Seal Team 6 Received 'Hoosiers' Pep Talk Before Killing Osama Bin Laden
While we may never know what it's like to have the kind of bravery and skill needed for Seal Team 6, we do have an inkling of what gets the team pumped for action: the movie Hoosiers.
You only need to click around the Internet or watch but a modicum of TV to get hit with the buzz over Seal Team 6 and its epic tale of taking down Osama Bin Laden.
The Academy Awards on February 24 guarantees many will head to the theaters to take in Zero Dark 30, a film about the operation to kill Bin Laden.
And recently, Phil Bronstein (h/t ESPN) wrote a column about the plight of the unnamed shooter who reportedly took the kill shot. It's that report that, among many amazing details, delivered one interesting little tidbit about how these hardened men were motivated before the famed operation:
... word came to Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of Joint Special Operations Command. The mission was on, originally for April 30, the night of the White House Correspondents' dinner in Washington.
McRaven figured it would look bad if all sorts of officials got up and left the dinner in front of the press. So he came up with a cover story about the weather so we could launch on Sunday, May 1, instead.
There was one last briefing and an awesome speech from McRaven comparing the looming raid and its fighters to the movie Hoosiers.
Then they're gathered by a fire pit, suiting up. Just before he got on the chopper to leave for Abbottabad, the Shooter called his dad. I didn't know where he was, but I found out later he was in a Walmart parking lot. I said, "Hey, it's time to go to work," and I'm thinking, I'm calling for the last time. I thought there was a good chance of dying.
He knew something significant was up, though he didn't know what. The Shooter could hear him start to tear up. He told me later that he sat in his pickup in that parking lot for an hour and couldn't get out of the car.
The Red Team and members of the other squad hugged one another instead of the usual handshakes before they boarded their separate aircraft. The hangars had huge stadium lights pointing outward so no one from the outside could see what was going on.
I took one last piss on the bushes.
It's one thing to motivate a bunch of athletes trying to win a game. Ray Lewis may incite a small riot in a locker room, or Hunter Pence may get the boys rabid to take the field.
It's quite another to get men motivated for an operation they are not entirely sure they will return from.
While we have no clue as to the extent McRaven tied the movie Hoosiers to the subsequent raid, the mere mention mandates we bust out the DVD once again and take in the small-town splendor.
I would also like to think his speech ended with a slow clap.
It makes sense why the Vice Admiral would make the connection, because, as Bronstein writes, the men who gathered to take down the terrorist had to rely heavily on their amazing camaraderie:
ST6 in particular is an enterprise requiring extraordinary teamwork, combined with more kinds of support in the field than any other unit in the history of the U. S. military.
You could just see Norman Dale now, preaching about trust in one's teammate. Now, extrapolate the urgency to win the state championship to a mission that featured enormous danger.
Just consider this item from what is an amazing account: "everyone living in the house was presumed to be wearing a suicide vest."
So you could see how the mantra of working collectively was of the utmost importance. And if you ever wanted to know how to get some of the bravest and most courageous men motivated, you mention the movie Hoosiers.
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