Class-29: The Making of U.S. Navy SEALs by John Carl RoatClass-29: The Making of U.S. Navy SEALs by John Carl Roat

Class-29: The Making of U.S. Navy SEALs

byJohn Carl Roat

Mass Market Paperback | February 29, 2000

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"Throughout training I kept having the thought,
It seemed to help."        

SEALs are the world's toughest soldiers. Working in squads and platoons that make up SEAL teams, they are trained in everything from underwater demolition to high-altitude parachute drops. Now John Carl Roat, graduate of Class-29, one of the earliest SEAL training classes, has written the only book devoted to the training of that exclusive warrior force. With unflinching honesty, Roat describes the brutal six-month program that took young men well beyond the endurance limits even of gifted athletes and created warriors who could proudly take their places in the teams. It was a program so demanding that by the end of Hell Week, the third week of the course, the original class of one hundred and thirty-four physically fit young men had been sliced to sixty-two.

After retelling his own class's experience, Roat visits today's SEAL program and reveals how the program has changed over the last thirty-five years to include more classroom training and better and more sophisticated equipment-- without at all lowering the physical demands. SEAL training is still the best, and the toughest, training in the world.
John Carl Roat was born in 1942 in Flint, Michigan. In January 1963, he started Underwater Demolition Team replacement training with Class-29. After completing training, John served with UDT-21, UDT-11, and SEAL Team-1. In 1965, John married the former Judith Jo Younger. They have two sons, four grandchildren, and thirty-five years of ...
Title:Class-29: The Making of U.S. Navy SEALsFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 6.8 × 4.2 × 0.83 inPublished:February 29, 2000Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0804118930

ISBN - 13:9780804118934

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from As a two tour SEAL instructor John Carl Roat's Class 29 is the only authentic book on the market today that will tell you exactly how SEALs are selected and trained! As a two tour SEAL instructor, I trained over thirty SEAL classes and supervised 21 SEAL hell weeks. John Roat's observations on the bond developed by the classmates and his accurate description of the infamous SEAL hell week, makes this book a must read! If you want to find the secret to what it takes to become one of the world's greatest warriors - read Class 29! Martin L. Strong, author - Death Before Dawn
Date published: 2002-05-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So, so I expected to learn more about training and the life of a navy seals in the making. The author wrote to much about his personals life (beer, woman, etc) and not enough about training . I’m sure he could have put tons of other things about the seal and less about himself in this book. I was left on my appetite. Although the book will give you a good idea of their training and you could only be impress by these men have to endure to become Navy seals. I also had a problem with the language use in the book, to many f words.
Date published: 2000-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE BEST This well writen book takes you to the CORE of what it takes to be a TEAM member!
Date published: 2000-06-22

