Dennis K. McCormack, SEAL Team ONE plank owner

Here's a picture at beginning of training. All pumped up. Ha-Ha:
I'm on the left! Doc Rio, 16 Oct 2010

I have the picture that was taken for articles I have written in The BLAST and the SEAL Ethos magazines. I have some older pictures I can draw from as well. I was a plankowner for SEAL Team ONE, and almost immediately was sent TAD to SEAL Team TWO for a European grip to France, Norway, Greece, and then back to France, before returning CONUS.

I Was called back to SEAL Team TWO for Cuban Missile Crisis while on leave in Pittsburgh, PA. Stayed there for several months till mission was called off by JFK. Roy Bohem informed me that he was going to transfer me to Team TWO, as he had heard I was a good operator. Kind of a funny story, as I told him I was stationed in Coronado, and my family was there, but he insisted and at one point picked up the phone (I think he was playing games with me) as I think he pretended to call DC detailer and requested me to be transferred to Team TWO.

I called my CO and was informed that he could not do that, and not to worry, as things were already set in motion for an upcoming op and he would see me soon. Whole issue became a moot point, as Team ONE was soon on board and we joined forces with Team TWO for the Cuban Missile crisis. Nick Benzschwel was in my group with an assignment to blowup a dam and some bridges in Cuba. More of an diversionary effort as I think we were expendable. Fun training for the op though.

When I went to Europe, we were with Special Forces in Paris, and then jumped into Norway and operated with Norwegian frogman, and then jumped into Greece with an op with Greek commandos. Ah, for the good old days!!! Some people on board for that op included, Jim Tipton (now there was a real character.

Jim and I met recently in San Diego and had a good laugh about some of the things we did on that op), Stan Janeka, Pete Peterson, Mel Pearson, Lloyd Cobb, Roy Gray, Rusty Campbell, Graverson, Andy D’Errico, Ron Fox, John Callahan, Doc Stone, Nick Benzschawel and others.

Here’s a picture of the entire group with Norwegian counterparts. You might be able to name a few more. Let me know what kind of picture you might want, and I’ll send that separately.

Dennis K. McCormack

1st row kneeling: Rusty Campbell, Mel Pearson, Andy D’Errico, Nick Benzschawel. Other two in this row I do not recall names.
2nd Row standing: Graverson, Lloyd Cobb, Dennis McCormack, Jim Tipton, Ron Fox, a few more I do not recall, and John Callahan.
Back Row standing: Roy Gray, Doc Stone, and others I can’t recall.

Oh yeah, came across some other names from the Bergen, Norway trip.

Swede Thornblom, McLean, Stan Janecka. There was another person named Awalzachuck (sp!!!!) and we called him alphabet. Do you know any of these guys? You might be able to pick them out from picture.

On next leg of our journey we jumped into Greece and met up with commandos. Went to a lake in Greece and worked on physical conditioning, swimming, diving medicine and physics, demolition training, inland penetration, maritime sabotage techniques, nomenclature and assembly of closed circuit diving system, compass lecture and practical work with diving compass board, IBS usage, diving closed circuit (Emerson), familiarization with AR-15 (became M-16), inland penetration techniques, and joint operation with Greek commandos for sneak attack on British rail yard. Stormy night, perfect for what we wanted to do, but not too popular with our Greek counterparts.


