I picked up this book because some article regarding the release of Acts of Valor mentioned that Marcinko started SEAL Team Six. I remember buying this book and one of its fictional follow-ups at a book fair, so into it I went.
The book covers Marcinko’s career from his early postings in the Navy to joining the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) (the Frogmen), his joining the SEALs before Vietnam and serving in Vietnam as a SEAL through his middle management career and the eventual founding of SEAL Team Six and then Red Cell, an internal infiltration testing squad.
The book is self-aggrandizing, probably, as Marcinko settles scores from prison, where he was sent for a rather tepid charge of conspiracy to defraud the government. He tells readers exactly what he thinks about some officers and how he warned them about the Iranian Desert One debacle, the embassy vulnerability in Beirut, and the invasion of Grenada. The very end might be a semi-fictional lead into the fictional books in the Red Cell series (which continue to this day, so he’s having some success with them). So one has to take the history here with a grain of salt.
But it’s a pretty good read as a grunt’s view of Vietnam and the military. The first portion of the book deals with incidents and missions in Vietnam and Cambodia and paces as well as any fiction. The middle of the book deals, as I mentioned, with him working up the chain of command, so the reading drags. Towards the end, though, he trains with his troops and they perform missions, so it picks up again.
I enjoyed the book a bunch and will probably incorporate at least one of his repeated sayings (“Doom on you”) into my own argot. But the language is salty, the main character is a bit of a scoundrel, and it might offend the tender sensibilities of some of my readers. Ha! Just kidding. If you’re reading this, you have no sensibility.
Books mentioned in this review: