SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin

January 19, 2012

Summary (from the publisher): When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit tasked with counterterrorism, hostage rescue and counterinsurgency. In this dramatic, behind-the-scenes chronicle, Howard Wasdin takes readers deep inside the world of Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers, beginning with the grueling selection process of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world. After graduating, Wasdin faced new challenges. First there was combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two. Then the Green Course: the selection process to join the legendary SEAL Team Six. Finally, as a member of SEAL Team Six, he graduated from the most storied and challenging sniper program in the country: The Marine’s Scout Sniper School. Eventually, Wasdin became one of the best snipers on the planet.

Less than half a year after sniper school, he was fighting for his life. The mission: capture or kill Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. From rooftops, helicopters and alleys, Wasdin hunted Aidid and killed his men whenever possible. But everything went quickly to hell when his small band of soldiers found themselves fighting for their lives, cut off from help and desperately trying to rescue downed comrades during a routine mission. The Battle of Mogadishu, as it became known, left 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded.

No book takes readers deeper inside SEAL Team Six than this.

Liked:

  • The parts about SEAL training were definitely the highlights of this book. It was interesting to get a look at all the physical and mental challenges the candidates had to face and to wonder how I would hold up in a similar situation (not very well). Making it through Hell Week and BUD/S, and then being selected for SEAL Team Six are accomplishments to be proud of. Note: I say this as a completely non-military person who has not read ANY other books about Navy SEALs before this one. If you’ve read a ton of stuff, then obviously your mileage may vary.
  • The military often gets a bad rap, but this book just goes to show how much of a life-saver/changer the armed forces can be. Wasdin had very few prospects as a young man, but joining the Navy and trying out for the SEALs gave him purpose and direction. A lot of people need that.
  • I’m glad that Wasdin is now a chiropractor and has found a career that he truly enjoys after bouncing around from job to job for a while. I checked out his website, and though he doesn’t look at all like what I picture a former SEAL to be, it’s cool that he’s happy and settled these days.
  • The Somalia stuff was pretty neat, too. I especially liked how Wasdin contrasted what really happened with what was portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down.

Disliked:

  • This book was not well-written. Despite the presence of a co-author, both the prose and dialog were awkward, clunky, and disorganized. There were many stray sentences that seemed to have been thrown into the mix just for the hell of it without ever leading anywhere.
  • I didn’t like the descriptions of fights . Reading about how Wasdin and his buddies fought 30 cops (yeah, right) or kicked a bunch of rednecks’ asses was tedious and made him sound like a jerk, not a tough guy.
  • Similarly, I didn’t like reading how he squashed a rat with his boot (nasty!) or shot kangaroos in Australia or wild animals in Africa from a helicopter. The part about him practicing field medicine on a goat or sheep or whatever was disturbing as well. Yes, I understand that most of this had to do with training, but still… I would rather not have read about it.
  • Call me crazy, but I don’t understand how Wasdin could make excuses for all the beatings his stepfather (allegedly) gave him. If I got beat that much, I don’t know if I’d EVER have it in my heart to forgive the person, let alone try to justify the person’s despicable actions.
  • I wrote “allegedly” up there because I’ve read some stuff from Wasdin’s half-brother claiming that a significant portion of the childhood stuff was made up. I obviously can’t verify if this is true or not, but it does give me pause. In particular, MANY people have said the wild cat in the suitcase bit was a tale that has been going around since the ’50s, so who knows.
  • Wasdin left the SEALs in the mid-’90s, so a lot of the stuff in here is outdated info. I was kind of hoping to learn more about the SEAL Team Six of today and how they operate with the latest technology.

Rating:

SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin does provide some good insight into what it took to become a Navy SEAL and join the elite Team Six snipers back in the day. This is not a perfect book and probably isn’t even one of the best SEAL books out there. But I think it’s sufficient for the casual reader and is interesting enough that you’ll want to plow through the boring parts (of which there are many). I give this one 3 stars out of 5.

Leave a Reply