SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

by Howard E. Wasdin, Stephen Templin

Paperback(Tall Rack Paperback)

$9.99 View All Available Formats & Editions
Use Standard Shipping. For guaranteed delivery by December 24, use Express or Expedited Shipping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250055088
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 44,804
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

HOWARD E. WASDIN graduated with BUD/S Class 143. After the Battle of Mogadishu, where he was awarded the Silver Star, Wasdin medically retired from the Navy in November, 1995, after twelve years of service. He lives in Georgia.

STEPHEN TEMPLIN completed Hell Week, qualified as a pistol and rifle expert, and blew things up during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. He is now an associate professor at Meio University in Japan.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Reach Out and Touch Someone

When the U.S. Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six, the navy’s equivalent to the army’s Delta Force—tasked with counterterrorism and counterinsurgency, occasionally working with the CIA. This is the first time a SEAL Team Six sniper’s story has been exposed. My story.

Snipers avoid exposure. Although we prefer to act rather than be acted upon, some forces are beyond our control. We rely on our strengths to exploit the enemy’s vulnerabilities; however, during the war in the Persian Gulf I became vulnerable as the lone person on the fantail of an enemy ship filled with a crew working for Saddam Hussein. On yet another occasion, despite being a master of cover and concealment, I lay naked on an aircraft runway in a Third World country with bullet holes in both legs, the right leg nearly blown off by an AK-47 bullet. Sometimes we must face what we try to avoid.

*   *   *

In the morning darkness of September 18, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Casanova and I crept over the ledge of a retaining wall and climbed to the top of a six-story tower. Even at this early hour there were already people moving around. Men, women, and children relieved themselves in the streets. I smelled the morning fires being lit, fueled by dried animal dung and whatever else people could find to burn. The fires heated any food the Somalis had managed to obtain. Warlord Aidid knew fully the power of controlling the food supply. Every time I saw a starving child, I blamed Aidid for his evil power play that facilitated this devastation of life.

The tower we were on was located in the middle of the Pakistani compound. The Pakistanis were professional and treated us with great respect. When it was teatime, the boy in charge of serving always brought us a cup. I had even developed a taste for the fresh goat milk they used in the tea. The sounds and scents of the goatherd in the compound reached my senses as Casanova and I crawled onto the outer lip at the top of the tower. There we lay prone, watching a large garage, a vehicle body shop that had no roof. Surrounding the garage was a city of despair. Somalis trudged along with their heads and shoulders lowered. Helplessness dimmed their faces, and starvation pulled the skin tight across their bones. Because this was a “better” part of town, multilevel buildings stood in fairly good repair. There were concrete block houses instead of the tin and wooden lean-to sheds that dominated most of the city and countryside. Nevertheless, the smell of human waste and death—mixed with hopelessness—filled the air. Yes, hopelessness has a smell. People use the term “developing countries,” but that is bullcrap. What developed in Somalia was things such as hunger and fighting. I think “developing countries” is just a term used to make the people who coined it feel better. No matter what you call them, starvation and war are two of the worst events imaginable.

I calculated the exact distances to certain buildings. There are two primary considerations when making a sniper shot, windage and elevation. Because there was no significant wind that could throw my shot left or right, I didn’t have to compensate for it. Elevation is the variable considered for range/distance to the target. Since most of my potential targets were between 200 yards (garage) and 650 yards (intersection beyond the target garage), I dialed my scope in at 500 yards. This way I could just hold my rifle higher or lower depending on range. When the shooting began, there would be no time to dial in range corrections on my scope between shots.

We started our surveillance at 0600. While we waited for our agent to give us the signal, I played different scenarios over in my mind: one enemy popping out at one location, then another popping up at another location, and so on. I would acquire, aim, and even do a simulated trigger pull, going through my rehearsed breathing and follow-through routine while picturing the actual engagement. Then I simulated reloading and getting back into my Leupold 10-power scope, continuing to scan for more booger-eaters. I had done this dry firing and actual firing thousands of times—wet, dry, muddy, snowbound, from a dug-in hole in the ground, from an urban sniper hide through a partially open window, and nearly every which way imaginable. The words they had drilled into our heads since we began SEAL training were true, “The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war.” This particular day, I was charged with making sure none of my Delta Force buddies sprang a leak as I covered their insertion into the garage. My buddies’ not bleeding in war was every bit as important as my not bleeding.

