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Publisher's Summary

Subtitled "Memoirs of a Navy Seal", Captain Robert A. Gormly tells his amazing story as the leader of the US Navy SEALs, taking us into the night, into the water and into battle on some of the most hair-raising missions ever assigned. Rising through the chain of command within the SEALs from platoon leader to commanding officer, Gormly's journey began with a chance meeting on a Virginia beach. Qualifying for the Navy's elite Underwater Demolitions Unit -- the precursor of the SEALs -- Gormly became an expert at underwater reconnaissance and guerrilla-style warfare. As a member of the newly formed SEAL Team Two, Gormly was trained to a fine fighting edge just in time for the war in Vietnam.

The SEALs created a legend that would grow throughout the war -- and earn an enemy bounty for anyone who could capture or kill a US Navy SEAL. But behind the myth and mystique was a remarkable fighting machine, a team of soldiers who knew their job and maintained their discipline in the face of firefighters, ambushes, and missions gone horribly wrong. In Gormly's vivid, gut-wrenching descriptions, the Mekong comes alive, as hours of careful stalking explode into incredible fusillades of violence -- including one in which Gormly's hand was nearly shot off. His unprecedented acts of heorism and daring brought Gormly recognition as well as numerous awards for both the success of his strikes and his ability to bring his men back alive.

In a career that included two tours of duty in Vietnam, as well as top-secret missions in the Persian Gulf, Gormly examines war from a strategic point of view as well as from his own personal experience. With insight and eloquence, he goes on to chronicle SEAL life after Vietnam, including what is perhaps the most graphic description ever of SEAL action in the chaotic invasion of Grenada.

©1998 by Robert A. Gormly (P)1998 by Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Bob Gormly tells his story with remarkable wit, wisdom, drama, and grace. Combat Swimmer is a superb and fascinating story about the US Navy SEALs, from one of the best of the breed." (Hans Halberstadt, author of Inside the US Navy SEALs)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Robert Lion
  • 04-02-04

Combat Swimmer

This book provides a somewhat interesting insight into US Navy UDT and SEAL operations prior to and throughout the Vietnam War era. The author paints a self-portrait of a brave, physically and mentally hardened Navy SEAL Officer. He considers himself the best of the best and understandably so. However, his career and tactical abilities are relatively unimpressive. Throughout each chapter listeners anxiously await the moment of revelation and fulfillment but instead find themselves being strung along from one indecisive story to the next. The author did not seize the opportunity to provide a unique view of Navy SEAL operations and life in the Teams. And although the book is more than a footnote for the era, most readers will not find the "bang for the buck" they expect. This book is more suited to those specifically interested in the evolution of SEAL Teams and Special Warfare.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jon
  • 18-07-06

Overall, a good choice

This was the first audiobook I've ever purchased and not a bad introduction at all. I'm no stranger to the genre, however. Go into it expecting the memoir that it is, not an edge-of-your-seat thriller or a technical readout of SEAL equipment. It was an intelligently written story worth telling, especially to provide additional perspective on significant American military events of the late 20th century, such as our attack on Grenada.

I found the author's tone positive, humble, very respectful, and extremely professional-surely a credit to the field in which the author has spent a distinguished career. This was certainly admirable, given the material about Marcinko. Indeed a refreshing perspective for fans of the genre.

Contrary to another listener's perspective, I was satisfied with the amount of material devoted to the author's experience at BUD/S, as that can be found anywhere, and more graphically.

I gave it three out of five stars, for two reasons. First, as noted, the narration was truly disappointing. This guy not only lacked the 'tough guy voice' that admittedly would have helped, he sounded like he should be reading ‘Crochet Monthly’ in a comfortable sweater, right after his manicure and vanilla latte with extra whip cream. This guy was the WRONG choice, which severely betrayed the subject matter. Not only that, he was just plain boring. He, not the story, made me laugh several times. Second, while it was a very satisfying book, it was simply not something I couldn't put down. Gormly's perspective on what America did wrong in Vietnam was a strong point, lucid, concise and probably very accurate. I enjoyed his perspective, as I have yet to come across another so digestible. Yet it was this very opining that left a bad taste in my mouth at the end. His political analysis of America's future problems was mundane, repetitive, and should be pretty obvious to the average news-watching citizen during the last twenty years.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Aaron
  • 03-09-11

Buy the book

This is the first audiobook that I've purchased and didn't finish, which is unfortunate because it's a very good story. The narrator is horrible and ruined the purchase.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beth
  • 17-12-04

Leadership lessons applicable to all . . .

Outstanding listening!!!! It?s like riding a roller coaster. Turns, twists and excitement is felt within the first 10 minutes. However, once the ride is over, you better understand what it means to lead people in trying times. Combat Swimmer is an excellent story. Its also a wonderful lesson on leading people. Great Writing!!!!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Longtime buyer/reader
  • 17-09-21

Narrator has English accent

The narrator’s accent throws me off the story as he has a slight English accent. Otherwise, great story!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-08-21

Listen Inside Delta Force instead

Without the occasional jarring bloodlust and jingoism this would be a good book. The epilogue shows impressive foresight on the islamist problem, but the bits about the war on drugs dates the author.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas Pierce
  • 08-04-21

Excellent

Great book, easy to get sucked in from the get go. excellent Book, although the microphone was off for a little bit.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeff
  • 10-03-21

Painful

Narrator did terribly in my opinion. Story was amazing but I feel if some one is going to read a military type story they should do some research so they can read it at least in a matter that military personnel can stand to listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • NuckingFutz
  • 15-12-20

Interesting!!

Interesting book. Gave a good insight on how the SEALS were in Vietnam and going forward.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alicia
  • 10-10-20

Good book, not the best reading

As a fan of military history I enjoy the story’s and info the book provides, however the problem I have with audible books is that often the reader mispronounces common military slang or acronyms, and it is like nails on the proverbial chalkboard. How much extra effort would it take to consult or a quick google search to verify pronunciations of names and places and acronyms used. For example instead of saying, “M S G T” one simply says master Sargent, or “C A R 15”, is pronounced as “car fifteen”. Just minor annoyances that do take away from the overall enjoyment but for a free book the story is still excellent and worth the listen.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jimmy
  • 14-09-21

Brilliant book, bad recording and pronunciation.

Well written and vivd descriptions of operations and life in general for a SEAL officer of the time.

With that being said, someone must have recorded this on a potato. The audio jumps in volume at times which can be a bit jarring, and is generally poor in quality.
Pointed out by other reviews the narrator isn't very clued up on the pronunciation of some of the military jargon which I found amusing at times.

Well worth the listen overall.