The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
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With a postscript describing SEAL efforts in Afghanistan, The Warrior Elite takes you into the toughest, longest, and most relentless military
training in the world.

What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? What makes talented, intelligent young men volunteer for physical punishment, cold water, and days without sleep? In The Warrior Elite, former Navy SEAL Dick Couch documents the process that transforms young men into warriors. SEAL training is the distillation of the human spirit, a tradition-bound ordeal that seeks to find men with character, courage, and the burning desire to win at all costs, men who would rather die than quit.

Customer Reviews:

  • "The Warrior Elite"
    I purchased this book for my husband who is presently reading it. Therefore, no review will be submitted....more info
  • Warrior Elite review
    In light of the subject matter, the book is a little tedious in its detail, though the detail is necessary to convey the extreme nature of the training. Seeing what these young men endure can be exhausting, but it's a very well written account of BUD/S training.

    I'd recommend it to others who want an intimate look at the training program of Navy SEALs....more info
  • One of the most inspiring books ever!
    The story of Class 228 was such a drive for me that it made me want to do push ups while I was reading. Couch's telling of this journey is a must read for anyone in military or para-military style jobs. It's a must read for anyone who understands the need for putting your head down and driving through adversity for success....more info
  • Interesting and Inspiring
    I've read a couple of books on SEALs, but this book blasts most of 'em out of the water. Couch follows the class from First Phase to graduation. He identifies specific personalities, giving quite a human connection to the men involved.

    This is a fascinating account; Couch captures the details ("I'll never eat another Snickers bar") as well as the broader elements of training.

    Really, this book, the men, and the experiences in it are incredibly inspiring. The ideas that you can push yourself further than ever thought possible, that you can do more, that it is possible to never ever give up, the sense of absolute dedication, taking things one day, one hour at a time are amazing. They come through here in a way they haven't in devotional books I've read; here they are real.

    I came away from this book having learned more than just about BUD/S and SEAL training (which are interesting enough to read about by themselves). It's definitely, absolutely, worth a read, and worth a buy....more info
  • Outstanding!!!
    I thought that I knew alot about the Navy SEALS and their training, but boy was I wrong. Dick Couch did a great job at taking us from day one at Indoc of 114 gung-ho soldiers, down to the last remaining 20 that actually made it through and were secured by the BUD/S staff. This was a quick read, mostly because i refused to put it down. I felt like I was in there with the soldiers, sweating and painfully progressing through grinder PT, the O-course, Hellweek, tests, and evolutions. If you are even remotely thinking of trying out for SEAL training, than this is definately required reading. Although, even if your not, its still a great book if your interested in reading about what some of our elite soldiers must go through everyday just to call themselves "elite". Hollywood has it all wrong, and you'll quickly see that after just reading a few chapters. This will definately be remembered as one of my favorite books. Great work!...more info
  • The Best of the Best
    Captain Couch has written the most poignant account about what it takes to become the best of the best, a US Navy SEAL. I won't rehash what others have so eloquently said here their reviews.

    All I will add is that if you want motivation, read this book. Forget all those phony motavational speakers and the books they hawk, this book truely motivates ones spirit to adapt, overcome and work as a team....more info

  • Best book I ever read
    I have to say that this is one of the best books I ever read. This book is about the hardships SEALs go through at BUS/S training. I was amazed at what these men went through during their training. The book talks about the members of Class 228 and their physical and mental struggle through. Many of the members did not make it through BUS/S and many quit before first phase even started....more info
  • HOOYAH Mister Couch
    I have trained for triathlons, run half marathons and a full marathon, worked the graveyard (truck) loading dock till I almost dropped, worked labor jobs 22 hours straight, done nighttime scuba in the cold Atlantic ocean and done overnight ER call rotation with general surgeons. I am still amazed at the courage and fortitude of the young BUD/S trainees.

