Bruce T. Russell, BM3
by B. T. Russell
Note: Originally published in “To Be Someone Special – The Story of UDTra Class 29” by RD Russell
When did I first hear of UDT? Of course,
I’d heard of them while on a ship floating in ‘the bay,’ but I first took notice
when I was stationed on
What was my most
memorable moment? …Two of them actually. During ‘Hell Week’ on Friday, we were
on our last legs of the exercise. Believe it or not I was still lucid, and
scared shitless, I might add. Everyone in the boat crew (McNair’s) was acting
very strange. Bobby Lee (
Barney and I happened upon the plant guard and nonchalantly ask him for some matches. I could only guess what he thought looking at us! Wet, muddy, sandy, staggering from lack of sleep, and talking like a couple of drunks, I’m convinced he thought, “Well, I can shoot ‘em or give ‘em some matches.” I’m glad he chose the latter.
We took the matches back to the beach where the boats and crews were and proceeded to build a fire of the oily tar-coated wood. It rose to about twenty feet in the air and could have been used as a beacon for the jets landing at North Island NAS. Barney and I stayed off to the side and eventually went back to the boats and laid down for some sleep when the yelling began. I peeked up over the gunwale and saw instructors Raschick and Olivera standing on the berm over us, glowing in the firelight as a sort of apparition. Both were mentioning our mothers and family lineage and kicking dirt at us. After half an hour or so of “what part of dumbass don’t you get?” type of PT we were instructed to put out the fire and paddle back to the UDTRA area.
This, folks, was
the fun part. We got back to the area at the crack of dawn where we were met by
instructor Lonnie Price (you guys remember Price, don’t you?) Chief Price told us
to paddle back down to IB and make sure the campfire was out. I should note
here that everyone else in Class #29 had secured from training. So, Mr. McNair
(always the optimist) says something like, “All right, sailors, let’s get our
back into it”…..hahahaha. Back down the bay we went,
crying, bitching, pissing and moaning all the way. But it wasn’t that bad! We
virtually flew along the water and made it in record time. The reason: the wind
was coming out of the North at about 20 to 30
This part I need
help with. We waited for an instructor to check us out. He (I cannot remember
who) instructed us to proceed back to the “
Memory # 2…the ride to the beach on the crest of a big one, screaming all the way. We hit the beach, high and dry, and jumped out of the boat onto the rocky beach damn proud of ourselves. I looked and saw Barney standing there with a huge grin.
Best moment…when about halfway through training I made it out of the beach run ‘goon squad’ by one man. For two months they used me as the cutoff man for the goon squad and on that day I somehow sneaked by when they weren’t looking and got into the first group. Worst moment…just too damn many to remember.
I retired from the
Navy in ’77 after being in SEAL Team since ’64. I stayed around S.D. for a year
then moved my new family to
graduated from Oregon Tech with a degree in Medical Radiology and have worked
at a hospital in
I am still trying to get to the graduation of #229. Hope to see you there.