Testimonials

Once again, thanks so much for your hospitality and “encouragement” this past week at the SCOI and the SAC. As much as I hated the pain and torture, I think I’m better off for going through it. I find myself reminiscing about the experience as I continue to pluck pickers out of my hands, forearms, and knees! The other folks in our gym at work probably won’t understand when I bring in a scuba tank and weight belt to supplement my pushup routine (of course it’ll be much easier on the whimpy carpeting). – Ed

 CWO (SEAL) Mann, I wanted to take this opportunity to Thank You, the instructors and all your support staff for a GREAT experience this past weekend – May 21st, 22nd. The SAC was the gut check I needed to get back into shape. My goal is to return next year and destroy the score I recently posted with Class 10… Thanks again for a rear-kicking weekend. It was everything I wanted and more. – CC

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Instructor Mann, I wanted to thank you very much for an outstanding experience through the SEAL Adventure Challenge (SAC). It was by far the most exciting and beneficial camp that I have ever attended. Through the various events that took place throughout the camp, I was able to identify many of my strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to begin to get a grasp on the mentality of BUD/S training. Having many SEALs as instructors was awesome, in terms of what you/they taught us, the experience that I gained from you all, as well as being able to spend time with real-deal SEALs. The experience and insight I gained from the SAC was most valuable in assisting in my preparation for BUD/S. 

During my time at the camp I did note the photographer that accompanied us throughout the 24 hours. I was wondering if any of the pictures from the camp are going to be released (on a website, etc.). I was hoping to be able to give my family a glimpse into what we did during the 24 hours at the SAC. If some pictures were going to be released, I would greatly appreciate if you could point me in the direction of their location. If they are not going to be released, I apologize for the trouble. Again, thank you very much for an outstanding and unforgettable weekend at the SAC. It was the most challenging and beneficial camp I have ever attended. – AP

Mr. Mann, I made it back to Colorado today and I wanted to thank you and your staff for putting on the SEAL Adventure Challenge this past weekend. It was everything I had hoped it would be!

When I first heard about the SEAL Adventure Challenge, I had just injured my back while weight training, and I set the SAC as a goal during my re-hab process. That was in 2000. This past weekend I came to the SAC with a goal of achieving a score of 400. I came away with a score of 394, with no long term injuries, and I have every intention of coming back again another year.
Please pass along my gratitude to all of the instructors as well. They did a great job of sharing some of the “fun” things SEALS do. I thought the instructors were all especially good in their teachings. Additionally, your stories of the gear malfunction while diving, the combat mindset, and the “bleeding from any orifice” will stay with me for a long time. It is extremely motivating and gratifying to be around such accomplished and extraordinary individuals. Finally, I thought that by far the most inspirational part of the SAC was watching Aaron go through all of the drills right alongside the rest of us. It goes without saying that he is truly an outstanding individual. I am glad you allowed him to compete. Thank you once again for the great SEAL Adventure Challenge. HOOYAH! – EK

It was memorable. We have had several people inquire about the SAC event, so maybe we can send some of them your way for the next one.You guys did a great job. Very professional. I appreciate your quick responses to my inquiries. – Tim Lee

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… man you were right, my body stiffened up like no other. called in to work sick on monday..haha went to work tuesday, and a few co-workers said “you look like shit.” I can’t thank you enough for last week, it was perfect. it definitely broke my body down, another plus. could barely raise my left arm to turn off the air in the plane. Last week taught me that I am not ready for BUD/S physically just yet. there’s a lot of work to be done, especially in the pool. Thanks for everything, also your adventure racing book will definitely come in handy. I feel like going for a hike now..haha…that’s never happened before. it feels like last week never happened, all of it was an awesome dream….a big blur as you would say. Thanks again! – Anoymous

The SCOI was like an awesome dream when I look back on it. More like a blur, the way Don would put it. Walking into the woods on thorny bushes and branches while carrying a log barefoot, getting stuck knee deep in marsh, puking my guts out while on a nice sandy beach run, or drinking Gatorade concentrate made it almost unbearable, but being part of a team made all the difference. I’ve never slept so little in a week in my entire life.

