Friday, February 24, 2012


Try to Grow Up and be Like These Men

I watched the movie ACT OF VALOR (Relativity Media) on the first showing today.  Not often does a movie make me feel nostalgic.  I could see the Silver Strand off San Diego in the movies first scene; the HALO jump (high altitude, low opening parachute jump).  I remembered sitting in an office on that beach all too long ago now.

A few steps outside of my office there was an open cement quad bounded by barracks.  Beyond that was sand, sand berms then the beach.  Beyond that lay the Pacific Ocean – I spent almost a decade of my life sailing West across it.  Sometimes I broke the rules and brought my dog to work with me.  A prissy, arrogant little shi tzu named Gigi; she used to love to walk around like she owned the whole place.  One of her favorite things to do was walk around in the ranks of BUD/S candidates watching them doing what they do – while being yelled at.  Gigi ignore the instructors while the candidates tried to ignore her.

These were amazing men—still are apparently.  Fit beyond belief, dedicated, driven – and the instructors were even tougher. Part of my job was inspecting the barracks but really, all they needed me for was to make sure the lights worked and the shower drains didn’t get plugged by all the sand they always had clinging to them.  It was an honor just to be around them.

I have heard some of the reviews and read some of the concerns about ACT OF VALOR.  Some people are concerned that we are giving away too many secrets here, showing the enemy how our boys operate in their covert missions.  Not to worry.  I assure you nothing is exposed that every enemy doesn’t already know about.  In fact, the only message I saw was:

“Our boys will out-train, out-hustle and out-shoot you and everybody you know.” If that comes as a surprise to anyone it is only the American public.  Our enemies and allies already know this.

Navy SEAL Teams are a close knit community.  They are stable, trained and secretive as a matter of course.   Nothing in the movie even implied where the men lived back stateside to avoid giving jihadists a general target area.  Some California landmarks appeared to be altered in the movie which was a very good idea.

Other elements in the movie got less attention.  The SEALS are an impressive group.  They are supported by outstanding special operations groups around the Navy and in other services.  The big double rotor helicopters carrying the boats are air force special ops CH-47s with extended range and some impressive gear.  The boats are manned by a specially trained group of Sailors who undergo similarly rigorous training so they can perform up tight to the enemy in very dangerous places.

The submarine force is integral to inserting operators from the Army, Navy and Marines unseen close to the beach in enemy waters.  The new Virginia-class boats have a lot of modifications that allow excellent support for these men and can hold their own against any seaborne threat.

The Blackhawk helicopters supporting the night mission south of the border might have been Army, Navy or Air Force.  In the Special Ops world, they units are combined to form the most effective team for the mission.

I will review the movie briefly.  As an action movie it is sharp and relatively tame by modern movie standards.  They had no over the top stunts, no double-O gadgets or extended martial arts fight scenes – they made mostly head shots.  The acting was below par, but so what.  There is something refreshing about not having to watch phony heroes using stuntmen and special effects to look brave.  We know these SEALs are brave.  If their acting is not great, well, most Americans will overlook that just for the brief glimpse into their world.  When our showing ended the audience applauded.

The movie is worth your time, their service is worthy of your praise and our way of life is worthy of their sacrifice.

2.      Special Boat Unit boat at sea:

No comments:

Post a Comment