SEAL Experience Offers Taste of Real Training

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As soon as the news spread that a U.S. Navy SEAL team shot and killed Osama bin Laden, Americans have become obsessed with these elite warriors.

People have been wanting know about who these men are, how they train, and even where they hang out in their off hours.

Just one day after the world learned a Navy SEAL team killed bin Laden, the Walt Disney Company filed the necessary paperwork to trademark the name "SEAL Team 6."

The application states Disney intends to use the name for a range of products, like toys and games.

The sale of pins, buttons, books, patches, and just about everything bearing the name of the Navy SEALs has skyrocketed.

America is fascinated with everything SEAL.

The SEAL team sent to get bin Laden trains in Virginia Beach, Va. The city is crawling with Navy SEAL and bin Laden merchandise, including one shirt that reads, "We Got Him."

For those looking for more than t-shirts and bumper stickers, there's also something a bit more adventurous: the extreme SEAL experience in Chesapeake, Va.

The men training here aren't real SEALs -- they are just regular guys looking for adventure and a challenge.

Former U.S. Navy SEAL Senior Chief Don Shipley runs the operation. His phone has been ringing off the hook since bin Laden's death.

His website had so many visitors, it couldn't handle them all and shut down.

To run the operation, Shipley hired other former SEALs to help him - men who have been on combat missions all over the world and know what it takes to be part of one of American's most elite teams.

"The guys that come down here are that cut above, and that becomes the pleasure of running this," Shipley said. "They are also looking to get that eye of the tiger back they had in their college football days, and now they are stuck in an office cubicle somewhere and they've lost it."

While most people would rather spend their vacation on the beach basking in the sun, these weekend warriors head to the SEAL challenge for a taste what real training is like.

"This is fun, but it pushes you," said Mark Parris, a native New Yorker. Back home, Parris is an electrician.

"I'm 51, so it gets me to that line and then I have to push myself past it It makes life a little exciting," he said. "I'm going pretty good for an old man."

John Speaker is the technology director for a cable television company in Bullard, Texas. He came looking for a challenge and to get pushed to the limit.

"I don't want to wake up at 80 years old and say I wish I would have," he explained. "During it, it stinks. It's tough. But the reward afterward is what everyone's pushing for."

"Guys come here for different reasons, so one of the first things we teach them is about reaching deep inside themselves," Shipley said. "Nobody travels all this way down here to fail this course and I know that."

The men going through the mock SEAL training will likely never gear up for a real combat mission. But after going through the week-long extreme course -- they have a new respect and admiration for the real U.S. Navy SEALs.

--Originally aired May 19, 2011

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CBN News
Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at