Sunday, July 15, 2012

SEAL of God by Chad Williams with David Thomas

  This is the fourth in a series of book reviews I’m writing on America at war and the second about Navy SEALs.

       Chad Williams was the quintessential California party dude.  Whatever he did he excelled at and what he seemed to excel at most was getting drunk, high, and partying at all hours of the night.  So it came as no little surprise to his family when he informed them that he wanted to become a Navy SEAL. 

     In an effort to dissuade him, his father got a former Navy SEAL who was a personal trainer and technical advisor to the Survivor reality TV series (I’m guessing Chad’s parents weren’t hurting financially) to act as his personal trainer for nine months. 

    The tactic backfired.  Chad worked with US Navy SEAL, Scott Helvenston, until Scott one day informed him, “I’ve never said this to anyone else I’ve trained, but you WILL become a Navy SEAL.”

     Scott later reenlisted and served in Iraq where he was brutally murdered in an ambush on the streets of Fallujah.   Becoming a SEAL now became a goal for Chad to avenge Scott’s death. 

     The bulk of Chad’s book describes the training he went through in Hell week.  The other books I’ve read describe Hell Week too, but none go into as much detail as this one.  By the time Chad finally graduates from the program you feel as though you’d gone through it with him.  He also spends a lot of time talking about the technical training that prepared them to perform various jobs.  

      Becoming a Navy SEAL did not change Chad’s lifestyle. The only difference was now when he got drunk and bar hopped all night, he won the bar brawls he got into.  He seemed to thrive off brawling.  He describes waking up and having someone else’s blood all over him and having no memory of what even happened.

       Then one night, while he was on break between missions, his parents informed him that he could no longer stay at their house.  His reckless lifestyle was taking its toll on them and they could no longer tolerate it.  This put a monkey wrench in Chad’s plans because he was hiding a keg in their garage.  He thought fast.  Then he informed them that actually he wanted to stay one more night and go to church with them.

    His delighted parents acquiesced.  Chad figured sitting through a church service was a small price to pay.
After the church he could go back home, sneak his keg out and take off. 

     At the service the pastor, Greg Laurie, talked about the Syrian commander Naaman who had leprosy.  As Laurie described Naaman’s condition, his visit to the prophet Elisha and subsequent healing, Chad recognized himself.  He was a commander, just like Naaman and even though he didn’t have a physical ailment, he knew he had a spiritual leprosy that was eating away at his soul.  To the astonishment of his family and girlfriend (who only came so they could party together later) he walked down and committed his life to Christ.

     As hellacious as training to be a SEAL was, Chad was about to discover that being persecuted for being a Christian could be even worse.  When he returned to his team, they discovered a new Chad.  One that didn’t want to drink, brawl or go to Strip Bars anymore.  This enraged them.  The beatings and torture he received at the hands of his fellow SEALS was so bad he had to be moved to another team because it was feared they might murder him.  It recalls to mind:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  (John 3:19, 20)

     Chad still completed his tour of duty.  Chad is only twenty-seven and got out of the SEALS a couple of years ago so most of his assignments he’s not allowed to talk about.  However the few assignments he does describe, such as circumventing an ambush just like Scott’s in Iraq as well as working to fight Islamic insurgents in the Phillipines are exciting.  Heavy weapons were his specialty.  The SEALS on the teams he was deployed with were surprised that a Christian could indeed cover your back with a  RWS-rigged RG-33 and keep you alive.

    Even though the Navy offered him a ninety-thousand –dollar bonus to sign a new contract, he knew he had entered into a new season.  One time while on the beach he shared his new found faith with people willing to listen.  Afterwards a man came up to him and said that he needed to become a SEAL for God. 

    SEALS don’t advertize who they are so Chad didn’t understand how this man knew he was a SEAL.  It turns out the man didn’t.  But God did.  That was a turning point for him. 

     Chad currently is in evangelism ministry working with Ray Comfort and Greg Laurie, the man who preached on Naaman.

   I read this book in one sitting.  It’s the most enjoyable of all three books I’ve read about Navy Seals, especially his descriptions of Hell Week.  Like I said, most of the book describes his experience in Hell week, watching other men bigger and tougher than him give up, the camaraderie that developed between those that lasted.  Out of 173 who started the program, Chad was one of 13 who finished it. If nothing else, the book is worth reading for that part alone.

However, I think Chad proved his real worth when, after becoming a Navy SEAL, he did the most courageous thing and became a SEAL of God.

I bought this book.

Other articles on Navy SEALS and Military novels


  1. Replies
    1. This book is nonfiction. Chad wrote his story with the help of a ghost writer. You can click on the youtube link above and hear his testimony.

  2. This one sounds good. I love Ray Comfort, too. Amazing story.


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.