    This is a well written book and I have already recommended it to a high school student who has a burning desire to be a Navy Seal. What a great way to find out what it takes to make it through BUD/S (Seal) training. It is written by someone who has been there and done that, Mister Dick Couch. Three rings to all who had the right stuff....more info

  • Without joining the Navy, this is the CLOSEST ....
    Without joining the Navy, this is the CLOSEST feeling one will ever have about being in a BUD/S Class (a course of instruction that lasts six months for a prospective SEAL - a secretive naval commando force of the US Navy).

    After reading Captain Couch's book, you will deeply appreciate the SEALs and all special operations forces in general.

    You will also understand why most people consider SEAL training to be the most grueling in the world....more info

  • The definitive book on BUD/S
    As a SEAL hopeful I purchased this book when it was first released. I was pleasantly surprised. This is the most detailed and current book ever written about BUD/S. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

    I'd also like to add that the 'lack of detail' regarding Phases 2 and 3 is because some of the things in Dive Phase are classified, and most things in Third Phase are classified. Details about IADs should not be expanded upon due to a potential violation of OPSEC. The security and safety of our boys on the ground should be of primary concern, with the public's entertainment somewhere far behind....more info

  • Good book but light in places
    First, I liked this book. The details of BUD/S training rigor and effort is unique among books on this subject. I am interested in SEALs because of their desire to win, their attention to detail, and their ability to do the unexpected and seemingly impossible. Overall, this books is much better than 95% of books about SEALs.

    While the books provides great detail on Phases 1, 2 (including Hell Week), and 3, the chapters on Phase 4 and "Beyond the Basics" seemed to have been written in a weekend. As I got to this part in the book, I felt let-down based on the excellent coverage in the first part of the book. The material repeats itself in several places, especially towards the end. However, some topics (e.g., IAD) should have been expanded upon.

    It's easy to stand on the sidelines and critique while the man in the arena writes the book. However, I believe that the book lacked a consistent level of detail. So, I am giving it four stars....more info

  • Authoritative
    It's rare and valuable to have mature writing ability blended with a career's worth of inside knowledge. Captain Couch has been there at every level with the Navy SEALS, so his detailed account of the current BUD/S training rings with authenticity. The tale is fascinating and inspiring....more info
  • Brian Tinley Pk, Il.
    The book grabbed me. Well informed book wrote by a man that has been there done that. With personal that determined and skilled it's no wonder we have the greatest armed forces in the world!...more info
  • Inspiring
    What the men in this book went through is amazing. You have to wonder if they are on the edge of insanity to put themselves through this. But they aren't They are driven by a need to be the best at what they do, to do more than is expected of them. To read what they put themselves through really humbled me. It made me look at my daily life in a new perspective. It makes me want to push myself to do more, to do better. If they can put themselves through that much torture than I can push myself too. If you like book on the military and special ops, this should be on the top of your list. From Indoc to Graduation, the book covers the full gauntlet of what the BUD/S trainees go through to have the privelge to be called a Navy Seal. Reading this book will let you understand why becoming a Navy Seal is the greatest honor in the military....more info
  • this is no movie
    Forget what you have seen in the movies. This book takes you in depth into what makes a man a warrior in the SEAL community. Written by a man who has seen how the teams work up close, Dick Couch has given an accruate and detailed account of the men of class 228. To truely understand the true sacrafice with out being there, this book gives you the intensity that comes with being a SEAL or a student in BUD/S. This is the only book I have ever read more than once and I still read it just to know that there are people out there who still dream and are willing to sacrafice so much to accomplish what so few are capabably of. This is the true story of the forging to make a individual part of the most elite commando force in the world. Definatly worth the read for anyone....more info
  • No words can praise this book enough...
    I can't say enough about this book. This book should be required reading for all military. Dick Couch takes you from the time they report in to indoctrination through all the phases and what happens to them after graduation. As a former Marine, I wished I had read this book before leaving the Corps in '97 "after feeling sorry for myself" for all the stuff I put off with. One thing I never realized was how many Marines resigned or leave the Corps, joined the Navy for a "chance" to be a SEAL. The Corps part of the Dept of the Navy. THe Commandant and the Secretary of the Navy should get together to offer this opprotunity to Marines so they don't risk Professional suicide trying to be a SEAL as it stands now. One story about a Marine officer resigning to enlist in the Navy blew me away. I don't know whether I should praise him or call him a fool. Also, Class 228 feature the first black to graduate BUDS in years. The author for whatever reason did not point this milestone out and only mentioned him in passing. Book is still good. I'll read it over and over whenever I need motivation and start feeling "sorry" for myself. Add this with the video of Class 234 and I have the complete Seal experience without trying out for them. Marines should READ this book!! Don't let the fact it's a Navy book keep you away. The NCO sword use to belong to the Army. Learn all you can especially when the the Saber is rattling. Semper FI...more info
  • A welcome and poignant peek at the elite
    Dick Couch's book is a refreshing step away from the stolid SEAL trash novels and fantasy scenarios booksellers are glutted with. Following an actual SEAL class from induction through Hell Week and beyond the probation tour, Couch never pulls a punch, showing the world the real pain these otherwise ordinary men go through to do their jobs. Hollenbeck's photos bring an artistic eye to the real-life, tough issues these men face.

