Page Twenty Four
SEAL TEAM TWO LARGEST SEAL PHOTO ALBUM ON INTERNET
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Erasmo “Doc” Riojas gives up all rights to all articles and graphics on www.sealtwo.org and seeks no compensation for its use. 2016
Navy SEAL Museum Announces Opening of Renovated World War II Gallery, Special Guests
Fort Pierce, Fla. – October 12, 2017 – The Navy SEAL Museum will reveal its remodeled World War II Gallery beginning the weekend of November 3rd at the onset of The 32nd Annual Muster and Music Festival. The renovated gallery completes the Museum’s entirely remodeled west wing, following construction of last year’s Cold War Gallery update.
After major renovation in 2014 and 2015, the Navy SEAL Museum has continued to update and modernize its galleries and grounds, with the addition of interactive installations, the subsequent acquisition of vehicles and vessels, and the implementation of touch-screens at several exhibits.
“The World War II Gallery is of particular interest and special value in the history of the SEALs,” said Ruth McSween, curator of the Navy SEAL Museum. “It tells the story from the very beginning of Naval Special Warfare and helps visitors understand the remarkable accomplishments of these men; they truly set the standard for military special operations by which we still measure today.”
To help commemorate the historic opening of the new gallery, a decorated group of military men who served during the Second World War will visit the Museum Friday, November 3rd at 10:00 AM. Forerunners to today’s Navy SEALs, these men are among those trained in special maritime commando units for reconnaissance and demolition during WWII. They were known as Scouts & Raiders (S &R), Office of Strategic Services Maritime Units (OSSMU), Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU), or Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT). Many of the veterans expected to attend the opening trained on the beaches of Ft. Pierce. For some, it will be their first visit to the Navy SEAL Museum.
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GULFCOAST SEALS 26 Aug 2016 at:
Charles Newell R.I.P.
From: UDT SEAL Assn To: All Members 27 Aug 2016
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Charles A. (Chuck) Newell BMCS Ret., 79, of Green Cove Springs, FL. On 18 August 2016 after a 20 year battle of failing health.
Chuck graduated from UDTR training Class 19, on April 1, 1958 NAB, little Creek, VA. He served with UDT-21, UDT-22 and SEWAL Team TWO.
He served in Vietnam with SEAL Team TWO and was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for Valor. He also served as a BUD/S instructor at Little Creek, VA. He was cited by the training unit for extraordinary performance of his duties as a BUD/S Instructor.
I truly believe that GOD hears our prayers and answers them.
Chuck is in the hospital dealing with congestive heart failure; they have removed 15 lbs. of fluid from his body and it has left him in a very weakened condition. The doctors plan to build him back up physically and send him to a rehab facility to regain his strength. Thank you everyone for your prayers for Chuck; we love everyone of you so much.
GOD answered our prayers on August 18 and took Chuck home to Heaven at 8 p.m. He was at Mayo Hospital surrounded by his family. He was asleep and thanks to medications, he suffered no pain or distress.
I was so fortunate to be a part of this beautiful occasion and my face was next to his when he breathed his last breath and I felt it on my face. It has given me such peace to know that his suffering is over and it was handled his way and GOD’s way.
He will be cremated and when we are able, we will have a visitation service at our home for anyone who wishes to come and share some “Chuck Newell stories”!
Chuck was such a blessed man! He grew up in a family full of love; he was surrounded by “brothers” in the teams full of love for him; he had three children who loved him dearly; four grandchildren and four great grands who loved their “PA”; and lastly, he had me for almost 56 years who will love him forever.
Thank you all again.
Dorothy Newell (wife)
John Irvin I don’t believe that Class 110 would have graduated prior to the decom and recom to SEAL 3. Correct me if I’m wrong … but the UDT-12 patch / with nametag may have belonged to “Honest John Irvin” BM-1, UDT-12 for both of my WestPacs.
He was killed while at HALO training in New Jersey in a one car roll over. The only son of a big time construction company owner in Florida. There was a time that ‘if John missed a muster, you’d probably find him sleeping under the pool table at the TradeWinds in Coronado … with and unpriable mug in his hand. My favorite saying of John’s was “If ya can’t get along … get it on!!!”
Great Operator in the Nam!! Unfortunately, the only photo that I have is one from POR School at Camp Hardy in Okinawa in 1970. John H. Irvin w/ no ‘e’.
I wrote that: mike baumgart
White Glove Affair
by: Chuck A. Detmer
SEAL Team Two was standing tall for an awards ceremony at Sulinski Field. Awards ceremonies always caused the people in charge a lot of grief, (their sweat pumps had to work overtime to make up for the rest of us who acted as though we could care less.) When the CO is a LCDR. And the inspecting Officer is an Admiral, things tend to get a little hectic.
We had practiced for the ceremony and everything was decided with the exception of whether the Officers and Chiefs should wear or hold their white gloves. They did the on with the gloves, off with the gloves thing countless times. The final decision was, they would hold the gloves…If the Admiral got out of his car with his gloves on they would simply slip their gloves on clandestinely while at parade rest.
Despite all the screwing around we did the day before at rehearsal, we all had friends and relatives in attendance and wanted to make a good impression. Derwood White and Bob Gallagher had been picked up from the hospital and lent an air of seriousness to the occasion seated in wheel chairs out in front of the formation.
Recalling those days I can remember everyone thinking they would live forever. Their biggest concern was getting hurt in a way that would cause them to be surveyed out of the Teams. White had lost his leg and we were unsure of how well Gallagher would recover. Seeing our Teammates living our worst fear was even more sobering than seeing medals presented posthumously.
The Admiral’s car drove up and he got out with his gloves on. Our Officers and Chiefs managed to get their hands covered without anyone noticing what they were doing. The Admiral, followed by the C.O., walked through the ranks hanging medals on people and personally congratulating them for the exceptional job they were doing.
Part of the Admiral’s personal congratulations was a handshake. The ceremony was going exceptionally well (we always looked good in dress canvas). Our C.O, Ted Lyon, looked as though he might finally breathe a sigh of relief. The Admiral hung a medal on Ltjg. Rich Kuhn, looked at this fine young officer with pride and stuck out his hand. Kuhn seemed embarrassed and reluctant to shake hands with the Admiral. After a pregnant pause Kuhn shrugged, grinned sheepishly and stuck out his hand. When the Admiral glanced at the hand he was about to shake he noticed it was encased in a white sock instead of a glove. The CO’s eyes grew to the size of saucers as he zoomed in on the sock covered hand. The Admiral pretended not to notice and never skipped a beat. After that surprise the C.O. didn’t even consider exhaling for the rest of the ceremony.
