the depth and time at depth during out multi hour dives. A typical combat dive can take three to four hours underwater. Several times during the dive you may have to make deeper excursion than the safe depth of fifteen to twenty feet that you normally fly at. As you cruised in closer to the target area with the usual lights on piers or quay walls you needed to increase your depth into the deeper, darker levels of the water where the full spectrum of light rays don’t penetrate. If a search boat comes close by then you will have to dive down to stay undetected. If a ship goes overhead you must dive down to prevent you body from becoming ground hamburger meat in the propellers.

Diving deeper on O2 was always a grey area with only a few minutes allowed for these potential excursions. We were pushing the envelope so that future combat divers could comfortably dive deeper knowing that the tables had been scientifically explored to the ultimate level.

We started diving in cold water during the last weeks of the tests. The temperature of the water in the dive chambers could be adjusted up or down. They were very high tech and state of the art.  It was during these dives that we would come off the dive with our lips swollen twice their size. This was due to the cold water exposure of our lips around our mouthpieces being exposed to the cold water. We increased the thickness of our wetsuit material but as we got pressed down on our excursions the added depth pressure shrank the thickness of our suits. You got really cold on these excursions and looked forward to going back up a few feet. Another thing that we had to deal with were wires we had to insert up our butts to monitor our core temperatures. The scientists were monitoring everything. If during an excursion they noticed a drop in core temp followed by a seizure they would take that into account. We all joked that they didn’t include the anal probes in our condos on the beach brief as we gritted our teeth and inserted the wires before our dives.

To simulate the energy expended on a normal dive we were positioned underwater with our shoulders in padded brackets and our feet strapped into bicycle peddles. We would peddle and turn resistant gears to simulate the work of swimming with fins. Our safety tender would sit on his platform with his legs crossed out of the water. One buddy of mine named Bill that was stationed at the Dive Unit brought his magnetic chess set and we would pass the board back and forth playing games for hours. He was in charge of the diving gear and as one of only a few dive supervisors in the group I helped checking the dive gear before dives. We got to be good friends.

I heard a loud commotion to my right on one of the cold water dives after we had pressed down on one of our deep excursions. I looked over and could see nothing but boiling bubbles. It was like the water you see when a wave is crashing and churns up the water. I could hear metallic sounds as if something was shaking a metal rod rapidly on the bottom of the tank. The underwater hydro phone came on and we were instructed to come to the surface and come off bag.

The water level of the control chamber was at a level that when you stood up from your underwater bike the water was at chest level. As my head broke the surface I could see the all black wet suits, drager dive rigs and  face masks filled with inquisitive eyes.. I switched my mouthpiece valve on surface and took my mouthpiece out of my mouth like the rest of the divers. The tenders sitting on their benches were wide eyed and staring at the horror unfolding across the chamber. I looked right and saw Dave ridged as a board from head to feet. All the muscles of his body were firing at once like a machine-gun on full auto. Four guys were trying to help control him and were having trouble. Dave’s body had been shaking his bike so hard in his seizure that he broke the metal mounts. I’m still haunted to this day by the ancient Neanderthal guttural like sounds that came out of  him. It was like unseen hands were trying to strangle him and he was resisting with every muscle fiber in his body.

The safety tenders moved him over to the center of the tank where a harness was lowered to haul him to the very top chamber reserved for emergencies. As he was hauled up by an electric winch he was still shaking and making those guttural sounds as the air was forced in and out of his lungs from his rapidly contracting chest muscles. Dave’s eyes were rolled back in his head and I was reminded of the Frankenstein movies I’d seen as a kid. I thought of the part as Dave continued upward still shaking where they hauled the monster creation up to be struck by lightening and brought to life.

We were informed that diving operations were canceled for the day. Like a group of monastery monks we exited the chamber with just the sound of water drops falling off our gear back down with a splash into the chambers water below.

Dave never did another dive during the rest of the diving experiment. It was a good thing because after two major seizures he was considered more susceptible. He was pretty loopy after that and when you asked him a question it took a little extra time for him to answer. He walked around in a daze mostly and we hoped he would pull out of it. He eventually got it together and when I was at SEAL Team Six many years later he was there with gold squadron. Bad luck followed him though and he had an accident while doing a combat mission during the Just Cause Panama invasion. I was on another side of the peninsula when I found out and just shook my head. At least he ended up getting a purple heart medal for this one.

The scientists determined that Dave was an anomaly and that the dive tables the rest of us had successfully tested were good for 99.9% of Navy divers using pure O2. Many people pay good money to breath pure Oxygen. It is rejuvenating and after a rough night it brings you right around. People pay even more money to be pressed down at depth in chambers breathing pure O2. Incurable skin deceases and life threatening infections have been treated and cured in O2 chambers. I was getting paid to do it.

With my Panama City adventure over I headed back to Coronado where I learned that I would be going into the diving department of SEAL Team Five. I would eventually become the diving department head and help start the first combat diving course.

Just a few months after that I would be hand selected to start SEAL Team Five’s first training course. It was one of those destiny shaping periods in my life and one that I fondly remember with pride. I will speak of this time and my first SEAL Platoon in the next chapter.

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Eleven

April 6th, 2014 mjaco No comments

A single ribbon of yellow light slipped over the rock strewn mountains east of Coronado, California and cast a glowing beam of light on the tallest Italian Renaissance tower of the hotel Del Coronado. A long streamer of a flag mounted on top of the tower came to life and ruffled and snapped in a light breeze.

“You F…ing new guys better be up front,” came a shout far in the rear as my running shoes tread quickly over the pavement. Fresh out of BUD/S we were expected to excel in all areas of physical training by the old timers in the team.

The early morning streets of the scenic town of Coronado had not yet awoken. There were four of us new guys and all of us were excellent runners. We were in the lead as we ran along the golf course within the edge of the quaint city. On a good day for me and a bad day for my platoon mates I would lead but today, a Friday, I was in my usual position of pushing myself as hard as I could to just keep them in sight. We hit the turn around point and headed back to the beach passing by the dozens of other UDT-12 teammates that were racing against themselves.

We breathlessly reached the truck that had our mask and fins that was parked down the beach from the Hotel Del on shore drive. It was a race and mad scramble for the lead guys to slip off their shoes, grab their swim gear and race to the shoreline. The brilliant sun now rising higher in the sky was warming the trillions of delicate sand crystals on the long stretch of beach to the shoreline. The only sound was of our black neoprene dive booties crunching and compressing the sand as we raced to the waters edge.

Run, swim runs were typical Friday events that would be followed by beer kegs on the beach. I loved my new life in the Teams!

On the last day of the week we typically had a monster mash which usually consisted of a six to eight mile run through the streets of Coronado, a one mile swim along the shore, get out and run another mile, swim for one more mile and then get out and run the last stretch to the UDT-12 compound on the beachfront. We typically got rewarmed and cleaned up in the interior open stall showers and then walked outside nude to the locker rooms. It would be a couple more years before we could no longer walk around like wild savage men in the prime of life. It gave us a feeling of complete freedom and was awesome. Jokes and laughter were typically in the air.

After we cleaned up our spaces and the team area then the Executive Officer and the Master at Arms conducted an inspection. If they were satisfied then over the 1MC or load speaker system the Quarterdeck would pass liberty call and that the drinking lamp was lit with a keg of beer on ice on the beach. This was usually around noontime and the party didn’t end but just kept moving from place to place until Sunday afternoon.

There was a house that Team guys rented and was called the Animal House after the movie of the same name. At night we would dance on the floor until it started to wobble to the point it was going to collapse. Someone would turn off the music, and then we would stop dancing until the floor stopped bobbing like a boat in rough seas. When the flooring grew calm we’d slowly crank the music up again. As it grew later in the night the police would come and tell us to settle down because we were disturbing the neighbors. We would tone it down for awhile but somehow the music and the noise would increase again and the cops showed up and we got quiet until we weren’t and so on until late at night they shut us down for good.

Somewhere down the coast on Saturday night would be a huge Toga party where all the teams guys and their girlfriends or wives would party. These parties rivaled anything I’d seen in the movies. Imagine all the perfectly toned women walking around with barely a sheet covering them. They all seemed to be trying to out do each other with how skimpy they could dress. It was like floating in heaven. Usually Imperial Beach had several dozen Team guys living in different houses and the parties would rotate around to different houses weekend to weekend.

I was usually glad Monday morning rolled around because then I could recover from the weekend. We had trained for a couple of months and it was our last week in town before we deployed for six months overseas. My barracks roommate and former classmate Rick and I had the late afternoon off so we went to the base and grabbed a paper out of a machine to check the movie times. Some of our former classmates in another team just happened to stroll by and we talked about going to a movie together. I laid out the paper on the sidewalk, which happened to be in front of the building that housed the Naval Amphibious Base Headquarters. We looked at times and all planed to meet for a movie at the theatre in Coronado.

After the movie Rick and I pulled into our barracks parking lot and as we were heading up to our room Rick heard someone in a white base pickup truck call out to him. I headed towards the barracks but paused as I heard Rick get into a heated discussion with the driver. Rick walked away and said something to the effect of whatever. When I asked what happened he said that the driver was the acting base command duty officer. Usually an actual officer or an enlisted chief petty officer this had been a senior first class petty officer filling the position. Rick told me he had accused us of stealing papers out of the machine that was in front of the command quarterdeck. “He said he saw us stealing the papers, so I told him he was full of sh_ _,” Rick said.

I watched as the base security truck sped away as if the driver was pissed off. I had a bad feeling about this. Rick had come right to BUD/S and therefore was not savvy to the ways of the regular military. I had experience as an elite diver working with the regular Navy where less than stellar service members look for the opportunity to make others look bad so that they can further their own careers. I wished that I had been involved in the conversation.

The next morning as Rick was walking to change for morning Physical Training the Commanding Officer saw him and shouted at him that he was going to burn the two of us for stealing papers. Over the next several days we struggled to prove our innocence. We were just three days away from deploying on our first adventure that every SEAL dreams of and it was about to get squashed.

Fortunately I had been doing several triathlons, which are swim, bike and run events with the top officers and enlisted in our command. We had all gotten to know each other and built a great rapport. I had even been invited to the Horny Toad invitational, which was half the equivalent of the Ironman the mother of all triathlons. I even got my picture taken before the event started and was featured in Triathlon Magazine as one of the best bods in the sport. It was but for this camaraderie that I saved Ricks and my career in the Teams.

I remember I was the last to speak at the Executive Officers screening where they would decide if Rick and I would go on to get hammered by our Commanding Officer as he had promised. I had spoken just prior “man to man” as he called it at the time to the officer in charge of our case. He just happened to be a triathlon mate who was prior enlisted and a Viet Nam veteran. We had looked each other in the eye and I told him I guessed this petty officer was tasked with watching for people stealing papers and had failed and was looking for someone to pass the blame to. We had been in front of the one way glass that was mirrored on our side for several minutes so if he had seen us steal the papers like he claimed why hadn’t he walked out and said so during that timeframe. We had two other witnesses that would collaborate our story.

After I gave my statement the officer in charge of our case stood up and said in his deep southern accent “That Dog Don’t Bark!” meaning it was a bunch of crap that was trying to be dished on us. I was asked to leave the room. I went outside and sat by the obviously nervous and sweating Rick. I didn’t know what would happen. It is times like these that you find out who your true friends are. Some of the guys in our platoon had been overheard saying they believed we were guilty and had brought disgrace to the team and we deserved to burn. Others had been with us all along and recognized what was happening and offered their support.

After several minutes of sheer agony of awaiting our fate we were called back into the XO’s office. We both stood at attention side by side as the charges were read off to us. The XO told us what the potential consequences were for our supposed actions.

“You are both facing loss of pay, loss of rank, restriction to base and extra duty,” he said while sitting behind his massive oak desk and eyeing us for any sign of guilt.

I couldn’t believe I was in this position. I’d had an exemplary career, loved the Navy, my job, had worked for nearly four years for the opportunity to deploy as a SEAL and had dreamed of being a SEAL for nearly twenty years of my nearly twenty two years on earth. It was all about to be ruined by someone’s ridiculous lie.

