Prospective SEALs won’t let deaths dissuade them from trying to join elite group

Posted at 8:51 PM, Aug 07, 2011
and last updated 2011-08-07 20:51:00-04

Chesapeake, VA – On the day the terrible news broke that 31 American troops died in a helicopter crash, including 22 Navy SEALs, more than two dozen people from across the country arrived in Hampton Roads for a taste of SEAL training.

They signed up to see if they have what it takes to be elite warriors and said the deaths of so many SEALs will not dissuade them.

Michael Whetstone wanted to quit college to join the Navy, but his mother made him stay for the degree. He did, and now he’s trying to get into boot camp as quickly as possible. He says he’s sure he wants to be a SEAL.
“Without a shadow of a doubt. More than anything in the world.”

He and two dozen others came this week to Don Shipley’s Extreme SEAL Experience in Chesapeake, to be trained by active-duty SEALs. Shipley is a retired SEAL Senior Chief who offers these men and teenagers a taste of what they’ll endure to wear the trident.

“I got to get better. This is the only way to get better.”

For Shipley, it’s been a tough few days. He knew some of the men who died in the crash. He says it’s natural to quickly focus on that loss, but then almost right away, attention diverts to those left behind.

“It goes from the guys quickly, to the families. To the kids, to the mothers, to the parents.”

Bradley Seniw says his parents worry about his plans. He wants finish high school and immediately join the Marines, to join a war that started with he was seven years old.

“It`s almost like a calling to me. I want to go be a Marine. If I am going to do all that training, I want to see combat.”

For the retired senior chief Shipley, the timing of the camp was tough, colliding with such a numbing loss for his community. But, he’s says seeing these men eager to join the fight, means there will always be more heroes to take the places of those lost.