Jesse in the Headlights

| May 14, 2001

Jesse in the Headlights

Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura has long boasted of his service in Vietnam as a member of the Navy's elite SEAL units, and recently belittled deer hunters who had never 'hunted man.' But an exposé by a former Navy SEAL commander puts Ventura's military record in the crosshairs.

Salisbury, writing on, methodically traces Ventura's military service using his own 16 years experience as a SEAL, the Freedom of Information Act, books, and interviews with Ventura's fellow service men and concludes that Ventura never was a SEAL. While Ventura has acknowledged that he was part of the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) 12, he has argued that the terms SEAL and UDT are the same. But Salisbury points out that even Ventura’s commanding officer doesn’t think that the two are interchangeable.

After castigating Ventura for calling himself a SEAL, Salisbury writes, 'Tell you what - as one old SEAL/UDT manhunter to another - let's share a war story or two and give those who dream of being warriors a glimpse of the glamour.' He then goes on to describe two painful and graphic stories: one about his first kill, the other about the first man he watched die.

'So there it is, Jesse. Now it's your turn to inspire would-be warriors, those who would spare Bambi and be hunters like us, of the most dangerous game.'
--Sara V. Buckwitz
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