I had also completed triathlons with the XO. Earlier he had also looked me in the eye when I told him without the slightest flutter in my eyes that I didn’t steal the papers.

After a pause for effect the XO said,  “After review of the evidence and your testimonies I have decided to dismiss the case.”

A weight lifted from my shoulders and my heart felt like it had wings. We were dismissed and went outside and slapped each other on the backs and laughed with relief.

A few days later as Rick and I arrived at the Command Party for our platoon deployment the Commanding Officer walked past us and asked if we had any papers for sell. Lots of laughs rang out from everyone within earshot. For years afterwards it was known as “The Paper Caper.”

Love that humor when I’m not on the receiving end of it but not so much when I’m the object of it. Rick and I said nothing or showed any emotion. To do so would have shown weakness and then the taunts would have gone off the charts.

The weekend came and we boarded the ship that would be our home base for the next six months. The USS, United States Ship, Ogden LPD-5 an amphibious transport ship with 24 officers, 396 enlisted, 900 Marines and 21 SEAL/S. We had two officers, one chief, and nineteen enlisted. Only the four of us new guys had never participated in an overseas UDT cruise before. Some guys like Ivan, a Hawaiian surfer with a famous dad that was a surfing legend had several cruises under their belts.

After many days at sea for trials to make sure we were sea worthy and could work with the other ships in our amphibious group we headed to Hawaii. It was even more beautiful than I had ever imagined. Sun rises and sunsets are out of this world and I have heard it is attributable to the volcanic ash that is in the air. The Hawaiian Islands are still forming and the Big Island has molten lava flowing into the sea quite frequently. The volcanic soil is a paradise for exotic plants, palm trees, flowers and orchids of every color, lusciously delicious fruits like pineapple and passion fruit are all incredible.

We finished up in paradise and headed out to sea again for the first of two three-week stops in Subic Bay in the Philippines. Our at sea life was pretty casual with two hour conditioning exercises as a group every morning. During the afternoon we had authorized sun conditioning hours. We laid out on steel beach in nothing but our UDT shorts. I had this art down to a science with a collapsible lounge chair and towel. It was great lying out on what I imagined was our cruise ship, the sun, the breeze, the jokes and laughter. Sun hours were necessary because we were out on every landing for days at a time all day long in the sun. I had the best tan of my life on that six-month cruise.

We did have one guy that we called the pink frog because he never got out in the sun because his skin was so fair. He wore long sleeved camouflage tops and pants and a big floppy hat when we were all on the beach in nothing but UDT shorts during marine landings. Red haired, freckled and Irish stubborn. It’s amazing he survived our cruise because he seemed to mouth off to everyone. Our Hawaiian platoon mate nicknamed him Fi Fi after the cartoon with the pink poodle because he never tanned he just got pink skin.

Every time we came near a port or landing site we were off the ship on helicopters living on the beach in remote areas or staying in barracks or hotels while the ship was offshore during the landings or docked in port.

When we finally pulled into Subic Bay we offloaded most of our operational gear for training and drove it over to our forward in theatre of operations base. The Teams had our own compound with storage and buildings for all of our gear and a warehouse with an open bay area for preparing gear for training missions or real world operations. It was September 27, 1982 and the guys snuck up on my on a pier where we were staging our rubber boats and through me into the water for my birthday. I was twenty-two. One year ago had been the start of my BUD/S class Hell Week. I had come a long way in a short period of time.

At the time the teams were really small. We had one SEAL platoon of sixteen guys deployed and stationed in Subic Bay and one UDT platoon cruising with the amphibious fleet. That was it. The Teams have grown many times over from these numbers.

S

Subic Bay was definitely in the tropics with thick jungle surrounding the base. The broad blue waters of the bay leading out to the South China Sea were calm and serene. It was the first time I’d been in the tropics other than Hawaii, which was actually cool with the sea breezes gently blowing so that you never felt too hot. Subic Bay was different than anything I had experienced so far. I grew up in the south and the heat and humidity can be oppressive in the summer time. This humidity and heat was even more intense. It was great when we went out in our boats on the bay and did dives but on shore you were instantly covered in sweat. The body adapts after awhile to anything and within a few days it wasn’t so bad.

My first trip across the bridge leading off base and into the city of Olongapo was surreal. Shit River as it was called carried the raw effluent of the city of tens of thousands of people. It moved past our SEAL compound on base and spilled into the vast Subic Bay, which swallowed it up as if it never existed. As you crossed the bridge at night women on long slender Bonka boats wearing contrasting white dresses to the filth they floated in. They held large mouthed catch tubes and would yell “Peso’s, Peso’s,” to passersby on the bridge from their bobbing seats in the skinny boats. Little boys held onto the sides of the boats in case the girls didn’t catch the coins that were tossed. They would dive into the dark, filthy, stinking water and grab the coins off the bottom.

Those are the “Shit River Queens” I was informed by my savvy teammates as they escorted us FNG’s out into the loud teaming city. The smell of roasting meat was in the air as vendors waved palm fronds over coals in vending carts. “Monkey meat on a stick” my friends said pointing as we walked up the street. I had some later and it tasted like chicken. I enjoyed the food of the Philippines. The fruit was amazing especially the mango daiquiris and margaritas.

Rock and roll music poured out of bars as we walked up the street. Giant two story speakers in some of the clubs rivaled rock concerts in the US. Every night local rock groups jammed in several clubs up and down the long street. The Teams had our favorite bar we called our own named Fillmore East. Women ran the bars and restaurants throughout town. They were better at business than the men and were completely accepted in that capacity throughout their society. They were called Ma Ma san.

One of my platoon mates named Steve had a brother named Bobby who sang on stage at one of the bars. You could name any popular rock song at the time and he could belt it out like he originally wrote it and recorded it. He had a Pilipino Rock group that he sang for when he was deployed. It was awesome fun. I fell in love with ice-cold San Miguel beers. If you got out early enough in the late afternoon you cold get some that were slushy. Perfect for the tropical weather. After several weeks of partying with our SEAL Team One friends virtually every night we headed out to several more ports.

We visited Hong Kong, which has to be one of the best places in the world to shop. I had the best Peking duck of my life there.

We traveled to the land down under and visited Perth, Australia.We trained with the Aussie Special Boat Service in the outback and I saw huge herds of hundreds of Kangaroo and giant Emu and Ostrich birds that are over six foot tall running around wild. We feasted every night on fresh ground Roo Burgers and Roo Spaghetti, easily some of the best wild meat I’ve ever eaten.

Perth had some of the best music at the time with Duran Duran ‘Girls on Film’ and ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ playing in all the clubs. Huge video screens were playing the latest craze that had yet to hit the US, Music Video’s.

Next we cruised to the island of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We dove there and the visibility was well over one hundred feet. My dive buddy Jim and I were down at 120 feet diving along a rare black Coral wall. I looked up and could see some of the other guys in platoon swimming on the surface next to the boat clear as if we were in a swimming pool.

I heard Jim grunt loudly over and over again in alert to get my attention. The first thing I thought was he had seen a great white shark that was coming in to eat us. I spun around and there not ten feet from us was a giant Manta Ray cruising by checking us out. The wingspan on it was well over twenty feet tip to tip. It was one of the most beautiful and majestic sights I’ve ever seen.

Our next adventure was Somalia, which in late 1982, was friendly towards the US.  We would do a Marine Beach landing south of Mogadishu.

Over a period of two nights we were in the water for many hours along the shoreline swimming stealthily and undetected, surveying and marking the upcoming landing area for potential obstacles. The last day after the landing was completed, a couple of us decided to surf along the shoreline.

Two of my UDT-12 teammates had brought surfboards and were surfing the large waves while I was the only one in our group that decided to bodysurf.

There was one particularly perfect wave that all three of us were riding at the same time. I thought I was doing really well because I could hear my buddies yelling at me from their surfboards. With the thunder of the crashing waves I couldn’t make out what they were saying but assumed they were cheering me for bodysurfing the wave so well. I continued swimming out and caught several more waves when I noticed my buddies were no longer surfing. I was just riding another wave when I saw all of my UDT team gesturing wildly and jumping up and down. I thought that they were again cheering me and my head swelled proudly thinking my bodysurfing skills were peerless.

The waves were fantastic breaking far off the beach you would get a long ride in the cool refreshing water. The waves had a great face on them that didn’t spill over and break right away. I was flying at high speed in the churning bubble machine, bouncing along in the spray and foam.  I eventually tired and rode a wave all the way back to the beach.

When I got out of the water, my friends asked me accusingly why I had stayed after they were yelling at me to get out. I shrugged my shoulders telling them that I didn’t hear them for the crashing of the waves.

“What’s the problem,” I asked vexed at their anger.

They then proceeded to tell me they had seen a huge shark riding in the wave right next to me, they had yelled to warn me and made sure they stayed on their boards all the way into shore. When they got there, they told everyone else what they had seen, and everyone in my team jumped up to run and see.

For the next several waves they all saw the huge shark riding the waves right next to me again and again as they yelled and gestured for me to get out of the water. Steve my friend on the surfboard closest to me told me he had seen the beady eye of the shark staring at me menacingly. I guess I made a bodysurfing friend of the shark that day or my guardian angels were having a field day keeping me safe.

I got a chill in the blazing heat and looked back out to the crashing waves to see if my stalker was still there. I saw nothing and began to doubt my friends were accurate.

Later that day we got into a helicopter to return to our ship. We flew into the air and started to cruise along the shore. We were riding along when all of a sudden one of our teammates named Joe yelled for us to look down into the water. We saw hundreds of sharks in the water, some of which were well over 12 feet long.

I believe that we were saved by the fact that we were all very comfortable in the water. It was probably a good thing, however, that I didn’t see the shark next to me when I was bodysurfing. Maybe that big fella wanted to play along side me or he may have been probing me to see if I had fear or would act like prey. If I had shown fear or surprise, he and his buddies would have likely come in closer for a taste.

None of us had shown any fear during the nights of our water reconnaissance, you learn not to focus on what you fear as a SEAL. If you did you’d never be able to do anything because everything we do is on the razors edge of complete abandonment or paralyzing fear. To this day, now over seventy years in existence no US Navy UDT/SEAL has ever been attacked by a shark.

As a Navy SEAL, Navy Hard Hat Diver, and PADI scuba diving instructor I have encountered many sharks over the years. On a certain level I believe that most sharks observe us humans as comfortable in the water and not an easy meal and therefore leave us alone. However, although it’s very rare, it sometimes does happen that some of us obviously must seem like inferior prey to them, so they may take a bite to see how we taste.

Personally, I have been very fortunate that I have been viewed as comfortable in the water environment and not an easy meal for over fifty years now. I always felt confident, but I have never knowingly pushed my luck just for the thrill of it when it comes to the underwater environment. I have a healthy respect for marine animals and if I’m aware that sharks are in the vicinity, I simply don’t go into the water or leave the area if I see them.

After our Somalia adventure we cruised over to Oman and trained with the Oman UDT/SEAL equivalents for a couple days. It was along the deserted shoreline that we saw a huge freighter that was washed up close to shore and abandoned. It would be at the top of the freighters mast high above the water that I would climb up and reenlist for four more years. My platoon officer in charge swore me in from the main deck below with the rest of my platoon watching from our rubber boats circling the hulk. I would have many more reenlistments in the years to come but that was my favorite.

We cruised down the straights of Malacca to Singapore for Christmas. Most of the guys in my platoon and I rented out a luxury suite to celebrate in. What a night. We were in a British pub when one of the guys decided to order a cool shot he had heard about for everyone. It was called Gorilla Tits. I have no idea what was in it. I was have a highly intelligent conversation with a local Brit on the subject of politics. Every British person I’ve ever met loves politics and are usually very well versed in teaching us Yanks what makes the world go round. I found it fascinating conversation and had forgotten about my friends. I heard laughter as if they were drunk already. This was impossible in my mind because we had sat down for a pint of beer only half an hour earlier. My conversationalist looked over my shoulder in horror. I turned just in time to see my friend Steve who is the hardiest of alcohol consumers throw his shot back up into his shot glass.