Our target for this mission was Osman Ali Atto—Warlord Aidid’s main financier. Although Casanova and I would’ve been able to recognize the target from our previous surveillance, we were required to have confirmation of his identity from the CIA asset before we gave the launch command.

The irony wasn’t lost on me that we were capturing Atto instead of killing him—despite the fact that he and his boss had killed hundreds of thousands of Somalis. I felt that if we could kill Atto and Aidid, we could stop the fighting, get the food to the people quickly, and go home in one piece.

It wasn’t until around 0815 that our asset finally gave the predetermined signal. He was doing this because the CIA paid him well. I had learned firsthand while working with the CIA how payoffs could sway loyalty.

When we saw the signal, Casanova and I launched the “full package.” Little Bird and Black Hawk helicopters filled the sky. During this time, the Delta operators literally had their butts hanging out—the urban environment provided too much cover, too much concealment, and too many escape routes for the enemy. All a hostile had to do was shoot a few rounds at a helo or Humvee, jump back inside a building, and put his weapon down. Even if he reappeared, he was not considered hostile without a weapon. Things happened fast, and the environment was unforgiving.

Delta Force operators fast-roped down inside the garage, Rangers fast-roped around the garage, and

Birds flew overhead with Delta snipers giving the assault force protection. Atto’s people scattered like rats. Soon, enemy militia appeared in the neighborhood shooting up at the helicopters.

Normally, snipers operate in a spotter-sniper relationship. The spotter identifies, ranges the targets, and relays them to the sniper for execution. There would be no time for that on this op—we were engaged in urban warfare. In this environment, an enemy could appear from anywhere. Even worse, the enemy dressed the same as a civilian. We had to wait and see his intention. Even if he appeared with a gun, there was a chance he was part of a clan on our side. We had to wait until the person pointed the weapon in the direction of our guys. Then we would ensure the enemy ceased to exist.

There would be no time for makeup or second shots. Both Casanova and I wielded .300 Win Mag sniper rifles.

Through my Leupold 10-power scope, I saw a militiaman 500 yards away firing through an open window at the helos. I made a mental note to keep my heart rate down and centered the crosshairs on him as my muscle memory took over—stock firmly into the shoulder, cheek positioned behind the scope, eye focused on the center of the crosshairs rather than the enemy, and steady trigger squeezing (even though it was only a light, 2-pound pull). I felt the gratifying recoil of my rifle. The round hit him in the side of the chest, entering his left and exiting his right. He convulsed and buckled, falling backward into the building—permanently. I quickly got back into my scope and scanned. Game on now. All other thoughts departed my mind. I was at one with my Win Mag, scanning my sector. Casanova scanned his sector, too.

Another militiaman carrying an AK-47 came out a fire escape door on the side of a building 300 yards away from me and aimed his rifle at the Delta operators assaulting the garage. From his position, I’m sure he thought he was safe from the assaulters, and he probably was. He was not safe from me—300 yards wasn’t even a challenge. I shot him through his left side, and the round exited his right. He slumped down onto the fire escape landing, never knowing what hit him. His AK-47 lay silent next to him. Someone tried to reach out and retrieve the weapon—one round from my Win Mag put a stop to that. Each time I made a shot, I immediately forgot about that target and scanned for another.

Chaos erupted inside and outside of the garage. People ran everywhere. Little Birds and Black Hawks filled the skies with deafening rotor blasts. I was in my own little world, though. Nothing existed outside my scope and my mission. Let the Unit guys handle their business in the garage. My business was reaching out and touching the enemy.

This wasn’t the first time I’d killed for my country. It wouldn’t be the last.

A few minutes passed as I continued scanning. More than 800 yards away, a guy popped up with an RPG launcher on his shoulder, preparing to fire at the helicopters. If I took him out, it would be the longest killing shot of my career. If I failed …


