Friends and Supporters,
As I reflect on the history of our great nation and the many men and women that have given their lives in our fight for democracy, I pause in sheer awe by the sacrifices that continue to be made by our service men and women for our freedom. On this somber and commemorative day, I’m also reminded of the surviving families that have honorably sacrificed their SEAL dads, husbands and sons.
As many of you know, upon retirement, I set out to take on extraordinary challenges in an effort to raise awareness for our heroic patriot families whom have been left with a void in their homes. Several weeks ago I learned of an epic event that was being planned on D-Day in Normandy, France. I was blindly called to action and allowed to join the team that has been training for over 6 months to prepare for this grueling challenge. This challenge is based on Operation Overlord of June 6th, 1944.
On June 5th and 6th, 26 SEAL’s and supporting professionals will disembark a boat and enter the English Channel 7-miles from the shores of Omaha Beach. After a frigid swim, we will scale the cliffs of Normandy, don a 50-lb rucksack and run 25 miles through the hinterland to Saint Lo, the strategic crossroads where Rommel’s army set their stronghold. This challenge is to raise awareness for the Trident House Charities of the UDT SEAL Museum.
With only a few weeks to prepare for this challenge, I think about how little time was afforded to the Naval Combat Demolition Unit men (NCDU – first generation predecessors to the US Navy SEALs) to prepare for Operation Overlord on that fateful day 74 years ago. They knew the risks, but they also knew that the western world was at stake if they failed or didn’t go. They went, and suffered 52% casualties, yet they accomplished their mission against the odds. Over 120,000 US casualties were inflicted during Operation Overlord and over 20,000 KIA.
I found this extremely inspirational today. I continue to be struck in awe at the bravery of those selfless men that fought for our freedom at such a severe cost to themselves and their families. Now, we go; we go to provide for those that have gone before us and have given all.
Please consider making a donation to the Trident House Charities at: https://www.navysealmuseum.org/navy-seal-swimruck-challenge
Long Live the Brotherhood,
LCDR Mark “Oz” Ozdarski, USN, retired