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Harry’s Last Mission: A Dying SEAL Battles Death to Care for His Wife

This elite American warrior's final sacrifice for the woman he loved will inspire you.

by
David Forsmark

Bio

May 26, 2014 - 7:00 am
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In 1966, nobody put the acronym “SEAL” in print. And about half of the two paragraphs about the erstwhile “counterinsurgent” and “Navy parachutist” were a cover story.

We are getting used to tales of heroism from US Navy SEALs. They have become almost mythic in stature in both fictional and non-fictional accounts of covert ops and wartime derring-do.

But perhaps the bravest thing I ever saw was the last mission of Harry Dale, one of the first Navy SEALs, among the first in Vietnam—and it happened nearly a quarter century after his retirement.

I met Harry in the mid-1990s.  The retired Naval officer had called the Flint Public Library because he was looking for a co-author.  The librarians there said it sounded like it was right up the alley of a local book reviewer who liked that kind of stuff—me.

If you scratch a book reviewer, you will find an aspiring novelist.  So when Harry called, I arranged to meet him at his home.  I arrived about 15 minutes early, having misjudged the time the drive would take.

When I pulled in, I saw this wiry old guy climbing out of the lake.  “Hi, Dave!” he greeted me. “Sorry, I thought I had time for a couple before you got here.”

“A couple?” I echoed, impressed. “You swam across and back a couple times?”

“Hell no, I’m an old man.  I don’t go out that deep.  What if I had a heart attack?”

Then it hit me.  He was doing laps.  Now I was impressed.  Harry brushed it off: “Not much compared to my old frogman days.”

Frogman… the age… “Were you a SEAL in the Vietnam era by any chance?” I asked.

“Very good, I think the ladies sent me the right guy.  Have a seat while I get some clothes on.”

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Top Rated Comments   
As I read this, tears rolled down my cheeks. What an incredible display of love, guts and courage. May you rest in peace forever Harry.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (5)
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17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I read this, tears rolled down my cheeks. What an incredible display of love, guts and courage. May you rest in peace forever Harry.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bravo Zulu indeed. David, you are an incredibly lucky man to have told the stories of such a distinguished SEAL. As a former Navy submariner, your account brought a tear to my eye on this Memorial Day. As a patriot of the fine land Harry protected so thoroughly, I will purchase both books as the only true thanks I can show. There are still strong and dedicated patriots serving though, and on this Memorial Day I wish them all safe passage to wherever their destination may be.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for YOUR service, too.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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