Copyright © 2011 by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii

Glossary ix

Part 1

1 Reach Out and Touch Someone 3

2 One Shot, One Sill? 9

3 Hell Is for Children 25

4 Russian Sub and Green Hero 41

5 The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday 59

6 SEAL Team Two 91

7 Desert Storm 119

Part 2

8 SEAL Team Six 149

9 Born-Again Sniper 173

10 CIA Safe House-Hunting for Aidid 177

11 Capturing Aidid's Evil Genius 213

12 Eyes over Mogadishu Mission 227

Part 3

13 Battle of Mogadishu 239

14 From the Ashes 259

15 Ambassador Death Threats 281

16 Fish out of Water 289

17 Healing 301

Epilogue 307

Special Operations Warrior Foundation 309

Acknowledgments 313

References 317

Index 319

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

SEAL Team Six (Library Edition) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 583 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible story of Mr. Wasdin's life. Once you pick it up, it is difficult to lay it down. It reads well (and quickly) from cover to cover. It grabs you and does not let you go. I feel this book also brings honor to the SEALS. It corrects many misconceptions that people have and really takes you inside of the type of individual it takes to become one of these elite. They aren't robots or gorillas. They are the most motivated, highly trained, cream of the cream. It makes me feel safer just knowing that we, as Americans, can depend on these guys to protect us (in addition to our other troops). But when the chips are down - they're your guys! I am not much of a military book reader, but this book was fabulous! The human interest side is amazing. The blocks that were placed in front of this person and the way he used them to advance in his life, it is a true inspiration. Makes me realize - I have nothing to complain about and everything to be grateful for! Enjoy!!!
J_K_N More than 1 year ago
I watched an interview with Howard Wasdin as he was talking about his book, Seal Team Six, that is coming out on May 10th. I was stunned by the poise and effort that he put into writing this book. I plan on buying it as soon as it comes out, and I would also recommend viewing Howard's views on the attack of UBL and his insight of what to expect in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks to Howard, and the many others who stand proudly to fight for our freedom, we are free! Howard is family, and he is nothing less than the best! He is a most honorable man, and he has certainly been supportive to my family and myself! No matter where I am in this world, whether it is one day, weeks, or a year since I talked with him, I have no doubts if I call in need, he will be there in a moments time. Howard never changes. He remains the same person, inside and out! We are extremely proud of Howard, his representative of our family and community! He is the best of the best!
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
"SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Sniper" by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin is a memoir of Mr. Wasdin time as a Navy SEAL. This book just happens to come out after SEAL Team Six took out Bin-Laden. The book was not rushed to print because of the operation. I thought this was an important point to make. The book is a behind the scenes look at SEAL Team Six, a unit which specialized in counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. Howard Wasdin writes about the grueling selection process, Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) and sniper school. After going through the selection process, Mr. Wasdin faced combat operations in Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two and got selected for SEAL Team Six. He was sent to Somalia on a mission to capture or kill Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. "SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Sniper" by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin is a well written memoir which walks the reader through Wasdin's childhood, Navy SEAL training, several missions and Mr. Wasdin settling down with his beloved wife and children. This is an exciting book, an easy and fast read. While the authors cover a lot of ground, the book kept my attention throughout. Especially poignant, for me, were the chapters about Somalia and the Battle of Mogadishu. I read a lot about that battle and Mr. Wasdin's point of view is raw, honest and different from anything I read before. I am familiar with most of the people he mentioned and reading about them, the tactics and the battle from a different, on the ground perspective were an amazing experience for me. I appreciated the chapters about the rough training and the reasons for it ("the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle"), it is amazing the mental fortitude of these warriors which helps them go through, what seems to me, almost superhuman tasks. At the beginning I thought there were a lot of product placement in the book, which I found disappointing, however the more I read the more I realized that it is not product placement (even though it's hard to tell) but simply telling the reader about the equipment being used - the best of the best - and why. A bit disturbing were the chapters about Mr. Wasdin's childhood and the abuse he suffered by his step father. Mr. Wasdin credits that abuse with his ability to withstand pain and attention to detail, which I gathered he truly believes. I don't want anyone who read this book to think that if you beat the living hell out of your child he'll turn out to be a Navy SEAL or an elite warrior. Mr. Wasdin does make that point very clearly in the book, but I didn't feel he made it strongly enough or often enough. During my service I have met many people from the special forces including the most elite units and the one thing common to all of the was the simple fact that this is what they were born to do. You cannot learn or acquire the characteristics, capabilities and fortitude to become an elite warrior. You either have those or you don't. Period! You can hone your skills, find the hidden talents, sharpen them and practice to become better but you have to be born with them to begin with. At the end of the book there is a section about the "Special Operations Warrior Foundation" founded in 1980 as a college scholarship fund for children of special operations warriors who have been killed. Please take some time to visit them and make a donation if you can.