McRaven weighs in on ninjas vs. SEALs question

October 7, 2013
Adm. Bill McRaven (Photo: The Associated Press.)
Adm. Bill McRaven (AP)

Let’s be honest. We’ve all been wondering for years which is quieter, a Ninja warrior or a Navy SEAL.

So Walker Greentree, who turns 7 this month and wants to be a SEAL (or maybe a ninja), wrote Adm. William H. McRaven, the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, to find out.

Walker, who’s from a military family, included a drawing of a Trident, the Special Warfare insignia, in his letter. He also wanted to know how long McRaven can hold his breath underwater.

“Thanks for writing me!” McRaven wrote back. “You did a great job drawing the Trident, it looks just like my personal coin, which I’ve sent you along with this letter. I only give this to very special kids, so I hope you like it.”

Now let’s get down to business. “To answer your questions,” McRaven wrote, “I think ninjas are probably quieter than SEALs, but we are better swimmers, and also better with guns and blowing things up. I can hold my breath for a long time, but I try not to unless I really have to.

“Remember, if you want to be a SEAL,” McRaven advised, “you must do two things: Listen to your parents and be nice to the other kids. If you do that, you can probably be a SEAL too.”

He closed, “Very respectfully,” and signed it ” Bill McRaven.”

So there you have it. We understand McRaven often responds to correspondence — particularly from kids of service members or children of the fallen and wounded.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Emily Heil · October 7, 2013