it mostly involved Army Rangers and Air Force support teams, four Navy SEALs also
saw action during the Battle of Mogadishu—all four of whom would be awarded
Silver Stars for their valor under fire. Perhaps you also heard it was a SEAL
Team that dispatched bin Laden to a fiery eternity. With the first-time-ever
support of the Naval Special Warfare Command, the history and service of the
Navy’s commando force is chronicled in depth throughout Navy SEALs—Their Untold Story (promo here), which premieres on
PBS this coming Veterans’ Day.
in conjunction with the companion volume co-written by former SEAL Dick Couch
and co-producer William Doyle, the nearly two hour PBS special features a wealth of on-camera interviews with SEAL
veterans who do not ordinarily do this sort of thing. They were there in the
jungles of Viet Nam saving “Bat*21” and they have been all over Iraq and
Afghanistan. Why would a division of the Navy be in a land-locked country such
as the latter? They simply developed the expertise for covert missions.
Carol Fleisher takes a comprehensive approach, devoting considerable time to
the SEALs’ WWII predecessors, the Naval Combat Demolition Units created by
future Rear Admiral Draper Kauffman. For a while, they were generally known as
just “Frogmen,” especially with the release of 1951’s The Frogmen, starring Richard Widmark, one of several touchstone
films referenced in Untold. However,
the SEALs were officially inaugurated during the early days of Viet Nam, to
fulfill JFK’s prescient call for a flexible fighting force that would
specialize in counter-guerilla insurgencies.
viewers would expect, there are some extraordinary stories of courage in Untold. Frankly, it is amazing how often
SEALs have successfully completed their missions, despite logistical snafus
outside their control. Indeed, it is always respectful of the SEALs themselves.
You would expect nothing less, especially since dedicated military supporter
Gary Sinise serves as narrator. Strangely though, it seems to uncritically
swallow most of the criticisms of the Iraq War, especially the highly debatable claim Saddam Hussein had no relationship with Al Qaeda whatsoever. Of course,
it is on PBS, so apparently certain articles of faith must be respected.
probably features more original interviews with Congressional
Medal of Honor recipients than any other television program up until now. That
alone makes it worth seeing. It is also a timely corrective to all the controversy
surrounding the decision of the fateful former SEAL Team Six member to go
public. Regardless of the current media firestorm, Untold reminds viewers of the SEALs peerless decades of resourcefulness
and sacrifice. Recommended as appropriate viewing for Veterans’ Day, Navy SEALs—Their Untold Story airs on
most PBS outlets this Tuesday (11/11).
Labels: Gary Sinise, Navy SEALs, PBS