Feature

Author of the week: Howard E. Wasdin

Wasdin's memoir, SEAL Team Six, has received plenty of attention since the death of bin Laden, especially for its account of Team Six’s grueling training.

Howard Wasdin is a tough cookie, said Maureen Callahan in the New York Post. The 49-year-old Florida native overcame a childhood with a physically abusive step­father to serve in the 1990s as a sniper with the Navy’s highly elite SEAL Team Six, the unit that would go on to kill Osama bin Laden. In his new memoir, SEAL Team Six, Wasdin recalls how the savage beatings he received as a teenager steeled him for life as a SEAL. “When the going got tough, I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve had this my whole life—what else you got?’” The book, rushed into print in the days following bin Laden’s death, has received plenty of attention in recent weeks for its in-depth account of Team Six’s grueling training. But anyone can be physically strong, Wasdin says. “What sets SEALs apart…is mental toughness.”

All that toughness came at a cost for Wasdin, said Nick Carbone in Time. He was seriously injured during 1993’s Battle of Mogadishu, and he returned home with PTSD. Ever the warrior, he put the blame on himself. “I didn’t even know I had it,” he says. “I thought it was weakness.” Re-entering civilian life wasn’t easy: “You go from rock star to rock bottom in a split second,” he says. Wasdin even considered suicide, yet refused to see a therapist. It was writing his memoir, he says, that finally allowed him to confront his demons. “I took it out of that deep place in my heart and soul,” he says. “I feel better now about Howard Wasdin than I ever have in my entire life.”

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