    As a bonus, any graduates of USNA '99 and beyond will recognize some familiar names and faces in these pages!...more info

  • Best I've Read
    This the best book about the Navy SEAL's training that I have come across. In an unprecedented move they allow Dick Couch(ret.) to return to the training grounds as a reporter/writer. He goes through beginning to end with Class 228 and tells you everything they go through. And not only that he gets the trainees response by being able to interview them during the training! This isn't like most books where people try to remember how it was when they went through. There is also a great description of Hell Week in that he was allowed full access to the entire week (although he didn't manage to stay awake for the entire period). The instructors and trainees also ask Couch how things are different from when he went through the training. A must read if you like books about Navy SEALS or just want to know what they really go through....more info
  • Outstanding
    Im actually less than half a year away from SEAL training and I can honestly say that this book fired me up. Not only did Couch capture the physical and mental strains it takes to overcome and become a SEAL but he wrote it in a way that made this book IMPOSSIBLE to put down. I have wanted to be a SEAL for a while and now after reading this book I can honestly say, "bring it on!" Anyone with the guts to try BUD/S come along, for the coward grab this book and only wish you had what it takes! Awsome!...more info
  • Good reading for potential SEALS
    I had just read Inside Delta Force and enjoyed it so much, I thought a book about the Seals would be good. I enjoyed the book and the detail it went into regarding Class 228's training. Anyone that is an aspiring Seal would greatly benefit from this book. The only criticism I would have it that I wanted to see more detail of missions. The Delta Force had a mixture of training and past missions. That was a good mix. This book closes right where the missions should have started. I would recommend it however....more info
  • Great Book
    This is the best book I have ever read. This book shows you what
    kind of strength, stamina, mental toughness, and attitude is
    truly needed to make it through BUD/S.
    In the future I want to have the chance to become a Navy SEAL
    and this book has truly showed me what it takes.
    This book covers everything too, from Indoc to Hell Week to
    Weapons & Tactics.
    If you want to have the chance to become a SEAL, or if you are
    just interested in the Elite soldiers that are defending our