A blister had developed around the right heel that later popped on Wednesday and almost kept me away from finishing the week with the SAC. Many big thanks goes out to Don that said “You could either go through the SAC, or not quit.” or somewhere along those lines. Glad he didn’t give me much choice. As I was getting the blister patched up by the Doc, an instructor walked by and said “Suck it up, Will.” All I could say was “Yes, Instructor.” Since the Instructor is a Navy SEAL, it meant a lot to me and it stayed with me through the SAC. My left knee got hurt close to the end of the event and could barely walk, but my teammates carried me through. It’s a great feeling to be around people you can trust and won’t leave you behind. Overall, it was the best week/dream ever. – Will

There is truly a difference between being strong and strong willed. There is truly a difference in dreaming and desiring, wanting and believing. To all that have completed, to all that have endured what at sometimes seems like insurmountable tasks; to all that blocked the pain and took one more step, did one more push-up, yelled at the top of your lungs for that last bit of strength, did one last lap in the pool and forget how cold, hungry and tired you were – salvation, gratification is yours. Many ask why I would do this; my response is, SEALs were always in my plans until I got injured. It was never going to happen because I can’t walk; but thanks to Don Mann, Dawn Taylor-Mann, all the other SEAL Instructors, my swim buddy Eddie, my best friend Shawn, Boat Crew four (4) and all the other boat crews, I pushed, I crawled, I cussed and puked my way through 24 hours of what I call “hellish fun.” 24 hours, that is the challenge. To give all that you have, is all you can do; but to give more than what you think you have – well, that’s whats expected. Remember, “Your pain is their pleasure. – Aaron J. Cross, AKA: Gimp, SAC Class 10

Thanks for the terrific support ! We could not have done w/o you and ‘your team’ ! You were the ‘critical mass’. No doubt this was the best training done in past three years and met all the req’ts of the changing course req’ts. I’m told the cadets were superb and hopefully, some will migrate to being a USN/SEAL. Those that make it, will have you/your team to thank for this. In the meantime, you have left a permanent memory on a lot of future leaders/citizens and what it means to be a SEAL. We are indebted to you to keeping the program moving along. Best to you and your team. Thank you/MDF. – Anoymous

Hooyah sir you are the f***ing Planning Master thanks for taking time to make the album…Means alot because we all got alot of memories from mini B.U.D/s and just plain alot from it mentally and physically so thank u for that and i did join the Marine Corps i know u prolly didn’t like that but thanks to the seals instructors and WO Mann and u i got a perfect prt score and a mental mind set that gives me a i can do anything never quit attitude. – 025 Po3 Castle (usnscc seal)

After the SAC, everything is easy in the straight world after learning a little about overcoming any obstacle and that anything can be done. – Will B., North Carolina Department of Commerce

I can’t imagine a better group of people to run, paddle, swim, drop, drownproof, recon, zodiac boat lunge, sugar cookie, submerge in mud, sweat, struggle, overcome and _survive_ with, or a better group of instructors to train us and challenge us to become stronger. – Michael Subelsky

[The Seal Adventure Challenge] brought back flashbacks (of my SEAL training) and I’m sure it has changed the participants lives forever. Don Mann is doing incredible things and I wish you my best and hope for continued success. – a former SEAL

From the bottom of my heart I thank you all. Mike has grown as a man, a naval officer and a prospective SEAL due to his association with all of you. – Barry 

I not only learned more about myself, but came away with a tremendous appreciation for the strength and dedication of our Navy Seals. – Tim Crowley

A few words here about the instructors. Okay, how about one word: remarkable. They knew just how to push the right buttons and motivate us. I’ve done marathons and one ultra, but was surprised and pleased by how much I was able to achieve in a group situation by sucking up the pain — both individual and collective. – a SEAL

A kid asked me when i got back from camp, Jason do you think that that camp made you tougher? I thought to myself and said to him, That camp didn’t make me tougher, it just made me realize how tough I can possibly be. – Jason Dews (SEAL Training Academy)

For the rest of my life, when I find myself in a difficult position, I will look back on that week and know that I’m stronger, capable of doing much more than I think, and to never ever quit. – Jim Bodah

This was, aside from the birth of my children, the most profound event of my life!! – John Reznikoff (SEAL Training Academy)

