A Letter Home by Niall O’Boyle (6th October 2001)
[…]It’s Saturday. Gettin’ cold here now. It’s amazing how quickly it can go from hot to cold here…I’m still enjoying myself around here. We are getting everything down to a ‘T’. We have won flags for ‘athletic ability’ and ‘compartment cleanliness’. We worked hard for them and were delighted to get them. We also were awarded two ‘Bravo Zulus’ which are awards from other senior personnel, commending our behaviour etc. We get to make an extra phonecall, go shopping or get get one extra hour holiday on Sunday.
Remember I told you that I was in charge of the PTMG (Physical Training Motivation Group)? Well all of the people that couldn’t do push-ups and sit-ups now can. They hadn’t a great chance of passing our PT test which was yesterday but I taught them technique, mental strength and method and they aced it doing well over the reqired amount of exercises. So I was delighted when we won the Athletic flag. I managed to do 135 push-ups in 2 minutes and 106 sit-ups with 2 minutes to do each exercise. It was my record and I was delighted.
I’m also improving on my running. We ran 2 1/2 miles at SEAL PT two mornings ago. Out of 40 SEAL candidates I finished 4th just behind the top 3, whilst having a chest infection and stress fracture in my right foot at the moment. I got the stress fracture from running in the boots but it is getting better. I managed to run the 1 1/2 for our PT test yesterday in 4 mins which was bad for me but I found it hard to breathe due to my chest infection being at its worst.
Chief Anderson is here at the moment in the office. He has allowed us to relax in our cold compartment. Some people are sleeping like the guy to the left of me, others are writing letters like me and the guy to the right of me and others are polishing their boots. It’s nice to chill out without being under pressure. It feels great. My spirits remain high. I regularly meet some of the other SEAL wannabes on base and we acknowledge eachother from a distance. We all share the same love and determination to be one of the best. I think that is why we get on so well. We are all kinda alike in many ways and love to act as a team together and motivate each other. All we talk about after our SEAL PT in the morning, when we are getting changed, is the cool things that SEAL’s do and the not so cool.
Then we all fall back into our own divisions after having eaten chow together. We had a division in our compartment jus come in about 2 weeks ago. The males of our 949 division and the males of 952 just fill our compartment. The females sleep upstairs in a separate comp. 6 of the 952 division did the screening test for SEAL’s and all failed which was a shame because it would be nice to have someone to go with me every morning to the pool and track. I have been encouraging them to keep trying and maybe one of them might make it through.
Looking around the compartment now there are even more guys asleep on the floor and are now beginning to snore very loudly. We have to be careful cause they will get in trouble and have to exercise to get their blood going in front of the cheif.
[…]I’m sure the weather over there is changing now. The trees are beautiful here at the moment. Remember I told you that we were on ‘State Flags’ which only 900 divisions get the priviledge to do? Well I am one of 50 in my division that is carrying a state flag and we are performing a ceremony in downtown Chicago on Tuesday which will be great. Our practises will now commence everyday at 0700 for a few hours to perfect our different performances. We are now into service week which I will explain another time. It will be our 5th week on Tuesday. The time is flying. Our RDC’s [Recruit Division Commanders] are being really cool with us too. One of them ‘Petty Officer Valley’ just sits down for hours and tells us about his past experiences, travelling around the world 3 times, what all of his different medals are for, all the different countries he has been to, etc. We listen attentively but relax with him and he allows us to mellow out a bit, but once we’re given an order we get it done professionally. So that is why they let us relax, because they know that we are now at a stage where we can switch instantly from relaxed and chilled out to professionalism. We learn more everyday about the ups and downs of life in the Navy. I think there are more ups. Some people […] struggle at things but we try to raise their spirits by talking to them and reassuring them and making them laugh with a bit of a joke. Some of them are sick and finding it a bit tough.
I had a special physical over at Tranquility on Oct 02 which basically qualified me as healthy and fit for diving duty. I passed perfectly. I had to take my EKG a few times though. In this test they measure your heart. They put loads of pads and wires on you and a machine measures your heart rate on a big page with lines going up and down. You know the kind? Well here’s a story for you. My sheets kept saying ‘HEART RATE – ABNORMAL’. I got kinda worried about this but when I went to see Lieutenant Spackey, he said ‘don’t worry about it’. He said ‘I want you to do the EKG again but do some exercise first!’ I asked why and he replied that my heart rate was so low that the machine couldn’t read it. He told me that it was good. I was relieved and happy. I had a pulse of under 50 beats a minute. I did some exercise, took the EKG again and everything was fine. Lt Spackey was laid back and really cool and loved the fact that I was from Ireland, asking me all about it.
It was really great to get Dads letter, keep the news coming. […] I really miss the bay and the sea in general. In about a month from now I will be close to it again because I will be in San Diego, cool eh!!
Could one of you go onto the internet and print out some stuff about the SEAL’s and send it to me. I need some interesting reading. Please please please!!! Also if you could find some SEAL cadence so that I could start learning it, that would be cool.
Luv you all to bits, might even get to talk to you 2nite. We are being good. Chief might grant us a phonecall at the NEX [the shop on base].
Luv Niall P.