I decided I was going to ignore these hoodlums and tried to continue the conversation. The laughter grew more riotous and I heard my name being called over and over again. Each time was louder.

“Mike, MIKE, MIKE!” All of them were shouting.

I couldn’t ignore them any longer as I had a shot glass thrust into my hands. “What is it?” I asked coolly. Everyone was watching me breathlessly in anticipation through their blurry eyes.

“It’s a Gorilla Tit,” came the slurred words.

To make them leave me alone I took the shot and downed it in one gulp. What can one stupid shot do! I thought. Everyone cheered.

I turned back around to talk to the Brit and my eyes began to water. What the hell, I thought. The next thing I remember because everything became blurry soon after we were heading back to the hotel on escalators up and over the roadways. I remember one of my friends turning them off so that the rest of us behind him had to walk up or down. Of course the other Singaporean people had to do the same thing. Somehow we made it to our hotel a Hilton if I remember correctly. Someone thought it a good idea to open what was thought was the free booze refrigerator. It wasn’t free and in fact it was ridiculously expensive, as we would find out the next day when we got the bill.

During the night I remember the hotel manger and security knocking on our door and asking where the Christmas tree outside the elevator was. “We don’t have it” came the innocent response. Of course there was a trail of Christmas decorations all the way down the hall and into our room. Our normally most mellow and quiet guy CW got pissed when they insisted on checking our closet where someone had hid the tree. He threw an ornamental bulb that crashed over the doorway. It was to say the least a memorable Christmas away from home.

Our next stop was back to the Philippines for three more weeks of nightly partying. I asked my SEAL Team One friend Ron how they partied like this every night for six months.

“We don’t! he said laughing. We look forward to you guys coming because you guys are animals when you pull in and we have a great time. But we also look forward to the day you leave after a couple of weeks so we can dry out.” We both had a good laugh.

This was our last port of call and on the way back home to San Diego we passed by the amphibious fleet replacing us with UDT-11 on board. They would be the last platoon of an era as all UDT Teams would be replaced with SEAL Teams.

I would eventually go into SEAL Team Five as I’ll talk about in the next chapter.

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Ten

March 10th, 2014 mjaco 1 comment

After graduating from BUD/S my class was assigned to Ft. Benning, Georgia for Army Airborne static line jump school.

We all looked forward to the excitement and thrill of jumping out of planes.

I drove across country with a classmate named Dave and we met a couple of other classmates in New Orleans for a day and night of partying. Bourbon street was a great relief valve for us and we went from bar to bar until the sun started coming up the next morning. I had never partied all night and we all had an incredible blast. New Orleans Jazz and food was a great treat for ourselves after six months of intense BUD/S training.

My class was assigned to a large group of Army Airborne jump school volunteers that included women. This was an elite school for the Army but it was a joke for us after the toughest training in the world. The hardest runs and group calisthenic Physical Training that we did were not nearly as tough as our first PT in first phase.

It was hilarious to us to see the Army “Legs” as the instructors called the recruits, start to fail after doing a few dozen pushup’s. We were used to doing hundreds of pushup’s during PT’s. When the instructors leading the PT hollered out that they would continue doing exercises until the whimpering legs started sounding off with the correct count most of the guys from my BUD/S class sounding off with the wrong count. We would continue saying “one” over and over again. The Legs around us pleaded with us to please stop so they would be released from their misery.

During runs we got to learn the Airborne shuffle which was barely a run for us. I still remember the songs we sang over and over. “Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door, jump right out and count to four!” It was a long way from the sultry ballad that I had taught our BUD/S class. It was a joy to me when I returned many years later as the BUD/S first phase leading chief to hear classes still singing “Minnie the Mermaid.” “She was mighty good to me, down at the bottom of the sea” was one of the verses. I was a sailor at heart.

When we were dropped for pushups for various obscure infractions the proper way to recover was to rapidly jump to your feet, slap your hands on the side of your legs and shout “Airborne!” in a loud and thunderous voice. The Navy guys in the class invariably had fun with this and shouted “Airhorn” to the great disgust of any surrounding Legs. Another punishment was to “Beat Your Boots!” We had great fun with this because all it called for was a squat followed by slapping the sides of your boots and then rising back to a standing position. We usually laughed during this “Punishment.” I remember one of my classmates that was ordered to beat his boots faster and he did it so superman fast that the Drill Sergeant actually laughed and told him “That’s enough Navy.”

Typical of an Army school they took what should have been a one week course and turned it into three. After decades of doing the Armies school the SEAL teams now have their own jump school and also teach free fall parachuting or jumping out and then pulling the rip cord to your own chute after falling for a distance of several thousand feet. I would eventually be fortunate to learn how to free fall in my second platoon which was a rarity at the time. Some SEAL’s would go for whole careers without learning free fall.

In our third week we finally got to the jumping out of planes phase after learning how to fall on the ground in what was called a proper Parachute Landing Fall or PLF. The PLF was performed by distributing the shock of the landing over one side of the body. You would land sideways and the impact rolled from your heal to your leg, hip, side and shoulder. If the landing was particularly fast your legs would pivot over your helmeted head and you did a PLF on the opposite side as well. I have actually experienced a couple of static line landings like this and they are not fun. If I had tried to land standing up as I would do in all my free fall jumps I wouldn’t have walked away but would have had two broken legs. So the PLF training was valuable.

The reason for doing static line jumps was that it required the least amount of training. If you were terrified which many of the Army Legs were then you could still survive. Terrified people rarely do anything for themselves so pulling a rip cord to deploy your parachute would be problematic.

Another reason for static line jumps is that planes can fly a mere five hundred feet or less above the ground and deploy hundreds of static line jumpers with low casualty rates. Yes, that’s right they usually calculate a percentage of broken bodies from these mass parachute deployments. Jumpers turn into each other. Parachutes come out tangled and if they are far enough above ground like they were in my class then they could safely deploy their reserve parachute. If it was a low deployment however then there was no room for the inevitable error.

Overall I felt the three weeks were a great experience. The Airborne instructors that I encountered were all professional and although some were miffed at some of our younger guys antics they for the most part regarded us as fellow professionals and gave us a little leeway.

We received a total of five static line jumps. It was incredibly thrilling jumping out of the plane for the first time. Of course the possibility of your chute malfunctioning goes through your mind but after the thrill of being weightless for a few seconds and then the abrupt stop of your deployed parachute the butterflies are gone.

At this point you reach up and pull on one or the other side of your risers or the webbing holding your parachute to your shoulder harness. By pulling on one side you collapse a portion of your parachute and it steers or falls in that direction.

After our last jump we had a pinning ceremony and received silver parachute wings. After receiving five more static line jumps you would receive your coveted gold wings.

I had time before I was required to report back to UDT-12 in San Diego so I drove the short distance to my parents home in Columbia, SC. My parents were proud. I had been part of an elite group as a hard hat diver but this was in a whole different category. My dad even confided in me that he had wanted to be Airborne during his short tour in the Army but circumstances didn’t work in his favor. That was the first time he saw me as a man and I felt a stronger bond with him from that time forward.

It would be a six month probationary period at my new team before I would be eligible for my SEAL trident.

I checked into UDT-12 and most of the team was at San Clemente Island doing requalification dives. I was told that I would be assigned along with one of my classmates named Rick to a platoon that would deploy in a few short months. This was perfect and what every new frogman wants.

It’s funny to me that over the years people think that Underwater Demolition Teams were somehow less than a SEAL team. Every team gets to pick from a graduating class. Many years later I was selected and completed Green team at SEAL Team Six which was the several month long training team before you were chosen for an assault team. I learned from one of my friends that I had been ranked the number three man in my green team. There were three assault teams at the time. RED, BLUE and GOLD. Each of the teams drew numbers from a hat. The numbers gave them the option of choosing based upon the numbers. Red team picked the number one and had the opportunity to pick anyone in the green team. Instead of picking the number one or number two ranked people in my class as luck would have it they decided to choose me.

The reason I bring up this process is that everyone went through the same training and could do any job whether it was SEAL Delivery Vehicle, UDT or SEAL Teams. I have even heard guys currently that are SEAL’s refer to guys that were UDT as “Just UDT!” Personally I’m quite proud of my heritage of having been in UDT-12. After all SEAL’s get their foundation and heritage from UDT during WWII.

Even after UDT went away after my first cruise and all teams were called SEAL teams one team among the SEAL teams still had to provide aUDT type hydrographic team to ride ships and do beach reconnaissance for Marine landings. It would be like me calling the guys in the SEAL teams that weren’t SEAL Team Six as “just SEAL teams.” As a professional it doesn’t and didn’t cross my mind.

When our Team returned from the Island on friday afternoon Rick and I were in formation with our new platoon. It was announced that the team had two new members and we were told to make ourselves known. Rick and I raised our hands and then all hell broke loose.

The entire command turned on us and started ripping off our clothes and dragging us to the already filled and waiting for us cold water dip tank normally used for checking for leaks in our rebreather diving gear. I remember Rick trying to cry out as someone had their fingers in his mouth pulling his lips apart. Rick had permanent scars at the corners of his lips from that day forward. I got off easy with a few bruises.

Welcome to the Teams! We were hazed, which at the time was a long tradition. Eventually hazing would be outlawed but not before some truly amazing hazings happened over the years.

Rick and I would be on a fast and heavy training schedule with our twenty-one man platoon to get all of our pre-deployment requirements met. Diving, Parachute jumping on land and into the water, water cast and recovery from fast boats and Helo’s, weapons shooting and demolition training.

A slot came up one day for Survival Escape and Evasion training. Our platoon Officer In Charge asked for volunteers because we had to have a certain percentage of guys trained. It was not a popular school so everyone looked at me. I was a FNG of F…ing New Guy. I didn’t get it at first. The room was quiet with all eyes on me. “I’ll go” I said when it finally dawned on me that they were waiting for me to “volunteer.”

I would actually always volunteer for every school or less than desirable course. I was the odd ball that wanted to experience everything. SERE training during this time frame was hard core. We were in the cold war still and they didn’t mess around.

After one week of classroom training my class of Navy Aircraft Pilots and aircrew headed for the deserts and mountains off the coast of California. I learned how to survive in the intense heat of the desert by digging down into the ground and covering my hole with two layers of torn parachute which trapped a layer of heat and made the ground where I rested twenty degrees cooler. It was over one hundred so it felt like I was in an air conditioned environment. I also learned how to make a solar still to make water. How to gather edible plant food and make traps for animals with parachute cord. we survived without real food for several days before being transported to the mountains. We would do a final evasion course by moving through an area that was heavily patrolled by role players acting as Russian troops.

“If you are fortunate to make it to the safe house you will get a peanut butter sandwich” we were told. I made up my mind I was going to make it!

I crawled on hands and knees till I bled. I could hear shouts all around me as fellow evaders were captured. I heard a truck coming up the road and crawled under some heavy brush and laid as still and imobile as possible. I heard footsteps and shouting in English with a Russian accent. “Get those scum under that bush!” I lay still as footsteps came by my head. I held my breath. The boots stopped by my head and then rushed to another bush where they drug out someone hiding. They threw their new prisoner in the back of a truck and drove away. I sighed with relief. I continued to crawl, look, wait and crawl again until I reached the safe house. I knocked the passcode and the door opened. I was escorted inside and told to wait quietly.

I was the first in the house. What seemed like a long time went by and I wondered when I would get my coveted PB&J. It was all I could think about. My mouth watered and I thought about how good it was going to taste. It would probably be very filling I thought after not having any sold food for several days. Another person came and then several more until there were four of us. We talked in whispers about the PB&J’s that we had earned and how delicious they would be.

We heard a truck pull up and then an argument broke out with our safe house owner. Shots rang out and we heard a thump as if a body had hit the ground. Then the door burst open to our wide eyed surprise as troops dressed in Russian uniforms stormed in and began hauling us ruffly outside where our hands were tied behind our backs. We were led to the back of a truck and had black hoods pulled over our heads and forced to sit on the cold metal floor of a flatbed truck. The vehicle pulled out and began rapidly traveling down the dirt road. I thought to myself that they were taking us to where the PB&J’s were.