Read from the Book

PHASE ONE   Class XXIX convened 2 January and is to graduate 28 June. The class commenced with 134 students; of this total 16 were U.S. naval officers, 5 were foreign officers representing Greece, Belgium, Norway, Pakistan, and the Netherlands. There were 109 U.S. Navy enlisted and 4 Netherlands enlisted men. The first phase of training consisted of two weeks of physical preconditioning. Upon completion of the phase, 18 officers and 76 enlisted men remained to begin actual UDT training.   In truth, it was physical preconditioning; the instructors' objective was to put the body in the condition of pain. I had thought I knew a lot about UDT training. I knew most classes started with thirty or fewer. Why was our class so big? Our first formation was a joke; no one knew which end was up. We had been issued used green fatigues that didn't fit and “surveyed” boondockers, that is, worn-out work boots.   When we fell in, there was no military bearing, and Instructor Waddell just loved it. He welcomed us with, “Hit the deck! Start pushing Virginia away!” We had no idea what he was talking about. Waddell quickly taught us a position in which we would spend a good part of the next six months. You start by kicking both feet out behind you, your arms thrown straight out in front of your chest. If you land properly, you have “hit the deck.” You are now in a lovely position called the “lean and rest.” Your body is parallel to the ground, no sag, and you are held up by your extended arms and the tips of your toes—that's the hit-the-deck part. Instructor Waddell gave us our first educational opportunity: “Hit the deck!” and “On your feet!” over and over, until we could do it as a group. When he had us worked into a good sweat, he put us at the lean and rest, then walked through the ranks telling us what low-life scum we were. Waddell was particularly good at degrading officers—but with respect. Whatever he said to them, he always added a respectful, “sir.” When he determined that we had mastered the lean and rest, he gave us a class in push Virginia away, which meant lower yourself until your chest is no more than one fist-height from the ground, then raise yourself to the starting position, repeat until ordered to stop or you can't do it any more.   Chief Engineman Bernie Waddell was six foot two or three, with large head, shoulders, and arms. The scariest thing about Waddell was his eyes; you knew he could see through steel. Those eyes said “I will hurt you.” Bernie was a rich brown color, a black man of power in the south of the sixties. He handled all that race bullshit the first formation with just the power of his presence. Instructor Waddell let every one of us know that we were inferior beings. He spoke very rudely about the possibility of any of us making it through training. He made us believe he was the mountain between us and the Teams and that he would make us suffer to cross over. Instructor Waddell would more than live up to the first impression he gave us! Capt. Larry Bailey, a trainee from another class, said, “Waddell was the instructor's instructor, and those of us who toiled under him learned to summon up physical and mental reserves previously untapped.”   That first day, we ran everywhere, an undisciplined snake dance of spastics. Guys were running over each other, stepping on each other's heels, always in each other's way. The instructors kept everyone off base. I think they were watching the officers to see who would step forward and organize the mess. For me the first officer who stood out of the background was Lt. (jg) Richard “Rick” Shea. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard him was that he should have been a disk jockey; he talked like he was on the radio. I called him Swing and Sway with Rick Shea. Mr. Shea was five foot seven or eight of tightly packed, laid-back energy. The only thing Swing and Sway wanted to organize was a party. He would be one of the three guys who kept me laughing throughout training.   Most of us enlisted men enjoyed seeing the officers get dumped on because usually it was the officers who dumped on us. Instructor Waddell and Ens. David Janke seemed to form an instant bond; Waddell loved to say Mr. Janke's name. He would drag out the word “mister,” pronouncing it something like Missster Janke. They had long, one-sided conversations while Ensign Janke pushed Virginia away. David is one of those guys you just have to like, and Waddell did. He liked to give Janke push-ups, squat jumps, eight-count body builders, and the dreaded duckwalk. I suspect I'm not the only one who enjoyed Janke and Waddell's conversations; after all, if Waddell was fucking with Janke, he wasn't fucking with me.   The third officer who came into focus for me was Ens. James M. Hawes. When I saw him, I thought he looked like a college professor. He should have had a pipe in his mouth. Hawes became a big part of the reason I made it through training; he passed energy to me with his voice. I was in his boat crew throughout training. There is no more important thing in training than your boat crew; if you don't learn to work as a team, carry your share of the boat, the rest of the crew will make sure you're gone. Hawes was not an open person. I don't mean that he was sneaky, but like a good poker player, he didn't let you see on his face what was on his mind. He would blend in, almost disappear, then, when needed, bam!, he was right there doing whatever needed to be done. Ensign Hawes was an officer in the best sense of the word; he always took care of his men, even when he knew damn well the instructors would make him pay. Hawes could look broken-down, decrepit, dilapidated, extremely dingy, and still project strength with his voice. I had never done well in a group unless I'd had a good leader. In Hawes I had one—tough, demanding, always willing to put his ass where he would put yours.   The first guy I got tight with was Jack Lynch. He had a quick, funny mind and mouth. God bless him; he could make the whole class laugh at our pain. Jack and I started harassing each other from day one, kept it up right through training, and on into the teams. I think Jack needed to be mad every once in a while, deep down pissed off, and I have always been able to piss him off. What are friends for if not to help you through life?   From day one, the instructors started getting us in the condition of pain and introducing us to all their tools. The sand, running in sand. They loved to get us wet, roll us in the sand, then run us up and down, over and over, the biggest sand dune around. The damn thing even had a name, Mount Suribachi. At times, we were required to carry sand up the damn thing and deposit it at the summit; we didn't want it to get smaller, did we? Strange, I had spent a good part of my youth with sand in my shoes and every other uncomfortable place I can think of, but that damn mountain of sand was the worst thing they could do to me. Our first assault on Suribachi was gut- wrenching, but worse was the 134 men who were falling all over each other. Sand was kicked down my throat while I gasped for breath; trainees stepped on each other's feet and hands. If I remember right, that's where the first man quit.   The obstacle course was another of the instructors' tools of pain. So was just getting there. The instructors never took the shortest route anywhere. We might run past the obstacle course a couple times before we actually arrived at it. On the third or fourth day of training, I was trying to improve my time on the course when I scared the shit out of myself and came very close to wiping myself out of training. One of the obstacles was a cargo net stretched between two large trees. The top of the net was suspended from a taut cable about fifty feet up. We went up one side, over the top, and down the other. Simple. I had seen one of the faster guys kind of roll over the top. It looked much faster than getting one leg over, then the other. I went up the net. When my chest was level with the cable, I reached across the top, put my chest hard against the cable, pulled and twisted at the same time. As I went over the top, I lost my grip. Oh well. The only thing that saved me was my leg's getting caught in the net about halfway down. I wasn't hurt, but that net had put the fear of God in me; I knew that if I'd fallen all the way to the pit, training would have been over.   Worse was to come, back at the obstacle course that afternoon. I went through the obstacles before the cargo net with no problem. I had a plan. It is amazing how dumb fear can make you. My plan was simple: I would climb the net close to one of the tree trunks, go to the top, but never cross it, just come back down the same side. My stinking thinking had been, there were so many trainees climbing that the instructors would never notice. It worked; I got off the net, stepped around the tree, and finished the rest of the obstacles. Home free! Not quite.

From Our Editors

The Navy SEALs are an elite force of highly trained and specialized soldiers adept in everything from underwater demolition to daring parachute drops. John Carl Roat has been a SEAL since the early days, graduating from one of the first training classes. Detailing the brutal six-month program that turned 134 men into a squad of 62 killing machines, this is the only book of its kind, one that chronicles a special kind of military training in Class-29 The Making of the Navy SEALs.