News: Naval Special Warfare celebrates 41st Annual UDT-SEAL East Coast Reunion
By Petty Officer 2nd Class Trevor Andersen
JOINT EXPEDITIONARY BASE LITTLE CREEK, Va. –– The Naval Special Warfare community held its 41st annual East Coast Underwater Demolition Team/ SEAL reunion here, July 16-18.
The event reunites active and retired Navy SEALs for a weekend focused on NSW history, heritage and family support.
“It keeps the team spirit going,” said retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Bill Furguson. “I consider these guys to be my brothers.”
The annual reunion started in 1969 and has expanded into a weekend of events, contests and a SEAL capabilities exercise.
“The original ones were smaller,” said Bobby Cox, executive director of the UDT/SEAL Association and reunion chairman for the past five years. “They were done at the Chiefs’ Club picnic area and other spots on base. The reunion continued to morph as membership grew,” he said.
“We had about 100 volunteers this year,” said Cox. “These guys are here year-in-year-out. We couldn’t do it without them,” he said.
This year’s reunion began with a golf tournament and a skeet shoot competition, followed by a tennis tournament. Competitive sports are a mainstay at the reunions because they reinforce the mentality of working together towards a common goal common throughout the many generations of the community.
The crowning event of the weekend was the capabilities demonstration, which showcased UDT/SEAL tactics and equipment, while providing a brief history of their origins.
Six thousand active duty and retired SEALs, along with their friends and families, gathered at “E” beach where the Leap Frogs kicked things off by landing with a wreath and an American flag as the national anthem played.
“It’s amazing to see what this community has become since I was around,” said William Dawson, 85-year-old Naval Combat Demolition Unit Two veteran and member of NCDU class one. “I’m very proud to be part of this outfit,” he said. “I sometimes wonder; if I were still young, could I do what these guys do? I bet I could.”
The weekend celebration ended with events including several races, a swimming competition and an evening picnic.
For more information on Naval Special Warfare Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/nswgtwo/. To volunteer for a UDT/SEAL reunion on either the East or West coast, visit www.utdseal.org.