After several minutes and several turns we suddenly heard the brakes squeal and we came to a rapid stop throwing up a cloud of dust. Out hoods were ripped off our heads and we were led into what seemed like something out of Dante’s Inferno. I could hear blood curdling screams from a man like I had never heard before. These were not Hollywood screams but the real thing. In the distance I could see what I had heard described as a water board. A prisoner was laying on the slanted board with his head down. Several guards were holding him down as another poured water over his mouth and nose. The mans body jerked convulsively as he struggled in vain for air. When the torturer stopped pouring then the screams began again.

“What is your name and number!” a prison guard said to me in a course Russian tone. I had been taught to resist questioning until I was at the point where my life or well being was seriously threatened. I said nothing. I had been through BUD/S training so I knew how to deal with pain. What could this guy do to a tough guy like me? My hands were untied and I was told to grab the sides of my pants and hold tightly. I did as I was told not knowing what was coming.

I was quickly grabbed by the guard and body slammed onto the ground. The air was shocked out of me in one huge gasp. Pain shuddered through my body. What the heck just happened?

I could hear the sound of other bodies being slammed on the ground and whimperers and mewing noises from several other men around me. There was real fear in the air. The screams from a new water board victim pierced through the body slams and gasps. A metal wall was being used to slam a prisoners body against it and the metallic sound of a body hammering into it over and over again reverberated out like the concentric rings caused by a pebble dropped in still water. The metallic sounds mixed with the other sounds in a symphony of horror.

I was snatched to my feet still clutching my pants. “What is your name and number American pig!!!” I still had a little fight in me I thought as I ignored the demand. I could feel myself going weightless as my booted feet seemed to sail through the air. It’s like jumping out of a plane I thought. The dirt puffed up around my body in a cloud as my body slammed with even greater force into the waiting earth. “Jaco, Michael 24……” I gasped.

I was hauled to my feet again and had my hands retied and the hood put on my head. I was led by a hand grasping my tricep to another truck where I was hauled up and laid on the cold metal with several other bodies. The truck started up and moved out for several more twisting turns as the bodies in the back with me bumped and rolled into each other for several minutes. “I wonder if we are now going to where those PB&J’s are I thought.

Another quick dust cloud provoking stop and we were hauled out hoods taken off and led into a building. Several other prisoners were seating in rows. We were told tersely to sit. Were giving a camp brief. We were told that we were prisoners of war. We here baby killers and on and on. It was propaganda and part of a process to break us down mentally, psychologically and physically. Yadda yadda yadda I thought and tuned it out. I looked around the room and wondered when they would bring me my PB&J. Surely they had radioed ahead and knew that I had made it to the safe house and had rightfully earned my reward. I was even the first one their by a long shot so maybe I would get extra.

A speech Jane Fonda had given condeming American servicemen when she visited Viet Nam in support of the North Vietnamese government was being played on loud speakers over and over again. It was annoying and to this day I will not see a Jane Fonda film. I was led along a long line of small wooden boxes until an empty one was found. In the bottom of the box was a small block of wood that I had to sit on. AI could just barely fit inside. A black hood was put over my head and a metal door on hinges was closed down over the entrance leaving me in darkness. “I’m not going to get my PB&J I thought with a sinking feeling.

We were questioned one at a time through the day and into the night. The temperature dropped precipitously. The lack of food, stress and the drastic temperature change from the desert to the mountains left me shivering. I had low body fat to begin with after BUD/S training and now after being starved for almost a week I was a wreck.

We were tortured in many different ways. It was not life threatening but it seemed like it. Many guys completely broke down and cried. Wow! I thought. Some of these guys didn’t handle stress well. I learned to suffer in silence. We were brought out as a group. There was nearly one hundred of us. There was one other SEAL in the group named Steve who had been in my BUD/S class. He was at another team. We were the only non air wing guys in the group. I had a made up story that I was a cook on an aircraft carrier that had gotten blown off the side by prop blast. I had been told that if they learned I was a special forces guy they would cut my head off right away so I had stuck to my story throughout all the questioning.

A big pot of hot soup was being Ladled out to us one by one. Warm coats were also being handed out. I was eagerly waiting my turn for warmth and finally some food when I was singled out by the prison guards. I was led to the water board.

All day and into the night I had listened to the screams of people being water boarded. At one time during the day they had taken our group leader who was a commander of his squadron and water boarded him while we were all made to watch in terror from wooden bleachers. It was one of the scariest things I had ever seen in my life. This once proud and honorable man was reduced to a screaming maniac right in front of eyes in seconds.

Now it was my turn.

As the board was prepared for me and through brought over a bucket of water with a ladle in it I glanced back at everyone with their warm coats on and their bowls of hot soup. They were all frozen with the bowls in both their hands in front of their faces not eating but as if in shock. I would be eating I thought.

I laid down on the inclined wood with my feet strapped in the top portion. My head was situated at the bottom of the wooden plank and my arms were at my sides. two big men situated themselves on either side of me ready to hold me down when I struggled. Another man was squatting at my head and dipped the ladle in the bucket until it was full. I could hear the splash and the dripping sounds of water. All was eerily quite. I only had on my t-shirt and pants and should have been cold by strangely I was not. The interrogator brought the dripping ladle up by my head.

“Who is in charge of the escape committee!” came the Russians demand. The thought quickly passed through my mind that I wish I knew because he should have given me one of the slips of paper that authorized an escape attempt. I’d had several opportunities that day and was pissed because we were told if you escaped you got a PB&J. Dammit I’d thought all day who was the knucklehead that didn’t give one of us SEAL’s the opportunity to escape. If anyone could have we would have done it. You escaped it was a good deal for everyone in camp for morale. You had to come back into the camp to continue with the training but you got rewarded with food!

“I don’t know.”

A piece of cloth was pressed violently down over my mouth and nose by another guard and then the water started pouring. It soaked the cloth. I held my breath. I could hold my breath for a long time. The water stopped. I exhaled forcefully and then instantly sucked back in. Air and water entered my mouth. I held onto the air. Water started pouring again after the guard had refilled his the ladle. I waited. The water stopped. I exhaled and quickly sucked in again. the water gurgled around in my mouth but I still was able to suck air in through the path I had created with my exhale.

As a hard hat diver and while diving as a SEAL I had learned how to breath with leaky dive gear. I learned to breath with a little water in my mouth. It was no big deal. I could keep this game up all night.

The prison guard whispered in my ear that I better start screaming when they removed the cloth or they would make it very difficult for me. I had learned to give them what they wanted as long as it didn’t threaten me. What’s a little screaming I thought. I gave it my best scream and would have made Hollywood actors guild proud of my performance. After a couple more rounds of water, exhale, breath around the water I was let up. I was given a jacket for warmth. Nice! I thought.

Everyone was staring at me in disbelief even the guards looked at me in awe. What? I thought. The soup was gone! What the crap!

Eventually the sun came up and the prison camp was liberated by some of my SEAL buddies. I guess this happened once in a blue moon and was really motivational for everyone. I thought it was cool being rescued by my buddies but the truth of the matter is that in real life no UDT member or SEAL has ever been captured.

We were bussed back to San Diego and were given a debrief on our adventures of the last week. At one point during the debriefing the head instructor stopped and said in earnestness who had beat the water board? The room was silent. He went on to say that once every ten years or so one guy beats the water board. They had only had a couple since they had started the course.

“Who was the guy that beat it?” he repeated. I sat silently in my seat wondering who it might be because I’d like to meet them. Then he said, “it was one of you SEAL’s.” I looked at my buddy Steve and he looked at me with a blank look.

The instructor pointed at me. “It was you,” he said. “Congratulations.” he went on with the debrief. I sat there thinking I had not done anything that I thought was all that important. I had relied on my training that all SEAL’s get. Although many SEAL’s went through the training I have only known one other guy that beat the water board. It was a guy named Dave Billings who was the honor man of my BUD/S class. Coincidentally he was also a deep sea diver having learned his skill as a commercial diver working on oil rig platforms. Regrettably Dave who was a gentle giant of a man died while diving recreationally by himself. It was a way that he relaxed and while diving off the coast of La Jolla, California one sunny day he never came back from his dive. Several SEAL’s from his team (SEAL Team Three) dove for two days until they found him and brought him ashore. A good man and missed still. If anybody deserves credit it should be Big Dave.

I went right out after we ended our debrief and met up with a couple of my former classmates on my way to my favorite buffet. I had jumped on the scale before we left and I was down 20 pounds in one week. It was like Hell Week all over again. The buffet had an all you eat salad bar, soups and muffins. I was in heaven. My friends were in awe of the SERE training stories. Over the next several years pilots and flight crew guys that were in that class would stop me and introduce me like I was a celibrity to their friends, girlfriends or wives and tell them that I was the guy that beat the water board. I was always uncomfortable in these encounters because I still felt I was not so special just lucky.

Many years ago they stopped using the water board to train SERE students because they felt it was too extreme. Glad I got the opportunity to get toughened up on it. To this day I think SERE training was one of the best courses I’ve ever participated in. I wouldn’t volunteer to do it again however.

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Nine

February 25th, 2014 mjaco No comments

We were finally in the last phase of BUD/S training. Just two more months left until we all reached our goal. We had learned that nothing is easy in BUD/S and just when you think you have got the system down you get another curve ball. The thing that I remember most about my days as a BUD/S student was the constant struggle to excel. It wasn’t a struggle against my classmates but an inner struggle to learn how to adapt my body and mind to unimaginable difficulties. It was getting to the point where we all expected and relished the difficult. We enjoyed the personal satisfaction of overcoming the impossible several times throughout the day.

Many people are allowed to fail in life and led to believe that’s ok. We were being taught that failure could mean a ruined operation or even death. In our minds an even worse offense would be letting down your teammates. We learned to adapt in the moment and never accept defeat but to persevere to accomplish our mission. Mission success was a SEAL’s attribute we were constantly instructed and we would learn to make that our burning quest in all our training missions in third phase.

My new family and I were getting to know each other well. We could count on each other to dig deeper and overcome ever more demanding challenges. Now the greatest challenges were before us and we hungry for what they would present us.

We spent only a few days on the silver strand in Coronado before we heading west off the coast from San Diego to San Clemente Island. We would end our last seven weeks in isolation and complete emersion training. When we came back to the strand we would graduate after only a few days upon our return.

Our thirty minute plane ride over in a military prop plane from North Island airfield was quiet as we all contemplated our last few weeks together and what the future would be like. It was going to be the coldest months of the year the instructors reminded us to break the silence. “On San Clemente Island,” we were told chearfully by our new instructor cadre, “No one can hear you scream.” The silence was deafening.

Our short flight ended on an airfield on the North West end of the island. We unloaded our gear onto ancient 2 1/2 ton military stake trucks and headed down the road from the airfield to the harbor side camp that would be our home and training base.

The smell of bird shit rock sitting in the middle of the cove assaulted our nostrils as we entered the camp. The gutteral barking of seals vying for part of the rock outcropping with the screeching cry’s of seagulls would be part of the sounds we would listen to throughout the days and nights. During the weekday nights F-14 fighter jets would practice touch and go carrier landing on the airfield. Their afterburners lighting up the sky with their fiery tails and sending thunder like echoes reverberating throughout our camp. We would be so exhausted we wouldn’t be bothered by the smells, sounds or sights however.

We would be tasked to dig ever deeper on a physical level as we had become accustomed to do. The first morning after our arrival we would be up early in the morning to start a 2 1/2 mile swim. All of our swims unto this point had been 2 mile timed swims. Now we would stretched that distance to 5 1/2 miles over the next several weeks. The water was even colder now and we also had to deal with kelp beds.

