Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Gary Lawrence | SEAL Team One - Navy

5:07   |   Gary Lawrence decided that, if he was going to go into the military, he was going to be a frogman. He'd been an excellent swimmer on his high school team and that sounded like the place for him. He nearly was washed out at the first screening because of a problem with the grading on punch cards.

More From Gary Lawrence

Keywords   :     Gary Lawrence    Salinas CA    frogman    computer    punch card

Videos ( 11 )
  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  5:21

    While at Navy boot camp, Gary Lawrence encountered recruiters for the underwater demolition teams which were no longer known as frogmen but Navy SEALS. He passed the screening test but on career day, he was informed that he had to get a ship rating before he was allowed to go to SEAL training. Dispirited, he chose the Seabees. (Caution: strong language.)

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  4:17

    He finally got his wish. Gary Lawrence entered Navy SEAL training and couldn't believe that there were dropouts the first day. The highlight, or maybe the lowlight, of the program was Hell Week, a grueling week of no sleep and arduous tasks. He and his swim partner were the fastest swimmers in camp, which worked out well for them with one memorable exception.

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  6:33

    The instructors could make you quit if they wanted to, at least that was what Gary Lawrence observed during Navy SEAL training. Once you made it through the basic program, there were additional schools to learn the skills needed for special operations. This included both land warfare and diving.

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  6:37

    After SEAL training, jump school was no problem for Gary Lawrence. He next received training on weapons and explosives in the California desert. His primary weapon was the Stoner, a special submachine gun used by no other service.

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  6:42

    There were a lot of interesting operations for Navy SEAL Gary Lawrence once he got to Vietnam. A big one was the weapons factory they were made aware of by a defector. It was too big to destroy or empty out with the infiltration team so an air strike was called in.

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  6:31

    As his SEAL team readied for infiltrating a Viet Cong weapons factory, an order came from Saigon. Stop the operation. Gary Lawrence could not believe the reason he was given. On his team were Kit Carson scouts, ex-Viet Cong. They were great fighters and one of them helped him survive an ambush.

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  7:07

    In any service in any war, if there's down time, there will be what can be charitably called hijinks. Navy SEAL Gary Lawrence recalls some of these from his Vietnam tours including racy pictures and movies, getting lesser men drunk and absconding with ice cream. (Caution: adult subject matter and strong language.)

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  11:35

    The SEAL team had a prisoner who knew someone with possible information on American POW's. This was an instant priority for Gary Lawrence and the rest of the team. As they set out on the operation to capture this individual, they encountered their first problem, low tide. Then, when they got to their destination, they got in a hell of a fight. (Caution: strong language.)

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  8:05

    It was the last operation of his first Vietnam tour. Navy SEAL Gary Lawrence yielded the point to another man on the simple recon mission and that kept him from getting shot. The team ran into a huge Viet Cong ambush and a fierce firefight ensued. As they were getting extracted by helicopter, he was making a last check of the landing zone when he noticed the chopper was taking off. He grabbed the skids and hung on. (Caution: strong language.)

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  2:28

    There was no ceremony but at least there were no protestors when Navy SEAL Gary Lawrence returned from Vietnam. He was offered a chance to proceed on a course to become an officer but he opted for marriage and career. (Caution: strong language.)

  • Gary Lawrence  |  Vietnam  |  SEAL Team One  |  3:23

    For Gary Lawrence, Vietnam was an unwinnable war. There was just no exit strategy. Despite that, he enjoyed his time as a Navy SEAL because they were the best of the best. (Caution: strong language.)

Showing : Vietnam Videos
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