We all loved cheap officer stories. Kuhn became legend when he made being cheap an art form that day. He figured as long as he was just going to hold the gloves why waste money buying them when he had an extra pair of white socks.
Bill Bruhmuller was the first to notice Kuhn’s sock covered hands. Even though we were standing at attention, when Bru saw a handshake was a part of the routine, he passed the word through the ranks. Needless to say we were all ready for the show when Kuhn stuck out the infamous sock covered hand.
After the ceremony we were all laughing at how cheap Kuhn was when we noticed another frugal act that, until this time, had gone unnoticed. PO-2 Joe Silva was slipping out of his inspection shoes and walking off the field barefooted. He stood all the inspections without ever owning any dress shoes. Every time we had an inspection he would go to the Exchange and buy a new pair of dress shoes, then cover the soles with a piece of cloth so he wouldn’t scuff them. He would then return the shoes for a refund after the inspection. With a mind that worked like that, it’s hard to believe Silva never became an officer.
43 Bush Hill Road
Lebanon, CT. 06249
Terry W. Hartman R.I.P.
1945 – 2016
Terry was a small guy but a tough one. he was a high School wrestler and was not afraid of anyone. he could take down any man no matter what his size. He told me how he got his job as a correctional officer. which was to take down the biggest bad Ass in the prison. It took him about six seconds.
Fred Miller wrote this.
NPR Former Navy SEAL Settles With Authorities Over Bin Laden Raid Book
August 19, 201612:45 PM ET
The decorated former Navy SEAL who penned a best-selling book about the operation to kill Osama bin Laden has reached a financial settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. Matthew Bissonnette has agreed to forfeit “all of the proceeds” he received from the book, No Easy Day, which court papers peg at $6.64 million. Bissonnette offered a formal apology for failing to submit the book for review by authorities before it was published. “I acted on the advice of my former attorney, but I now fully recognize that his advice was wrong,” Bissonnette’s apology said. “It was a serious error that I urge others not to repeat.” Bissonnette launched the book in 2012, under the pen name Mark Owen, as public demand spiked for information about the raid that killed bin Laden.
In connection with his 14-year military service, including a stint as a member of the storied SEAL Team 6, Bissonnette had signed documents agreeing to protect national security secrets. But the government said he failed to seek clearance for the book and at least a half-dozen paid “leadership” speeches he delivered to corporate sponsors and others, which earned him more than $100,000. The consent decree resolves four years of legal fights over civil allegations that Bissonnette had breached his contract and fiduciary obligations. Officials from the Justice Department and lawyers in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the Pentagon is headquartered, signed the deal.
No criminal charges were filed. Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer for Bissonnette, pointed out in a statement that his client was only one of many current or former government officials who boasted about the bin Laden raid. The episode featured in a New Yorker magazine story and the Academy Award-nominated feature film Zero Dark Thirty. The killing also was widely discussed in Defense Department and intelligence circles and became one of President Obama’s selling points on national security during his 2012 re-election bid. “The government has a right to keep its secrets and to enforce procedures that are designed to protect them from inadvertent disclosure,” Luskin said. “But it is shameful that — of all the people who leaked, talked, whispered and backgrounded about the mission — Matt Bissonnette, who risked his life to make it a success, is the only one to pay a price.” http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/19/490487058/former-navy-seal-settles-with-authorities-over-bin-laden-raid-book
HMC (EXW) Kevin Benton Jr.
R.I.P. 1977 – 2016
Chief Benton was a NSW Support Technician, serving as an Independent Duty Corpsman at SEAL Team TWO, NSWG-2, NSWU-10 and SEAL Team EIGHT. Kevin was also an Associate Member of the UDT-SEAL Association.
Jack W. Sudduth R.I.P.
1929 – 2016.
Robert “Doc” Clark R.I.P.
1935 – 2016
On 1/21/2016 10:45 AM,
Franklin Anderson wrote:
Awhile back I sent an article that was published in the Blast about John Boyd being picked up by a drone using the Fulton pick System-a day later the drone crashed and to my knowledge this is the first and only Fulton Pickup by a drone. Franklin
From Maynard Weyers
If anyone has additional info on the Fulton Skyhook pickups, please provide input to Rick Green (Historian, USSOCOM History and Research Office). His contact info is below.
to Franklin, From: Robert Russell Subj: Fulton Pickup with Drone
The Drone hit a cliff minutes after dropping Boyd in the water near a boat……….the drone people said “no problem……we have lots of these things and we will have a new one here tomorrow”…………John told them that they may indeed be able to get another drone in 24 hours but he was not gonna be the one dangling on line………John Boyd was my classmate in 29 and a Team Mate in UDT-ll…………I heard the story first hand from him………Barney House/Steel did a great pen and ink drawing of the pick-up.
—–Original Message—– From: Green, Richard F CIV USSOCOM HQ
Sent: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 To: ‘Maynard Weyers’
Cc: ‘Rick Kaiser’; Lenders, Gaea D CIV USSOCOM HQ; Knepper, Richard D CIV USSOCOM NAVSOC NSWCEN
Subject: request for info regarding list of Frogmen picked up by Fulton Skyhook
Maynard, a while back we had an email exchange regarding frogmen who had been picked up by Fulton Skyhook. From what I can tell, no one has put together a consolidated list, and I think such a list may be helpful to the community at some point. Thus, from your, Norm Olson’s, and Rich Kuhn’s emails I’ve put together the below 17 names. All the credit goes to you three, I just combined the info on one list.
If you think it’s OK, could you send this email out through your net to see if anyone can think of a name we’ve missed.
What I’ve provided below is short background on the Fulton Skyhook and the Navy (paragraph 1), the 17 frogmen we know were picked up by Fulton Skyhook (paragraph 2), and a few questions regarding the Jim McGee, Jim Fox, and Dick Marcinko pickups to fill in some info we don’t have, plus the basic question – is this everyone or are we missing someone (paragraph 3).
1. Background on Fulton Skyhook. According to the CIA website, Fulton worked with the Office of Navy Research (ONR) at El Centro, CA, to develop his Skyhook and the aircraft initially used was the Navy P2V Neptune. The first live pickup was SSGT Woods (USMC) in 1958 by a P2V. We don’t know how long the Navy used the P2V for Fulton Skyhook but in October 1965 the Navy S2 was used for the 13 frogmen picked up in California. We also understand USAF MC-130 conducted its first live Fulton Skyhook pickup in Aug 1966 and Rich Kuhn is the only frogman on our list picked up by MC-130. The only frogman casualty we have was Jim Fox who was killed in a pickup attempt from the water at Little Creek on 24 June 1964.