Kelp beds are wonderful for marine life but can be hazardous and downright dangerous for divers and swimmers. Kelp is one of the fastest growing organisms on earth and like bamboo can grow over a foot of new growth a day. I have many memories over the years of getting caught in kelp. You have to learn to relax and slowly pull yourself free. If you struggle you get even more entangled. If you struggle in kelp it’s as if the entire kelp bed knows and comes to calm you down. Unfortunately that calming process can be the end of you. It seemed like one or two of our swim pairs got caught up in the kelp everyday and one pair in a night swim made the mistake of pulling out their knives to cut themselves free. They ended up cutting themselves. You don’t want to bleed in water that is the breading ground of aggressive Blue and Great whites sharks.

Of course the guys that cut themselves were our two fastest swimmers that were trying to decrease their time by cutting through the kelp beds. One of the guys had been on the Olympic swim team that was cancelled by president Carter. The Olympics was being held in Russia at the time and Carter protested Russia’s recent invasion of Afghanistan by canceling the dreams of America’s Olympic team. Carter was a Navy submarine officer by the way.

The instructor staff kept our motivation to perform at a high level by having us perform helicopter flights. If we had performed at a subpar level we would be tasked as a class and on occasion as an individual to grab a wooden pallet and run with it held over our heads up a hill overlooking the camp. The hill had a ceramic frog sculpture on it and we were required to run around it and back down the hill. We requested through gasps for air to land from an instructor standing at the bottom of the hill. If authorized to land we would drop our pallets and fall exhausted to the ground. The ever creative instructors would sometimes have us get wet and sandy before our flights. There were also a few metal pallets weighing twice as much as the wooden ones for the guys that were designated for extra special attention.

One of my classmates on a dare had left a sandwich stuffed in his shirt pocket for over a month and one of the instructors got a whiff of it and he ended up doing two metal pallet flights. The quote from John Wayne comes to mind where he said: “Life is tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.”

Nothing was given freely in third phase. We even had to work for our meals. Before our three meals in the chow hall we had to do pull-ups. When we first got to the island we had an easy ten to do before each meal. By the end of the last week we were doing twenty. Sixty pull-ups on top of the morning PT’s got to be a little tough but we all did it.

If an instructor dropped you for any reason you had to do fifty pushup’s. The most of any phase. We had finished  a 14 mile soft sand run in boots and long pants back on the strand. It was not timed and after we were finished we had the weekend off to recover. On the island we would do eight, ten, twelve miles runs after an hour of PT and then work the rest of the day and into the night. I had lost twenty pounds by the end of Hell Week from my average lean weight of 185 pounds. I had gained it all back and then some in lean muscle mass. This trend would continue for the rest of my career as a SEAL and even today I’m as fit as most men half my age. I’m always thankful for having this great way of life disciplined into me to be in excellent shape and to never settle for less.

We started learning how to patrol silently with weapons and loaded down with gear. How to set up ambushes with demolition and improvised shaped charges. We learned to move silently in any environment. All the skills that we had learned in the first two phases we integrated into the third. We would do a live demolition shot on submerged obstacles. In first phase we had learned to find the obstacles in a beach survey and now we would learn to destroy them.

We breath held down into dark water one early morning before the sun rose. We tied in haversacks loaded with demolitions onto concrete Japanese skully obstacles designed to rip out the bottom of landing craft. A long explosive trunk line linked all the obstacles together so that they all blew in unison. dozens of water geysers shot into the early morning light of a clear blue sky and was followed by a deifying thunderclap that ripped over the water. The earth beneath our feet rumbled as if in an earthquake.

We would do one of the scariest rubber boat beach landings one night that I have ever done since then. The waves were particularly huge one night so the instructors decided it was a good opportunity to learn beach landings on a rocky shore. If you missed the exact landing point you would smash into sheer cliffs and a boulders on either side of the safe landing zone. The way you approached the landing point was to line up two separate lights. The one in front when lined up with the one on higher ground behind it would bring you into the perfect point. If you didn’t line up the lights you would be in danger. Everyone in my boat had serious misgivings as we heard the thunder of the waves crashing onto the boulders. The waves had been big as we paddled out from our harbor and now on the west side of the island they were just stunningly massive. My boat crew and I watched as boats went in ahead of us. We assumed that everything was good or else they would have taken away the lights. Our turn came and we began to paddle in keeping the two lights lined up.

As we neared the landing point the waves crashing on the rocks grew louder. Our rubber boat seemed like an insignificant bobbing cork to the mighty power of the Pacific Ocean waves passing beneath us. We rose on the crests and sank deep into the troughs of the waves as we drew nearer still. I shivered in the freezing cold as water splashed over us. Then one of the waves grabbed us and sent us hurling towards the shore at an incredible rate of speed. We all paddled together quickly staying with the waves tremendous force so that it didn’t peak and crest on top of us. The thought crossed my mind that if we didn’t stay centered with the wave it could turn us sideways and throw us all into the freezing water and smash us onto the unseen boulders. Miraculously it seemed to me, we were flung perfectly up on the shore of a small pebble beach as waves smashed ferociously into the towering boulders around us. We quickly leaped out of our boat, tuned it over to drain out the water as we had done a hundred times before and carried our boat up the hill to the other boat crews. It was all perfectly ordered and not one boat crew had an issue. My confidence in the professionalism and knowledge of the instructor staff was always high but it just leaped several pegs higher after that night. I knew that I had joined the right group and felt giddily proud and jubilant all at once. The thrill and adrenaline of cheating death has a way of thrilling like nothing else. I have been in far hairier situations that make that beach landing seem like child’s play but it still thrills me to think of it.

Over the next several weeks we would do many simulated missions that mimicked similar missions performed by the SEAL Teams over the last several years of combat action in Viet Nam. It was an exciting time and what most of us had signed up for. Some of our instructors and many of the men I would work with in the teams were combat veterans bringing their real life combat experience with them into training. It is no different now in training and the teams in fact have far more combat experienced operators in far greater numbers.

When we finished our time at the island we were overjoyed to get back to the strand to find out which teams we were going to. Graduation for me was bitter sweet. I’d had the experience I had dreamed of for all my life. Now it was on to greater adventures. I was sure this was just the beginning but now it was on to the unknown as it would be for the rest of my life as a SEAL. Even now I love the thrill of the unknown challenge. Unfortunately no one came to my graduation which was one of the proudest days of my life. All of my family was on the East coast in South Carolina. But actually I now had the family I’d always wanted but never had so it was cool. After graduation we would all go as a class to Fort Benning, Georgia for three weeks of Army Static Line Jump School.

I learned that I was to stay on the West Coast to be assigned to UDT-Twelve. At that time there were only two SEAL teams with one on each coast. There were two UDT teams on each coast and one SDV (SEAL Delivery Vehicle) Team on each coast. A SEAL that was around for a few years at a team always had the option of rotating to another team to experience another coasts area of operations. This is something I would enjoy doing my entire career. Eventually UDT teams were phased out and all teams were labeled SEAL teams. This happened after my first cruise as a UDT SEAL. I went right into a UDT Platoon after Jump school training and after just a couple of months was deployed overseas. At the time I first became a SEAL the SEAL community was very small.  Shortly after I returned from my UDT deployment six months later my UDT -12 team was converted to SEAL Team Five.

Next up is the exciting life as a young man in the SEAL Teams.

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Recent Interview with Combative Mind Website

February 1st, 2014 mjaco No comments

This is a recent interview I did for: http://www.combativemind.com

Hi Michael and thanks for agreeing to this interview. If we could start by you’re telling us a little bit about your martial arts background.

I dabbled as a kid in martial arts with friends that had skills. When I went into SEAL training and later into the SEAL Teams I expected I’d get lots of formal training. However, there was no formal system at all. We received a little bit of informal training from an instructor at BUD/S in our last phase of training that had a black belt in a Filipino martial art but that was all. When I got into the teams there were several guys that were trained in civilian martial arts schools but still no formal training. They would teach those of us that were interested but the groups were small and we met inconsistently. Overall there was not much interest in martial arts training. Most guys believed that their gun skills were all that was necessary to be a warrior.

As a SEAL you saw a need for specialist unarmed combat training, yet your efforts to implement any kind of program at the time were met with resistance by many. Why were you so keen to make unarmed combat a part of SEAL training, beyond the obvious reason of self-defence? Did you feel that martial arts had something else to offer recruits?

I was in the Panama invasion with SEAL Team 6 after many years of being in the SEAL community. We did a combat ship boarding on suspected gun running ships anchored in the harbour. One of the sailors on board surrendered to me and I used the skills that I had been taught to control, search and cuff him. I remember at the time thinking what if this guy had resisted when he was close to me and we got into a close in fight. I’d had a few techniques shown to me over the years but nothing that made me feel perfectly confident. I felt it was a severe lack that the SEAL Teams and most of the military as a whole were lacking in basic fighting skills. Most commanders thought it was a risk to their careers to have guys trained up in deadly martial arts.

Later at SEAL Team Six we contracted out for formal training in Jeet Kune Do, JKD to Paul Vunak. I loved it and was there for every session until I left six months later to take over the First Phase Training at BUD/S as the senior enlisted officer. It would be at BUD/S training that I would encounter the life changing training that I had always desired. I was able to get the training department to contract out a month long training course for myself and one other guy. We worked in a system called SCARS, Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System, designed by a former Viet Nam Vet and Kung Fu San Su Black Belt instructor named Jerry Peterson. The system was brutal, highly effective and easy to learn. We learned how to fight in any environment including the water with and without all of our operational gear.

It would be a challenge to get the community to accept my idea that this was training that we could all benefit from. Eventually the right people saw me teach and perform the system and I got the green light. I got several more instructors to go through the program and then from that group we picked the top guys and had another more advanced course. We were ready to teach what we had to the rest of the SEAL community.

I became excited about this program because we had begun to contract out to all the best martial arts instructors in the world in their particular field at the time. All of the martial arts masters in the teams that had any abilities to offer were also coming in and teaching us their information to roll into the course. It was becoming a unique and purposeful martial art that was being accepted by all of the teams. The most exciting part and the one that I loved to teach the most was how the mind was easily trained to become more efficient and that the benefits could carry over into every aspect of our training and personal lives.

I felt it was imperative that we get this out to the SEAL Teams and any other Special Forces community that wanted to get involved. In fact we had Army and Air Force Special operators come through our thirty-day course after I and my group gave a demonstration to the Secretary of Defence. All of the other top enlisted leaders of the different branches were there and wanted to send their guys to become instructors in our course.

The program you eventually created for the SEALS required that students train ten hours a day for a full thirty days. How did the results of such an intense training schedule compare against a regular training schedule over a number of years? Were retention and skill levels still high?

The system we designed was modelled after what we had learned and determined was most effective. We had all been through two different thirty-day courses. We were all master training specialists so we knew how to teach and design course curriculum. We had all trained everyday for ten hours every day and we would demand our students do the same. The idea for such intensive and long training was manifold.

Whenever you build a habit it normally takes twenty-one days of repetition doing the same thing over and over again. You build a neuron grove in your brain that will fire instantly without conscious decision making to slow the process. If you are in combat situations this can be critical and the difference between life and death.

The other aspect we were looking for was the exhaustion factor. As former Hell Week participants and now Hell Week instructors we knew that once the conscious mind becomes exhausted the deeper levels of consciousness begin to activate. At this point super learning and other aspects of physical abilities that most of us would consider impossible begin to materialize. We were pushing these guys that already knew how to allow these levels to come through on an unconscious level to connect with them on a conscious level. It was still a challenge because the analytical side of the brain is very resistant to being pushed out of the picture. Some guys would get it on a very deep level and some would just allow a surface level of amazing abilities to come through.

As an instructor in these courses, what were your main goals when it came to training students? How did you measure results to make sure the training had worked the way you wanted it too?

I wanted them to go beyond fear. Fear is a constrictor and inhibits action and thinking abilities. We were seeing, in ourselves, and the guys we taught the ability overcome situations that were normally overwhelming. We were not suppressing fear or letting it motivate us. We were going beyond fear. It was activating us to go to a higher state of consciousness and thus we were able to perform at levels that were amazing even to us. We were already trained to do amazing and now we were blowing that level out of the water with this training of the mind, body and soul.

