Posted:  Nov. 26, 2014

Brave Men, Dark Waters: The Untold Story of the Navy SEALsThe legend was forged in the fires of World War II, when special units of elite navy frogmen were entrusted with dangerous covert missions in the brutal global conflict.  These Underwater Demolition Teams, as they were then called, soon became known for their toughness and fearlessness, and their remarkable ability to get the job—any job—done. Years later, the renamed US Navy SEALs (for Sea, Air, and Land) continued to be a wartime force to be reckoned with throughout the remainder of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. They served as rangers and scouts in the jungles of Vietnam, answered the call to duty in Panama, Granada, and in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, while developing into the very best of the best, the cream of America’s Special Forces crop.  

Author Orr Kelly offers a rich and riveting history of the SEALs, covering their remarkable triumphs while not shying away from the scandals and controversies. An extraordinary portrait of extraordinary fighting men, Brave Men, Dark Waters shines a brilliant light into the darkest shadows of war, which is where the SEALs have operated for decades with awesome and deadly efficiency.

This is an excellent book in the history of the U.S. Navy Seals. Starting from their exploits as frogmen, to being called UDT, during the end of WWII. I had first heard about them from my father who had fought in WWII, and he would tell me about the frogmen who would go in and survey the beaches before landing. What I did not know is that in the Pacific they were really asked to do more after the island or the landing on Tarawa, because of the coral and the tides the landing crafts and of course the Marines were stuck. Though the Marines lost many men before they even made it to the beach they of course did take the island a little longer than expected and a lot more deaths than anyone could have projected. After this the UDT’s were sent in before any island landing, besides finding mines, placing mines or explosives which they still do on either ships or docks, or bridges. A lot of what they did during WWII they still do today that is the history of the Seals, going in undetected and at times gathering information. Still what they did from WWII. Mr. Kelly then follows with training and a few things during the 50s. It was not until President Kennedy, made the announcement after the Bay of Pigs that Special Forces was needed that the Seals were formed. From there he goes into Vietnam which really put them on the map and most of the stories are found in other books as well. He touches a little on the two Medal of Valor Honors, first Lt. Joseph R. Kerry and then Tom Norris, which I actually read about separately years ago, they are both amazing acts though neither man would think that. After Vietnam you go into another down period up until the Iran crisis and the rescue attempt that failed. He takes you behind the scenes in the fighting between the military branches and what came of it. He also goes into the formation of Seal team 6 and the leader Richard Marcinko, I thought his writing on this was fair as far as he was using as much of the paperwork and people he could talk to. In some of the other books about the Seals this story matched up and inside he is really I think looked as both good and bad,(maybe wrong choice of wording). Richard Marcinko, was needed at that time to do what he did because he didn’t have a problem in telling a base commander we are going to break into your base on this night and then do it. I do know that one of the bases has let the bushes grow past the fence line and the height and that is one of the ways his team got on base. We have not learned. So yes he had good points. The author from their takes you through Grenada and some of the deaths. He then moves on to Panama which for Seals up to this point was one of the worst nights in their history and I do not read about this too often in other books. I will say that I know at least one man checked himself out of the hospital to go with his team, not that that affected him but he was killed returning fire to bring another Seal back to their group, 4 killed 9 wounded and one of the dead might have survived but the medevac was over an hour. I first read about this about 10 mos. after it happened and this is one of the first books that talks about their mission of securing the hanger where Noriega’s plane was. People are lead to believe that the Seals asked for this mission, but in other articles I read they assigned and you don’t so no, it is looked down upon for the lack of a better term. They were given an order and they secured the field. Unfortunately brave men died doing it. The author then touches a little on training and some of the training that is wanting to be changed. He finishes with the first Gulf war. Overall a well written book with a lot of history about the brave men in drake waters. I got this book from net galley.

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