2. Known frogmen picked up by Fulton Skyhook. The information provided is: NAME, DATE, LOCATION, TYPE PICKUP (day or night, land or water, single or dual), TYPE AIRCRAFT.
CPO James McGee, date unknown, Little Creek, type pickup unknown, type aircraft unknown.
PH3 Jim Fox (killed during the pickup), 24 June 1964, Little Creek, Water-day-single, type aircraft unknown.
PO2 Richard Marcinko, Feb 1965, Panama City FL, type pickup unknown, type aircraft unknown.
LT Jack Macione (ST2), 13 Oct 1965, Coronado, Land-day-dual, S2.
BM1 Roy F. Adams, 13 Oct 1965, Coronado, Land-day-dual, S2.
DC3 Thomas G. Alexander, 14 Oct 1965, Camp Pendleton, Water-day-dual, S2 .
ENCA Herbert Ruth, 14 Oct 1965, Camp Pendleton, Water-day-dual, S2.
Lt Vernon L Clinton, 14 Oct 1965, Camp Pendleton, Water-day-dual, S2.
BM3 Joseph R. Thrift, 14 Oct 1965, Camp Pendleton, Water-day-dual, S2.
PR3 Gary N. Shadduck, 15 Oct 1965, Camp Pendleton, Water-night-dual, S2.
LTJG Thomas P. Jerussi, 15 Oct 1965, Camp Pendleton, Water-night-dual, S2.
LT Ronald Carlson, 18 Oct 1965, San Diego, Water-day-single, S2.
LT Maynard Weyers, 20 Oct 1965, Coronado, Water-night-dual, S2.
BM2 Jerome Cozart, 20 Oct 1965, Coronado, Water-night-dual, S2.
LCDR Norman H. Olson, 20 Oct 1965, Coronado, Water-night-dual, S2.
BM1 Peter P. Slempa, 20 Oct 1965, Coronado, Water-night-dual, S2.
CDR Richard Kuhn, 2 Dec 1981, Machrihanish, water-dual, MC-130 (USAF).
a. are the above 17 names all the frogmen picked up by Fulton Skyhook or are we missing someone?
b. What was the date of Jim McGee’s pick up? We understand it was before Jim Fox was killed but don’t know if it was the same day, the day before, etc.
c. Was Jim McGee also a water pickup (like Jim Fox) or was he picked up from land?
d. What type aircraft was used to pick up Jim McGee and Jim Fox? (P2V, S2, or ?).
e. What day was Dick Marcinko picked up? We have February 1965 but not the day.
f. Was Dick Marcinko a land or water pickup?
f. What type aircraft was used to pick up Dick Marcinko? (P2V, S2, or ?).
Thanks for the help
Richard Green Historian
USSOCOM History and Research Office
On Mon, Jan 18, 2016
Greg Walker <email@example.com>
wrote: All –
As the tribute to Joe Camp in The Blast grows closer to publication – I received reply from State Department FOIA today – I have sent copies to Skip and Bob Nissley – The documents provided fit missing puzzle pieces – First, the U.S. Consul at the time, Ms. Mary Daniel, was as Skip offered as well as others who know her – she did incredible job regarding Joe’s case and then just months later, Mike Echanis/Chuck Sanders/Bobby Lee. In a February 28, 1979, letter to Brenda Camp-Mowry, Ms. Daniel states in part – “…many organizations joined in the effort to find him [Joe] and the search was a through one. If I may offer an opinion, I doubt that you could hire anyone to come here who could go beyond what has already been done.”
Ms. Daniel goes on to confirm, for the first time from an official US GOV source, that – by name – Mike Echanis and Chuck Sanders recovered the bulk of Joe’s personal items, both of them later “…died in a plane crash.”
Ms. Daniel also confirms what I learned from Mike’s mom, Pat Echanis, before her passing, that she/her husband, their lawyer and one of Chuck’s brothers went to Managua in October ’78 after the plane crash. “The families of Echanis and Sanders may have taken the belongings back to the U.S. but I believe most were left here and were distributed among the Nicaraguans with whom the men had been working.”
Indeed some of Joe’s belongings to include his golf clubs were given to the Echanis’ the day they left to return to the states. Sadly, they were passed off as some of Mike’s things – which infuriated Pat and Frank Echanis as they felt they were being made fools of. This by the Nicaraguans, not by the U.S. Embassy.
In a 1985 letter from the then vice counsul in Managua, Mrs. Camp-Mowry was told it was up to the NIC GOV to certify Joe’s death – which was blocked as we learned from other STATE documents by President Somoza himself on August 3, 1978, when he told the US Charge, Mr. Tucker, he knew nothing about “a Joe Camp” despite having met with Bob (Nissley) and Bobby Osborne not three days before specifically about Joe.
I have one more FOIA request to be fulfilled but don’t expect it to happen for at least 60 days.
I have initiated dialogue with the NIC Consulate in San Francisco regarding if obtaining a NIC death certificate from the NIC GOV is still possible – as we believe Joe’s body was indeed recovered and buried somewhere in Managua and his certificate placed on file at El Retiro Hospital/Morgue – the same as was done with Mike, Chuck, and Bobby’s several months later – which we have copies of thanks to Master Chief Nissley’s incredible attention to detail and documentation at the time.
VR/Greg Robert Russell
From: Bob Vasmer-Diecks
To: Doc Riojas
Subject: Sub Lockouts
Love your photo
better ! Brings back good old memories of Sub-Ops,
Uss Tunney & Grayback in the P.I. and off of the coast of North V.N. doing night swimmer recons when in UDT-11,,
“Testing 11 mc,, Lode & clear,, Closing lower hatch,, “Lower hatch I,,Opening side door, 3 1/2 turns counter clockwise,,, ” Opening side door “I”,,, Opening flood,,, Flood “I”,, Side door open,,,”Side door open “I”,,, Securing flood,,, “securing flood “I”. 1 st swimmer leaving trunk,,,, 1st swimmer “I”,, 2nd swimmer “I”,,,3rd swimmer “I”,, Last swimmer leaving trunk…..Last swimmer leaving trunk, “I”…”
“Good Luck Men,, & Good Night”
“Go Do The Deed &
Hoo Yah !