    country, this book is for you....more info

  • curiosity satisfied
    I've read several great books about SEALs and their training, and, as a middle-aged guy in pretty good shape who never served in the military, I wondered, like so many men, if I could have survived BUD/S. No, I couldn't have. I know that now, after reading The Warrior Elite. This book, written from a privileged and intimate viewpoint by a Vietnam-era SEAL, reveals in literally excruciating detail how demanding and relentless the training is. I was not surprised that the flamboyantly macho and musclebound contenders are the first to drop out, or that the quietly determined, average-build guys are the ones who make it.
    However, I was surprised at how unforgiving the process is as far as dealing with physical injury. I was stunned that the one guy, who was just a machine, a leader, never tiring, never complaining, always performing as a leader, was let go because of a sinus infection. It seemed an egregious waste of an outstanding soldier due to something completely beyond his control. No one in the Mekong Delta ever got sick? No one in Desert Storm was ever injured or ill? I'm all for rigorous standards but jettisoning this particular guy because of a sinus infection seemed bone-headed and counterproductive.
    Anyhow, now I know I wouldn't have made it. The first time I was made to take a dip in the ice slush with my pants full of sand after no sleep at three in the morning I believe I could have easily rung the bell and run for the showers.
    An enjoyable book....more info
  • A realistic look at what it takes to become a SEAL
    As a nephew of a SEAL 1 Vietnam Veteran, Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what BUD/S training was all about until I stumbled across Mr. Couch's well written precise book.
    From day one of a soldiers dream to become a Navy SEAL, this book takes you where no others have even attempted. The author, a former Frogman himself, was allowed inside to document this sadistic ritual of stamina, mental strength, self discipline, and physical endurance as BUD/S Class 228 forms with 114 men who dream of wearing the sacred Navy Trident, a symbol of America's Elite Sea,Air,and Land Warrior's. There is one way out, ring the bell, follow class 228 and see what fortitude it takes to keep one's hand off the bell tower.
    Upon reading this book, one will have a new insight of what a Navy SEAL is about. As Television and Hollywood Movies build a superhero style character on the big screen, you will be surprised at how many make the journey, and yet, the average size of those who suceed average just 5'9, 160 lbs. SEAL BUD/S training is a full blown gut check, and this book is surely to become your favorite! Much Respect to All Frogman! Hoo Yaa!...more info
  • Outstanding book!
    Couldn't put it down. After reading this book, you will understand just how smart, tough, and well trained our Navy SEALs are. It also gave me confidence that we will win the war against terrorism. Those terrorists can run and hide, but with fighting forces like the SEALs, we're eventually going to get them....more info
  • Very good book buy a knowledgable author
    I bought this book after reading Marcus Luttrell's "Lone Survivor". Dick Couch does a very good job of describing what it takes to become a SEAL. There's just enough character developmentbehind the scenes to make you feel like you know some of the candidates going through the process. Couch's book was good enough that I purchases 2 other titles by him after reading this. This book is worth your time. ...more info
  • Great Book for SEAL fans
    You are probably looking at this book because you are interested in Navy SEALs like myself. If you are interested in SEALs then you won't be disapointed in this book. I decided to pick this book up and was I impressed. The whole time the author was telling the story I felt like I was actually there with the class. It's a quick read but not in a disappointing way....more info
  • The Warrior Elite
    Terrific book. If you are interested in "things" that are military you will enjoy this work. The book takes you right into the action of what it is like to train to become a Navy Seal and it is very hard to put down....more info
  • Outstanding description of BUD/S
    Dick Couch does an outstanding job describing the experiences of BUD/S Class 228 throughout their training evolutions. You get a true understanding of what it takes to become a Navy SEAL....more info
  • a must read
    I've read this book twice and LOVE reading about the BUDS experience. Anyone considering a move into the Special Operations community should read this book cover to cover....more info
  • His Best
    This book was excellent and I know at least a few other guys that I went through similar USAF training with that used it as motivation. It is well written and you can clearly see the author's care for his subject....more info
  • Only a few make it......
    Ever wonder if you would be able to make it through SEAL school ??

    This will make you think long and hard about it.

    If you can make it through the fitness tests, and the skills tests and the water tests, all the time having a fresh set of Instructors in your face, everytime you breath wrong.

    You get to "try" and make it through "Hell Week", not many do.....

