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On Board With: David Rutherford, Navy SEAL

Tough training and the motivation it takes to complete it.

August 18, 2014
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Navy SEAL David Rutherford

When I first knew David Rutherford, he was the quarterback for our high school football team. He hasn’t done much since then, except join the Navy SEALs, serve our country overseas and start a motivational company based on SEAL principles called Team Froglogic (teamfroglogic.com). Here’s what he had to say about his experiences.

What inspired you to become a Navy SEAL?

In my fourth year of college, my destructive behavior had gotten me kicked off the lacrosse team, on academic probation and moving toward serious depression. During a random trip to the laundromat, I had my first epiphany in life and realized I needed to change immediately. All my previous success in life was relative to my being a part of a team, so I figured, what better way to regain my confidence and purpose than joining one of the most elite teams on the planet, the SEAL team?

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SEAL training has a reputation for being the most mentally and physically challenging in the world. Does anything else compare?

Yes, there are comparable training programs out there, but only a handful rate on a similar physiological level. The reason Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL School is so tough is because of the high-intensity, long-term exposure to insane physical requirements, mind-bending mental assault from instructors, and the ever-present spirit crusher called the Pacific Ocean.

Any crazy examples of the training you care to share?

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By far the most intense, transformative experience I had during training was Hell Week: our legendary 5½-day über-evolution where students get less than four hours of sleep the entire week. In hour 90 my boat crew was paddling around Coronado Island when I watched a VW bus drive next to us in the middle of San Diego Bay. That was pretty wild.

For how long did you serve? In what part of the world?

I served for eight years in the SEAL teams and conducted operations in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Afghanistan. After my time in the teams, I worked for another seven years as International Training Expert and Security Protection specialist for Blackwater and the U.S. government. During this time I worked primarily in the Caucasus Region and South Asia.

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Did you have a specialty?

Yes, I was a combat paramedic. I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Joint Special Operations combat medic course in Fort Bragg, North Carolina: a truly amazing experience that provided me with countless unforgettable moments working in the ERs and on the ambulances both in New York City and San Antonio, Texas.

We hear that all SEALs learn to do multiple jobs. Is there a broad range of skills people might not expect, like learning to suture a wound and also fix an outboard engine?

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Wow, that’s funny. Not only was I a medic in my platoons but I was also responsible for taking care of all our Zodiac F470s [and] 55 and 35 hp Johnson outboards. I loved the duality of sticking a chest tube and then having to sync and link a fouled motor. Definitely made it tricky to maintain a sterile environment.

What inspired you to start Team Froglogic?

In the fall of 2005, I was in Afghanistan for the second time working as a training specialist and mentor for the country’s anti-drug commandos. We conducted a raid in the northern part of the country. After the raid, as my trainees were policing up the situation, I noticed the 30 absolutely desolate children huddled in the corner of the compound. That inspired me to change missions and dedicate my life to motivate kids around the world to embrace fear, forge self-confidence, live with purpose and live the team life.

Everyone can’t be a SEAL. But what core SEAL principles can everyone apply to daily life?

What makes the SEAL brotherhood so intriguing is trying to figure out who makes it. The reality is that it’s impossible to predict. They’ve been studying it for years. What I’ve come to realize is that, regardless of our socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds, we all possess a small fire burning in our guts. And if that fire gets the right type and amount of fuel, a committed team can accomplish anything.

What’s the most important message you want to share with people?

By applying Froglogic, Navy SEAL motivation, you will undoubtedly be more equipped to face the negative insurgency head on and ultimately win every battle in the combat of life.

Suggested Reading:
Special Ops Boat Handling
Extreme Boat Launches

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