Thanks Doc for the memories,, Deep Dive
Doc Rio’s remark: “East Coast, during my time we only had the USS SEALION (SSAP-315)”
On Mon, Aug 1, 2016,
to: Doc Riojas
I’ll get those dollars and photo’s in the mail to Mr Majors tomorrow.
X-Ray platoon from SEAL Team One was infamous because of the 200% casualty rate that the platoon suffered in-country. All of the original members of the platoon were either WIA or KIA, as were all of their replacements. One of the platoon’s scouts was a VC traitor and repeatedly led the platoon into ambush after ambush with tragic results. (This from Lou DiCroce). I have an email a few years back from Rick Hetzell who was one of the original X-Ray platoon members where he recounts the operation were he was wounded, and one of his team mates “Happy” Baker was awarded the Navy Cross for his selfless and heroic actions in saving the lives of his team mates under intense enemy fire.
Posted by Robert Wayne Shouse on Saturday, March 13, 2010 – 01:25 pm:
To: all: Bob Shouse was my “seadaddy” from UWSS duty with him. Doc Erasmo Riojas
I’m Bob Shouse 84 years young. Entered NCDU Cl. 9 training in June 1944 at Ft. Pierce, FL. Class nine produced four teams.UDT 18,19,20 and 21. Each Team had four platoons(
12 enlisted and 2 Officers) and a Headquartes platoon.
Upon graduation.I was assigned to Team 21, 3rd. platoon. We shipped out to Maui,Hw. for advanced Training. Then on to the Pacific. After the war. We had 35 teams mostly made up of Reserves.The teams were decommisioned and formed four teams,Teams 1,2 3,& 4. 1&3 West Coast, 2&4 East Coast. I was in Team 4.Team 2&4 departed by ship heading for Va. April 1946.
I was in Team 3( 12) in 1950 to 1955.Received orders to UWSS as an instrustor.2nd tour for UWSS in 1966.Retired and worked with the Plummers for four years
.Moved back to Florida in 1970 enjoying life every since. Thanks for the privilege of being with all of you great Warriors,
R.D. Russell asks a Question of Nick Nickelson and the DEBATE then becomes about Corpsmen in SEALs; WHY?
On Sat, Jul 30, 2016
Nick Nickelson <nickclass28 AT gmail.com> wrote:
From RD Russell. If you have an answer, please respond to RD at the below Email address.
From: Robert Russell [mailto:rdruss AT frii.com]
Nick Could you please ask around and find out when the SEAL designator 5326 was first used?
Join Date: Dec 2011 Location:
348 SEAL designator without attending BUD/s
I am rereading Chuck Pfarrer’s Warrior Soul and a part jumped out to me that had not before.
In discussing his first CPO, Pfarrer writes,
“…Strangest of all, Doc was not even a BUD/s graduate. You might ask what a corpsman, a medic, was doing in an operational SEAL platoon in the first place. Doc might not have been to BUD/s, but he was a SEAL, a damn good one, and a Vietnam combat veteran.
In the throes of that late unpleasantness between the Vietnams, the navy found it impossible to get hospital corpsman through BUD/s in sufficient numbers. So they asked for volunteers to attend an abbreviated special operations technicians’ course. SOT was hardly eight weeks long, and all the corpsman had time to do was learn one end of an M-16 from another, how to scuba dive, and how to spell ‘SEAL.’ The graduates were then sent to Vietnam to join operational SEAL platoons and serve as medics. Well, not just medics. In the Teams, our corpsmen are armed, and patrol, jump, dive, and do demo just like everyone else. In short, they operate.
In Vietnam, SOT graduates were expected to fight Charlie and take care of wounded SEALs. Some lived and some died, and those corpsmen who survived a six-month combat deployment with an operational SEAL platoon received their Budweisers and earned the naval education code 5326, combat swimmer.”
I pose this question because the general rules that I have seen here followed when authenticating a SEAL rely on what BUD/s class they attended, etc. If they present any answer other than “class xxx”, they are a phony.
Is the number of individuals brought into the Teams in this manner small enough that the above rule can be applied without much room for error?
On Saturday, July 30, 2016
Erasmo Riojas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
we, HM’s that graduated from the USN Deep Sea Diving School: HM-8493 were selected to apply for the Special Operations Tech: HM -8492 (also recon corpsmen) BUT: to get in the teams we had to graduate from UWSS Key West FL and basic Jump School at Ft. Benning GA. I know some corpmen when the ‘nam war started that were pushed through fast and got qualified for gold jump wings at Lakehurst N.J. I wish i had been sent there instead (doc rio said that) I DO NOT believe that HM’s were given the Frogman NEC, ever, unless they first graduated from BUD/S and in the 1960’s i cannot name one HM that got allowed to UDT replacement training. I know of one Master DV that got the frogman NEC that worked with UDT in lil creek. Corny Layden, RIP. that was so he would $$$ DV and demo pay.
1st class divers had one week of demo at EOD school at Dam Neck VA. I was one of those.
i wish i could be of more help, but the answer will come from someone.
On Sat, Jul 30, 2016
CARL SWEPSTON <retsea AT sbcglobal.net> wrote:
The only corpsmen I knew that went through UDTRA (west coast) or UDTR (East Coast) training and truly earned a NEC designator 5321 (UDT) or 5326 (SEAL) were Ron Tusi (class 28) Gene Hetherington and Wayne Jones. I am sure there were others I didn’t know personally. There were several SOTs that showed up and went on OPS in Vietnam with SEAL platoons. Yesterday, I went to a SQT graduation during which these men are presented their tridents. I don’t know for sure I could endure what they have done in the last year and a half to earn their tridents. I suppose one thing all true trident wearers should have in conman is that they attended and made it through hell week. I don’t see anything wrong with a corpsman stating he worked with SEALs in combat. That is no different than a Navy corpsman stating he worked with the Marines. He doesn’t claim to be a Marine because he worked the Marines. He wore the Marine uniform with his corpsman chevron attached. Carl
On Sunday, July 31, 2016 12:39 PM,
Erasmo Riojas <docrio45 AT gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Carl, good debate. do you have the emails or phone numbers to the men you mention were HMs and went trough UDT replacement training before 1970? Your word is good, but i would like to see how it was done, since a lot of us applied and were turned down FLAT OUT ! I’ll look for my requests in my service record that they gave me when i retired. It is all there.