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"seal team 6" is very hard to put down. this is the inside memoirs of one of americas top seal team snipers and for the first time I got an inside look at what it was like from training to the battlefield from the perspective of a sniper who has one of the toughest jobs and whoose life is in danger the most cause the enemy is looking out for for the sniper. I found this bestseller fasinating cause these are the people who are if it werent for them many battles would be not be won and many hostages would not be free great gift idea for a friend or family member
MMA_DON More than 1 year ago
Great read, great story. The Navy Seal training was intense but the combat was surreal at times especially in Mogadishu. I can only Thank Mr. Wasdin for his service to his country and am truly grateful for what he did. Again politic's didn't let the job get done but that doesn't diminish what the troops did in Mogadishu. To those doubting the credibility of Mr. Wasdin I suppose you also believe Bin Laden is alive too. This is a must read you will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Howard Wasdin is one deadly chiropractor. What a great read, fast paced and full of great details and incredible stories. We follow Wasdin from BUD/S to SEAL team 2 and Desert Storm to the elite SEAL team 6 and his sniper training. When Wasdin goes to Mogadishu... so do you! You can almost feel the recoil of his Win Mag and later feel the agony as AK-47 bullets rip into his flesh! And then we learn about the hardest thing all true warriors must face at some point... walking away from the teams and the bonds that the men of elite operations units share with no one else. Then he is forced to decide what to do with the rest of his life. Security contractor, Police officer, nope after being free from the pain of gunshot wounds and fast-paced life of elite operations by a chiropractor he decided that he wanted heal others. It's no wonder every boy in America wants to be a special operator and Howard Wasdin's book may just be a special operations recruitment tool... if you can hang with the BIG BOYS!
Edwin Delgado More than 1 year ago
A very entertaining read on the life and experiences of an American hero. His accounts of the Seal team experience and Somalia deployment and Mogadishu battle are gripping with detail that puts you in the action. I highly recommend it!!
ctmsbrci on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Seal team six was one of the best books i have read in my entire life. I f i could give this book more than five stars i would. i usually dont read memoirs but this had an interesting topic so i read it.As i said before i dont ussually read memoirs because i dont like them. this book however took me out of my dislike of memiors and made the book awsome.his increadable story of how he grew up and how he became a navy seal was just amazing.there was nothing wrong with this book.the auther did anawsome job writing it and kepping me interested.i loved this book and i hope anyone who loves to read will read this book.
bookchickdi on LibraryThing 23 days ago
SEAL Team Six made headlines recently when they killed the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan. Everyone wanted to know more about this elite team of the miltary's best men, and luckily former team member Howard E. Wasdin, along with Stephen Templin, had written SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper.The book succeeds because it shares Wasdin's personal story, from his difficult childhood with a stepfather who beat him frequently to his success as a sniper, moving quickly up the ranks in the Navy SEALs. Wasdin tells the story of his stepfather forcing him to pick up all the pecans that fell to the ground from a tree in their yard. If his stepfather came home and found just one pecan on the ground, Wasdin would be beaten. (Never mind that the pecan could have fallen just before he came home.)From this, Wasdin learned to be thorough and that no excuses would be sufficient. He believes that this upbringing helped prepare him for the rigors and challenges of Navy and SEAL training. This insight brought to mind Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle. She had a difficult upbringing with parents who did not know how to raise children, yet she survived and became successful in spite of the way she was raised. The resilience of the human spirit always amazes me.Wasdin brings the reader right into the middle of his training, which is fascinating. The trials that these men undergo is unbelievable, and many do not make it through. His story of medical training on goats under simulated battle conditions was incredible.During his time with the SEALS, Wasdin served in Iraq during Desert Storm. When 14 starving Iraqi soldiers surrendered to him and his partner, he had a revelation."They were human beings, just like me. I discovered my humanity and the humanity in others. It was a turing point for me- it was when I matured." Wasdin also served in Somalia, and was involved in the Battle of Mogadishu, which was made into the book and movie, Black Hawk Down. His description of his role in the pursuit of warlord Aidid and that battle are tense and made me hold my breath as I read it. Wasdin was seriously injured in that battle.His most successful operation in Somalia involved saving a young boy. Next door to the house they were using as a secret base was a young boy who had stepped on a land mine and had a bad case of gangrene. The smell was awful and after being refused permission