Participating in the Seal Challenge was a life changing experience. I thought I knew about pushing myself past exhaustion but I was not even close. At the Seal Challenge I was motivated by some of the best instructors to learn that my mind is where my strength is not my body. I have taken what I learned from the Seal Challenge and have applied it to my professional life and my personal life. There is not a day that I do not use something that I learned from the Seal Challenge. I also encouraged my son to participate in the Seal Challenge before he stared collage. I know it made a difference in the way he adjusted to his new collage life. He has excellent grades and received a full scholarship to run cross country. – J. Wright, Seal Challenge Class 7 and 8

It surpassed my expectations – a first class event! – Anoymous

I have finished several ultra-marathons and really nasty mountain trail races, but none compare to the 24-hour SEAL challenge. While I already had immense respect for the SEALS, it has now reached a new level. – Rob Kloss

Although the 24 hours were more difficult than anything I had ever done, it was great to see all my teammate’s faces at graduation in the morning. I am looking forward to next years challenge. – Mike

I have come away with a deeper understanding of myself and a more profound level of respect for the SEAL community. – Larry E. Eno

The SAC certainly tested my inner being. Again, this challenge has brought me to a whole new level in my life. – George D. Slack III

One point of fact: QM3 J.P.Woolard graduated from BUD/S Class 231 on 27 OCT & will be heading east next spring to Team 8 after Jump School & SQT. I’m certain that the SEAL Adventure Challenge he did last year helped him out. – Rick Woolard, Ret. Navy SEAL and former Commanding Officer of SEAL Teams Two and Six

I’ve always had the utmost admiration for the Navy SEALs and secretly wondered if I had what it takes to become a member of the elite fraternity. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and confirmed in my mind that if I met the age requirements, I’d be able to withstand the rigors of BUD/S. – Ed 

I wanted to thank you personally for the most miserable physical 24 hours I have spent in my life. I loved every minute of it. It is not very often in life that we get to push ourselves beyond our pre-conceived, puny perceptions. Thanks again for the time and effort put into such an outstanding event. – Mark D. Mueller

It was just the type of event that I needed to get my focus back on the important things in life. The SEAL Challenge reminded me again of the lengths that we can go to to help each other and how much we can all achieve both individually and with the help of others. Hoo-YA! – Michael Piet 

I just wanted to thank you again for taking the time to help put together the SAC. It was by far one of the greatest experiences I have had. The instructor cadre was by far some of the greatest people I have met. To say Gentlemen such as Don Mann, and all of the volunteers were a pleasure just doesn’t do justice to how proud I felt after graduating from Class 07. – Bill 

Man, the SAC was the best thing I ever did! I’m a new man! – Joe Vanos

Thanks again for an outstanding 24 hours. I could run on but, I’ll leave it at outstanding. – Don Garvey

I would like to thank you for helping me be successful in my life and career. Since I completed my first SAC I have accomplished many things but most important I learned that I am capable of much more because you taught me that you can do anything if you work hard enough at it. I have a busy year ahead of me including the 4th year of the Junior Police Academy program, life guard instructor and I started collage this week. My Chief is leaving no later than January 2006 so I will be the officer in charge. I may again need some advise in the future. So far I think the other officers respect me but I am sure I will be put to the test eventually. – Lieutenant Jan Wright

I just wanted to thank you again for every thing you did for us, everything you did for me while you were in service. I guess I should really be saying thank you for that and the things you are doing now. Your story continues to be an inspiration for me. You confirmed my theory that the body will go as far as the mind will take it. You were kind enough to share yourself with us down in Austin, TX last fall and I appreciate that. I haven’t bonked recently, but I know I have come close many times in the past. Again, thank you for everything. Too many Americans take our way of living for granted. I don’t believe that it is necessarily a right but a privilege. A privilege that you and those like you provide for all of us. – Charles

Don: Happy Holidays. You probably don’t know this, but ever since you hooked me up with Anna’s team in Virginia, Anna and i have stayed in touch. She gave me your email address. I have skied with her in Colorado, bumped into her at the Jay marathon in Vermont. Anyways, I want to express to you my appreciation for what you did for me, vis a vis, adventure racing. You never demeaned me or made me feel like a fool, even though I was. I learned that I needed one on one training, not academies. as a result, although my skills are mediocre, I really like adv racing. I have made friends all over the country. I have overcome my fear of heights and feel comfortable on the ropes, I feel comfortable in class 3 or 4 water. I am slow, but I can persevere for a little while. Unfortunately, I can’t navigate very well. The bottom line, as a 63 year old, I can do things not many others can, I am willing to try different things and learn. If you had treated me as an idiot, I probably would have never gone forward. so, I appreciate that. I won’t bore you any more, I hope you and your wife have a great 2007. Again, thanks for making my life a better experience. – Richard C.

