Astros take a field trip, visit Navy SEALs.
The Astros have always been active supporters of the United States military and make dozens of attempts every year not to just honor the troops, but to interact with them as well.
They visit military bases as part of their winter caravans, they host wounded and/or returning veterans every Sunday in their “Home Sweet Home” promotion and they host many meet-and-greets in a private setting before weekend games at Minute Maid Park.
On Friday, general manager Ed Wade arranged for the traveling party to go on a tour of the Navy SEAL operation at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego. Several hundred sailors are going through a rigorous BUD/S training (BUD/S stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) to become Navy SEALS, and suffice it to say, hearing what these men have to go through over the six-month process was quite the eye-opening experience. The number of men who begin the training process ranges from 600 to 800, and only one-third will complete the process. It was described to us during our visit several times as “six months of hell.”
In fact, retired Navy SEAL John Mctighe said, if the men can get through week four — Hell Week — then the finish line is definitely within reach. But to get through Hell Week, they must get through six days with only four hours of sleep. Not per night — total. The week starts on a Sunday at 9 p.m. and ends Friday around noon. They are allowed two hours of sleep on Wednesday and two on Thursday. The rest of the time, they’re up and running drills, and they’re doing so in the coldest, wettest, most miserable conditions imaginable, all the while subject to the calculated harrassment by their advisers.
“It’s an indicator of what kind of men will come out in the end,” Mctighe said. “They say you’ll never go through anything harder than Hell Week. That is absolutely false. Hell Week is in a controlled environment. We’re not going to kill you in training. We’re not going to do what the enemy’s going to do to you. We can make training tough to a point, but we can’t replicate what they’re going to go through in Iran or Afghanistan.”
Let’s just say that this definitely keeps things in proper perspective. I hate using that cliche but in this case, it might be the only accurate way to truly paint the picture. I overheard one SEAL hopeful say to one of the Astros players, “Thanks for all you do for us.” I had to chuckle. I mean, I know everyone loves baseball, but come on. Really?
This isn’t your garden variety obstacle course:
Lindstrom, Myers take in the scene
Myers, Jeff Fulchino, Brad Mills, Jason Castro
The weapon part of the tour was by far the most popular with your Astros, seeing it was a hands-on experience.
Sean Berry and Brad Mills, That’s Byrdak on the left.