Book 9 – The Operator

Ever since last Christmas, when I read a book called “Can’t Hurt Me” I got fascinated with SEAL’s and their stories. Coincidentally I listened to a podcast with Robert O’Neill and Ed Mylett, about the mission that killed Bin Laden, of which Robert O’Neill was part. I decided to get this book along with two other books so I could dive a little more into their life and their story. Anyway, enjoy the ninth one.

The Operator

The cover of this book reads: “The SEAL Team Operative and Mission That Changed the World” but more so than a book about the mission that killed Bin Laden it’s a book about the life of a SEAL and many of his missions. It’s incredible to read into because it starts from the training to become a SEAL all the way until the end of his service. Several stories starting from SEAL training, to his first kill, several missions in his deployment, being part of the team that saved captain Phillips and eventually the mission that would end up killing Bin Laden, explain the life of a SEAL.

I’m fascinated by stories about Hell Week, which is, as the name suggests, a week of hell which every SEAL has to pass before he or she can become a SEAL. It’s filled with hardships, obstacles, physical/emotional/mental hurdles and just general hell. I don’t know much about it besides what I learned from two books now, but the idea of overcoming obstacles is just very interesting to me. Learning about all the things Robert had to do to get through SEAL training got me pumped up and more so made me realize that whenever I’m complacent about exercise that I can go way further.

Leading up to the mission that killed Bin Laden the team spend days of practice. They’d go over their strategies repeatedly, testing it in an area where they build a replica of the compound they’d eventually raid. You learn that it’s not just luck or numbers advantage, but it’s actually practice, thousands of hours of practice, that does the job. In fact, apparently only the most experienced were selected to be part of the team. This proves that this wasn’t just an ordinary mission but one of extremely high value that required the best of the best.

Take Aways

The major thing that I took away from this book was practice. SEALs spend the majority of their time, when they’re not on deployment, on practice. Honing their skills and perfecting their craft. It’s incredible to think and I like to believe that I now realize that while engaging in some of my hobbies. Where I’d get discouraged or was not paying attention I now realize that through practice I could literally master that small particular thing, all I have to do is put time and effort in it. Even the best of the best continuously practice so there’s no end, it’s an ongoing practice.

I’ve mentioned it before, but what draws me to these types of books is that people went through hardships, got incredibly strong(er) and overcame them. Like hell week, certain trainings or tough times they came out the other end because of their physical, mental and emotional strength and discipline. I like to believe that I’m able to do that as well, al though in easier situations, like lifting that extra rep or running that extra mile. Somehow I like to believe that regardless of the hardships, struggle and discomfort I’m able to endure it and come out the other side, stronger. That I’m willing to suffer (not unnecessarily) to get to where I want to go.

Lastly, but also incredibly important, is preparation. Repeatedly you read how, through preparation, inevitable situations could be defused, overcome and conquered. I think preparation is very important, as you can see from the different missions that are told in the book. If proper preparation wasn’t done (repeatedly) many of these missions probably would’ve gone completely different with a less than desirable outcome.

Last Points

It’s nice to read a book that you can sort-off loose yourself in, like reading a good fiction book that’s engaging and addictive to read. I found this the case with this book, you keep wondering how certain things will end up and of course the lead up to that major mission kept closing in. I flew through this book and didn’t have any struggles reading it as it kept me interested in the next thing to come. It’s an easy book to read, but there is terminology thrown around that I didn’t understand or forgot when explained. Besides that it’s very accessible for anyone to read.

Lastly, while reading this one thought kept looming in my mind. I didn’t know what to think of this book and everything it stands for. And although the intentions are for peace, safety and goodness, I keep morally questioning the idea of killing. Of course it’s war, and the people they went after caused harm to people and families, but is the answer to kill them or could they be “saved”. But as I kept reading I also came to understand that it’s war, and some people are never to be “saved”. The targets in these missions are to be captured or killed, which is only determined in a very small window of time. Often enough by shooting the target the shooter prevents harm to themselves and their fellows.

It’s for the reason that I don’t want to cause harm to others that I don’t join the army. Although it’s incredibly fascinating and I like the discipline, training, work-ethic, brotherhood and craftsmanship I can’t think of putting myself in a situation where I’d have to shoot someone or be in harms way. Therefor I respect the people that do and did for they put themselves at risk for the betterment of other people.

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About the Author: Glenn