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Face of Defense: Longest-serving Navy SEAL Retires

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Dillon
Special to American Forces Press Service

NORFOLK, Va., Sept. 29, 2009 – The longest-serving Navy SEAL was piped ashore for the last time during a retirement ceremony Sept. 25 at Naval Special Warfare Group 4 on Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Va.

Navy Capt. Pete Wikul passed the title of "Bull Frog" to Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. The Bull Frog title recognizes the operator with the greatest amount of cumulative service following completion of underwater demolition team replacement accession or basic underwater demolition/SEAL training, regardless of rank.

Wikul was born in 1952 in Manhattan, N.Y., and enlisted in the Navy in May 1970. He graduated in UDBT Class 7102.

Olson, a Tacoma, Wash., native, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973 and qualified as a naval special warfare officer in 1974. He graduated in BUD/S Class 76. As a four-star admiral, he now is the highest-ranking Navy SEAL to hold the Bull Frog title.

During his remarks, Olson said every current and former Navy SEAL has benefited from Wikul's longevity and solid leadership. He also pointed out that the people in attendance showed the most powerful tribute that can be paid to Wikul's life, service and accomplishments.

"I joined for adventure, but my reasons to stay in always changed," Wikul said. "The first reason was to be a platoon commander, and then it was task unit commander, and then commanding officer. I then woke up one day and said, 'It's not about me, it's about service to the nation and doing anything the nation asks of me.’"

Wikul said he will miss having troops under his command and mentoring them, and giving them everything they need to defeat the nation's foes. He also expressed confidence in his replacement as Bull Frog.

"Admiral Olson is the best four-star in the country, the best four-star in the world. He is the best four-star one could ever hope to work for,” Wikul said. “The man is humble, he's courageous, and I would follow him anywhere. For me to give him the Bull Frog trophy is one of the highlights of my career."

(Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob Dillon serves in the Naval Special Warfare Group 2 public affairs office.)

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