The students had to perform at an instructional level fifty different techniques we had taught them. They also had to teach the entire group the classroom lessons we had taught them. They had to personalize these lesson plans to fit their own unique experiences.

What methods did you use to make the training as realistic as possible?

In the beginning we taught them at a slow pace of about 25% speed and intensity. Towards the end the attackers would come at 75 to 90% speed. We practiced in many different scenarios from taking out sentries at night to fighting in the surf zone, Close Quarter Combat room clearance using our techniques, compliant and noncompliant prisoner handling, weapon disarmament, use of knives, sticks, improvised weapons and much more with and without full operational gear.

In the book you talk a lot about different levels of mind, one of which is the alpha brain wave state. You placed a lot of importance on this particular brain state in your combatives classes. Why was this?

We had learned how to tap into the creative side of the brain while in a full out brutal combat fight. We taught our students how to access and manifest the creative alpha brain wave patterns of the brain. Most of us go through life with a predominance of Beta brain activity. Watching TV, doing a math problem, looking at a computer screen, driving a car, brushing our teeth etc. Tapping into Alpha brain waves can take us to the place of creativity or where we can come up with answers to problems we’ve never encountered. Teaching guys to do this under stress would be difficult in most circumstances but we were seeing this happen quite often with our instruction and techniques. I could see an individual the moment when he clicked into what we called the “Alpha Zone.” They would move fluidly and flowed in their fighting. Difficult and overwhelming situations were working through as if they had rehearsed them for days rather than being surprised by them for the first time.

You also taught your students how to access this alpha state at will, especially when under extreme pressure. How exactly did you go about this? What was the fundamental procedure involved?

If a student could fight a room full of twenty to thirty guys non-stop, meaning once you killed or maimed a guy he would wait a few seconds then get up and fight you again, for three minutes we knew we were getting a level of fighter that was proficient in what we had taught. No one could fight even a couple of guys at once unless they were using our techniques and accessing the alpha state. Our attackers would come in constantly at up to 90% speed with and without weapons.

In the training course, did you use any drills or exercises that were designed specifically to develop the more mental skills? If so, can you give some examples?

Sentry removal was a mental game. When you snuck up on someone if you were thinking about what you were going to do and how you were going to take that person out then they would 99% of the time pick it up and turn on you before you got there. We taught them to have in their minds what they were going to do and then go empty mind as they stalked up. It took a lot of rehearsing but most guys got it.

The predominant theme of your book is really awareness and the many different levels of awareness that exist, right up to the spiritual. Do you believe it is possible for the average person to reach the advanced levels of awareness you talk about in the book, without having the benefit of high-level training and experience?

No, even a Buddhist monk must undergo an extreme level of training to achieve self-mastery. It is part of the human condition. You must overcome the restraints of the lower physical and mental states to reach the higher more advanced levels where intuition and advanced spiritual levels exist. I have seen a few Special Forces operators with combat experience over the years that have exhibited self-mastery but it is not all that common. I have seen more martial artists that display master levels of physical control and mental abilities that I talk about in The Intuitive Warrior. Anyone can achieve these levels because I have seen people with no martial training at all that have these abilities. They are rare however.

For most of us it is through hard work and a desire to excel to higher states of consciousness that we actually do attain them. Martial arts practitioners have the greatest chance of attaining these levels because of the East West mind combining that is necessary. The Eastern mind is creative and fluid. The Western mind is analytical and problem solving. Combining the two creates a synergy that activates the higher mind states that we have talked about.

What’s the one thing a person could do to develop their intuition and awareness skills?

A desire to achieve advanced levels will attract to you what you desire. The first step in gaining intuition and awareness is being able to allow yourself to be drawn to what will most benefit you at your unique level of development. Most people want a canned answer and want someone to point to the one thing that will be perfect for them. I’m not that kind of teacher because I would be telling you an untruth if I said one thing would work for everyone. You will desire what you want with all your heart and it will come to you. When you have mastered and experienced what you desired you could repeat the process and attract to you the next thing you as a perfectly unique entity need for further advancement. You will never arrive, at least while you are still living. Life is a journey.

Thank you for your time, Michael and for sharing your knowledge. Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I thoroughly enjoyed answering your thought provoking questions and hope they are of benefit. If your readers are interested in learning more then they can read The Intuitive Warrior: Lessons from a Navy SEAL on Unleashing Your Hidden Potential. I also have a blog at www.michaeljaco.com

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Eight

January 28th, 2014 mjaco No comments

Most stories of BUD/S brush over the second and third phases of training. The toughness of first phase and in particular Hell Week are mesmerizing but this is simply the building of individual toughness and team building. The rest of training is equally responsible in shaping and moulding the ethos of the ultimate warrior. Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. Training or character building is never over as long as you remain a SEAL and as many of us that have since left the community will attest it becomes a way of life that last until your last breath.

We had the entire weekend to prepare internally for dive phase. We cleaned all of our gear, which included sharpening and oiling our Ka-Bar knives. Before every swim and or now before every dive part of our gear inspection was a clean and sharpened Ka-Bar. 

We readied our wet suit tops, we would never get wetsuit bottoms for our legs and had to adapt by swimming hard with our fins to keep warm in the cold Pacific waters along the California coast. First phase was a distant memory by the time we mustered up in the early morning hours of Monday morning. We began with a taste of second phase PT which was tough after having had the last couple of weeks with easy PT’s as first phase let our bodies recover from Hell Week.

After our PT we had a barracks inspection which went extremely well. No one failed. We had learned early on in first phase that if you spend hours of your free time cleaning and polishing your room it makes a difference in how your day and week goes. So far so good. Our spirits were up. We filed into the second phase classroom where we would meet the first phase instructors. The Second phase senior enlisted was an intimidating senior chief with combat experience in Viet Nam. He shear presence invoked respect and made you want to perform at your best level to prevent his wrath from becoming unleashed. Interestingly when I reflect back on my time as an instructor in first phase I realize that each of my different phase chiefs in training made a deep impression on me. I emulated many of the qualities and attributes that I found from each of them was most effective in shaping students and used them in my own ideal instructor persona. Many of the instructors in second phase were more focused on guiding us in becoming quality combat divers. They were not as focused on hammering us for the slightest infraction as we had experienced in first phase.

We began our instruction in dive physics which involved a lot of classroom time. I had already learned this as a hard hat diver so it was a breeze for me. I ended up helping several of my classmates and even took a new swim buddy who wanted me to help him overcome his anxieties about diving. I was extremely comfortable in the water and agreed to show him some tricks that would come in handy for him when we did pool competency. Pool comp as we called it was a series of underwater tests you had to perform with scuba gear on. We used twin heavy steel tanks with compressed air, outdated collapsible double hoses that were used because they could be tied in knots and twisted around your gear in unimaginable and creative ways, a mask, fins and UDT shorts.

We would have to perform our dive comp alone. The instructor assigned to you would come down and turn your air valve off, rip off your mask, undo your bottle straps, twist and tie up your inhalation and exhalation hoses and spin you around a few times for good measure and then leave you to figure it all out. They routinely hit you after you exhaled so you had to stay calm or you would burn up your cellular O2 quicker. Many guys freak and rocket to the top when they can’t figure out the spaghetti mess of their straps and hoses. I had worked with my partner stealing his air and cutting off his air when we practiced budding breathing. We swam over the top of our partner and passed the hose up or down to them after taking a couple of breaths. I secretly added a little extra to my partner after letting him know and he built up his confidence and poise under pressure. That’s what training teaches you over and over again. How to work through difficult situations under the most challenging of circumstances. Combat is like that. Nothing ever works out as you plan it and those that can work through tough challenges will prevail.

I thought my pool comp was actually easier in SEAL training than what I had experienced as a Hard Hat diver. As a hard hat student I had not only the challenge to take care of my own gear but to also work with and maintain contact with my dive partner. We could never be separated and I remember several instructors trying to pull my partner and I apart. Then after the struggle to maintain contact we had to untangle our gear and find air. Sometimes we only had one set of tanks and mouthpiece that we had to share. We lost our masks early on in the pool comp and the pool had been hyper chlorinated so it was painful to open your eyes but you did of course. We also had to swim around the entire pool from the shallow to the deep end in one continuous circuit. Once during the test my partner and I were swimming over a buddy team that was being mauled by the instructors. They looked like sharks in a feeding frenzy.

I could hear grunts from the divers as the instructors tried to pull them apart. Steel tanks clanked against each other as my dive buddy and I looked down in fascination and horror as we swam over them. Bubbles erupted from below as an exhaust hose disgorged and we were immersed in tickling bubbles. Just then another group of instructors tore into us and ripped at us. I held onto my buddy as if my life depended on it and I could feel his grip tighten on my arm as the instructors spun us and pulled harder to tear us apart. if we lost each other it was a fail. My air was cut off and the mouth piece was ripped violently from my mouth. We began to sink and I could feel us bumping into the other team we had just been watching. We had thought we were safe going over the other pair one second and in the next we were tangled up in their gear. I could see the silver glint of their steel tanks and then my own tanks clanked against theirs as my partner and I sank down to the bottom of the pool.

We all began to work to untangle with each other and then the instructors left us to figure it out. I quickly pulled in my bottle that I had held onto with one shoulder strap and turned on the air. I traced the hoses, untangled them rapidly and put the mouthpiece in my mouth. I blew out what little air I had in my lungs to clear the mouthpiece of water and took in a breath through my teeth so I wouldn’t inhale water. I passed the mouthpiece to my patiently waiting partner who was completely stripped of all gear. He took a breath and passed it back. I noticed the other dive team didn’t have an air source yet so I offered them mine. The four of us buddy breathed on one air source for several rounds of breaths. By the time you got the mouthpiece again you were starving for air but could only take one full breath. Finally the other team got their only air source figured out and we all moved on.

I still had one fin so I propelled us along as my buddy and I shared my air supply. I looked back on my hard hat diving experience and was thankful for the relative ease which I completed the first couple of weeks of second phase. Don’t get me wrong though. Training was still difficult. All of the times required to pass the physical evolutions had decreased. The four mile timed runs, O-course, two mile swims all had to be done faster. The PT’s were getting more challenging as well. There was less time for chow so that we were literally sprinting to the chow hall, eating through the line and sprinting back. We had more responsibilities. We had boats to prepare, diving gear to set up for several dives a day and into the night and knowledge tests to pass with passing grades. “The only easy day was yesterday” is a famous SEAL saying and it really began to hit home. We were learning to perform at a feverish pace and the demands would only increase. If you didn’t meet the next standard you got to walk the sand dunes with heavy steel tanks on your back. The thin nylon straps dug into your shoulders and no matter how much you pulled at them with your thumbs underneath the straps to release the pressure they seemed to dig deeper rubbing a perfect strap pattern grooved into your flesh.

After we completed pool comp and dive physics we moved onto the Draeger LAR V rebreather.

This was what combat diving was all about. No bubbles as the exhaled co2 was absorbed by small white pellets called SodaSorb. It was a technology that was first used in submarines.

Our combat dives were simple at first. A boat took us about a mile from the shore in San Diego Bay and we would swim to a designated spot on the silver strand beach on the bay side. A group of instructors began to set up a slowly collapsing zone over time that you had to hit within. If you were outside of the cones on either side you walked back in Bataan death march style to the dive locker. One night our whole class missed the mark and we all swore they moved the target after we started. It also meant that we would all have to come in and paint the dive locker and class room on our normal time off on the weekend. Ha Ha the joke was on us. Sucks to be a loser the dive cadre laughed at us.

We eventually learned how to calculate underwater currents and plot out long underwater dives in and out of a target area. All done at night with a compass board and depth gauge to stare at the whole time. Pure Oxygen has a nasty effect on the human body at depth and becomes toxic. You can go into a grand mal seizure if you go too deep for too long. Another effect of O2 under pressure is irritability. Ask any SEAL and they will have several funny stories of underwater episodes of irritability. I have had a few shouting matches underwater over the years. Hard to do with a mouthpiece but somehow each diver gets frustrated that the other diver can’t understand what they are saying and that they are right. Often you come up and laugh it off once the effects wear off.

