- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 14, 2013

Navy SEALs are the toast of America.

They have killed Osama bin Laden, Somali pirates, al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and Taliban extremists in Afghanistan. They have been featured in magazine articles and Hollywood movies.

Now there is a richly illustrated book, which its authors bill as the best inside look yet at how to train a naval commando. It shows the faces of men who protect America by fighting, and sometimes dying, in the shadows.

Greg E. Mathieson Sr., a war correspondent who owns a photo news service, and Dave Gatley, a former photographer for the Los Angeles Times, have teamed to produce the simply titled “United States Naval Special Warfare.”

“This book is a first of a first of a kind,” Mr. Mathieson said, “an authentic, exclusive inside look at SEALs and the NSW community.”

For the author, it was a labor of love, not profit. He said he spent “six figures” to self-publish the book, as well as to travel overseas to document SEALs in action and to pay contributors.

The black-and-gold, foot-tall book is a narrative of SEAL history, training, tactics and equipment studded with glossy photographs of scenes never before publicized.

The pictures are not just of SEALs at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado running on the beach near San Diego, as guests of the Hotel Del Coronado look on while enjoying cocktails and the brilliant Pacific Ocean.

“Books in the past only focused on the BUDS training of SEALs lifting logs, running,” Mr. Mathieson told The Washington Times, referring to basic underwater demolition training.

“You’ll notice on the inside cover flaps photos of all the signs we went past, which showed the restricted areas no cameras, classified areas and more,” he said. “Every time we showed up, we got strange looks and people having to double-check and getting it in writing before opening up the doors.”

Supporting the SEALs

People who wonder how two dozen Navy SEALs prepared for the mission of storming bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, will know once they see the grueling regimen it takes to pin on the Trident medal the special warfare insignia.

The book’s illustrations include a photo of the special Quadeye night-vision goggles that SEAL Team 6 used to navigate bin Laden’s compound, locate the al Qaeda leader and kill him.

“It’s SEAL Team 6 that has this thing,” Mr. Mathieson said. “It enables them to see 180 degrees around them.”

The book is being released as the SEALs, largely unseen, have completed more than a decade of fighting the war on terrorism in shadowy villages in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. They reached their zenith in May 2011, when special Black Hawk helicopters penetrated Pakistani airspace, landed in Abbottabad and killed bin Laden.

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