19The Benefit of Team Accountability

ON JUNE 19, 2003, Det 1 was activated. The next seven months of their lives were filled with brutally intense days of training. Fifteen-mile hikes with 50-pound rucksacks were followed by “team competitions,” like rolling an 800-pound tire three miles. This was the norm before starting their workday. They made, placed, and exploded countless charges and entered hundreds of training crisis sites with them. Already world-class marksmen, they shot tens of thousands of rounds. Day and night, they jumped from helicopters and airplanes at every altitude. They swam from submarines miles out to sea and with the fins on their feet as their only propulsion, kicked their way onto the coastline, where they commenced multiple-week reconnaissance patrols.

These were incredibly tough men who proved it every single day throughout the seven months of their pre-deployment training. They continued to do so upon arrival in Iraq. If anything, their training only intensified. These warriors had incredibly high standards. Their commanding officer, Colonel Robert Coates, tolerated nothing less, nor did the Marines themselves. Like all great warriors, they wanted high standards and they wanted to be held to those same high standards. Yes, they were military warriors, but they were also spouses to those they loved dearly and parents to little boys and girls whom they adored. Not meeting the standard was simply not tolerated. Any “weak link” could cost other teammates ...

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