Retired Master Chief Rudy Boesch earned more than a few laughs Friday during his remarks at the East Coast SEALs’ celebration of the SEALs’ 50th anniversary (the West Coast SEALs marked it two weeks ago), both centered around his post-SEAL Team 2 days.
The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act helped spark the 1987 formation of U.S. Special Operations Command. That same year, Boesch, coming up on 26 years as a member of SEAL Team 2, was one of three senior military enlisteds called to Coronado to interview with Gen. James Lindsay, the command’s first commander-in-chief — as the position was then known — to become the command’s first senior enlisted adviser.
“People were telling me that I would have to study ’cause I might get asked questions like, `Who was the president of Zimbabwe?'” He paused for effect and then added, offhandedly, “To this day, I don’t know who it is.” After the laughter subsided, he added, “I wasn’t going to study to find out.”
When Boesch’s turn came to be interviewed, he said, “The general asked me how the hell I managed to stay in the military for so long. At that time, I had 42 years in it. Since I had a few more years in the service than he did, I told him that if he hired me, he would find out because he was going to have to do the paperwork to keep me in the service.”
After the laughter subsided, Boesch said, “He thumped me in the chest and hired me right on the spot.”
Boesch’s closing one-liner also drew laughs, but not for a joke the Navy would be pleased to hear expressed in a year following the reversal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays in the military.
“In 2000, I tried out for the first Survivor series on TV, and the rest is history,” Boesch told the crowd. “Some of the people in here have been asking me if I keep in touch with anybody in the Survivor [series].” He paused. “I don’t write to queers. ” He made it clear that he was talking about “homosexuals.”