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Book Review: SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin

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SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin is a memoir of Mr. Wasdin’s time as a Navy SEAL.

The book is a behind the scenes look at SEAL Team Six, a unit which specialized in counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and counterinsurgency. Howard Wasdin writes about the grueling selection process, Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) and sniper school.

After going through the selection process, Mr. Wasdin faced combat operations in Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two and got selected for SEAL Team Six. He was sent to Somalia on a mission to capture or kill Somalian warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

The well-written SEAL Team Six walks the reader through Wasdin’s childhood, Navy SEAL training, several missions and Mr. Wasdin settling down with his beloved wife and children.

This is an exciting book, an easy and fast read. While the authors cover a lot of ground, the book kept my attention throughout.

Especially poignant, for me, were the chapters about Somalia and the Battle of Mogadishu. Mr. Wasdin’s point of view is raw, honest and different from anything I’ve read before. I am familiar with most of the people he mentioned and reading about them, the tactics, and the battle from a different, on the ground perspective was an amazing experience for me.

I appreciated the chapters about the rough training and the reasons for it — “the more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle” — including the mental fortitude that helps these warriors go through, what seems to me, almost superhuman tasks.

At the beginning I thought there were a lot of product placement in SEAL Team Six, which I found disappointing. However, the more I read, the more I realized that it is not so much product placement as it is simply telling the reader about the equipment being used – the best of the best — and why.

A bit disturbing were the chapters about Mr. Wasdin’s childhood and the abuse he suffered by his stepfather. Mr. Wasdin credits that abuse with his current ability to withstand pain and his attention to detail, which I gather he truly believes.

I don’t want anyone who read this book to think that if you beat the living hell out of your child he’ll turn out to be a Navy SEAL or an elite warrior. Mr. Wasdin does make that point very clearly in the book, but I feel he didn’t make it strongly enough or often enough.

During my service I have met many people from the special forces including the most elite units and the one thing common to all was the simple fact that this is what they were born to do. You cannot learn or acquire the characteristics to become an elite warrior. You either have those qualities or you don’t. Of course you can hone your skills, find the hidden talents, sharpen them and practice to become better but you have to be born with them to begin with.

At the end of SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Sniper there is a small section about the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, founded in 1980 as a college scholarship fund for children of special operations warriors who have been killed. Please take some time to visit them and make a donation if you can.

By the way, this book just happens to come out after the SEAL Team Six took out Bin-Laden. It was not rushed to print because of the operation. I thought this was an important point to make.

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  • Sue Wasdin

    I wanted to comment on Howard Wasdin’s book, Seal Team VI, Memoirs of a Navy Seal Sniper. The Wasdin family does not support this book. His accounts of his childhood are only from him and no one can verify these accounts. His memories are exaggerated in some cases and often fabricated.

  • Robert Anderson

    I thought Howard Wasdin’s comments in his book ‘Seal Team 6 – Memoirs of a Navy Seal Sniper’ regarding his ex-wife (Laura) giving birth to someone else’s baby is borderline apppropriate (hey, you have kids Wasdin who will read this, just say you and your wife grew apart) and certainly inappropriate was the comment the baby was of another race. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot! Certainly implying the baby was either Black or Asian. So what are you really trying to say Wasdin? Editor should have caught this.

    • Heather Wasdin

      I am mixed with black, but thank you for adding that. He also had serve real abortions and children outside of the marriage.

  • Norman L Smith

    This was one of those books that grabbed you from the first sentence and wouldn’t let go until the very end. I received the book in my morning mail and couldn’t put it down until I finished reading. I am sure there are those who will take exception with some of the details in the book but for me Howard it was very inspiring and gut wrenching at the same time.
    I do agree with one of the previous reviewers when they say you have to be born with such a strong fortitude to be able to endure all of the extreme training it takes to get to the level you and others in the special forces are able to achieve, I commend you and your brothers for your service to this country. In my opinion, Seal Team Six will surely be a national best seller.
    sincerely Norman L Smith


    I just received this book and read it in a couple of sittings. Having served with Seals ( I was not a Seal, but did go to Sere school in Coranado before going to Nam) I believe that they are born with these traits which help them excel. Most Seals that I have known, have difficulty adjusting to the real world. I think Wasdin expressed this mental conflict very well. As far as his boyhood and divorce, these things happen and have an effect on your life. If you give your all for God and country it is going to hurt your marriage. With all the Hype with war movies and video games in today’s society the fact is overlooked that in real war, when your dead you are dead. it is real! Also, you have to sometimes have to work for some real “A” holes. I thank Howard for his service and for giving a factual account of what war is all about. I for one support him and will get this book out to as many people I can.

  • This is an incredible story of Mr. Wasdin’s life. Once you pick it up, it is difficult to lay it down. It reads well (and quickly) from cover to cover. It grabs you and does not let you go. I feel this book also brings honor to the SEALS. It corrects many misconceptions that people have and really takes you inside of the type of individual it takes to become one of these elite