My book, Walking In Mud, is a memoir and a metaphor for the post-COVID 19 world we’re entering. I spent 28 years in the Navy, and 26 of those were in the SEAL teams. Half of my career was spent at the Tier One ranks as an operator. After I retired from active duty I spent another nine years working for the same community that raised me, and throughout those years the lessons I learned and the rules I tried to live by can apply to anyone and everyone, especially now: Resilience, Grit, Leadership and Followership.
When I was at my first SEAL team after completing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training and Airborne school in 1983, they were moving the team to a new compound on the base we were located at on Little Creek, Va. As we were going through old desks and clearing out shelves and filing cabinets I found a sheet of paper that read “THE TEN ESSENTIAL QUALITIES OF AN UNDERWATER DEMOLITION MAN.”
It was from the 1950s, written by a World War II Frogman officer who was now in charge of his own underwater demolition team, UDT-21.
Story has it that this single sheet of paper contained what he believed were the 10 rules for living life, not just in the teams but every day. The sheet was posted around the team area for the men to read and remind them of what his leadership expectations were of them. Now, almost 60 years later, this once forgotten page for living life is captured in a book and the timing couldn’t be better: post-pandemic, 2021 and what people can learn from themselves, their leaders and the world.
Steve Giblin joined the U.S. Navy at 17, just two months after graduating high school. What he thought would be a four-year hitch and a free ride to California turned into a 28-year odyssey, with 26 of those in the SEAL Teams. From a chief training the top 1% in the SEAL teams to troop chief in an assault team, assault team senior enlisted and then command master chief, Steve has seen enough to be considered expert in what he writes.
He followed that with nine more years working in the Naval Special Warfare Headquarters as a leader again, briefing and listening to the senior SEAL officers in his community make the hard decisions in a time when we were at constant war.
Steve served alongside and learned from the best, from diving mini-submarines for clandestine operations to kicking doors at SEAL team. He rose through the enlisted ranks and retired as a Master Chief/E-9