Hip-deep in training: SEALs prep for action

Book gives rare inside look at elite commandos

  • US Navy SEALs, SEAL Team One. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCUS Navy SEALs, SEAL Team One. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • The first copy of the 10 pound newly released US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs by Greg E. Mathieson Sr. and Dave Gatley. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCThe first copy of the 10 pound newly released US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs by Greg E. Mathieson Sr. and Dave Gatley. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • Author and photographer, Greg E. Mathieson Sr. stands in a dust storm at the secluded US Navy SEAL base in Fallujah, Iraq while producing exclusive material for the newly released book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs.  Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCAuthor and photographer, Greg E. Mathieson Sr. stands in a dust storm at the secluded US Navy SEAL base in Fallujah, Iraq while producing exclusive material for the newly released book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • Dave Gatley is an independent photojournalist who worked with Author and photographer, Greg E. Mathieson Sr. on the newly released book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCDave Gatley is an independent photojournalist who worked with Author and photographer, Greg E. Mathieson Sr. on the newly released book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • It obvious that SEALs undergo a lot of water training.  A program that was developed during the Vietnam war was that of drown proofing.  A program that builds great confidence in the students of being able to survive in deep water.  In this part of training, students have their hands tied behind their backs and descend to the bottom of the pool to recover this face mask with in their teeth.
Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCIt obvious that SEALs undergo a lot of water training. A program that was developed during the Vietnam war was that of drown proofing. A program that builds great confidence in the students of being able to survive in deep water. In this part of training, students have their hands tied behind their backs and descend to the bottom of the pool to recover this face mask with in their teeth. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • SEALs sit ready in the doorways with their Zodiac suspended below at US Army  HH-60H Seahawk belonging to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) "NIght on Stalkers", as they prepare for a water insertion.  Photo: Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCSEALs sit ready in the doorways with their Zodiac suspended below at US Army HH-60H Seahawk belonging to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) "NIght on Stalkers", as they prepare for a water insertion. Photo: Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • A US Navy SEAL Sniper in Iraq.
Photo: (C) 2010 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCA US Navy SEAL Sniper in Iraq. Photo: (C) 2010 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • A US Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) moves away from a submarine onto its target as shown in the newly release coffee table top book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCA US Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) moves away from a submarine onto its target as shown in the newly release coffee table top book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • A U.S. Navy SEAL using a computerized  HMU underwater to take measurements of a beach landing area. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCA U.S. Navy SEAL using a computerized HMU underwater to take measurements of a beach landing area. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) move though rivers at a high rate of speed in specially designed Riverine boats outfitted with heavy weapons.  Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCSpecial Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) move though rivers at a high rate of speed in specially designed Riverine boats outfitted with heavy weapons. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • US Naval Special Warfare Combatant-crew Crewman fires a 50 caliber machine gun from Riverine boat in the darkness of night, as seen through night vision goggles.  Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCUS Naval Special Warfare Combatant-crew Crewman fires a 50 caliber machine gun from Riverine boat in the darkness of night, as seen through night vision goggles. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • Boxes of SECRET documents on the establishment and operations of the US Navy SEALs have remained up opened and declassified for some 50 years until declassified and released for the first time for the making of the newly released coffee table top book,  US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs.  Photo: (C) 2010 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLCBoxes of SECRET documents on the establishment and operations of the US Navy SEALs have remained up opened and declassified for some 50 years until declassified and released for the first time for the making of the newly released coffee table top book, US Naval Special Warfare / US Navy SEALs. Photo: (C) 2010 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
  • SEALs  board a ship during a training exercise aboard the USS Mount Whitney in the early 90's.  VBSS known for – Visit, Board, Search and Seizure, is one of a number of way of dealing with piracy and ships transporting illegal arms.  Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr.  / NSW Publications, LLCSEALs board a ship during a training exercise aboard the USS Mount Whitney in the early 90's. VBSS known for – Visit, Board, Search and Seizure, is one of a number of way of dealing with piracy and ships transporting illegal arms. Photo: (C) 2011 Greg E. Mathieson Sr. / NSW Publications, LLC
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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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