For a few hundred dollars, NASCAR fans can go to Texas Motor Speedway in the off season and drive a race car around the track at fairly substantial speeds. It’s all part of an opportunity for fans to relate to the experiences of the driver they follow.
In the same way, but on a much more intense level, fans (and supporters) of the U.S. Navy Seals can pay just under $2000 to spend “a grueling week-long endurance test that offers a taste of what it's like to be a [member of] America's elite fighting force, the Navy Seals.”
The week-long camp is called Extreme Seal Experience, and is run by retired Navy Seal Don Shipley. It’s open to anyone 15 years or older, and it gives participants a taste—a very small taste—of what a Seal-in-training endures for 6 months (rather than 6 days). To that end, the camp involves “close-quarters combat training and endless push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks. Participants are taught to fire sniper rifles using paper terrorists as targets and struggle to untie their bound hands and feet while underwater.”
Regarding the rigors of the camp, Shipley said: “Your most vivid memories come from hardship, they're from suffering. The easy stuff you just forget.”
Just reading Shipley’s words brings to mind the famous quotation, “Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." And I am reminded again to say God bless our Seals, God bless all our troops.