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Bin Laden's Death Boosts Navy SEAL Museum in Fla.


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This was reported in today's New York Times:

 

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — The biggest attraction at the Navy SEALs' national museum isn't memorialized in any artifact or mentioned in any display. But that doesn't keep visitors from asking.

 

The May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden at the hands of SEALs has brought a spike in visitors to the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, seeking a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the mission was pulled off. Attendance has roughly tripled since the raid, visitors are pummeling docents with questions and people wanting to express their gratitude have flooded the museum with letters of thanks.

 

"They're hoping to get ground truth here," said Michael Howard, the museum's executive director and a former SEAL.

 

Visitors hankering for an in-depth look at the raid likely won't get what they're looking for — not yet at least. But the museum's history of the SEALs and their predecessors gives a glimpse into their secretive world, and the type of men called to conduct such a mission.

 

The museum is built at the birthplace of the SEALs. From 1943 to 1946, Fort Pierce was home to a makeshift training encampment for Naval Combat Demolition Teams and Underwater Demolition Teams, the forerunners to the SEALs. The 26-year-old museum chronicles that history from the start.

 

Mannequins are dressed in uniforms worn by the elite squads through the years, cases memorialize their most notable members, and weapons and equipment from the past 60 years are contained throughout. Outside, there is a Huey helicopter, mini submarines and even the lifeboat from the SEALs daring rescue of a cargo ship captain from the hands of pirates two years ago.

 

Cases are filled with antiquated life jackets, gauges and breathing devices, and other items, including a tattered Japanese flag and a surrender document signed by the head of the Imperial Army at the end of World War II.

 

For now, the museum is heavy on the decades-past story of the SEALs, in places like the World War II battles of Normandy, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. But the stories of the men of those earlier years of the squad are perhaps most inspiring because they had so little history — and technology — on their side.

 

"We had junk," said Chuck Thiess, the head docent and a former member of a UDT team. "We didn't have any manuals, we didn't have anything to go by, but it was fabulous."

 

The stories of men like Thiess are what bring this museum to life. He knew he wanted to be a Navy diver and even today, he swims frequently. Sometimes, he'll even put his underwater skills to test, though he can't hold his breath for nearly the three-plus minutes he did in his younger days.

 

"I challenge my grandchildren every now and again and sometimes I'll whip 'em," said Thiess, who at 81, grips a wooden cane in his left hand and sports a faded tattoo of an anchor on his right forearm.

 

The very idea of a museum devoted to the secretive SEALs befuddles some. Howard says he constantly asks himself "Is this acceptable? Are we saying too much here?" when designing exhibits.

 

The museum is preparing to open a new wing — more than twice the size of the original building — which its staff hopes to focus on the post-9/11 world of the SEALs. It's tentatively slated to open with temporary exhibits by Veterans Day. The museum is trying to raise $1.5 million to create permanent exhibits it hopes will be on display a year later.

 

What the new building may contain of the bin Laden raid is not yet known. But the museum's staff isn't all that comfortable with the immense exposure given the SEALs since the mission was accomplished. Howard thinks it was a mistake to disclose who conducted the raid, much less all of the other details divulged by Washington.

 

As SEALs, Howard said, "You're OK operating in the dark, figuratively and literally. I think most guys are uncomfortable with the frenzy lately."

 

Still, Howard recognizes for good or for bad, the bin Laden raid is bringing more attention to the museum. Right now, only th gift shop appears to be overtly taking advantage, with T-shirts for sale that say "The Last Thing Going Through Usama bin Laden's Mind Were Navy SEAL Bullets."

 

How the museum will adapt to the post-bin Laden world and its own expansion remains to be seen. What Howard hopes is that visitors will take away the commitment and sacrifices of the men who have made the cut. They have been called Frogmen and Demos and SEALs and come from all walks of life, he said, but in many ways are the same.

 

"The essence of the guy that they were looking for in World War II is a carbon copy of the guy they're looking for now," he said.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/05/31...-Museum.html?hp

 

Regards,

Charlie Flick

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Great place.I visited the museum a few years ago.

 

RD

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

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You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Howard thinks it was a mistake to disclose who conducted the raid, much less all of the other details divulged by Washington.