    Having been a "guest" Instructor, I can say, this book is as close as you can come to being in SEAL school, without being a "sand cookie"....more info
  • Outstanding!
    I got it quickly and in tact. It's a great blow by blow of as much of the process as you're gonna get without actually being there. It's a great read and I finished it in about a week or so. I also own the BUDS CLASS 234 DVDs and the amount of detail that this book offers over the DVDs fully justifies buying it. You won't be disappointed....more info
  • Ultimately disappointing
    There's a lot to like about this book. Couch - a SEAL himself - had unprecedented access to the SEAL training program, and was given a wide berth to write about it in detail. As an overview of an incredibly grueling training process, with access most of us will never have, it's solid.

    Ultimately, however, Couch isn't up to the task of documenting what's put before him. The writing is intensely mediocre.

    First, he fails to adequately some activities (such as log PT) well enough for the reader to actually understand what's going on. This is a common mistake among writers with inadequate editorial guidance. He doesn't know what his readers don't know, so fails to explain some things.

    Secondly, Couch doesn't dig to find stories. At the end of the book, you don't feel like you know the members of class 228 as individuals. Sure, you can recite the litany of body-breaking obstacles they overcame, but who are they? Why should we care about these people? Only a few of them are singled out for meaningful individual comment, and they get praise of the blandest variety. No personality comes through.

    Lastly, Couch doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of tactical training at all. Evidently there's a technique which helps the trainees swim faster, but Couch can't be bothered with so much as a paragraph to explain what it is. We're told the trainees study military tactics, but the tactics themselves are never explained. Technical detail - so I learned something about how SEALs think and operate - could have compensated for Couch's failure to find individual stories, but is sadly absent from this book.

    I have a few friends who were SEALs and this book definitely increased my respect for them. I can't imagine going through what they went though.

    On the other hand, I learn more about what SEALs do, and how they do it, from one of my friends' stories than I did from this book. There was tremendous potential in what Couch set off to accomplish ... but sadly, he didn't reach it. ...more info
  • Thrilling
    This is an excellent book not just for the military junkie, but for anyone who needs to take action in their life. What these BUD/S trainees go through every single day is more exciting than an average workout all week. The stories in the first 3/4 of the book are enthralling. The end kind of drags, but there's some excellent words of advice from the author that you can take with you to live an inspiring life. Easy read from cover to cover....more info
  • Almost Five Stars
    This was a great book, and I nearly gave it five stars. It's a detailed observation of Navy SEAL training, written by a man who was once a SEAL himself. Incredibly informative, the author's finest moment (in my opinion) is when he breaks down the reasons why some men succeed in BUD/S, and some Drop On Request. The instructors don't even take bets as to which candidates will remain at the end of training, because all too often they are surprised.

    So why only four stars? Because the book really doesn't go beyond being an "observation." As a reader, you may feel like you are watching the action, but you don't feel as if you are actually there. Couch doesn't get inside the thoughts or emotions of the men involved very often; he mainly just reports what he sees.

    As one other reviewer noted, "Inside Delta Force" by Eric Haney delivers exciting content with a writing style that really puts you in the middle of the action--I highly recommend that book, as well.

    "The Warrior Elite" is definitely worth reading, especially if you're looking to join the SEALs. (It's good to know what you're in for.) A good companion to this book is the Discovery Channel documentary about the Navy SEALs. After reading this book, you can check out the documentary for a good visual of all the stuff you just read about. It's not as detailed, of course, but a great way to round out the whole experience....more info
  • Fantasic book!!
    Mr Couch has done an excellent job in writing this book, while accompanying the SEAL Class 228. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to all people who are interested in understanding the intense training. The details are great and Mr Couch has done a tremendous job of providing it from his privileged access. I would also recommend to those that are considering becoming a SEAL as a primer of what to look forward to and prepare for....more info
  • Seal Mom
    Wow! I can not imagine how these young men go though this. They are truly inspiring. Couch's detailed descriptions allow you join these warriors in the making on their journey that forges our elite warriors; the navy seals. ...more info
  • I had no idea.
    What does it take to be one of the few? A true Warrior in the skeptical face of a modern world and a people who often find the idea more fantasy or idealistic than reality.

