Navy SEALs love telling war stories, and to be fair, they’re pretty great at it. The latest comes fromAndy Stumpf, a 17-year Navy SEAL veteran and jumpmaster who is theworld record holder for longest distance traversed in a wingsuit (18 miles?!).
This past week, Stumpf joined comedian Bryan Callen and UFC Heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub on their podcast,“The Fighter and the Kid,” to talk about being in the military and jumping out of planes.
And he graced us with an amazing story of secret SEAL operations in an unnamed foreign land that Stumpf calls “a galaxy far, far away.” (It sounds an awful lot like Af-Pak, but what do I know?)
Let’s set the scene: Stumpf and his team of Navy SEALs have to insert themselves … somewhere … undetected. So they decide to jump at high altitude and glide to their target under open canopies under the cover of night.
For this mission, they have a local interpreter with them. It turns out that it’s not just his first time jumping out of an airplane; it’s his first time in an airplane.
As a jumpmaster, Stumpf is given the task of tandem jumping with the interpreter, and the jump has to be executed perfectly. Because the special operators are going to be gliding under canopy, they have to jump out of the airplane in quick succession. Otherwise, there will be too much distance between the jumpers. But when it comes time for Stumpf and the interpreter to jump, the interpreter has second thoughts, and “starts clawing like a cat that’s wet to get a hold of the side of the aircraft.”
Stumpf eventually gets the man out of the plane, but they’re flipping and falling through the air, and by the time Stumpf gets the parachute open, they’re a distance away from the rest of the team. Worse yet, Stumpf’s navigation and communication equipment got jammed between him and his interpreter friend. He has no idea where he is.
What follows is an incredible story of Stumpf trying to navigate this parachute (he eventually gets the GPS back, but it factory resets and says he’s over Hong Kong), the interpreter freaking out and trying to climb up the cords of the parachute, and Stumpf having to knock the man out so he can stay alive.
And then there’s the vomit.
The whole story is a little long, but Stumpf is quite the wordsmith, and it unfolds beautifully.
Give it a watch below, the story starts at 36 minutes in.
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."