William Wildrick

Conversation with William Wildrick
00:00 / 54:41

Bill Wildrick is the longest serving active combat Navy SEAL ever, his career spanning from 1966-2005. When one of his fraternity brothers was killed in Vietnam, Wildrick was distraught, and having grown up in a military family, Wildrick decided to enlist in the Navy and become a SEAL. Wildrick explained his training as much more intense than that of basic training, for you have to be "physically elite" to endure Navy SEAL boot camp. During the war, Wildrick was an Assistant Platoon Leader, and recalls night ambushes, night patrols, and the difficulty of keeping the morale of the troops lifted. Wildrick eventually became the Deputy Commander for all US Navy SEALs. On 9/11, his boss was on vacation, making Wildrick responsible for the first SEAL deployments to Afghanistan. 13 days later he suffered from a heart attack. Wildrick was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 8 years ago, which doctors attribute to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. 

Bill Wildrick, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Bill Wildrick, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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Bill Wildrick during the Vietnam War, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Bill Wildrick during the Vietnam War, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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River Patrol Boat setting ambush, similar to what Wildrick did in Vietnam, photograph by Steve Cross
River Patrol Boat setting ambush, similar to what Wildrick did in Vietnam, photograph by Steve Cross

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Bill Wildrick, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021
Bill Wildrick, USS Midway, San Diego, California, 2021

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