from: CARL SWEPSTON
Reply to Doc Rioja
I don’t have anything specific regarding the names I mentioned. HM1 Ron Tusi was in my UDTRA 28 training class. As I think you know he transferred to the Army and became a highly decorated CWO Helo pilot. He along with numerous other petty officers were just part of our class. We had SMs, GMGs, HMs, RMs, SKs and a bunch of Seaman Apprentices. We were all treated equally. To my knowledge, all of the names I mentioned are dead. Doc Cline and Doc Hetherington were killed in a private plane crash. Ron Tusi was killed in a military helo accident at Ft Cambell, KY. Doc Salts was seriously injured in Mexico and died later. We had one Chief Baldasari or something like that who I don’t think went through training. He had several PHs from service with the Marines in Korea. His duties were primarily running the decompression chamber and doing HM paperwork. Doc Wayne Jones was the corpsman who resuscitated me after I was clinically dead from a MkVI diving accident. I know he operated in Vietnam. I had anoxia from rebreathing my own air when the gas delivery tube was knocked loose. Rumor was that he was taking a piss on the fantail of the support craft while a platoon was ashore and he got shot in the ass by the VC. I am sue he was the one who wrote up the PH. I hope this helps. Carl
Richard Kuhn R.I.P.
____ – 2016
Richard was the first US Navy SEAL to take up the Personnel Exchange Posting (PEP) with the SBS where he arrived in June 1972 fairly fresh from distinguished service in Vietnam. He served most of his appointment as the SBS Training Officer.
He returned to the UK later in his career as commander of the SEAL Team 2 Detachment, (NSWU-2) based at RAF Macrihanish, and there were many other occasions where he crossed paths with the SBS. His attendance at the Royal College of Defence Studies towards the end of his career is a testament to the international nature of his military prowess.
Richard rose to the rank of Captain in the United States Navy SEALs His last military duty assignment was as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Special Operations Command, Europe where he supervised U.S. Special Operators personnel in 83 countries.
While serving in Special Operations Command, he directed a 350-person force that provided combat search-and-rescue missions for coalition aircraft and forces while enforcing United Nations sanctions as well as protecting the population of Northern Iraq, in the aftermath of Desert Storm One.
Additionally he directed a high profile, 400-person elite force that provided combat search-and-rescue missions in Bosnia- Herzegovina.
Doc Riojas’ note:
Mr. Kuhn was the OinC of the LDNN (VN SEALs) training camp in CamRanhBay Vietnam in 1970. I was his leading CPO (CoVan.) Kiet Nuygen, Recipient of the Navy Cross in an Operation where Mike Thornton was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Terry L. Thomas R.I.P.
Ernest Barchers R.I.P.
Harvey Leverne Speck R.I.P.
1925 – 2016
Michael Alan Prince Sr. R.I.P.
1941 – 2016
Mark Gerstberger R.I.P.
1958 – 2016
Leslie R. Sturges R.I.P.
1934 – 2016
IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS THAT WE ANNOUNCE THE PASSING OF LESLIE R. STURGES, 82, ON 03 APRIL 2016
OF MONTERREY, CALIFORNIA . LES GRADUATED WITH UDT TRAINING CLASS 14
ON 30 AUGUST 1955 IN CORONADO AND SERVED WITH UDT-11. THERE WAS NO OBITUARY INFORMATION AVAILABLE FOR LES.
Eduardo Luis “Ed” Smith R.I.P.
1943 – 2016
The following consists of the names of the first two platoons at Det Golf (picture attached above – it consisted of two plts: Golf plt and I don’t remember the name of the other one – Franklin might): Names: Standing – Left to Right: Lt. Michael E. Tomsho
LTJG William R. Pechacek (Golf Platoon)
BM1 Roger J. Moscone (Golf Platoon)
GMG2 Robert L. Parsons
HM1 Issac L. Suazo
DM1 Alwyn J. Smith
SM2 John G. Campbell (Golf Platoon)
PH2 James K. Pahia, Jr.
SF 1 Ted D. Mathison
PR2 Richard A. Pearson (Golf Platoon)
EN1 Robert M. Henry (Golf Platoon)
SM! Carl D. Marriot
BM2 Leon F. Rauch (Golf Platoon)
BM2 John M. Eschete
EN1 Billy G. Davis
Kneeling – Left to Right: LT Maynard R. Weyers (OIC Det Golf)
EA1 William E. Raschick, Jr.
RD2 Billy W. Machen (Golf Platoon)
EM2 Charles J. Shenners (Golf Platoon)
BT 2 Leonard J. Van Orden
ET1 John V. Wilcoxen (Golf Platoon)
HM1 Robert E. Cline (Golf Platoon)
LT Ronald K. Bell (other Platoon CDR)
LTJG Thomas R. Truxell (Golf Platoon CDR)
In the Boat: EN2 Turner (Nha Be Support – manned and maintained the LCM)
Missing from Picture: SM3 Reinold L. Benzschawel (Golf Platoon)
That is MIKE Plt. Ben Luc. My platoon. Top l to r HMC Charles Hill, BT1 Leonard Van Orden, BM2 Frank Czajkowski, RMSA David Hoover, PN3 William Foley, ETSN David Johnston Middle l to r QMC Thomas Norton, RMSN Steven Jones, YN3 John Chalus RM3 Thomas Christopher, SFP2 Paul Bourne, SF3 Randy Kaiser Bottom l to r LTjg Walter Merrick LT Michael McCrary. The Others are Vietnamese and I don’t know their names. I am pretty sure I got this right. John Chalus
Rio,I have Leonard Van Orden down as a BM!. He was a BT1, Sorry. John
On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 8:01 PM, Erasmo Riojas <email@example.com> wrote:
great picture ! than you Señor Maynard !
for www.sealtwo.org , of course , right?
Do you remember all their names?
Thank you Very much, guys !
I was an instructor at UWSS , Key West FL. My shore duty
tour was almost up and the ‘nam war started and Team ONE
had already sent guyhs over ther.
Solomon Atkinson “KIMO” was the person that said to call Capt. Shablie (SP) to see if I could get in to the team.
He said over the phone, “Doc, get in line, there are a lot of HM’s wanting to come over to ST-1” He said, “Call Capt. Bill
Earley in ST-2 and see if he need an HMC.
WELL: Lo and Behold, Don Stone, HMCS, ;had just got orders to shore duty.
Mr. Earley asked why I wanted to come to the Team. I told him that I had an NEC-8404, FMF, and I did not want to go to ‘nam with the USMC.
