Today it’s my privilege and pleasure to welcome a special guest to the blog – Billy Allmon, author of When the Bullet Hits Your Funny Bone: the Essence of a Navy SEAL. NOTE: The giveaway obviously ended in 2012 LOL.
Billy is a retired Navy SEAL, having honorably served our Country from 1969 to 1993. His book is a collection of true events about his time in the SEALs and how they use their humor to cope with all sorts of tragic events they experience in their professional careers.
To quote him:
If you are not a special operations person, or you have never been in combat, then you might find some of the humor in this book a bit odd, warped, uncouth, raw, or gross to say the least. So for all you lucky “average” people out there who are reading this book, it is my hope that after you have read “When the bullet hits your funny bone,” you will possibly develop an understanding and an appreciation for the man who wears the Navy SEAL trident (the gold emblem portrayed on the cover of (his) book, which is worn on the uniform of all U.S. Navy SEALs). Because, in the performance of a U.S. Navy SEAL’s professional duty, a U.S. Navy SEAL will face death so often that he will come to know Death by its first name, and if it were possible, a Navy SEAL would even invite Death for a beer.
Welcome to the blog, Billy!
Before we get to the subject of the book, tell us a little about yourself:
I am a semi-retired professional, trying to make up for all the years that I have put my country before my family….
Vs adds: He retired as a chief petty officer, and is a combat veteran of three wars. While in the Navy SEALs, he participated in numerous covert and overt missions around the world in support of US and foreign governments, militaries, and other official agencies.
In the book you talk fairly often about the need for constant training to keep your skills honed. Which kind of training was your favorite and why? Which type of training needs to be repeated the most frequently?
Well, shooting is a perishable skill, and it must always be practiced if one is to hit what one is aiming at, before what he is aiming at hits him. As far as training exercises go, the more realistic the better. If one is to increase their survivability in combat, then one must be exposed as closely as possible to what one will face in combat.
Navy SEALs do a surprising amount of cross training and actual military operations with units from other countries. Is there a particular unit of our Allies you’d want watching your six in combat (and why)?
There are a few out there that I have worked with through my years of service, and they all have similar professional qualities. However, it is the Australian SAS that I favor.
So you’re pretty open about parachuting not being your favorite SEAL activity. Do you remember what crossed your mind the first time you jumped from a plane?
I hope this &@$#%£¥ parachute opens!
You spill the beans in the book on who perpetrated a number of pranks and practical jokes on other SEALs over the years (usually you, it seems, LOL). Has there been any “delayed payback” – that can be shared – since the book came out?
Luckily, my SEAL brothers are very forgiving. But that does not stop me from looking over my shoulder!
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a SEAL? What preparation can they do to be prepared to succeed?
If you are not going to make it a career, don’t bother. Your skill set is only for war, and anything related to armed conflict. A WWll friend of mine once said, “After the war, no one needs door gunners.” If you really want to go through Basic Underwater / SEAL (BUD/S) training, get in shape and make up your mind that no matter what, you will not quit.
You and I have talked often about the importance of the SEAL’s wife and family. Would you care to take this opportunity to elaborate on their contribution behind the scenes?
The sacrifices that SEAL wives make is immeasurable. They are left behind to tend to ALL family matters so that we can concentrate on our training and our missions. Without their tremendous support, we, as SEAL operators, would have great difficulty completing our tasks.
What would you say to a civilian who wants to show their support for the troops (#SOT as it’s known on twitter)?
If you see ANY military vet, thank them for their service.
What one thing surprised you about writing a book? Anything you wish you’d known before you wrote the book? The emotional ups and downs as I recalled certain memories while writing, and how difficult it is to get published. If you are into rejection, write a book, your Email inbox will be flooded with rejection letters!
What’s next for you? Are you writing another book? What’s next?
Well, I am thinking about another funny book about SEALs, and hopefully this time it won’t take three years to get published. (VS sez: the working title is “The Dangerous Humor of the U. S. Navy SEALs”)
What two things would you take to a desert island?
My wife and water, maybe Baileys (her favorite)…
VS sez: I really enjoyed the book, learned some things, laughed out loud more than once (raised my eyebrows a few times – take Billy at his word on what he says in the post above re the humor, ok?) and there were also pretty serious moments as well. He let me pick my own excerpt to include here and – not sure why except I am TERRIFIED of snakes – I picked this one, from the section entitled “The Four S’s: SEALs, Submarines & Sea Snakes”:
…we began our descent from the surface to go back inside the submarine dive chamber. The huge steel door was open, and it was easy to swim inside. We each grabbed an air regulator, which was mounted on the inside of the dive chamber, and we all started breathing while the large steel chamber door of the submarine began slowly closing to seal all of us in from the ocean outside.
We all heard the divemaster as he said, “Standby to drain water.” As the seawater started to drain out of the large chamber to a level where our heads were now out of the water, we saw that we were not alone inside the chamber. Our eyes got big when we saw that two sea snakes had entered the chamber with us, and they did not seem happy about their new environment/location.
As the seawater got down to our chests, one of the Australians yelled out that these snakes are venomous. Just as we were thinking what else could go wrong, the master diver who was outside the chamber and operating the console said that the main drain valve pump had stopped working. By this time, we all had our knives out to defend ourselves from being bitten by the sea snakes who were frantically swimming around us.
The dive master finally fixed the problem with the valve of the drain pump and finished draining the seawater from the chamber so that we could re-enter the submarine. If you ever wanted to know if eight guys could fit through a small steel hatched door (about the size of a car tire) all at the same time, the answer is no!
The two pissed-off sea snakes that were slithering on the steel floor of the dive chamber next to our exit established the order of who the strongest ones were in our group, as that is how each of us pushed our way through the steel hatch, and no, I was NOT the strongest.
For all of you animal lovers out there, there were no animals harmed during this training operation, only our pride.