Saturday, January 7, 2012

Honors, Lineage, and Titles

American Mercenary
Verbatim Post

On facebook debate is raging about whether or not Jesse Ventura is a SEAL based on the report of a SEAL Sniper punching Jesse Ventura in the face. It is an honest question, one that any Reference Librarian can look into the history books and say, "No, he was not a SEAL, he wore the UDT Badge and was assigned to UDT 12, clearly he was not a SEAL." However he was assigned to SEAL Team One as a Reservist for two years, 1973 to 1975. Kinda like being a Special Forces Operator in the National Guard, you wear the same tab as the active guys, but get less respect.

In the Army we have the same debate over "who is a Ranger" quite often, but let us look at some history. The 5307th Provisional unit fought its way through Southeast Asia without ever using the term "Ranger", but that unit affectionately called "Merrill's Marauders" became the parent of the current 75th Ranger Regiment. But in 1945 if you asked a Marauder if he was a "Ranger" he might have looked at you funny and asked, "What's a Ranger?"'s_Marauders

Conversely, on the other side of the planet, the 29th Provisional Ranger Battalion was training with British Commandos, the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions were prepping for Operation Overlord. So Which one of these units was a real "Ranger?" It is a good question. It gets even fuzzier when you look at when the Airborne Ranger companies popped up in the Korean War. Still to this day if you earned the Ranger Tab you are a "Ranger" or if you served with a Ranger unit you are a Ranger (even if you didn't earn the tab).

Now the UDT/SEAL story is similar. In 1975 the US Navy declared the UDT Badge "obsolete" and all UDT Badge holders needed to apply for the Naval Special Warfar (SEAL) badge instead. So the question is, is Jesse Ventura a SEAL?

The answer is, he earned the right to wear a SEAL badge, whether he ever put in the paperwork to change badges is another matter considering it wasn't until the year he left the navy that his UDT Badge became obsolete. The same way a Marauder might not have known what a Ranger tab looked like in 1944, but when the 75th Regiment was formed the Marauders were retroactively authorized the Ranger Tab. So to a Marauder who was enjoying civilian life in the 1970's when the Regiment stood up, what would the retroactive award of a Ranger tab mean? It means he is a Ranger. The same way that Jesse Ventura is a SEAL.

Bottom line is that anyone accusing Jesse Ventura about "lieing about being a SEAL" is either uninformed or simply trying to split hairs to sling mud at Jesse Ventura. This is a non-issue as there are plenty of other aspects of Mr. Ventura's colorful life to take umbrage against, but the whole UDT/SEAL distinction is non-existant the same way a Marauder is a Ranger.

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