The Making of a Navy SEAL
My Story of Surviving the Toughest Challenge and Training the Best
#1 New Release, Teen/YA Military History (Amazon)
In the summer of 2014, two years after our Navy SEAL sniper memoir The Red Circle came out, Brandon Webb and I got some exciting news: our publishers, St. Martin’s Press, wanted to come out with a YA (young adult) edition of the book. What could more thrilling and gratifying than knowing that our story of struggle, persistence, and triumph would be in the hands of thousands of teens across the land?
The deal was struck, and expert YA adapter Thea Feldman (who also adapted our friend Mike Ritland’s bestselling book Trident K9 Warriors to create the YA version, Navy SEAL Dogs) got to work.
This book is the result: Brandon’s inspiring story of leadership (both good and terrible) and a passion for excellence, as told in The Red Circle, now adapted for young readers.
The Making of a Navy SEAL Reviews
“Grades 7–10. ‘A few weeks past my sixteenth birthday, my dad threw me off a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.’ So begins a fast-paced autobiography of a young man who would eventually become a U.S. Navy SEAL. A product of a dysfunctional family (his parents had a difficult marriage, and his father was physically abusive), Webb tells his life’s story. His parents kept their often-rambunctious son out of trouble by encouraging him to get involved with athletics. That came to an abrupt end when the boy was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, which is caused by overtraining, resulting in a painful lump below the kneecap. Braces were put on his knees in order to give them a chance to grow properly. By age 13, Webb was working on a dive boat. A chance encounter with a group of SEALs who visited the boat turned his life around and gave him a new goal. The rest of the book is a description of the experiences he had on his way to successfully realizing that dream: he became a SEAL and even became an instructor for other SEALs in training. This engaging narrative is informative and will speak to teens. VERDICT: A fine choice for memoir collections.”
— School Library Journal
“Webb’s story makes for a breathless read for the many who will never encounter anything remotely as mentally and physically challenging as the endless training exercises to make it into the SEAL teams.”
“The story is action-oriented, and the very short chapters hasten the pace without adding unwanted choppiness. Webb himself may not be for everyone; as he admits, most SEALs have strong type-A personalities … but, ultimately he is a remarkable serviceman who did, in fact, achieve a great deal.”
Excerpt from The Making of a Navy SEAL
What I wouldn’t give to be twelve years old again, but, this time, with the knowledge that I have now as a Navy SEAL. (Plus, the video games are a lot cooler today then they were over 30 years ago when I was playing Mario on my Nintendo 64.) I can’t go back in time, but I can give you some tips that I wish I’d had when I was about your age.
Life isn’t easy. This is something I know most of you already understand by now. There are always challenges. Parents get divorced, you change schools, and there’s bullying, annoying brothers and sisters, making new friends, and not getting picked first, to name just a few. The good news is that if you start thinking differently about all these challenges, you can use them to help fuel an inner fire that will drive you to pursue your ultimate dreams in life. Really.
When I was young my parents got divorced, I changed schools a lot, got behind on my grades, my sister annoyed me, and to make things worse, I lived on a sailboat! Kids laughed and made fun of me on my floating “trailer.” I could have felt sorry for myself, but I learned early on to use these hard times as fuel for my own dream fire. Nothing was going to hold me back from pursuing my goals. Bad things would—and did—happen along the way. But, when they did, I’d throw another log on my dream fire.
This same idea, I would later find out, and you will find out in this book, is also used by Navy SEALs. Navy SEALs welcome adversity and challenges. A SEAL knows that keeping a positive mental attitude at the worst of times is a powerful tool that helps you to accomplish great things. Adversity is actually an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. If you can recognize this at a young age, it will be easier to make your dreams a reality.
Kids who don’t see this often wind up making bad choices, like doing drugs or hanging out with the wrong crowd. The same crowd may look cool from the outside but it’s all a fake. Most of these kids are really insecure on the inside. And, as you will learn from this book, what’s on the inside is what counts most.
I wanted to be a Navy SEAL since I was fourteen years old. So many kids my age and adults told me this was impossible. I call these negative people Dream Stealers. Watch out for them. Notice them for who they are, and just let whatever they say stoke your dream fire a little more.
There were more than 220 candidates in my SEAL training class when it began. At the end, only 23 of the original candidates (me included) had made it all the way through. Roughly 90% of my class had failed. The best athlete in the class was the first to quit because he didn’t like getting yelled at and being cold. He couldn’t see the finish line and realize that the tough SEAL training would eventually be over. So, when life is hard at times, remember that the tough times will eventually end. And remember, too, that the best things in life take hard work and determination to complete. Think about this next time you’re practicing music, working on math, playing sports, or doing anything else.
I was an average kid and I liked sports, but I was never the best on the team. When I entered Navy SEAL training I thought that the odds were stacked against me because of all the challenges and tough times I had had as a kid. In reality, they were stacked in my favor. All those hard times had prepared me to pursue and realize my dreams, and complete the toughest military training in the world.
I remember a ski and snowboard trip I took with my kids in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. We had such a fun week on the mountain that none of us wanted it to end. When it did, my daughter said she couldn’t believe the week had gone by so fast. I told her and my two boys that life is just like a fun week that flies by. It’s over before you know it. The lesson is, pursue your passions.
I hope you enjoy reading this book and that you will think to refer to it if you are ever down and having a tough time. You can consider it your own secret weapon to help you to pursue your ultimate dreams.