Thursday, February 03, 2011

SEALs Speak to Minnesota Youth, Emphasize Mental Toughness

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William S. Parker, Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (NNS) -- The Naval Special Warfare East Coast SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) scout team visited the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State, two local high schools, and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn., Jan. 26-31.

The SEAL and SWCC scout team, and three active duty SEALs gave presentations on mental toughness while providing awareness about career opportunities in Naval Special Warfare to 165 collegiate athletes, 453 high school students, and more than 1,000 people at the Mall of America.

"There are so many young athletes who don't know what Navy Special Warfare is all about, and what we do is open their minds to it to give them another option they might not of been thinking of; by giving them the mental toughness presentation," said retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Mark Courrier, NSW East Coast SEAL and SWCC scout team member.

Courrier said the main problem for candidates during training is that it's cold, dark, and wet; which is where mental toughness becomes key.

"Looking back at how I came into the NSW community, it was just by chance where I didn't like what I was doing, I wasn't going anywhere, so my wrestling coach told me to change it and introduced me to Navy Special Warfare," said one of the participating SEALs. "Now having gotten through training, I see where the being strong mentally kept me moving forward to my ultimate goal."

Courrier and other SEALs used a pull-up challenge to mentor athletes and test their physical abilities. Courrier said SEAL challenge events are a great venue for interacting with youth and emphasizing the importance of fitness and conditioning.

"When I retired and even before then, I realized that I was a SEAL for life; but instead of operating in the field, now my job is to find the next generation of special warfare operators," said Courrier.

Athletes, students, and civilians were also treated to a static display by SEAL and SWCC personnel, who demonstrated the equipment that special operators use in the field. Some of the items on display were parachutes, diving equipment, and body armor.

"Seeing and touching the real gear and talking to the SEALs definitely resonated with some young people here today," said another SEAL involved in the event. "You know there aren't a lot of opportunities to go pro in wrestling or water polo, but they could definitely use their skills and mental toughness to be successful in Naval Special Warfare."

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