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As I stepped out the car into the familiar pavement of our house in Anniston, I can’t help but feel nostalgic about my entire journey as a member of the Navy Seal. My family runs towards me and for the first time in years, I am able to hold them and hug them again, after suffering each and every night on the thought that I may never get to see them again. I am one lucky man to be able to render my service to my country and still be able to return home, whole and ready to play the role of a father and a husband.
After a few days at home, I was still not accustomed in the apartment we live in. I know the place very well since I was the one who designed it and I made sure it was securely built before I headed out for the sea. But somehow, I felt strange. I could not help but remember the life I had while I was away, with a tent or a barracks as my temporary home.
For one, the food at home was always very delicious and it was always a hearty meal. Yet during the first days of my stay, it was difficult for me to eat a lot. Maybe it was because back in the camp I was used to eating just a few so that the supplies would last, or maybe because I remember my fellow Navy seals that are still at sea and I imagine how they must be doing now, eating breads and flakes only.
Another thing was the people. I know, I missed my family very much and I am more than happy to be here with them now. They have showed me warmth and love and everything I needed to feel safe and secure now. But still, there are moments when I would miss my buddies in the Navy. The life we shared and the stories we collect along our journey as seals will always have a special place in my memory, no matter if we see each other again or not.
I asked my wife how she was able to manage the house with me gone and the children all grown up and being very difficult to look after. She said that keeping the house intact was an easy job since I made sure of it before I left. I was very meticulous in choosing the right apartment where I would leave my wife and children to. I wanted to make sure it was a sturdy place in a good and peaceful neighborhood, with access to all the basic and essential needs that my wife or my kids might need to get. Leaving your family behind is the most difficult thing to do, and so as I was about to leave years ago, I made sure that even when I am gone, I could be confident in the roof that my family is in.
I chose an apartment in an ALB LLC Apartment building in Anniston. I have never been more satisfied at the choice I made when I chose this place as the home where I would leave my family behind. The apartment became a memento of me, and it became my substitute in protecting my family against harm.
I am still in the process of embracing this life that I have again. Years in the sea made me fear that I would not get the chance to live in my home again, and now that I am here, it seems like the memories of the dangers at sea still haunt me. but I know someday I will be able to fight it off and succeed in living the normal life again.
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In any type of military force, there is always the medical unit. Some people think that those that fall under the medical unit are the not so brave soldiers, hiding behind the battlefield and serving their purpose only after others are already hurt.
This notion is all sorts of wrong. Soldiers in the medical unit are as important as any other. They may not be in the front line of the battlefield, but they work hard to make sure that the wounded are saved. You cannot imagine the terror that medical soldiers have to face every time they are asked to take care of a patient. The desire to save every life they have to save is not always satisfied. They all have the experience of losing a soldier in their arms, may it be someone they have come to know very well, or someone they have only encountered once or twice. No matter the case, the pain of failing to save a life cuts very deep every time it happens.
Given this, a member of the medical unit for the navy seals is highly respected and given equal importance like the rest. They hold the faith of our lives when we get in trouble, and they stay there in the battlefield almost unarmed and unguarded, since their focus is in saving lives and not fighting the enemies. They can be easily ambushed at times.
One of the few navy friends I had time to spend with was a Navy Diving Medical Technician. Beyond the stereotypes and the life-saving skills they must have, they also have the chance to train and handle mammals. By this I mean dolphins and seals that the navy uses to detect underwater explosives and other forms of threat that could be sent underwater.
This part of a Navy Medical Technician job’s is not very well known by the greater population. They only think that medics stay in their quarters and do nothing until someone is hurt. I was one of those people before I came to know my fellow Navy Seals that were assigned in this department.
Such a job gave a whole new meaning to their roles for us and it provided an image of fun and adventure that people never thought was possible. I mean, they get to be with dolphins and seals, who would say that’s not something to love about being in the navy, right?
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I cannot remember at what age I decided that I want to become a Navy. I just knew that joining will make a difference. Not just in my life but for my country as well. Of course, I also wanted to be a hero. There are not enough chances to become big and important and if I succeed as a member of the navy, I can be very proud and people will see me as a hero. They will see me as someone who risks his life and gave up on a normal life in order to serve the country and live in the sea.
And maybe it was destiny that really lead me to be part of the navy. I did not come from a rich family and we were always taught early on to become independent individuals. Hence, I found it difficult to go to College and I really don’t have other skills that could fit in any other workplace. I had muscle and I have always loved the sea. I guess, I was just born to be a navy. Because of the navy, not only have I learned different skills for different purposes, I earned a college degree and experienced a life I would never exchange for anything else.
I believed I was born to be part of the navy and I lived it. I prepared my entire life for that moment when I would set foot in training to make the dream a reality.
I kept myself in shape, physically and mentally. I ran marathons and I jogged every day, without fail. To become a navy requires a lot of endurance and stamina, and one could never have that without proper care and exercise. I also ate accordingly. The navy only tolerates a certain amount of BMI. If you exceed that limit, you miss the chance of ever training for the team.
I know that no matter where one enters, the army, air force or navy, the training camp will be a very difficult phase and it will truly test the limits of a person. Knowing this did not make me fear, instead, it inspired me to never slack off my self-training phase, making sure that I would have enough physical strength to surpass the training when the day comes.
Once you are in for training, you can choose from the many specialties that you can work on. However, there will be limits to your options, depending on the score you get from the entrance test. Once you chose one, your training plan will be based on that specific job you decided to take on.
My navy life is a story I will continue to share. Now that the internet is here, I can share my stories to a wider audience. I know that some readers passing through this blog site are aspiring navy seals too, and I hope that all my blogs here will inspire you. These are not just my own stories, but stories of my comrades as well. Stories of adventure, love, tragedy, and everything else you could possible imagine happening in the middle of the great big sea.