I just finished reading The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228 by Dick Couch. Some may wonder if this is a standard read for me, but it is for several reasons. First, I almost joined the military. If not for a medical disqualification, I might very be an officer in the Air Force right now. Second, I have friends and family in the military, so the topic remains of interest. Third, I like reading motivating books with good wisdom on life. I find many such self-help books to be empty, but anything following people of this caliber is usually anything but fake. Finally, I don’t want to be a fantasy writer who bases my fantasy wars on other fantasy books. Real life seems a much better source.
With a postscript describing SEAL efforts in Afghanistan, The Warrior Elite takes you into the toughest, longest, and most relentless military training in the world.
What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep? In The Warrior Elite, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch documents the process that transforms young men into warriors. SEAL training is the distillation of the human spirit, a tradition-bound ordeal that seeks to find men with character, courage, and the burning desire to win at all costs, men who would rather die than quit.
This book follows Class 228, as one might expect from the title, and it also ties in well with both Lone Survivor and American Sniper. We see Marcus Luttrell, the author of Lone Survivor, in his training days in Mr. Couch’s book. Both of those books are amazing, and far more personal and colorful (my nice way of saying rated R). You should consider reading both if you’ve only seen the movies.
This one picks up on some of the more “big picture” items and places the class in a broader context. I found the tone less personal, which made it somewhat easier to read. The back portion of the book is dedicated to some follow up information on the training post 9/11.
As I said, this book certainly isn’t as colorful as some of the others on the same topic. Don’t read it if you want to be awed or completely sucked into the drama like with an action movie. It is definitely a non-fiction book with less action but more detail.
Another great resource is the Discover documentary on Class 234. Between all four sources, we might start to get the briefest idea of what complete and total badasses these guys must be just to survive even the first few weeks of training.