Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Seal 6 Situation: Chuck Pfarrer...
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Seal 6 Situation: Chuck Pfarrer weighs in on the bin Laden mission

Rick Coates - May 16th, 2011
Seal 6 Situation: Chuck Pfarrer weighs in on the bin Laden mission
By Rick Coates
Judging by a confusing barrage of news reports over the last two weeks,
exactly what happened during the 40-minute mission carried out by an elite
team of Navy SEALs that ultimately resulted in the death of Osama bin
Laden may never be known.
Conflicting reports of the operation’s details began leaking just after
President Barrack Obama announced bin Laden’s demise on the evening of May
1. But for SEALs Team 6, the details are not important.It is all about
“mission accomplished.” 
Former Navy SEAL and now best-selling author, screenwriter and Bellaire
resident, Chuck Pfarrer, knows the inner workings of the SEALs. He was one
of the first members of the elite unit known as Team 6 and was even its
leader during his tenure that began 25 years ago. Pfarrer, in addition to
writing several books (“Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy SEAL” and
“Killing Che”) and screenplays (“Navy SEALs,” “The Jackyl,” “Darkman”)
also currently serves as a consultant and trainer to companies contracted
to work with the Navy SEALs and has somewhat of a different perspective
about releasing the details of the mission.

MUM’S THE WORD
“Since I am not a politician I am free to speak my mind and I will start
by saying, had I been in charge of this operation, I would not have made a
public statement at all,” Pfarrer says. “Look, 99% of the operations of
the SEALs are never released, so why this one? I understand the public’s
interest in this but this is just another mission for the unit. I guess if
this publicity accomplishes one thing it tells the people of the world
that we (SEALs Team 6) are capable of going anywhere in world at any time
undetected, so dictators should beware.”
Pfarrer said he is not surprised that politicians, the media and the
public are confused over exactly what took place.
“SEAL teams work outside the typical military protocol; details of
missions are not discussed publicly before or after they take place. So
this is uncharted waters (discussing details of a mission), so details are
going to conflict because people sharing the information were not part of
the mission directly.”
Pfarrer takes it a step further.
“When this mission was put together this SEAL team went into isolation;
they had no contact with their family and the outside world for several
months. This is typical protocol for all missions. The training for these
types of missions is very intense. They started training several months
ago and went through at least two complete dry runs from top to bottom at
a replica compound probably somewhere in Afghanistan,” said Pfarrer.
“Look, this is the most elite fighting unit in the world and while every
possible scenario is reviewed and discussed, here is how works once you
arrive at your destination. Once the first bullet is fired it becomes
somewhat of a chaotic situation and plans have to be adjusted based on
what is presented. The bottom line is to accomplish the mission,
essentially at any cost. So typically the details of the mission after the
fact are not discussed.”

SEAL TRAINING
Pfarrer points out that despite obstacles the SEAL team was able to
successfully complete the mission.
“The mission was to take out bin Laden, get his body and collect and
gather up all the data possible. They accomplished this in 40 minutes
despite losing one helicopter and not knowing exactly what they might
encounter,” he said.
“It takes at least two years of training to become a SEAL. Typically half
of those who try don’t cut the physical requirements, but then 75% of
those who do don’t cut the academic requirements. SEALs are well read and
there is a tremendous amount of bookwork required. The required reading
list is extensive and includes the Qur’ān.”
While the American public and the world is fascinated by the operation
that resulted in the death of bin Laden, for the SEALs this was just
another mission.
“I know this might be difficult to understand but SEALs look at every
mission in the same way; each one is important and has a purpose,” said
Pfarrer. “So while I understand the enthusiasm the American people have
with this, it really is irrelevant to the SEAL team. This is their job,
and while Tom Cruise gets on his motorcycle and rides off into the sunset,
these guys have already moved on to their next job. Some of them might
have went out the next night on their next mission. Look, the typical SEAL
will participate in over 500 special ops during his tenure. We don’t get
caught up into politics or placing one operation as more valuable versus
another.”

ON THE LINE
But these missions are often politically motivated.
“As SEALs we understand that, but we remove ourselves from the politics. I
am sure every current and former SEAL had a big smirk on their face when
they saw the photo of the ‘situation room’ with the President and other
high ranking officials watching as the mission unfolded,” said Pfarrer.
“Here is the difference; for everyone in that picture -- their political
career was on the line -- while for each SEAL their life was on the line.
The bottom line is everyone in that picture has never spent one night
outside in their life. For those people in the situation room we are just
a video game.”
Pfarrer knows the language might be harsh and he means no disrespect to
the President or the military; he says it is the reality of the situation.
“To put it bluntly we do not do this job for the people in that room -- we
do it to serve our country. You sacrifice a lot when you serve in the
military and your family sacrifices right along with you. So I chuckle
when I look at that picture because not one person in that photo is
concerned about the individuals carrying out the mission; their only
concern is with poll numbers. We know that it is just the reality of the
situation.”
So exactly what was the President and others observing in the “situation
room?”
“They were not tuned into the radio frequency so they were not hearing the
audio, but they more than likely had aerial images of the mission and that
is what they were watching,” said Pfarrer. “They also would get updates
from the commanding general who is in contact with the command center.”

NO SHOW
Pfarrer agrees with the administration’s decision not to release the photo.
“It would just inflame the situation. I know that this is somewhat of a
celebratory thing that bin Laden is dead, but I am not sure that type of
information needed to be released. SEAL units operate in secrecy and the
less information provided to the public the better. Typically these units
go in, complete the mission, and nothing is said and the local government
is left wondering who was here and exactly what happened. Remember, we do
not do local work -- SEAL units work overseas. I am sure these team
members were told the name of their target but typically that information
is irrelevant to the mission.”
As far as secrecy goes it is a trait that comes naturally for SEALs.
“It really is easy for us. There are no second chances. If you share
information you are out. In our line of work the smallest error could
result in the end of your life,” said Pfarrer. “The difficulty is really
with family and friends, they have the harder time with all of the
secrecy.”
Today, training and developing SEAL units requires the assistance of
private contractors and Pfarrer serves in that capacity.
“There are so many operations going on around the world and with these
units essentially working outside of the typical military it is necessary
that private contractors be involved in training,” said Pfarrer. “Every
retired SEAL I know is working in this capacity. We feel an obligation.”
When not consulting or training Pfarrer continues to write books and
screenplays. His current screenplay “A Man Without A Country” has not
found a taker so Pfarrer has converted it into a novel that will be
published later this year.
He also has been fighting an ongoing battle with cancer that he and his
oncologist have been winning. Pfarrer moved to Bellaire 10 years ago and
still travels the world on various assignments, including making numerous
media appearances over the past two weeks. He is also very excited about
how technology is changing the world’s political landscape.
“When I was a SEAL it was MTV that helped to bring down the Soviet
Empire,” said Pfarrer. “Now it is Twitter that is bringing down the rest
of the dictatorships in the world.”
 
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