MOGADISHU, Somalia — Four zip-tied Somali nationals placed bets on how many Navy SEAL memoirs they would be featured in, according to three SEAL memoirs already published since yesterday’s stand-off.
“Three shots in the dark, and the sacred rite of warfare had ended,” read one description of the mission in 2nd Class Petty Officer Jim MacDonald’s memoir "After Action: Hindsight through NVGs." “It was a scene that has played out countless times in history: a little boat rocking in the moonlight that was like the gaze of Valhalla, a band of pirates arguing heatedly about how many airport bookstores would carry ghostwritten accounts of their capture.”
Another account of the event appeared in 2nd Class Petty Officer Joe Silvo's "No Fear: Lessons on Hard Core Leadership for Market Uncertainty."
“Hard core leaders eat accountability for breakfast,” read the opening paragraph of Chapter One: Hard Core Competencies. “But it can also make even the hardest core leaders feel vulnerable. For instance, when a band of pirates ridiculed me to tears as shameless self-promoter who would disgrace the Navy by cashing in on the prestige of the SEAL name to sell schlock to corporate executives, I almost didn’t ask them for a quote for this book.”
The betting took place after SEAL snipers killed three armed pirates who had taken an American oil tanker crew hostage in a small boat in the Gulf of Aden. Four Somalis were left to contemplate their fates as the SEALs moved in.
“As the bow of our boat parted the mist, we heard groans of agony rising from the pirate’s dinghy,” recalled Chief Petty Officer Ruben Martinez in "Crunch Time: Navy SEAL Secrets to Rock-Hard Abs."
“Prepared for an ugly scene, we were surprised to find the pirates alert and unharmed, resigned to the fact that they would be reduced to two-dimensional caricatures in the many, many books that would be written about this non-event.”
The captives were driven to piracy by social and environmental forces that were out of their control, which should be considered when depicting them in film or literature, according to screenwriter Katherine Heller who designed the memoir-writing phase of SEAL Qualification Training.
“Picture a community devastated by war, disease, starvation, and neglect, and drop it right at the edge of the sea,” she told a class Wednesday, underlining "Raise The Stakes" on a chalkboard. “It’s the brutal friction between these two realities — the barbarity of man, the endlessness mystery of the raging ocean — that wrought these charact ... I mean, survivors, and drove them to confrontation with the most hardened killers in the US military.”
“This is 'Lone Survivor'-level sales for anyone who does it right,” she added.
As Duffel Blog went to press, the four as-yet unnamed men were en route to a holding facility in Norfolk, Virginia, where they will face a grueling schedule of interviews by the hundreds of SEALs currently writing memoirs.