I told him I found out from a FMF, HMC buddy, Clarence Ashby Presley (we were in the Korean Police Actrion for 13 months) that he had already had orders to go back to the FMF.
jthat shit aboujt Semper Fi, do or die don’t cut it with me anymore.
I’ll get you orders, and you will stop by Ft. Benning GA. if you graduate you will come to the team and be on further On The Job TRraing to be come a SEAL Corpsman Operator HM-8492.
Some refreshers with the UDT classes and many other army schools and I was good to go.
I was the counterpart of ST-1 Joe Churchill, we worked alongside for a while at Camh Ranh Bay. He was also in Korea Police action and later he told me that the Navy had upgraded his Silver Star to a Navy Cross. I don’t know if that is true.
Joe was too GUNG HO for my blood.
Chief BMC, I am blocking out, Black American, was there with us in Camh Ranh, “dice rolling fool” he was my type of guy. Work Hard and Play hard ! We can’t just be SEALs 100% of the time ! LT. Kuhn, ST-2 was the OinC and he was also that type of guy, work/play and be happy.
ANYway, I enjoyed working with ST-1 guys, BUT
I operated with Bear Enoch at “DUNG ISLAND” and that was not a happy time, as I was treated badly being a east coast puke, even their HM2 “Nigger” Brown had no respect for me.
they operated with Boston Whalers.
one Op we did not hit the beach and one LDNN got blown away.
Mike Thornton was there
and Mike being mike, tells the GUlfCoast SEALs that I was very nervous operating with his platoon.
more t;han nervous; scarted shitless.
Good Old days.
3 six month tours in ‘nam and that was way too much for me.
Captain William Melton Bristow USN
Submarine/Diving Medical Officer
William M. Bristow R.I.P.
cperry7798 [at] aol DOT com
7:29 PM (11 minutes ago) Reply to me, maynard weyers When Bristow came to be the doctor for the UDT team in Dec 1960, he had a lot of experiences in wrestling. He was good at track, tennis and swimming. He coached and wrestled at NTC in the mid 50s.He got permission from the CO to start a wrestling team. Maynard gave a good explanation which could be documented on Page 3 of Fire inThe Hole.
From: Tony Aguilar
To: Doc Riojas
Subj: Billy Bristow is my best Shipmate and friend
I served on the following Submarines
USS Rasher (AGSS-269)(SS-269) (SSR-269)(IXSS-269)
Plunger SSN 595 Barb SSN
Daniel Boone FBM 629 Gold
Tenders: and Aylin tenders
and Aylin tenders
Sperry was in San Diego Holland as32 was for nukes and Gilmore both home ported in Charleston SC. I took Holland to Rota Spain in change of home port in 1971 I was squadron secretary then transferred to my last sub duty as flag secretary at sub flotilla one.
Some of my happiest moments were in the Submarine Service I consider Billy Bristow my best friend alive.
We met in Charleston, SC. I served both in the Pacific and the Atlantic.
From: Billy Bristow
To: Doc Riojas
Subj: Tony Aguilar, US Navy Retired Submariner My buddy Tony is a retired submariner. l was stationed with him in the 60s.
Back in the days when I was an east coast sailor.
I also took my hard hat diving training At the diving school on in the Anacosta River in D.C.I remember the bottom being about two feet of mud and no visibility
Statue in Front of the UDT- SEAL Museum Ft. Pierce FL
by: Roger Cook
I was president of the UDT-SEAL museum shortly after it opened back in the mid eighties. The museum had a paper mannequin of a frogman displayed in the shallow pond at the entrance to the museum on the south side. Back in those days the museum grounds was wide open to the public. We always had problems with people destroying our naked warrior statue.
At the time I was employed by a company only a few miles away. The president of our company was J Seward Johnson of Johnson&Johnson Corp. Seward had a son J Seward Johnson Jr. who had a sculpting studio in Princeton N.J. I contacted Mr. Johnson for a bid on a bronze statue to replace our paper version, knowing it would hold up much better.
I took a photo of of Steve Nelson, whom I had just hired. Steve had just left the Navy and SEAL team1. Steve wore the gear from my war bag accept I used fins and facemask from WW2 to give the statue a broader appeal. The sculpting studio wanted to add additional features to the statue to make it more appealing according to them.
I said no several times that the statue had to be exactly like the photo. I traveled to Princeton twice during construction to ensure the statue was exactly like the photo. While the statue was being made the county of Ft. Pierce, whom we were controlled by at the time decided to install a wire fence around the property.
The rubber mold of the original statue is what is being used to reproduce the new naked warrior statues. This will be the third statue of the original naked warrior. The original statue was produced for $30, 000, far less than the newer models! Statue #2 is in Hawaii.
We contacted several studios that produce bronze items, but Mr. Johnson’s bid was the lowest. One of the studios was located only a short distance from the museum.
Hilton, William (Bill) Charles III
R.I.P. 1940 – 1978
U.S.N. SEAL Team Two and UDT-21
Operations Specialist First Class
Birth Date: 11.7.1940 Date of Death: 30th May 1978 AGE 37
Killed by a Drunk Driver in Virginia Beach,Virginia
To: Doc Rioja, Henry , and Chuck Detmer, Hrabak
From: Bill Langley
Guys, Soon after we returned to Little Creek following our recovery of Gemini V with astronauts Conrad and Cooper in August of 1965, Pete Spencer and I were in a motorcycle accident on Shore Drive just outside Gate 5. I was driving and we were both very lucky to survive. I think being drunk helped.
We left the Casino Bar on our way to Jolly Rogers going about 50 mph when a car turned in front of us. He was turning into gate 5 when we collided. We were in the process of racing some teammates (Doug Drummond-driver, Bud Thrift, Ed Leasure, and I think Chuck Detmer and Bob Hrabak) to JR’s. They were stopped at the red light when we passed them. We were ahead about 20 feet when the crash occurred.
Pete sailed over the traffic light and I crushed the gas tank with my hip joints and folded the handle bars forward with my thighs. Pete suffered a broken hip and I broke my right wrist, and according to the doctor, I almost severed my right femoral artery. Bud was reassuring me that I would be OK and an ambulance was on the way when Doug commented, “Good god all mighty, look at all that blood between his legs.” I felt like I was about to pass out so I told Bud, “Well I guess this is it, my number’s up.”
I believe guardian angles were watching over us that eventful night. I never bought another motorcycle. I was in UDT-21 at the time and got out of the navy about 6 months later. I went back to Little Creek in September of 1966 and ‘Demo Dick’ Marcinko swore me back into the navy and ST-2. Now you know the rest of the story.
