Special Operations: August 22, 2005


The oldest U.S. Navy SEAL on active duty, 60 year old Captain William "Wild Bill" Wildrick, has retired after 39 years of service. Wildrick joined the navy in 1966, and became a SEAL in 1968, served in Vietnam and as a SEAL instructor. He spent five years on active duty, then went into the reserves for 24 years. In 1996, in returned to active duty with SOCOM. He played a major role in upgrading the treatment, and capabilities of the reserve SEALs. Wildrick, as deputy commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command on September 11, 2001, was in charge because his boss was away. So Wildrick got the first SEAL units headed for Afghanistan, where they have been active ever since. As Wildricks career demonstrates, the military has been depending more and more on its reserve officers for Special Operations, even before the war on terror began. This will continue, as many talented commandoes leave active service for better paying jobs. Often, these men can be recruited into the reserves, and thus be available when there is a major national emergency.


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