Thursday, May 19, 2011

Souvenirs Flying Off Shelves at SEAL Museum

SEAL Poster
TCPalm: Since the successful mission against Osama bin Laden, SEAL souvenirs and memorabilia are flying off the shelves of the National Navy UDT/SEAL Museum (Fort Pierce, Florida), said Capt. Michael Howard, SEAL, U.S. Navy (Retired).

"One man came in and bought 10 shirts, all alike," said Howard. Other items such as pins, hats, posters and post cards have also been in high demand.

And, on the flip side, the museum is being inundated with telephone calls, letters and post cards from all over the world. "They all are thanking the SEAL Community for the bin Laden mission," Howard said.

The increased interest has been brought about by President Barack Obama's announcement that Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in a daring mission into Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2.

Howard said he expects the heightened image of the SEALs, will increase the number of people coming to attend the Second Annual Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m., Monday, May 30, at the SEAL Memorial. "This is only our second service, so we don't really have a way to estimate what might happen," said Howard, "but there is a lot of interest."

The National Navy UDT/SEAL Museum is the only such facility dedicated to the Navy SEALs and their predecessors, the UDT or "frogmen" of World War II. It stands on a portion of what was the U.S. Naval Amphibious Training Station, Fort Pierce, where thousands of sailors, soldiers and Marines were trained in amphibious strategy and tactics that paved the way for every amphibious operation during World War II.

SEALs stands for "Sea, Air and Land," the environment in which the highly trained, secretive and elite fighting force may operate. SEALs have been used in a number of high-profile missions, such as the rescue from Somali pirates of the captain of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship. as well as secret missions in many theaters of operation.

Howard said the museum is hopeful that some of the paraphernalia used in the raid on bin Laden's hideaway will be loaned or donated to the museum for public display. "We are trying to make arrengments to make that happen," said Howard.

SEALs Memorial Day Ceremony

WHAT: Memorial Day at the National Navy UDT/SEAL Museum, wreath-laying ceremony at only national memorial to fallen SEALs.

WHEN: Monday, May 30, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: 3300 N. A1A, North Hutchinson Island, Fort Pierce

ADMISSION, SEATING: Museum will be open free of charge all day. Large tent will be provided with seating.

MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Retired Navy Chaplain, Dr. Robert Bedingfield

GUEST SPEAKERS: Rear Admiral Thomas Brown, a SEAL who commands Special Operations Command, South, in Homestead, and Arnie Schwichtenberg, 90, of Sebastian, Navy veteran of attack on Pearl Harbor.

OTHER PARTICIPANTS: U.S. Coast Guard Station, Fort Pierce; Treasure Coast High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, bag pipers.

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