Veterans honored at National Navy UDT-SEAL Muster

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Veterans honored at National Navy UDT-SEAL Muster

Mensaje por doc_breacher el Jue 17 Feb 2011 - 15:39

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Trevor Andersen , Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs

The bleachers were full to the brim with veterans and their families. Scouts and Raiders from World War II, Underwater Demolition Team members from Korea and Vietnam, and SEALs from past to present conflicts; frogmen of every stripe sat in awe as a squad SEALs from SEAL Team 18 fast-roped in from helicopters to remove hostiles from the area. Yes, it was only a demonstration and the hostiles were role-players, but the crowd cheered as if the operators had just stepped off the battlefield. The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum hosted its Veterans Day Ceremony and Muster XXV Nov. 6-7 in Fort Pierce, Fla. and hundreds, maybe even thousands of people showed up to honor the history and heritage of Naval Special Warfare. The two-day celebration consisted of several events open to the public, including a 5K race, a live auction, an official Veterans Day Ceremony, and a live capabilities demonstration. The Veterans Day Ceremony included speeches from Adm. Eric Olson, commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, Tom Norris, former SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient, and Chris Cassidy, a NASA astronaut and former SEAL, who presented a challenge coin that he carried with him on his space missions. Retired SEAL Capt. Michael R. Howard, executive director of the museum, began the ceremony by recognizing frogmen in attendance from every era of Naval Special Warfare beginning with World War II Scouts and Raiders through the present-day SEALs. “This is a celebration of Veteran’s Day, first and foremost,” said Howard. “I feel privileged to be part of the team that created a memorial worthy of the great men it represents.” Fort Pierce served as the training location for frogmen, established in 1943 by Lt. Draper Kaufman, who is considered the Father of Naval Combat Demolition. “All SEALs, one way or another, can trace their lineage to Draper Kaufman and the training he established here,” said Olson. The banner event of the weekend was a capabilities demonstration performed by SEALs assigned to SEAL Team 18, which showcased the specialized training and ability by Naval Special Warfare operators in the 21st century. The SEALs demonstrated a fast rope insertion from a hovering helicopter, and performed a simulated fire-fight with role-players. On Sunday members of Naval Special Warfare and their family members gathered at the beach just outside of the museum to honor 82 Navy frogmen, active duty and retired, who have passed since last year. At sunrise, retired Chaplain, Capt. Robert Bedingfield, who currently serves as the museum's chaplain, read the names of all the 82 frogmen and led the crowd in prayer. A detail of SEAL swimmers then delivered the ashes of ten of the fallen to their final resting place at sea in accordance with their wishes. Following the Muster, the museum board of directors hosted a dedication ceremony for the new UDT-SEAL memorial that took two years to research and build on the grounds of the museum. The memorial featured a wall with the names of all 252 frogmen who have died in the line of duty since WWII and a bronze statue of a UDT diver. “Never has the country asked so much from so few, for so long,” said Olson. “This memorial recognizes the human cost of extraordinary service.” The friends and family in attendance read a dedication litany in unison as storm clouds formed over-head creating a fitting ambiance. “We shall never forget, never,” they said.

A photo from the rehearsal for the UDT/SEAL demonstration at Ft Pierce, Fla., home of the UDT/SEAL museum. This weekend we will post more photos and a story on the event
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