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Interesting season to say the least. Monday was the first full day of summer and we already have 11 big-eyes in the books and plenty of yellowfin plus blue marlin & white marlin. We've specifically dedicated 3 trips to just sharking for the first time in over a decade and had multiple makos on each trip. But the most important of these trips came last weekend during the Warriors for Warriors Shark Tournament.

We had out 3 Navy SEALS, one Marine Recon, one Air Force Medic, two US Congressmen (one of which was a SEAL Team Six Commander) who all support in one way or another Operation Restored Warrior. Operation Restored Warrior is one of the best programs around for helping our Warriors avoid a flat out epidemic. An epidemic that sees 22 retired military personal commit suicide.

Think about that, everyday - basically once and hour - a U.S. Military Veteran takes their own life. If it was anything else you hear about it on the news every night, headlines across the global would be screaming about it, populations would start to panic, the stock market would be crashing as we'd all think the work was coming to an end. But for some reason this issue goes unnoticed in our society. It's most like due to two reason - 1) our Warriors don't seek the headlines when they have issues - these are men and women who act selflessly and don't ask for thanks or help; and, 2) As Colonel Nathan R. Jessep stated - we "can't handle the truth!". "We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns." These men (and women) "have a greater responsibility than (we) can possibly fathom." We "don't want the truth because deep down in places (we) don't talk about at parties….." we don't want to know just how hard our Warriors have it, how much they and their families sacrifice - and just how many sacrifice with their lives.

Our warriors provide us the ability to "rise and sleep under the blanket of freedom" we owe them everything and it's time we all start contributing to making their lives better in every way. And while our warriors don't seek the headlines nor look for help outside of their close knit family - I'm happy to seek the headlines for them. I have donated in many ways to the military over the past dozen years - and plan to step it up even more with almost all my efforts focused on this epidemic.

Operation Restored Warrior provides that focus. Operation Restored Warrior has a 100% success rate for those Warriors that go through their program. And all those Warriors that go through their program are high risk suicide threats. Many of them start the program by saying if it doesn't work than this is the end for them and they are going to take their lives at the end of the program. Many of them have had their own side arm pointed in their own direction many times prior to attending. All of them have seen the light after attending the program and none of them have become part of that disturbing statistic set forth above.

What does this mean? It means you as a civilian can be a hero and save a hero by just donating to this organization. For every $2,000 raised one veteran's life is saved (that's how much it costs to send someone through the program). Think about that - for $5.50 a day - your Starbucks large coffee - you save a Vets life. It just might be the best thing you ever do in your life.

Please take a look at their facebook page and give what you can:

https://www.facebook.com/OperationRestoredWarrior

As for the report - the shark fishing that day with these men was one of the best trips we've had in years. But it didn't start out that way - at least for me. Just inshore of the fingers we ran over a mattress floating just under the surface. All that wire was wrapped around our starboard strut, wheel and rudder. With three SEALs on the boat I quickly suggested that the most experience guy should go in the water. Suggestion denied - I was volunteered since I was driving. So 30 minutes late after cutting through several feet of stainless steel with bolt cutters and using up the entire tank of air I made my last cut and we were on our way. By the time we got where we wanted to go it was already 9:30am but it didn't take long to get a bite. With only 5 hours of finishing we had 4 makos, a big dusky and a blue shark so that each veteran got a shark. What a day!

As for some of the other trips - here is a quick run down of the first two weeks of June on the 48 Viking with Capt. Deane Lambros, Capt. Kevin Muller and Capt. Evan Millias

June 11-12 - 13 yellowfin and 2 big-eyes
June 12-13 - 8 yellowfin, 1 big-eye 1 mahi
June 13-14 - 13 yellowfin, 1 bluefin, 1 big-eye, mahi and 3 sharsk
June 16-17 - 12 yellowfin, 2 big-eyes, 3 makos, mahi and a white marling

June 16-17 on the 60 Ritchie with Capt. Phil Dulanie at his post saw 30 yellowfin, 1 bluefin, 70" big-eye and a mako



 

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You are a good crowd as a war vet myself I understand what these guys go thru to an extent. I have never thought of taking my life put often have the thoughts of things I have done an seen running in a loop thru my head. I have never spoke with anyone in depth about hose things even my friends I served with we don't ever talk about any of it. These veterans need a good honest program that is trusted to help. Thanks for everything you are doing for are troops.
 

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"two US Congressmen (one of which was a SEAL Team Six Commander)"

Pretty work! Correction though: The Congressman from ST-6 was a Navy Commander (O-5) that was stationed at ST-6, not the ST-6 Commander. Ryan is a great guy nonetheless and I'm proud to have served with him.


Glad you were able to take the guys out. That's an awesome thing to do.

V/R

Mark Siciliano
CDR (SEAL) USN--Ret.
 
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