BUDs stands for Basic Underwater Demolition School. It’s the six month training program all SEAL recruits must endure to reach the infamous Spec Ops teams. Notoriously difficult, BUDs is the Navy’s way of weeding out the mentally weak and creating SEALs who always put the team first. Damian thrived in the physicality of the training—attacking one challenge after another on the beaches of San Diego. From running, to swimming, to late-night obstacle courses, every part of the school is designed to be difficult.
During the last phase of BUDs, Damian had a wake up call he would never forget. Shy and quiet by nature, Damian’s aloofness had permeated among his peers in the SEAL program. He followed orders and did what he was told, but never stopped to help the rest of the division. He would be the first to get in in line for lunch, but also the first to disappear after finishing assigned work. During a peer review, his classmates said it appeared he cared more about his own needs, than those of others. He realized that if he was going to make it as a SEAL, he would have to change his attitude.
After realizing his faults, he was overcome by a desire to be respected by his team. Damian worked towards improving his image; going out of his way to help his peers and prioritizing the happiness and well-being of those who he would one day rely on. By the time he finished BUDs, Damian had risen from the lowest ranked recruit, to the highest. This experience was crucial in forming Damian’s character and setting him on the path toward becoming who he truly wanted to be—a team player.