They are expected to be the best of the best – the men our nation turn to when there’s quite simply is no one else to defend us. For twelve weeks, they were put through the worst of the worst – literally broken. From nineteen they have been whittled to eight – the so-called “Crazy Eight” – and on Wednesday they were feted before an appreciative audience, the first members of the Sea, Air and Land Team – SEALs. Coast Guard Commandant Rear Admiral John Borland sounded like a proud father – which he probably was – as he gave the group their valedictory address.
Rear Admiral John Borland- – Belize Coast Guard Commandant
“Today, you are the best there is in this land and you should be very proud for yourselves as I am of each you. We should know that the course that we just completed is comparable to those of combat on operating forces of the rest throughout the world. The instructors, who took you through hell over the last twelve weeks, are best of the best. You now have the responsibility to maintain the standards you have achieved here, and you know I am [expecting] that of you. The tri-net that you are now qualified and authorized to wear is your mark of success”.
Afterward John Borland told reporters what the group of men will be called on to do.
Rear Admiral John Borland
“As the CEO said, the Coast Guard is responsible for maritime security, with our lives on present scene, and working on the north areas of Ambergris , we have contact with some armed groups that were hostile towards us and were willing to take on on a firefight, they were armed as we are, equipped as we are, have no respect for our services. So, the regular Coast Guard wasn’t trained, wasn’t equipped, was at that point to deal with that threat. Therefore we need special operation force”.
The SEAL program and the accompanying Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program were run by U.S. Navy trainers operating out of the Special Operations Command based in Little Creek, Virginia. The Navy SEALs have been everywhere, doing many things, including the operation that resulted in the death of international terrorist Osama bin Laden. While the Belizean SEALs lives may not be that exciting, the senior officer in charge of Navy SEAL Team 4, Commodore Lenway, paid tribute to the new fighting force’s capabilities.
U. S. Commodore Lenway- Senior Officer, Navy Seal, Team 4
“In the Navy, we called the first deployed gun, which means you gentlemen will be chartered with the legacy of those who come behind you. Being a formed Senior Instructor myself, I have an idea what you want from me. But then we’ll provide you with a few specifics. The class began at 19%, and then today we graduated with 8. So, the attrition rate is over 50%. I will tell you that the curriculum is more than one swimming or getting my leg getting butt stiff everyday”.
The second intake of SEALs begins training in January. A group of Coast Guard personnel and six police officers from the Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) were also commended for their graduating from the JCET program.