HOOYAH!! Thanks for the inspiration and motivation, I wouldn’t have got this far without you. – Walter

Mr. Mann, Thank you for all that you do to support us. I am in the army and have been in Iraq for three years. Two of my sons have been here also and I one more just going to boot camp. I was in Desert Storm and I can see the difference from the way people treat us. It is to bad that 9/11 had to happen for them to change. I am a 88M (truch driver). The first two years I drove HETs and 915s. Now I am running gun trucks. Things on the road seem to be getting worse. We need to be turned loose and let us doour jobs. Again, thank you for your support and all the help you bring to fellow soldiers. – SSG William Tietjens, 7th TRN BN 308th TC

Teamwork and leadership are invaluable and so were the lessons I received in 2004 at the SEAL Adventure Challenge. I would like to thank Don Mann, (Ret) Navy SEAL Chief Warrant Officer for those lessons that have improved my life. Although I am not a member of the NSW Community, the opportunity to learn from them has instilled the fact that anything can be accompished through Teamwork. – Will

Mr. Mann, I wanted to personally thank you for the great experience I had at the SAC. As an officer candidate, I can’t think of a better learning environment for myself than having participated. I’ll be sure to encourage others in my ROTC unit to look into future events Thank you very much for your help and again for the great weekend. – Anoymous 

You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you! I was in your amazing SAC class 13 last year, and although I wanted to attend this year, I was unable due to work obligations. It was an honor to have trained with you, and I still count the SAC among one of the best experiences of my life, and I hope to attend the SOF Academy one day soon!

The reason I am writing is two-fold. First off, I wanted to thank you for your professionalism and for a fantastic SAC. – Niki A. (SAC 13, May 2007)

I think the SEAL Challenge was a great opportunity to experience a day in the life of a SEAL in training; it’s not an opportunity that comes along everyday for everyone. I want to say thank you to all of the instructors – it’s obvious to me that they’re passionate about what they do and only through their strong guidance were we able to stay motivated to complete the tasks before us. During my time there I learned that it requires a positive attitude, the appropriate physical conditioning, and some nerve to complete just one day of this intense military training. The SEAL Challenge was a great adventure; very professional and expertly organized – HOO-YAH! – Guerrino Marcolin (aka G-man) (Italy)

 The Seal adventure challenge changed my whole outlook on perseverance. The SAC made me push myself past my breaking point and I worked the hardest I had ever worked in my life for those grueling 24 hours. I recommend anyone with a strong mind and a trained body to try the Seal Adventure Challenge. It is a great way to strengthen your mind and your body. I peaked on my physical abilities and my mind sharpened as the day went on. The SAC will teach you the finest fundamentals of leadership and teamwork. I am only 16 and the SAC has given me the will to want to be a Navy Seal even more. – Ricky Bowers

Words can only begin to describe what a great experience the SEAL Adventure Challenge was. From the moment that the day began until the very end; I felt that I was pushed both mentally and physically further than I had before, and on more than one occasion questioned myself whether I could make it or not. I soon found out that with the proper motivation I could do just about anything. Over the course of the 24 hours I learned many valuable lessons, some that will stick out in my mind more than others: “It pays to win.” Strength is no substitute for endurance. And when you can’t do one more push up or flutter kick, it’s really hard to blend in with your boat crew and hide from the Instructor’s eye. But most importantly, I learned that I can push my body and mind past what I think my limits are.
I left the SEAL Adventure Challenge with an incredible feeling of accomplishment and a feeling that I can do just about anything. The only regret I have is that I did not find out about the S.A.C. sooner. I am very grateful to have been able to participate in the event and learn as much as I did. The Instructors & staff were great teachers and excellent motivators, and I consider myself lucky to have been able to spend 24 hours with them absorbing some of the knowledge that they were able to share. I just want to say thank you for such an incredible experience. – Andrew Chase (aka Super Star)

24 hours, that is the challenge. To give all that you have, is all you can do; but to give more than what you think you have – well, thats whats expected. You two, all the other instructors and Eddie have made a tremendous change in me – for the better. I sleep better at night knowing that I got the chance to live out something so dear to me. Remember, ‘Your pain is their pleasure.’ – Aaron J. Cross