 

I certainly agree with this, along with all the other dozens of details that have spewed forth since. In all honesty, it has made the whole thing have an air of a cheap Hollywood entertainment, like one of the "real life" crapfests that seem to fill most of the airwaves these days. And absolutely nothing but respect for SEALS, but to hear all talking heads having orgasms over them would lead one to believe that they, and the rest of the whole Special Ops community are the only ones in the fight. While the opposite is true in pure numbers, it is the common doggie and Marine grunt and other trigger pulling types out there pulling the hard part of the daily fight.

Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

 

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And absolutely nothing but respect for SEALS, but to hear all talking heads having orgasms over them would lead one to believe that they, and the rest of the whole Special Ops community are the only ones in the fight. While the opposite is true in pure numbers, it is the common doggie and Marine grunt and other trigger pulling types out there pulling the hard part of the daily fight.

 

This is not meant to diminish any efforts by our troops, but I would say the small number of active duty SEALS have meant that these individuals have spent an incredibly long amount of time deployed. They always have been away from home much more than traditional forces and now in these current times this is even more true. I am not, or have ever been part of the SEALS but I am retired Navy and have a few neighbors, in this Navy town, who are SEALS. These Sailor's and their families are making a tremendous sacrifice that most of America will never know about or understand. My humble opinion. :salute:

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This is not meant to diminish any efforts by our troops, but I would say the small number of active duty SEALS have meant that these individuals have spent an incredibly long amount of time deployed. They always have been away from home much more than traditional forces and now in these current times this is even more true. I am not, or have ever been part of the SEALS but I am retired Navy and have a few neighbors, in this Navy town, who are SEALS. These Sailor's and their families are making a tremendous sacrifice that most of America will never know about or understand. My humble opinion. :salute:

 

Absolutely. I don't disagree on the fact they have shouldered much. The whole of the Special Ops community were always on the bounce somewhere even during" peace" time. But, what I am getting at is the media frenzy in it all. Already most people outside of the military circles have no clue on the daily slogging going on, carried out by the young grunt on his third year long tour humping the hills of Afghanistan, or walking the blood soaked streets of some shytehole town in Iraq taking the fight to the bad guys daily. But we hear nothing but SEAL this, Special Forces that, etc.. in time, it will be akin to WW2 and how the 101st Airborne, specifically one company of it, won the war in Europe :lol:

Learn to ride hard, shoot straight, dance well and so live that you can, if necessary, look any man in the eye and tell him to go to Hell! US Cavalry Manual, 1923

 

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I agree the Media/Hollywood social elitists usually screw up everything they touch. All media outlets have a social agenda and therefore are totally biased towards these beliefs. What really is sad is that most Americans rely solely on the distorted biased press as their only contact/info with the military. Sorry, I will now step off of my soap-box.

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  • 1 month later...
Absolutely. I don't disagree on the fact they have shouldered much. The whole of the Special Ops community were always on the bounce somewhere even during" peace" time. But, what I am getting at is the media frenzy in it all. Already most people outside of the military circles have no clue on the daily slogging going on, carried out by the young grunt on his third year long tour humping the hills of Afghanistan, or walking the blood soaked streets of some shytehole town in Iraq taking the fight to the bad guys daily. But we hear nothing but SEAL this, Special Forces that, etc.. in time, it will be akin to WW2 and how the 101st Airborne, specifically one company of it, won the war in Europe :lol:

The fact is you hear far more about regular forces than you do about the SEALs or other Spec Ops units. The number o combat operation run by the SEALs go virtually unreported. The same can be said of Special Forces and DELTA. Their operations are done in small groups in territory where Big Army won't put troops. They often last for weeks and involve reconnaissance and observation that is both dangerous and tedious. The risk involved is so great because they are far from support should they be compromised. SEAL snipers have been bringing death to the bad guys at an impressive rate and you will not hear or read about this anywhere. Sorry but I have to say that Spec Ops units receive very little recognition for the work they do, Did you know the there were SEAL TEAM SIX personnel who had a big role in the rescue efforts during the BLACK HAWK DOWN mess in Somalia?

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