Dennis Here's a picture of me in Vietnam 1964.
Here's the picture I use for articles
Passport Photo 1962:
Boxing picture where I had my nose broken; won by TKO though. HOOYAH!
Publicity photo (I'm wearing wet suit).
Did you know Vince Olivera(wetsuit)? Here we are together in Vietnam. Olivera and McCormack
Left to right standing: Jim Ritter, Left to right standing: Jim Ritter, Dennis McCormack, Tom McDonald, Gerry Harmon, Jack Ratliff. Kneeling: Harry Monahan, Ed fisher, Carl Mariott, Frank Watton.Dennis McCormack, Tom McDonald, Gerry Harmon, Jack Ratliff. Kneeling: Harry Monahan, Ed fisher, Carl Mariott, Frank Watton.DKMSEAL.jpg
Standing in my Backyard
Teaching knife fighting DaNang circa 1964:
Getting ready to hit the surf DaNang 1964:
With a few of the Nungs circa 1964 Danang:
ith team of Nungs circa 1964, DaNang, Vietnam OP34A:
D.K. McCormack SEAL Da Nang Vietnam
Rio, Here's another picture from DaNang Circa 1964 as I was teaching demolition work with Nungs.Briefing Nungs by Marble Mountain circa 1964.
Showing how it is done on an obstacle course we built circa 1964.
DaNang 1964 getting ready for prima cord demonstration
DaNang OP34A circa 1964:
Vince Olivera and me circa 1964, OP34A
Here's one taken at My Khe, our base camp in DaNang circa 1964
Here's another at base camp:
Base camp at My Khe, DaNang, Vietnam.
Did you ever meet Doc Williams? Here he is, along with Abe George and Bob Henry egging him on, as they give a dose of something to pep up my truck!

ST-1 Quarterdeck Ceremony


Here are some pictures from SEAL Team ONE Quarterdeck Ceremony.

You might recognize a few of us:

Irish Flynn (Our 1st Admiral) & Dennis McCormack
Plankowners Art Abbett, Rusty Campbell, Dennis McCormack & John Swider
Plankowners Gary Fraser & Dennis McCormack
XO ST-1 Leif Babin & Dennis McCormack
Gary Fraser & Moki
I'll get some pictures of quarterdeck next time I am on base. Take care, Dennis
from: DKMSEAL [at] aol DOT com
Date: Thu,Mar 15, 2012
To: "Maynard Weyers" maynardweyers [at] verizon DOT net
CC: Doc Rio docrio45 [at] gmail DOT com

Subject: Good old days of 1959 for Class 23.


Your article brought back a ton of memories.
Anyone having pictures (and stories) from the 1959-1965 period,
they would be most welcome
for my book writing project. I was in UDT-12 from 1959-62,
and SEAL Team ONE from 1962 through DEC 1965.
If it is easier for some to send pictures by snail mail, please do so
and I’ll scan and get originals back to you right away.

Class 23 Mud Flats Hell Week exercise. Now is the Coronado Cays. Cays was a hog farm at one point, and then a garbage disposal area for Coronado. Area where we "played" was pretty much a cesspool. Yuck!!
Class 23 Mud Flats during Hell Week
One of our instructors takes a bath.
Dave Bramble on his way to the bay.
Instructor Dave Bramble takes a dip in the bay.
Members of Class 23 right after Hell Week with Dennis McCormack on the
left, Bromley, Harry Monahan, and Frank Watton. Harry Monahan, Dennis McCormack, Frank Watton, Carl Mariott, Tom McDonald, and Ed Fisher Class 23 1959.
Not Class 23, but classic picture just the same.
Class 23. We started with 44 and graduated 9. Back row Jack Ritter, Dennis McCormack, Tom McDonald, Gerry Harmon, Jack Ratliff, Kneeling, Harry Monahan, Ed Fisher, Carl Marriott, and Frank Watton.


In early 1962, special operations teams to be known as SEAL teams were being formed, but little else was made public. The SEAL teams would be comprised of two teams, SEAL Team ONE would be home based on the west coast, at Coronado, California, and SEAL Team TWO would be home based on the east coast at Little Creek, Virginia. SEAL Team ONE was established on January 1, 1962, and SEAL Team TWO was established January 6, 1962. All members of the SEAL teams were to come from the ranks of Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 11 & 12 on the west coast, and UDT 21 (with re-commissioning of UDT-22 later on) coming from the east coast teams. There would be 50 enlisted and 10 officers in each SEAL team.

