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Navy SEALS 'attack' Newfound Lake during Swim With a Mission event

A pair of SEAL snipers take up their positions during the Swim With a Mission at Newfound Lake last weekend. (Photo by Leigh Sharps) (click for larger version)
July 19, 2018
BRISTOL — Not too hot, not too cold was the weather at Saturday's special Navy Seals 'Swim with a Mission' event. But the water was — cold, that is.

Touted as the cleanest lake in the state, Newfound hosted this fundraising celebration featuring a 1K, 5K and 10K individual men and women races aimed to raise money for veterans. All was at the courtesy of Team 6 part of the larger famous SEALs organization. (SEALs is the acronym for Sea, Land, and Air, which are the three theatres of the commandos' operations) unit. Team 6 is the most elite unit of America's Naval Special Warfare Development Group. In this era, they are best known for taking down Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Aside from the swim races, the day was also the platform for the SEALS to show off their stuff and present several demonstrations for the attendees. This is the second year the Fort Pierce, Fla. based, and founded National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum personnel have come to Bristol and they confirmed they will be returning next summer due to the enthusiasm of the spectators and the full roster of swimmers (veterans and SEALS participated as well as citizens from many states). The swimmers and relay teams all had sponsors who donated their raised funds to Swim with a Mission. Onerelay team raised $10,000.

The large turnout was attended by Gov. Chris Sununu, who gave the welcoming address and recognized special guests, and Miss New Hampshire, Marisa Moorhouse, who presented medals to the top three swimmers in each event.

Race Directors and co-founders of Swim with a Mission, Philip and Julie Taub announced the top three winners in each race and the relay teams. Among those was Timothy Wolfe winning the 5K who was awarded the Dan Healey award, the SEAL who perished in the line of duty and whose life was the subject of the movie "Lone Survivor." Also, winning first place for women in the 10k (from Wellington Beach to Hebron) and overall winner (in the name of Jeremiah Fitzgibbons) was Daniela Klaz.

During a question and answer period, retired SEAL Master Chief and Executive Director of the Museum, Rick Kaiser, responded to a query when the SEALs would admit a woman.

"When one can pass the rigorous test, and I'll be there to see it," he replied. "In fact, I think our overall winner, Daniela Klaz, could do it!"

Training takes about two years to become a SEAL and requires enrollees to be away from home at least 200 days a year. Training is extremely rigorous and means one must carry 68 pounds of equipment whether on the land or underwater. 'Never quit, Lead, Follow or get out of the way.' is just one of their mottoes. Among their work is performing high risk diving and air and explosion techniques but most of their work is highly secretive and can't be publicized.

Rounding out the day were several demonstrations: a SEAL K-9 demonstration, parachuting demonstration from a helicopter and into the lake, a sniper demonstration, and the seek and capture of a 'bad guy.' The trained dogs are of the Belgian Malinois breed and not German Shepherds as commonly thought. They are employed because they are smaller, have sleeker fur and are more compact than Shepherds and weigh only 60 pounds.

For anyone wishing to make a donation to support veterans or for more information, you may go to the swimwithamission.org Web site.

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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Garnett Hill
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