to help the boy and endangering their operation, Wasdin and his partner broke into the house next door, tied up the family, cleaned the boy's wound and gave him IV antibiotics.They returned two more times to help the boy and save his life. The once frightened, now thankful, family offered them tea on their last visit. He could not let that boy suffer needlessly.Seen from his perspective, Wasdin was very angry at the politics that he felt exacerbated the Somalia situation. He has some very harsh words for upper command and the Clinton administration. He believes that Aidid could have been captured, they had him sighted, but the plug was pulled.Wasdin's words on Somalia echo our current situation in Afghanistan."We shouldn't have become involved in Somalia's civil war- this was their problem, not ours- but once we committed, we should've finished what we started ; a lesson we are required to keep relearning over and over again."SEAL Team Six will appeal to many readers; those who like military books will appreciate the in-depth look at SEAL training, and those who like a more personal story will enjoy reading Wasdin's journey from small town Southern boy to Navy SEAL to badly injured soldier to the man he is today.
buffalogr on LibraryThing 23 days ago
Great discussion of ST6 training and a few operations from a very personal perspective. Enjoyed it
dougcornelius on LibraryThing 23 days ago
It probably wasn't fair to Wasdin that I read this book right after I finished reading Krakauer's book on Pat Tillman. Krakauer is a great writer trying to tell the story about a good soldier. Wasdin is a great soldier trying to figure out what it takes to be a good writer. The other unfortunate comparison is to Bowden's Black Hawk Down. A big chunk of Seal Team Six covers Wasdin's time in Magadishu and his involvement in the same battle described in that book. It's tough to put yourself against such a well-written book.Wasdin is a warrior, highly trained and highly skilled to kill bad guys. That earns him an extra star. I'm sure he has many great stories to tell about his time in service, but probably can't or won't share them with the public.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Detailed and insightful.
Jenna_Rose More than 1 year ago
This extravagantly written book is about the life of Howard E. Wasdin and how he overcame many obstacles in his life and how he came to the decision of becoming a Navy Seal. He talks about the training he went through (BUD/S) and how he survived Hell Week. Howard then goes into how the missions he went on in stunning detail, even with having things be confidential. This book is an inspirational piece for many people to join the military. I know that I was inspired even more to join the Navy just by reading this book. Seal Team Six gives the Navy Seals the definition of bravery, courage, patriotism, and true heroes. Seal Team Six describes what our troops really do for our freedom! I would definitely recommend this book to people over the age of 12 because it is so well written and is so inspirational that I hope that it will inspire others like it has inspired me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all the Seal TEAM Six snipers, Howard E. Wasdin was one of the best. Wasdin is one of the authors of this book Seal TEAM Six. In Seal TEAM Six, the reader gets to experience a real war atmosphere. This novel is portrayed as “A behind-the-scenes look at Seal TEAM Six. Well written….. and exciting book”- Seattle post- Intelligencer. The authors in this novel, Wasdin and Templin, also portray the same way of writing in Easy Day for the Dead and Russia Without Love. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to Wasdin, one of the elite Navy snipers, starting with his childhood, and leading to adulthood and into military personnel. “As a child, I learned to endure forces beyond my control” (pg.25, Wasdin) says Wasdin about the beginning of his character development. Wasdin became the military personnel he is as a child and became even stronger throughout his life. As you read further, this book will teach you much about the military. Whether you know anything about the military or not, you will still understand the book because you don’t need to know any military information coming into it. I would definitely recommend this book to the teen audience and up because at points it may get too graphic for a younger audience. The plot starts off with Wasdin as a child and how he was physically abused by his step- father. This is a horrible situation but shapes his character. His childhood ends up being a really important part in his career development and how he acts in certain situations. Then the plot goes on to tell about his training and how he got to be in the military. The details about Wasdin’s war experiences, like when he was in Somali searching for Aidid, are both exciting and terrifying. Throughout his tour in Somali, he helps the common people and aids in the capture of Aidid. The novel is action packed and kept me interested in reading more. If you liked either the movie or book “American Sniper” this is definitely a book for you. These both give a large back ground on the main characters which help you feel even more attached to them than other books or movies. These books will both make you look at the military in a different way and give more respect to the men and women who serve our nation.
B-loNY More than 1 year ago
Probably the best of all the Seal books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever. It was funny, smart, entertaining and insightful. Definitely one of my top fav if not THE top fav. Even starting it again, it sucks me back in. Sometimes you wonder why America gets involved in some of these developed countries. You find out the people there really appreciate our help when their own people are monsters. It really opened my eyes. You really feel for these seals and everything they do for us. Great, great read. Must buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago