Combat Swimmer: Memoirs of a Navy Seal

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Overview

For the first time in trade paperback-a classic memoir of Navy SEALs in action.

In gripping prose, Captain Robert A. Gormly tells about his days as a leader in the Navy SEALs- taking readers into the night, into the water, and into battle on some of the most hair-raising missions ever assigned.

Trained to a fine fighting edge just in time for Vietnam, Gormly served two tours of duty and engaged in top-secret missions in the Persian Gulf. Here, ...

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Combat Swimmer: Memoirs of a Navy SEAL

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Overview

For the first time in trade paperback-a classic memoir of Navy SEALs in action.

In gripping prose, Captain Robert A. Gormly tells about his days as a leader in the Navy SEALs- taking readers into the night, into the water, and into battle on some of the most hair-raising missions ever assigned.

Trained to a fine fighting edge just in time for Vietnam, Gormly served two tours of duty and engaged in top-secret missions in the Persian Gulf. Here, he shares his viewpoint and his experience-including what is perhaps the most graphic description ever of SEAL action in the invasion of Grenada. Gormly takes readers behind the myth of this awesome team, revealing how their lives depend on their unprecedented expertise and unparalleled courage.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book is at once a memoir, a history and a warning. Gormly has been part of the SEAL community virtually since its emergence. In Vietnam as a junior officer, he met the absence of strategic policy with a tactical approach: killing as many Viet Cong as possible. Even in retrospect, Gormly concludes that the most effective U.S. approach might have been attacking the enemy's infrastructure by eliminating the "cadres" who spread and enforced Communist ideology by terrorist means. The limited political sophistication of this approach is suggestive, particularly in the context of Gormly's progress through the Navy's special operations system from 1968 to his assignment as commander of SEAL Team 6 in 1983. When Gormly relieved the notorious Richard Marcinko, he inherited a unit that had made a policy of pushing envelopes and ignoring rules. His description of the intraservice politics involved in taming the organization without breaking its morale is as good as anything in print on the challenge of maintaining effective special operations forces in the contexts of a democratic system. His account of the 1985 capture of the Achille Lauro's hijackers reveals a delicate balance of roles and responsibilities in managing doctrine and training considerations, tactical issues and policy questions. Gormly is no knight without fear and reproach in the mold of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan. He is a warrior for the working day, not always right and not always wise. But in a harsh world, it will comfort many to know that men with Gormly's spirit, character and patriotism wear this country's uniform. 8 pages of b&w photos, not seen by PW. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Captain Gormly, USN (Ret.), a much-decorated, high-ranking SEAL who served for all of 29 years in this elite, secret arm of the navy, recalls his high-risk tours of duty in Vietnam, Granada, the Persian Gulf, and the suspense-filled mission to capture the hijackers of the Achille Lauro. Operating in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, he and his superbly trained fellow warriors beat the terrorist Viet Cong guerrillas at their own gameþpartly because, as Gormly tells it, the SEALs saw water as a haven, not an obstacle; with the help of their excellent equipment, they could stay submerged safely for many hours. And Gormly believes that the SEAL experience in Vietnam can be seen as a microcosmic symbol of the greater US effort that fought the wrong kind of war: a battle of attrition waged according to the advice of military leaders who failed to understand that they were facing a political-military conundrum. To explain the conundrum, he likens the communist attempt at world domination to a giant lizard. The lizardþs head represents the small group of dedicated communists who formed the political infrastructure, while its tail suggests the communist military force, filled with average peopleþapolitical but forced to fight by terror or coercion. Our mistake, Gormly writes, was to cut off the tail of the lizard (which then merely grew another tail) while failing to destroy the head, the infrastructure. The far more successful communist strategy was to outlast the Americans, who would tire and go home after losing 58,000 soldiers. Gormly can't forget the picture of Jane Fonda posing with a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery that had shot down a US plane. Nor can he forgivethe US pardoning of draft dodgers who objected to the war. His riposte: Even dutiful combat soldiers also object to warþas did the patriotic author. A candid and unstinting military memoir. (8 pages b&w photos) (Author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451230140
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 956,218
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Now living in San Diego, California, Captain Robert Gormly served 29 years as a Navy SEAL, as a platoon leader in SEAL Team Two in Vietnam, as the commanding officer of SEAL Team Two, as the Executive Officer of UDT-22, and as the commanding officer of SEAL Team Six. His awards include the Silver Star, three Legions of Merit, three Bronze Stars (two in combat), The Defense Meritorious Medal, and a Purple Heart.

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Table of Contents

Preface 1

Part 1 Lock and Load

1 "Water, Water Everywhere…" 5

2 The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday 22

3 Dominican Republic: First Real Mission 38

Part 2 Fire One: First Vietnam Tour

4 Getting Ready to Fight 51

5 Feet Wet: Breaking in the Troops 62

6 Mekong Ambush: Taking Away the Night 70

7 Attack in Broad Daylight: Bassac Mission 83

8 Sneak and Peek: Long Tuan Secret Zone 89

9 A Close Call: Tan Dinh Island 99

10 Patch Me Up and Send Me Back 109

Part 3 Fire Two: Second Vietnam Tour

11 First Mission: Checking Out All the Parts 117

12 Attack at Dawn: Dung Island 123

13 Got Them Right Where We Want Them: Bac Lieu 137

14 Somebody Had to Do It: Pulling Bodies 146

15 Another Close Call: Nui Coto 150

16 Bold Dragon: Long Tuan Revisited 160

17 Vietnam: A SEAL's Perspective 171

Part 4 Fire Three: Seal Team Six

18 Back in the Saddle 181

19 One More Close Call: Urgent Fury 200

20 Policing the Battlefield: Back to Basics 222

21 They Can Run, but They Can't Hide: The Achille Lauro Mission 229

22 Audits and Investigations: The Marcinko Legacy 240

Part 5 Fire Four: A New Way of Doing Business

23 The Old Way of Doing Business: Put Them Back in Their Cages 259

24 Hunting in the Gulf: Joint Special Operations at Work 263

Epilogue Cease-fire-Lock and Load 275

Glossary 285

Select Bibliography 293

Index 295

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Customer Reviews

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