By Chief James Watson, Kevin Dockery
Leader Petty Officer James "Patches" Watson used to be there at the beginning. one of many first to come back out of the famed Underwater Demolition group 21, he used to be an preliminary member -- a "plank proprietor" -- of America's deadliest and so much elite combating strength, the U.S. army SEALs.Through 3 excursions within the jungle hell of Vietnam, he walked the purpose -- staying alert to journey wires, booby traps and punji pits, guiding his squad of amphibious opponents on missions of rescue, reconnaissance and demolition -- confronting a war's detailed terrors head-on, unprotected . . . and unafraid.This is the tale of a hero advised from the guts and from the intestine -- an real journey of accountability with probably the most mythical commandoes of the Vietnam struggle.
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We were the last UDTR class to use the old LCPRs from World War II. The LCPR—Landing Craft, Personnel, Ramped—is the old Higgins boat with the small bow ramp and the two forward gun tubs. These were the boats they showed in the movie The Frogmen, and for all I knew, ours were the actual boats that had been used in the film. Cast and recovery is the oldest UDT technique for getting men into and out of the water fast. An IBS is made fast to the 42 / POINT MAN side of the LCPR and the boat makes its casting run with the IBS on the side facing away from the shore.
Regardless of your shape or where you finished in every evolution, one of the instructors told me again and again, even if you were last every time, as long as you didn’t quit and kept going you would make it to graduation and the Teams. Any exercise, problem, or obstacle was called an evolution. As we completed them, we evolved much closer to becoming a UDT man. That was the carrot that was held out for me and the other students. If you did come up last in every evolution, the instructors would be harder on you and push you more.
Cast and recovery is the oldest UDT technique for getting men into and out of the water fast. An IBS is made fast to the 42 / POINT MAN side of the LCPR and the boat makes its casting run with the IBS on the side facing away from the shore. The men get into the IBS, either singly or in pairs, and at a signal from the controller, roll off into the water while the boat maintains speed. During demolition swims, another man is in the stern of the boat throwing demolition packs over the landward side as each man hits the water.