Many ask why I would do this; my response is, SEALs were always in my plans until I got injured. It was never going to happen because I can’t walk; but thanks to Don Mann, Dawn Taylor-Mann, all the other SEAL Instructors, my swim buddy Eddie, my best friend Shawn, Boat Crew four (4) and all the other boat crews, I pushed, I crawled, I cussed and puked my way through 24 hours of what I call ‘hellish fun.’ – Anoymous

There is truly a difference between being strong and strong willed. There is truly a difference in dreaming and desiring, wanting and believing. To all that have completed, to all that have endured what at sometimes seems like insurmountable tasks; to all that blocked the pain and took one more step, did one more push-up, yelled at the top of your lungs for that last bit of strength, did one last lap in the pool and forget how cold, hungry and tired you were – salvation, gratification is yours. – Anoymous

The SCOI was like an awesome dream when I look back on it. Walking into the woods on thorny bushes and branches while carrying a log barefoot, getting stuck knee deep in marsh, or puking my guts out while on a nice sandy beach run made it almost unbearable, but being part of a team made all the difference. I’ve never slept so little in a week in my entire life. A blister had developed around the right heel that later popped on Wednesday and almost kept me away from finishing the week with the SAC. Many big thanks goes out to Don that said “You could either go through the SAC, or not quit.” Glad he didn’t give me much choice. As I was getting the blister patched up by the Doc, an instructor walked by and said “Suck it up, Will.” All I could say was “Yes, Instructor.” Since the Instructor is a Navy SEAL, it meant a lot to me and it stayed with me through the SAC. My teammates carried me through. It’s a great feeling to be around people you can trust and won’t leave you behind. Overall, it was the best week/dream ever. – Will Chein

Thanks for a great experience! Initially I was intimidated. When I arrived so many others looked like Rambo. Fortunately, your Emails helped me prepare for the event. If I can make a car analogy……. I came to SAC hoping to push both body and mind to the limit. The instructors got me to pull more than the “manufacturer’s” maximum towing capacity, spend hours with my tachometer in the red zone , get 50 MPG and keep driving my gas gauge on empty and two flat “tires”. I’ll definitely be back again. Thanks again. – Mark Ross

I just wanted to say thank you for inspiring me. In 2004 class 8 and 2005 class 10 I went to the SEAL Adventure Challenge. I was 16 then 23 now. At the time that’s all I wanted is to become a Navy SEAL. Unfortunately I was unable to qualify because of my eyesight. But I recently received an honorable discharge from the Marines. And proudly severed in two deployments to Afghanistan as a team leader in the infantry with 1/6. To this day I can say that SEAL Adventure challenge was one of the most mentally and physically demanding things I have ever done. I learned so much there and a lot about myself. I believe the Challenge gave me an advantage and is a part of how I got to be the person I am today. I just wanted to thank you so much for everything and best wishes for everything in the future. – Daniel P.

First, I’d like to express my deepest appreciation for your years of service and what it has meant to this great country. If I knew my service meant a fraction of what yours has, I could die knowing my life was fulfilled. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

I served in the U.S. Navy from 1991-1993 on a 2yr active duty program. I wanted nothing more to be a SEAL. My group home counselor told me stories of the SEALs in Vietnam. I knew from a young age I had to become a SEAL. I was told to tell my company commander I wanted to go SEAL, however, once it was discovered I was color blind, my hopes of being a SEAL were destroyed. I’m sure you’ve heard my story a thousand times, but I cannot shake this insatiable desire to prove that I have what it takes to have completed BUDS.

I know there is no hope of me ever serving as a SEAL, but I can’t tell you how much my life will not be complete if I’m not able to die knowing for sure I could have made it through BUDS. I need an honest assessment from someone who has lived and bled being a U.S.Navy SEAL.

If you have any plans to resume the SEALs Academy, please let me know. – Joseph C.

Hello Don, You probably dont remember me, I served in sbu-26 with you in Panama. I couldn’t swim and you tossed in me in water and when I got out too quickly you gave me a “come to jesus” kinda talk. I just wanted to thank you for pushing me the way you did. If ever I feel like taking it easy on myself I think of your example and the things you used to say. It’s made a big difference in my life. Thank You. – Henry J. aka Stealthman