Commander William Earl Fannin, Class of 1945, Captsone Essay Contestare officer (NSW) is a hallowed and humbling honor, but with it comes a sobering reality cautioning that any celebration would be premature.
Assignment to this community is only a first step to the Navy’s most elite training: Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S). Selection for NSW means nothing more than a chance to sit in cold water and link arms with misery.
Some say misery loves company, and I have learned that tough times forge the fiercest of friendships. But misery is never the mission, as my brothers bound for BUD/S are not mindless masochists. We are keenly aware of the impending pain and already have been to the breach of cold, wet, and tired—and will go again, more than once. What we have found in our time under boats and upping logs is that only the most star-struck friend smiles with sand in his teeth, sweat in his eyes, yet still so much love in his heart that he pulls down on the D-ring to suffer more, so that others suffer less.