Your teammate and friend, Bill Langley
From: Francis Cleary
To: langleychfs, me, udtseal105, john.hunt.udt21, daniel mcevoy, wm l bishop, mevery, bill, edudt22, cpking629, frogfather, rolandsam, frog21 Bill
This surely brings back many great memories!!
Dennie Bowman and I were in Fort Lee at Jump Master’s School. Got a call from Martin & Bonnie Every that Sue was in labor and Kevin Francis Cleary was about to come into this world. Dennie & I drove (most of the night) back to Portsmouth Naval Hospital to welcome Kevin into the world, and then drove back to Fort Lee to just make 6:00 a.m. Muster. We both slept through the a.m. lecture, and they almost had to “roll” us out of the aircraft for the afternoon jump!! We had a beer and dinner at the “O” Club and both crashed by 6:00 p.m. Understand that Dennie did many great things for his town in Corpus Christie, Texas before he died.
As I recall, John Hunt called me later in the week to inform me that two of our best operatives were “down!” Thank God for Guardian Angels!!
Bill, as I think I’ve told you before, during the last years of Doug Drummond’s life, Bill Bishop & I tried to “step up to the plate” and help as best we could. At the end Bill drove down and gave Doug’s eulogy. It was given at a Church with many non–believing bikers in the audience – Doug was never really a SEAL and all that stuff.
So Bill Bishop quiets the crowd with these words: “Hi my name is Bill Bishop and I’ve lead two Navy SEAL Deployments to Vietnam. I’m here to say goodbye to my SEAL Classmate and to my Teammate Doug Drummond. Doug was the REAL DEAL in every respect.” The church went quiet in awe.
Doug Drummond – The Real Deal – R.I.P.
Dad Demands Change in SEAL Training After Son’s Death
Rudy Davis wrote: A quick war story (that is true)
Denny, I was promoted to ‘Gunner’s Mate Guns’ Petty Officer 2nd Class with the help of an unnamed Team Warrant Officer (open book test) in Viet Nam. Unlike yourself, I knew nothing – and was so stupid about the rate , that I thought a 5 inch 38 was a pistol! Later the next year, I got to personally air my gripes to CNO Zumwalt. I was picked by our command to represent the Team – and to tell Adm. Zumwalt what was wrong with our Navy.
I said, “Admiral you see these Ribbons and Medal on my chest!” He said, “Yes , son I do.” “Well sir, they mean nothing when it comes time for me to compete against my fellow Navy men out in the Fleet, to gain rank. Sir, we have no service rate for us Team operators. I work each day in demolition, diving, parachuting, and land, and sea fighting tactics, and yet I have to be tested in a rate that I don’t work in, around, or with. I have been put in a situation that I must lie, cheat or steal to overcome and advance. Believe me we UDT/SEAL men will advance, but I wish you would look into our Teams as a Career Field.” I said. He turned to a LtJG and said, “Write that down, and we’ll look into it!” The Admiral was a man of his word!
I believe it was the “Retention Board Conference of 1972” in Washington D.C.
To: Gerry, Harold, Hal, Doc Rio
From: Franklin ANderson
Maynard Weyers is a retired Navy Capt who was my executive Officer in SEAL TEAM ONE. He continues to keep us informed of events happening in the Special Warfare Community. Always something happening.
Maynard Weyers wrote:
Spot on comments (everything SEALs do is high risk).
Navy SEAL legend, Joel Lambert, honors courageous Alabama student who died in SEAL training (Audio)
In a recent interview on Yellowhammer Radio, Navy SEAL legend Joel Lambert, who is also the star of Discovery Channel’s Predators Up Close and Lone Target, paid tribute to Seaman James “Derek” Lovelace, who was recently killed while attempting to become a SEAL himself.
“He had the courage to do something that 99.999 percent of the world never will have, and he gave his life in the attempt to join our brotherhood,” said Lambert. “And there is so much respect in that.”
Lovelace, a 21-year-old Navy SEAL trainee who played college baseball in Alabama, died during his first week of basic underwater demolition/SEAL training, more commonly referred to as BUD/S.
Thank you, HooYah! Capt. Maynard Weyers
From: stinson [at] directcon DOT net
To: Doc Riojas
Did you see on the news where Donald Trump has donated $645,000 to the Navy Seal Foundation?
They received more than any other single group. Retired Seal Commander Mark Kasel, 110, and his wife Pam ramroded the 2nd Annual Navy Seal Foundation Trapshoot held at Coon Creek Trap & Skeet in Lincoln, Calif.
We had double the shooters from last year and a good time was had by all, made a pile of money for the Foundation also! The father in law of SEAL “Axe” Axelson, killed in Operation Red Wing, spoke about all the very fine things the Foundation has done for his daughter and grand children. There wasn’t a dry eye in the group!
Ron Yeaw Doc, Fred Kochey and I joined the 6th in Vinh Long as replacements for the 2 wounded officers in September 1967. When the 6th went home in February, I went to Can Tho with the 8th for 3 weeks (Marcinko was in Cambodia and Gordy Boyce was the sole officer in the 8th From there I went to the 7th in March for 1 op. Regards, Ron
Many thanks for your email and feedback regarding the patch. Now you mention it, the stitching on it is reminiscent of some early 60’s Subic Bay patches I’ve seen… I’ll keep digging, thank you again
As a Vietnam era NSW collector and historian I am anxious to ensure that the history and legacy of the Vietnam-era SEALs is appropriately preserved for future generations, so I very much appreciate the accuracy of your information regarding your platoon rosters. VADM Harward is coming through London next month and has asked to meet up with me to discuss a civilian/historian perspective as he makes plans for the West Coast SEAL museum.
When my family stayed at the home of Tom Keith last year before muster, we talked at length about his Vietnam – era recollections of both Bubba Brewton and Jerry Waters. The circumstances of both their deaths was indeed tragic. If I recall correctly, following Waters parachuting accident in Suffolk, his funeral in Georgia was the first after the new ‘budweiser” insignia was issued and was the first time that SEALs placed their Tridents upon the casket, a tradition that continues today.
Thank you again Sir.
to me Thanks Doc and Fred…
confirmed tonight that it was definitely My Tho 4th in 1967
as the Vinh Long 4th in 68-69 was
Grateful to you both… If we get to muster 2016 I owe you guys a beer or two.
