One of the good things that came out of the pirate hostage-drama off the coast of Somalia is that it served as an inspiration to quite a number of people to either provide support for the Navy SEALs and their families – or to join the elite special forces team themselves.
Seeing the drama and watching it unfold online or on CNN sure beats tales told during SEAL Fitness Challenges and recruitment gigs. Simply hearing stories, though not in any way less valid, leaves a lot of things to speculation and to the imagination. In contrast, the rescue of Capt. Phillips was actually something that, in one way or another, some people actually got to live through.
For an 18-year-old who has dreamed of joining the SEALs, the story of the SEALs’ Easter rescue will be more than enough to seal the deal and prompt him to take the necessary steps towards actually becoming one. Such was the case for a senior in Croatan High School in Newport, North Carolina.
JD Jackson, a member of the Croatan High School Cougars Baseball Team, recently signed a contract to start SEAL training in August this year. Jackson chose taking a shot at being a SEAL over offers of baseball scholarships from some colleges, and has his sights set on eventually becoming a SEAL sniper – in fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Before Capt. Phillips and Maersk Alabama and Somalia, this is what he wanted to become; the SEALs bravery only served to deepen his resolve.
The 18-year-old signed a six-year contract with the Navy, with the opportunity to receive a $40,000 signing bonus once he completes his SEAL training. August will mark the beginning of an eight-week ordeal for Jackson – a regimen so intense that only 20% of hopefuls normally make it through.
JD’s father has complete faith, though, that his son will make it. So does JD himself. Hopefully, this is a scene that is being played in towns all across the country. After all, the SEALs need all the able recruits it can get.