When Second Place Isn’t Good Enough

On the beaches of Coronado during BUD/S training you can hear the instructors yelling from afar: “It pays to be a winner, gents!” When the students hear those words, they know what is coming. They will be divided into six-man boat crews and will compete in a race or an “evolution,” a sequence of races and other activities. We put students of the same height in boat crews to equalize the load in each boat. Winners and winners only are rewarded because in our business, second place in a gunfight doesn’t earn you a trophy; it puts you in a box to be carried home. There is no second place—a ...

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