What we were to learn when fully briefed was that the acronym SEAL stood for Sea, Air, and Land teams capable of operating in any environment, including not only what our duties were as UDT members, which encompassed sea-based platform operations, combat swimmers, free floating submersibles, which we affectionately called mini-submarine operations, submarine operations, beach reconnaissance, removal of beach obstacles ensuring safe beach landings, and securing beach areas 100 yards inward from the high water mark. SEAL teams would have virtually no restrictions where they could operate on land or sea, with the additional qualification of air ops involving parachute insertions into foreign lands including high altitude opening, as well as high altitude jumping with low altitude opening, along with low altitude jumping and opening air operations.

UDT members were well versed in submarine operations including both locking out and locking in off a submarine underway for sneak attacks and demolition of designated targets, and additional duties as may be assigned such as beach intelligence and cartography. A percentage of UDT team members carried the additional designation of Explosive Ordinance Disposal, who were not only involved with disarming weapon systems, but also were involved with training of the mammal program with dolphins and sea lions being trained for inshore warfare security operations.

Immediately upon entering a SEAL team, 18 months of rigorous training took place, from parachuting, jungle warfare training, basic infantry training with USMC, and counter insurgency/guerrilla warfare training, hand-to-hand combat training for judo and karate, knife fighting, use of the garrote, amphibious high speed crafts experience, Fulton high speed pickup method, Escape, Evasion, and Survival training, Vietnamese language training with Berlitz School of Language, Nuclear Weapons Training Center, and various other specialized classified programs. The SEALs were one of the first military units to receive the SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition) device, a man-portable nuclear weapon.

No sooner had SEAL Team ONE been formed, then SEAL Team ONE commanding officer David Del Giudice and Jon Stockholm were dispatched to Vietnam to lay the groundwork for specific SEAL operations. Robert (Sully) Sullivan and Donald (Doc) Raymond followed, and were sent to Vietnam to work with the CIA in transitioning OP34A (commando raids against North Vietnamese) to a SEAL responsibility. Special operations involved the training of South Vietnamese commandos and Chinese Nungs for waterborne attacks on North Vietnam targets; other classified assignments north of the 17th parallel; and special operations elsewhere in South Vietnam. SEAL Team TWO personnel, as well as USMC FORCE RECON personnel would later work with the SEALs from the west coast.

In 1962, the author was dispatched for an assignment with SEAL Team TWO with deployments to France for Army Special Forces intelligence briefings; Bergen, Norway for combined operations with the Norwegian Frogmen; and then parachuting into Greece for a combined operation with Greek commandos. Briefings in France included specialized training for the author, a Radioman 2nd Class, designated as the cryptographer, in the use of Diana-One-Time-Pads, a highly secure form of communication, to provide SEAL operational status to a US carrier on patrol in the Mediterranean. SEALs trained the commandos in oxygen re-breathing diving equipment for harbor sneak attacks, plastic explosives, and use of the AR-15 (Later to be named M16), a Colt rifle made of Armalite, which was highly resistant to rust), and hand-to-hand combat, using the knowledge gained for a training sneak attack on an Army Port facility in Greece.

Upon return to the United States, the author was involved with the Cuban Missile Crisis, a combined operation utilizing personnel from SEAL Team ONE, SEAL Team TWO, Army Special Forces, Cuban exiles, and CIA agents, for both land and submarine special operations. The SEALs never deployed during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but rather remained in a training status till cessation of hostilities by the Russian and Cuban government. SEALs were more than prepared to act upon command.

The author was deployed to Vietnam in 1964. Initially briefed in Saigon, and after depositing all identification, medical records, etc., with Studies and Observation Group (SOG), and after receiving DoD false identification documentation cards, as well as khaki unmarked clothing, and civilian clothes, we were sent to DaNang and our camp just across the bay on the beach called My Khe. Later on in the Vietnam war, the CIA turned over the Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) program to the SEALs, initially run by Robert Wagner, a casualty of the Vietnamese war, who distinguished himself time and time again in disrupting Vietcong operations, and setup what was to become an ongoing assignment for many of our SEAL special operation team members who likewise distinguished themselves again and again. SEALs have in their ranks some of the most highly decorated Vietnam veterans, including the highest military award, the Medal of Honor.