Ask many guys that have gone through SEAL training and they will tell they couldn’t wait for it to end. While I was anxious to achieve the goal and always fretted over completing training without being washed out I actually enjoyed my time at BUD/S. Not all of it of course was pleasurable but I enjoyed the time of camaraderie and developing a team spirit. It often seemed like it was us against the instructors but as I would learn when I came back as an instructor myself there is a method and a reason for the madness.

We had been hammered into an even more cohesive unit. Whatever challenge we had been presented with we had accepted with spirit and overcome. Our professionalism had been developed even further and our ability to get the job done had exceeded many of our own expectations. Now it was time for the final challenge and one of the ones we had all been looking forward to. In third phase we would learn small unit tactics, weapons and demolitions. We felt we were ready but after being humbled in second phase we knew that we had to keep our focus and not come in with bravado or it would come back to bite us. We thought we were unpretentious going into third phase but we were in for a lot more humble pie.

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Seven

January 4th, 2014 mjaco No comments

After Hell Week is secured by the commanding officer, CO, of BUD/S in the late afternoon of Friday you go through an emotional and physical release. You are congratulated by the instructor staff and CO and then go through your last physical inspection by the doctor.

Here’s aYoutube link to watch class 272’s Hell Week being secured: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsO7AJKVwfw

At this point you are given the luxury of being driven to the chow hall for dinner. It will be the only time in the six months of BUD/S that this will happen. Usually you run the mile one way to the chow hall, eat as you go through the chow line, stand at your table till everyone makes it through the line then go outside and run in formation the mile back to the BUD/S compound. This adds four, six miles if you have to do dinner, of running a day to an already busy physical schedule. Guys in the beginning would puke their food up as we ran back from chow. I fortunately never did but I was close a few times. You wanted to keep the food down because you burn an extraordinary amount of calories a day.

When we got off the bus for the evening meal most of us were starting to cramp and swell up at the joints so we limped and moved slowly. We helped each other though and felt exuberant and the camaraderie was high for having survived through such a dramatic event together. I half remember eating and when we got back to our barracks rooms we slept the sleep of the dead. After a good fifteen hours of sleep we were in the weekend where you have off so I drove with some friends to breakfast then we came back and went back to sleep again. I remember doing this all weekend. Getting up to eat, then coming back and going to bed again. I actually felt pretty good other than having the skin between my legs look like hamburger from the chaffing. Imagine having sand and salt water poured into a raw area of your body and rubbed over and over again by a strap. Today just the thought of wrapping those red Kapok lifejacket straps around my thighs and cinching them down makes me cringe.

This sandpaper effect is what happens to your inner thighs every time you fasten your lifejacket crotch straps while going in the water for an ocean or bay paddle. Getting wet and sandy then going for a long paddle was Hell enough for me. It was excruciating at first but I became numb to the pain after awhile. Everyone had dings and injuries they had to work through throughout BUD/S training. I had a problem with the jungle boots we had to wear at the time. My feet are wide and jungle boots at the heal are narrow. I lived with blisters upon blisters and raw heals throughout BUD/S. Running for timed four mile runs with constant blisters was just one of my many personal challenges. Everyone learns to deal with some issue and this is one of the many things that makes a SEAL gut through impossible missions and operations throughout their career.

One of the privileges you earn after completing Hell Week is to switch from wearing a white t-shirt to wearing a brown one. Amazing how a different colored t-shirt can means so much but you wear as a badge of honor. Napoleon Bonaparte once said: I have made the most wonderful discovery… men will risk their lives, even die, for ribbons!” BUD/S students have taken it to the ridiculous level and opted for colored t-shirts instead of ribbons. My heart still wells up with passion and pride as I remember the thrill of wearing my brown t-shirt. Another one time benefit was to wear tennis shoes for the week after Hell Week. Even though we shuffled along at a slow trot back and forth to chow during the week we still felt immense pride at wearing our brown shirts. Our class t-shirt that I was in charge of procuring as the class treasurer would have a winged angel holding an m-16 across his chest with the motto: “To Hell and Back and Beyond.” I’m sure one of my classmates still has one somewhere.

We were fortunate that during the week after Hell Week we had many classroom sessions learning about beach hydro reconnaissance and making hydrographic charts. the following two weeks would be filled with learning how to properly conduct water surveys of costliness for marine beach landings like happened during WWII. The most famous of which was the Normandy France landings during D-Day of the allied invasion to defeat the German army. It wouldn’t be until the third phase of training before we would actually place live demolitions on underwater obstacles and blow them up.

So what is it about Hell Week, HW, that is so important to put guys through this level of extreme training? After having the time to reflect back over my career as a participant and instructor of Hell Week I can offer you many insights.

HW transforms every individual that makes it out the other side. You are able to handle physical, mental, emotional, psychological and teamwork on levels that is incomprehensible to the average human being. This will remain with you for the rest of your life. For some the transformation is immediately visible on an external level. The confidence and poise in some of my classmates was shocking. Guys that had been like little boys to me were now confident men before my eyes.

On other levels you are able to overcome extreme obstacles in the future. I have been in life or death situations repeatedly over my lifetime and the experiential foundation that was set into my psyche during HW allowed me to workout a solution that saved my life. You are able to work on a nonphysical level where you can access information that everyone can learn to access. Because of the extreme level of hardship we were subjected to repeatedly over a long period of time we were able to tap into this area of human consciousness. It is a warrior calm and I had experienced moments of it in athletic competition.

It’s a moment when everything seems to slow down and you can understand things on a level that would be impossible without going into this state of awareness.

If you want a visual example think of the Movie with Tome Cruise staring called: “The Last Samurai.” There are a couple scenes where everything slows down for him and he is able to move as if in slow motion.

Youtube link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k52LRSrNYTI

Other examples are the movies “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downing Jr. wherein he see’s things in slow motion and analyzes his movements and responses to find the perfect solution.

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltFyEcoGnbQ

I have worked with all of our Special Forces in the US and many throughout the world and though they all have their unique gifts and talents none push the level of training that happens in Hell Week. It is a unique level of training that has been mastered over many decades. I could see when people entered this altered level when I was an instructor and it was as amazing as actually going through the experience. Any Hell Week instructor will tell you the same. What the human body and mind can accomplish is unbelievable to behold.

Can anyone achieve this level outside the SEAL teams? I would later develop the SEAL’s first hand to hand course taught throughout the teams. It was during this course that I personally learned how to tap this state at will. I was able to teach others how to do this as well and again I could see the transformation happen right before my eyes when guys got it. Not everyone did but just like everyone has it within them achieve amazing levels of performance it was there just not available to be drawn upon at will. I will talk more about starting the hand-to-hand program in a future chapter.

So who can draw upon these abilities without participating in extreme SEAL like training? Martial artists, a mother who’s child is in danger, a business man who has determined the perfect business strategy, a scientist who has come across a monumental new discovery, an athlete etc. In other words everyone is capable of amazing abilities.

First we have to believe in ourselves to even come close to amazing abilities.

Second we can not hesitate in the moment and doubt.

Third we have to strive for perfection.

Fourth never give in. Adapt and continue until you reach amazing.

Fifth we can’t beat ourselves up for failure but consider it another lesson towards perfection.

The SEAL Hell Week experience should be studied for it can inform every aspect of society.

Once first phase was over it was time to enter the second phase or dive training phase. We had formed ourselves into a well oiled machine and had earned the respect, although it was silent, of the first phase staff. We felt confident and believed that second phase would see us as the professionals that we had become and go easy on us. We were in for a big surprise.

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Biography of a SEAL Team Six Operator Chapter Six

December 11th, 2013 mjaco No comments

I arrived at BUD/S  four weeks before we classed up.  All we really did for the month was an early morning PT starting at around 0530. It was led by a senior chief that was twice as old as most of the guys in our class. It was a tough workout and was a teaser for what lay ahead and many of us knew it. I remember wearing my white t-shirt and UDT shorts. UDT’s are very short, tight and tan colored. At the top of the shorts are two metal d-rings that you pass a belt like strap through and use to cinch down your shorts.

I was lean and muscular at the time our class up party started and weighed in at around 185 and stood at 5′10″. That height would be significant in a few days when we were sized up into boat crews. Carrying an IBS, Inflatable Boat Small, on your head as a seven man group of equal height would be crucial especially in Hell Week where you carry your boat everywhere.  I was relatively the same size as I had been while playing high school football and soccer. Little did I know that I would be loosing twenty pounds over the next several weeks through Hell Week as I smoked through calories faster than I could put them back on. How many of us would like that diet plan today? Everyone buzzes all their hair really short at the class up party. A few of us hard core types shaved our heads and my beach blond hair went bye bye.

Our initial first phase PT was a blowout for many of the guys that had come right from the fleet a couple days before class up. The hardcore group that had done early morning PT with enthusiasm and cheering was now replaced with cries and moans of pain. I have never been a fan of whiners. I believe in gutting through difficulties and digging deeper internally to find the strength to do so. I personnaly find people that don’t have the fortitude, willpower and common sense to do so an iritating distraction. All of the first phase instructors were all over the guys that were whining with shouting and screaming at them to put out. They were like sharks in a pool awash with the blood of helpless wounded fish. The master chief of the phase was leading PT and he was more than twice as old as anyone in my class included myself at twenty years old. It seemed like mayhem with all the whining and shouting but I felt an inner calm that soon the whiners would be gone. One guy that showed up barely made it to the top of our first suspended rope climb and then to everyone’s horror slid at high speed down the rope ripping the flesh from his hands. One down. Over the next five weeks we would loose what seemed like one or two guys a day on average. Everyday would get harder and the PT’s got steadily harder, the swims and runs longer. The O-courses and other timed evolutions had to be performed faster and faster.

Drown proofing was a breeze after having spent most of my life in and around the water. Being in the water has always been like a moving meditation for me. Then came the swimming part with our limbs tied with rope. Hands tied no problem. Feet tied no problem. Hands and feet tied was a challenge for me because at this point several weeks into training I sunk like a rock because of hardly any body fat. Those guys with some meat on them and decent technique had little difficulty. Fat is less dense than lean muscle so if you have a lot you actually need weight to get down. Even twelve years later as an instructor if  I got into the pool while students were conducting drown proofing with a wetsuit on I still would sink. A wet suit makes you more buoyant and you have to usually put on a weight belt. I didn’t need one even more than a decade later. I could get in the water to be a safety observer watching the students perform the same evolution I had difficulty with and still sink even with rubber on.

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I had to learn really good technique and time my breaths correctly. Every time you take a big breath into your lungs while in the water it is like filling a balloon with air. Imagine pushing a balloon full of air underwater. Difficult. Now let the air completely out and you easily take the deflated balloon underwater. Your lungs are similar so when you take in a big breath you are buoyant. I needed that. When you kick and stroke correctly you can also stay afloat. Dolphin kicking your tied legs is a technique that can keep you afloat when you are tied. Coordinating my kick and inhale/float and exhale/sink was challenging and I barely was able to refine my technique in the time we had to practice. It would be the same throughout BUD/S and the SEAL teams. You rarely have time to master something before you have to perform it in a make or break performance. Such is life and such is combat. Those that can perform at a high level with minimal preparation are usually the ones that succeed in life and live through combat.

Lifesaving was easy for me after all my training and after being a lifeguard where I had literally saved peoples lives. The problem was that none of us had any practice saving people that struggled on the level that the instructors would.

One of our instructors was a world class arm wrestler that had biceps bigger than most peoples thighs. Another one of our instructors was a master at the choke out. We had a guy in our class named Bob Kershner that asked the dumbest questions. He put no thought into his nonstop questions to the point where you just rolled your eyes when he raised his hand. Bob was a super nice guy and we would be friends later in the teams but he had to know all the little details about everything. There is a point when questions become annoying. We had a 1st phase chief that taught many of our important classes throughout the weeks leading upto Heel Week. One day before lifesaving practical Kershner asked one of his dumb questions. The chief without stopping his lecture monolog motioned Bob to come unto the stage of the classroom. Bob walked up a little hesitantly and we all thought, now he’s going to get it! The chief kept talking and motioned for Bob to turn around and face us. This particular chief was every trainees nightmare. He was big, powerful and could destroy your world without raising his voice, He had hammered our class more than once without breaking a sweat or loosing his cool. While still talking about how we would conduct ourselves when paddling our IBS’s he wrapped his anaconda arms around Kershner’s neck and squeezed almost imperceptibly. Bob passed out and the chief let him slide gently down unconscious to the floor. We all stared wide mouthed. Bob’s body jerked and flopped on the floor and then he came back to the world of the living.