THIRD Platoon, SEAL Team TWO, Naval Base Nha Be, South Vietnam, June-December 1968:
LT(JG) Richard P. “Rick” Woolard
ENS John C. “Bubba” Brewton
ENC Solomon D. Atkinson
BM1 William A. Garnett
BM1 Jerry L. Todd
HM1 Paul (“P.T”) Schwartz (returned to CONUS early, replaced by Burwell)
HM1 Lowell E. “Bo” Burwell
BM1 Charles “Chuck” Detmer
GMG1 Ronald Fox
BM1 Carl D. (“Skip”) Isham
ADJ2 Gerald R. McClure
SM3 Julius Ramos
MM2 Leroy P. Delaine
ADJ3 Alvin F. McCoy
AE3 James H. Warmack
EM3 Frankln G. Waters
THIRD Platoon, SEAL Team TWO, Advanced Tactical Support Base Song Ong Doc, South Vietnam, October 1969-April 1970:
LT Richard P. “Rick” Woolard
LT(JG) Anthony J. Mihalic (returned to CONUS early, not replaced)
BMC William A. Garnett
BM1 Jerry L. Todd
HM1 Lowell E. “Bo” Burwell
BM1 James F. Finley
SM2 Michael D. Kelley
GMG2 Dennis H. Johnson
SFP2 Frederick J. Keener
BM2 William A. McCarthy
BM3 William F. Beebe
QM3 Laurence F. Rich
YN3 Gary S. Wilson
CYN3 Robert H. Gammell
EM3 Mark T. Baum
Navy.mil – COSRIVGRU One sailors at VUMM Inbox x firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM: Ralph Fries
Good Evening All,
Inez and I attended the CGR-1 Heritage ceremony that was held at the Vietnam Memorial Monument and Boat Display. The ceremony was very sacramental to me as my original virtual conception is being used as I had hope it would be accomplished when I started out in 1986.
Best Regards to All,
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against Communist insurgent forces on the hostile island of Cu Lao Dung, Ba Xuyen Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 26 July 1967. While leading a small combat patrol, Lieutenant Trani, serving with SEAL Team Detachment Alpha, encountered and subsequently was surrounded by a numerically superior enemy force. Unable to maneuver out of the enemy encirclement, Lieutenant Trani attempted to contact supporting helicopters by radio, but before he could effectively communicate his unit’s position, he experienced radio failure. Undaunted by the lack of communications with supporting arms, he maneuvered his small unit into a tight defensive position. Though pinned down by constant enemy automatic weapons and rifle fire in a position that afforded only minimal protection for himself and his squad, and despite growing uncertainty of the arrival of assistance, Lieutenant Trani courageously moved among his men and succeeded in keeping morale high. Faced with a limited supply of ammunition and the imminent threat of a coordinated enemy attack that might easily overrun his small unit, he methodically employed every conceivable means to attract the attention of armed helicopters which he could hear operating in the distance. Four unnerving hours passed before the armed helicopters arrived to assist his beleaguered unit. Able to employ only primitive methods, he succeeded in marking his position for the helicopters and directed their fire onto part of the Viet Cong forces surrounding him. He directed another helicopter to a safe location to land for extraction of his unit. He then organized his men and maneuvered them under continuing enemy fire to the extraction craft without casualties or loss of a prisoner who later yielded valuable intelligence information. Through his exemplary and professional leadership, unwavering courage under fire and inspiring conduct throughout a desperate situation, Lieutenant Trani upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
On Sun, Dec 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM, Franklin Anderson
Yes- Claude Willis-good for working with the VN and gleaning intelligence—He got out of the Navy and died of a Drug Overdose in San Diego. I made the first Survey of Cam Rahn Bay in 64. Then UDT-11 came in later and done a thorough Survey—I was a one man recon team. All that was there at the time was a few fishing huts on stilts -beautiful water. Lots of Whale Sharks-I was CO of SEAL TEAM ONE at the time you were there.
Military Challenge Coins
A Lasting Tradition Within The Armed Services History
Depending on who you ask, the “challenge coin” has historical roots dating back from fifty to nearly one-hundred years. The most documented and familiar story about these coins comes from an American fighter pilot who was shot down during World War I and forced to land in hostile German territory. The pilot was subsequently captured and temporarily held in a detention facility that was later attacked by British Forces. This attack afforded the American an opportunity to later escape.
At some point after his escape, and without many of his personal belongings with him, the American was confronted by French soldiers who detained him. He was presumed to be a German at the time, which led the French to nearly take his life. The American plead with the French Officer that he was indeed an ally, and presented a challenge coin he had received from his Lieutenant some time before being deployed.
The coin was struck with the American’s Unit insignia and other identifying marks.
The French Officer immediately recognized the insignia on the coin and postponed any plans to take the American’s life until his identity was validated. Later, the pilot was released, and the legend has it that the challenge coin presented to his would-be French executioner saved his life.
Challenge Coins Today
Today, the popularity of the challenge coin has evolved into more than just a mark of representation for military personnel. They are actively traded among active-duty, retired, and civilian personnel within government agencies. It has also become customary to present a challenge coin to dignitaries and special guests to certain locations as a sign of “welcome” and respect. Presidents William Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have minted challenge coins to present to White House guests and diplomats of foreign countries. The tradition has expanded to other countries as well, to include Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Over the years, military coins have evolved from seemingly simple designs to more complex and colorful varieties. This can mainly be attributed to the advances in manufacturing techniques that have been perfected over the years. One of the earliest challenge coins known to exist was a simple, die struck brass coin with a faint emblem and barely discernible text.
Modern coins are manufactured in a fashion that allows each to display 3-dimensional images that rival the detail found on actual currency. Virtually every element of a custom coin now can be tailored to suit individual preferences. Some of the more popular features of challenge coins made in the last ten years include numbering, specialty edging, and photographic inserts, which allow and actual picture to be affixed to one or both sides of a coin.
Throughout the career of an armed services member, he or she will have the potential to encounter and receive a substantial number of challenge coins. For example, the United States Air Force holds a coin ceremony for its cadets upon graduation, and for many Airmen, this is the first of many they will hold dear during their service term.
Major news agencies have recently covered the presentation of challenge coins by high ranking officials to war heroes upon their return from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such media awareness has helped to create an increasing popularity of these coins in venues beyond the military as well. Law Enforcement and Firefighter organizations have followed suit by distributing challenge coins to their staff for recognition and achievement purposes. Many have recognized that a small, personalized token can build unity among a team, which also promotes morale along the way.
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