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Friday, July 15, 2005

The SEAL Ethos

Recently, several of my teammates came together in an effort to compose a SEAL philosophy or ethos. This is something that the Teams had neglected to formally do for far too long. Nevertheless, I am very pleased and impressed with the result:

"In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call; a common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country and the American people, and to protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes who have gone before, it embodies the trust of those whom I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident, I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans, always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates, and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will drawn on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish the mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of the mission depend on me-my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required, yet guided by the very principles I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail."


Having a document such as this has been a staple for the Army, and nearly every combat arms classification has a published credo or philosophy that is memorized by new guys and used as a basis for unit conduct in combat or in garrison. During the long "winter" for the SEAL Teams, it became easy to mock such blatant displays especially those composed by our nemesis, the Army. Now that the sting of combat has salted the flesh of many Frogmen, these words replace empty slogans of the past and focus a SEAL's energy on the tasks at hand.

Better late than never.