The chief never missed a beat in his lecture and as Kershner walked back dazed to his seat chief Hopkins asked, “Did that answer your question Kershner?” Bob nodded dumbly and sat down. He never did ask anymore questions.

I learned during lifesaving that if you conducted your save correctly and with determination you were passed. I watched several guys thrashing and screaming for their lives as they failed to correctly save instructors and had the tables turned on them. It was not a pretty sight and as you went in for your particular save the thought of failure could not enter your mind. I had learned this mind game early on. Think of failure and it will hunt you down unmercifully. You had an even chance of success if you believed in yourself but if you thought you couldn’t if only for a split second you were doomed.

By far one of the toughest physical evolutions that we did was Log PT. No matter how tough or physically fit you were or how well your boat crew worked together you experienced incredibly deep levels of pain and muscular failure over and over again until you became numb to it. One good thing that came out of log pt was that you were forced to work as a team on a level that cemented forever in your psyche that teamwork is one of the most amazing things when it works well. When teamwork fails during log pt, which it will on some level for everyone then you know it on a deep level and don’t want to repeat it. I remember that log pt seemed to go on forever. The heat was incredible. Dry mouthed and breathing heavy I inhaled dust from the sand which made it worse. The fine sand dust stuck to sweating skin and acted like sand paper until your sweat began to burn your neck and face where the log rubbed.  Every movement had to be coordinated as a group or you ended up working twice or three times as hard to correct your mistakes. The sweat stung my eyes so bad I did most of the exercises with my eyes closed. I was in a world of pain. I was surrounded by people groaning as if they were dying of pain. With my eyes closed it also helped to focus on the instructors commands over the whining coming from even the previously hard core in shape guys that were now struggling mightily past their limits. I was learning how to focus my mind to tell my body to do the impossible. This was to be an all day occurrence for a whole week during Hell Week. We were getting only a couple of hours taste.

We learned how to work tighter as a team rowing our boats out through the surf and running with the boats on our heads. One of the most thrilling and dangerous of all first phase events was night rock portage in front of the Hotel Del Coronado.

The night we did rock portage was epic. The waves were unusually huge and just getting through the surf zone without having your boat flip end over end was challenging. I was the bow man on the front right side of the boat and called the rhythmic stroke count that would determine when everyone dug their paddle into the water and pulled. We had an officer named Mr Padrone from Ecuador that was excellent at steering our IBS at the stern of the boat. Because their was a language barrier I would sometimes help him by calling out the commands. It was a good working relationship and we would all do well together. The now quiet Bob Kershner was in my boat crew and knew how and when to dig his paddle when needed. I learned up forward in the bow to drive my paddle into the face of a big wave that was about to flip us and drive us through or up and over the top of a massive wave about to destroy us. We’d had our share of having the boat flip and send wooden paddles crashing around dangerously. The challenge was to hold onto your paddle when you were flipped by a wave. Otherwise the paddle was a dangerous torpedo and or by the time you washed ignominiously back up on shore you had to hunt for your paddle up and down the shore causing the instructors to hammer you while you waited. Some guys had gotten stitches in their faces and heads from loose paddles slamming into them. Timing was everything when it came to judging the waves.

If you caught the waves just right coming in then you could ride it all the way in without much effort. A good coxswain steering the boat was crucial coming in because if he let the boat drift one way or the other to the side then you would be flipped and rolled. Getting flipped at night when you can’t see as you come into large rocks can be devastating and demoralizing. Mr. Padrone was perfect as a coxswain and we rode many waves into the beach and rocks without much problem.

The next challenge was to get your boats over the rocks as waves crashed onto you. You had to flip the boat over and then inch by inch move the boat and your people safely over the rocks as your freezing from the cold water and getting slammed around by monster waves. These days the BUD/S students wear helmets for rock portage in my day we just had our hats and the injuries were nasty. One of our top guys got rolled back to the next class because he had a huge gash in his head. The helmet idea came from one of my SEAL Team Six Red Man squadron buddies when we both left to become instructors. Train smarter.

Hell Week would start on a night I will never forget. September 27, 1981 was my twenty first birthday and it was the greatest present I’d ever received before or since. I had been looking forward to this night and this experience for most of my life and it was way beyond my wildest imaginings. When I think of my Hell Week breakout night I think of a scene out of Dante’s Hell where Dante descends into the underworld. He encounters horror, chaos and shock on the faces of the people he encounters in Hell. Automatic machine gun fire and grenade simulator explosions rage out for almost tow hours. We were sent back and forth to our beachside tents to change our clothes, get wet in the freezing surf zone, come back to purple haze from smoke grenades and instructors screaming through bullhorns every obscenity known to man. One instructor had a laughing box that played through his megaphone and echoed off buildings as we ran around in confusion at the different commands from every instructor. Fires burned in barrels positioned throughout a beach obstacle course we had to crawl though that had preplanned explosions rigged. Artillery simulators went off after a long whistle during which we were told to get down flat, cross our legs and bring our hands over our ears as we opened our mouths to keep from having our eardrums shattered from bomb blast shock waves.

During our many crazy changes of clothes I left my UDT shorts on and threw my long pants on over them in a mad dash to get back out or suffer greater punishment for being late. I never got a chance to take them off again until we came back thirty hours later and rubbed raw inner thighs from the sand and salt water. I had hidden some women’s nylons in the sand near my tent that I’d been told would reduce the incidence of raw legs that plagued many students. I thought I would put them on now to prevent any further chaffing. Big mistake because when we came back for our first doctors check and first rest another thirty hours later my chaffed thighs had oozed scab material that had formed on the outside of the nylon mesh. Because nylons were obviously not part of the uniform and we would all be naked when we had our inspection I would have to rip the nylon scabs off my tender thighs. Talk about Hell! I would carry scars on my thighs for decades before they finally faded. Two other guys had chaffing worse than I did and one of them got rolled back into the next class. Today the trainees wear nylon biking shorts throughout Hell Week and rarely is there a severe chaffing issue. Train smarter.

One of my least favorite drills during the week was whistle drills. One whistle meant drop to the ground no matter where you were and cross your legs, cover your ears and slightly open your mouth. Two whistles meant you were to crawl on your belly to the whistle. Three whistles was for springing to your feet as fast as possible. Sounds harmless and innocent but add wet and sandy clothes and body from head to toe. Never do you get down or up fast enough. If you crawl fast enough to the whistle your reward is you get to lay there. Wonderful stillness. If you are first then everyone else coming in crawls on top of you. Warmth. Usually shattered by someone else blowing the whistle in the distance. Now you have to wait till everyone gets off you and now you are last. Never! be last because you will get extra punishment. 

All week you will hear the monotonous “It pays to be a winner.” It did actually if you were fortunate to be a winner. The winners were usually the big guy boat crew. Guys that were six foot or taller. I was in the second to the tallest boat crew and sometimes we won on short sprints but on the long races the big guys would power past us to our dismay. I would damn their longer arms and legs as they stroked past us in the boats or strode past us on runs. Sometimes if we got a big enough head start we could beat them but towards the end of Hell Week we started gauging the reward to cost level and opted for coming in second or less a few times. I remember on one of our races towards the end of the week we were in last place. We had lost a couple of guys that had quit from our boat crew. Two of the guys that we’d gotten to replace them from another boat crew of quiters were some of the cocky guys that had bragged about how well they were going to do in Hell Week. I believed them because they had crushed every PT, four mile timed run, O-course and swim that we’d had up to this point. Now however they were whining because their legs hurt. As an instructor I learned that I could never determine what was inside someone. I picked guys that I was sure would make it in Hell Week and they would sometimes be the first to quit.

We had a former Green Beret officer in our class “116″, that I thought would probably make a great SEAL. He quit before Hell Week. I have seen professional athletes from every sport that have quit training while I was an instructor. The one thing that I can tell you that makes a difference is your determination to do whatever it takes no matter what. You can’t see if a guy or a gal has made that quintessential internal choice. I stopped trying to predetermine potential SEAL’s long ago. Performance is the true judge.

So here are these two top performers that are put in our top performing boat crew. They were instructor favorites because they had actually been allowed to cut up with the instructors. They were instructor darlings and I thought they would add to our performance. I was sadly mistaken because they turned out to be whiners. I hate whiners. We were in last place for the first time and it was because our two new additions were crying every time we tried to step up our pace. So we lagged as the other boat crews passed us one by one.

It was dark and just prior to our race one of the new guys had an hallucination and said that they saw a dinosaur.  Bob Kershner would later see dolphins jumping into our boat and freaked out so bad we put him into the center of the boat to sleep because he was banging his paddle around trying to keep the dolphins from jumping in our boat. Sometimes you carry each other because you never know when you will be the one needing it. Other times like in a race where the instructors come up alongside you in a truck and whisper in a malevolent voice that they are going to make you pay big time if you loose then you all have to dig deep and put out.

This was one of those times. The front of the boat is the toughest place to be. The bow of the boat curves up and adds the most weight of anywhere else. I took over the front position from one of our whiners.  I began to run. I leaned forward and powered my legs pulling the boat forward ever faster. The two new additions were crying and screaming. They even were pulling back on the boat to slow me down. We began to pass boats again. Our boat pounded onto the top of our heads as we ran causing the IBS to bounce. The jamming of the boat onto your head is like a jackhammer on sore muscles, joints and ligaments throughout your body every time the boat comes down. The faster you run the harder it sends shock waves of pain through your body. Like electric jolts of hot pain. I pushed through the pain barrier. I was a machine.

We were passing every boat crew that had passed us. First one then another until we were back near the front and we were racing the big guys. They started stepping out. We would have won if the new guys had not actually fought our progress. Because we were second we got a few boat pushups and then were allowed to curl up underneath the boat and sleep. It payed to be a winner even second place. Pity the poor last place finishers. We were probably asleep for only ten minutes but it felt like an hour. I would learn during this week to sleep anywhere at anytime on demand. It’s one of those things that SEAL’s can do and must do. I’ve slept on a bouncing rubber tube of a raiding craft as cold salt spray washed over me. I’d just done a four hour dive after being up all day prepping for it. I was in my rubber and still had my dragger dive rig strapped to my chest but could still go right to sleep like a baby. I could also wake in an instant and fight for my life if needed.

BUD/S was BASIC training. I’ve been far colder, tired and miserable than I ever was in BUD/S. Many people think that BUD/S is the toughest thing there is but SEAL’s do far harder and tougher challenges throughout their career. BUD/S teaches you how to dig ever deeper to accomplish the impossible missions over and over again. Like one of my friends told me that went through before me, “you cannot fathom how tough BUD/S is until you experience it first hand.” His words hauntingly still ring in my head.

Imagine something ten times greater than you have ever physically done. You can’t. All you can do is think to yourself that is something incredibly tough. Now think of something ten times greater than what you have experienced that is ten times greater than that. That would be the level of what you are going to experience as a SEAL I would tell BUD/S classes this when I was the phase chief many years later. I would do it when things were really intense. I could feel like a sixth sense when a class was close to the edge and people were ready to quit. That would be when I would give them the line about ten times harder in the teams. Lots of guys walked away from BUD/S when faced with that stark reality. “Better walk away now than when the going gets tough!” I would always follow up with that next line as a trail of people headed for the bell to ring it three times to drop out of training. Your helmet would be laid down on the pavement before the bell after you rang out and would become no longer yours but a statistic in a long line of others. I can’t remember any of the guys that quit in my class but I can remember all of the winners. I’ll never forget them.