    Take a cultural, personal and life-changing journey with SEAL Class 228 as they go through the long process of becoming Navy SEALs. What do they have to do, why does it take-the mental, emotional and psychological drive to go beyond, and what are these men willing to do to receive the coveted title of Navy SEAL?

    Dick Couch, a former SEAL himself, gives an intimate look at what these men must go through: from physical training, the most difficult in the world, to more advanced techniques such as combat and sharp-shooting skills. By telling the stories of these men, from the students to the teachers, Couch gives us a unique perspective of Seal ideals that began decades ago, based on the honor, blood and sweat, dedication and bravery of Navy frogmen before them and tenants that remain true to this day.

    I had no previous knowledge or understanding of the Navy or the military in general, so I was initially worried about jargon and how in-depth the history would be. As it turns out, while Couch does give a brief outline of how the Seals were created and the divisions of the teams and history of the training, it is not so overdone in technical descriptions but enough for the general reader to get a grasp of the organization of such a force. It is not a historical description of the Navy or of Navy SEALs, but the human element of a special forces team. The wonderful element is the personalization of the men that Couch is allowed to interview and interact with. Real men, real stories, nothing but.

    It's obvious that Couch is very proud of the trade and of the men who have the strength and mental determination to bear through the physical pain. His enthusiasm, detailed, well-written and subjective perspective is why I enjoyed this book so much. Some parts drag on but it's well worth the read, a book that everyone should read......more info
  • I Love This Book
    I think one of Dick Couch's great strengths as an author is his ability to put us in there and help us get to know the people in his pages. Warrior Elite was exceptional for that reason. I have a huge amount of respect for SOF and seeing what these guys go through to be selected and prepared for their work only deepens that respect. Couch's style is not overly "military." The book is easy to read and truly enjoyable. You don't have to have a lot of knowledge going into it, but people who really know their stuff will appreciate the attention to detail shown by the author....more info
  • Awesome, couldn't put it down.
    This book is a very interesting description of the beginning of some of the best warriors in the world. The heart and dedication of the young men who put themselves through BUD/s training is unbelievable. Dick Couch captures the essence of the training better than any other book I have read on the Navy SEALs. Highly recommended....more info
  • Awesome book. Reality check for SEAL wannabees
    This book is no joke. A SEAL wannabee myself, I found myself questioning whether I had the pure guts it takes to finish this thing. If you haven't fallen flat on your face from exhaustion and your not dead, then you haven't given it your all. That's the most important point I took away from this book. I would suggest the follow up book to this one, "The finishing school". It's about the SQT following BUD/s. It's dry if your not interested in becoming a SEAL, but informative if you are....more info
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of Seal Class 228
    My son is a Navy Seal and I verified with him that this book very accurately represents the life of a Seal in training. I highly recommend it!...more info
  • Not A Book for "Couch" Potatoes!!!!!!!!
    This book should be mandatory reading for anyone thinking about attempting to acquire the Trident Pin. Warrior Elite is very well written and is easy to follow. Towards the end he does tend to go into too much detail but by an large he keeps the reader very interested. It is no wonder why only 13% of the original class of 228 successfully made it through without setbacks. You don't have to be a military veteran (which I am a proud one) to appreciate this book. If anything, the reader is given countless reasons to appreciate these extraordinary men. From indoctrination to all three phases, Couch provides the reader details of exactly what these gentlemen go through. Outstanding book that I guarantee will keep your attention -- that or you'll be doing push-ups....more info
  • Good Book
    Dick Couch takes you on a good look into the training of Seal Class 228. His way of writing is easy to read and the book is laid out well and informative. I did not care for his attempts at ego shots towards the Army schools that provide specialized training to the other services along with the seals. I'm sure you can tell that this is my biased opinion though :-)
    All in all it was a good read....more info