SEAL Wives Against Terrorism: Weary, Cheery, Driven on Nautical Trek
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service
ANNAPOLIS, Md., Oct. 25, 2003 Bumps and bruises, 6-foot waves, chapped lips. Weary from a 140-nautical-mile trek, the SEAL Wives Against Terrorism smiled, cheered and waved as they motor-boated into Ego Alley at City Dock here today.
The SEAL Wives Against Terrorism boat heads into Ego Alley at the City Dock in Annapolis, Md. The SWAT Boat Tour stopped in Maryland's capital for the evening Oct. 25 after traveling 140 nautical miles en route to New York City, the finish to their 300-nautical-mile journey by Oct. 28. The tour is raising scholarship funds for the children and families of the Navy SEALs community, including those killed during the war on terrorism. Funds will be distributed through the Naval Special Warfare Foundation. Photo by K.L. Vantran
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Patrons of the tour boat Harbor Queen, sitting at the end of City Dock's pier, shouted words of encouragement as the two 24-foot Zodiak HomeGuard Defender Boats passed. Just moments before, the ship's announcer explained the mission of the SWAT Boat Tour -- to raise scholarship funds for the children and families of the Navy SEALs community, including those killed during the war on terrorism. Funds will be distributed through the Naval Special Warfare Foundation.
The two boats accompanied by a support boat had traveled down the Potomac River from Washington Oct. 24. They left Colonial Beach, Va., around 7 a.m. today. They made two stops the Coast Guard Station at St. Inigos and Patuxent River Naval Air Station before settling in for the evening here. The women will continue their journey against terrorism Oct. 26 when they leave for Atlantic City. The 300-nautical-mile tour comes to a close at New York City on Oct. 28.
"It was a good trip," said Tawny, the wife of an active- duty SEAL. "We got a little wet, but we're all here and happy."
The group requested that their last names not be used.
Tawny said she joined the group of women from Virginia Beach, Va., to show them her support and to raise awareness of the Navy SEALs and the camaraderie of their community.
Marge, the wife of a retired SEAL, said she signed up to help make people aware of what SEALs do to fight terrorism. She said she's also proud to raise eduational funds for the families of SEALs.
But, she added, it's also important to have a good time. "I'm having fun," she added. "It seems time is going too fast." When asked about the bandage on her right hand and the bruises on her left, the Navy wife simply laughed and said she'd probably be black and blue all over by the end of the tour.
Carlin, team leader for SWAT and the wife of an active-duty SEAL, spent two hours at the helm. Each woman takes a turn and all help with navigation.
"The first day was calm, glassy water," she said. "Today was a little rougher. We had waves 4 to 6 feet. You learn how to hit the waves, when to back off. Everyone is doing extremely well. We're all cowboys, we're all riding and having a good time. It was a really good day."
Retired Marine Rick Scriven, vice president for Zodiak's military division who accompanied the SWAT crew, agreed. "They're doing well," he said. "It got a little rough south of Pax River, but the boats are very user friendly and we did fine."
Scriven said he wanted the woman to learn how to navigate the waters by taking "baby steps." So when he planned the route from Washington to New York City, he went from smaller, typically calmer waters to larger, rougher waters. The group's journey began on the Potomac River at Washington, progressed to the Chesapeake Bay, and will end up plying the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Coast Guardsmen have escorted the SWAT Boat Tour on its journey. Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Brad Barley of the Annapolis Station at Thomas Point will help guide the boats from Annapolis up the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore Oct. 26. "I think it's really great what they're doing," he said.
A Web site for the tour contains more information and the ability to track the tour's progress. The SWAT Boat Tour is sponsored by Zodiac of North America and the Zodiac Maritime Training Academy for first responders, Mustang Survival Inc., Raymarine, Inc. and Bombardier Motor Corp.