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SEALs Celebrate 50 Years of Service

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The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony and Muster XXVI aboard Fort Pierce, Fla., Nov. 12-13.

The two-day event honored SEALs past and present. The Muster featured several events including a 5k run, U.S. Navy Leap Frogs jump, a memorial ceremony in honor of Veterans Day and a live capabilities demonstration conducted by East Coast-based Navy SEALs featuring military working dogs and a demolitions demonstration.

The Veterans Day ceremony also celebrated the approaching 50th anniversary in 2012, of the commission of the first two SEAL teams by President John F. Kennedy. The ceremony also included remarks from Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, commander, U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command; and former presidential candidate Ross Perot.

"Freedom is a privilege," Perot said. "Freedom is fragile, and you can lose it in a minute. You are the guardians at the gates of freedom."

On day two, Veterans and family members gathered on the beach at sunrise to honor 50 members of the Naval Special Warfare community, active duty and retired, who have passed since last year. Two SEAL team members delivered a wreathe and the ashes of one of the fallen members to his final resting place at sea, in accordance with his last wishes.

"You are going to hurt bad and you are going to want to quit," said retired Lt. Cmdr. Dante Stephensen, commenting on making it through training in 1959, with Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training Class 22. "If you quit it will be with you the rest of your life."

U.S. Navy SEAL "Leap Frogs" skydiving team conducted a demonstration after the UDT-SEAL memorial dedication ceremony.

"What you do for our country makes all the difference in the world in the lives of every citizen," said Perot while addressing the many retired and active duty members in the crowd. "Your service and sacrifices have given us the freedom we have today."

Article by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Meranda Keller, Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs