"Black Hawk Down" Navy Seal speaks at banquet

By: Eric Eckstrom Email
By: Eric Eckstrom Email

Some of the best High School football players from Kentucky and Tennessee will be facing off Saturday at the 2014 National Guard Border Bowl. But first...folks involved were treated to a banquet at the Williamsburg convention center in Williamsburg Friday evening. WYMT was there to speak with organizers and one, very honored guest speaker.

“I never expected to live this long. As a Navy Seal we always said live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse, and at 32 I almost did that,” said retired Navy Seal Team 6 soldier Howard Wasdin.

He’s not joking. Wasdin is a Dr. of Chiropractic, author and public speaker...but it was his role as a Seal Team 6 sniper during the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, more commonly referred to as “Blackhawk Down,” that has commanded the respect and attention of many ever since.

“Got shot three times during that operation, which was my career ender - picking the Army Rangers up and off the streets,” he said.

an act of valor: without question, but Wasdin says the intensity of his life proved challenging in later years...

“Being raised as an abused child, coming back having been shot 3 times in the military, suffering from PTSD crawling into a whiskey bottle, contemplating suicide, I’ve run the whole gambit,” he said.

But he eventually conquered those demons with a mixture faith, love and determination - restoring him with the new purpose of sharing the lessons of his life with others.

“What i want to talk to them about is overcoming adversity...as a young man, as an adult, etc. and that is my message now,” he said.

And that was just a glimpse of what these folks from Kentucky and Tennessee was treated to Friday evening, something organizers say was part of the events mission to inspire young athletes.

“Perseverance is really what we're trying to push to these kids here. Never stop. Never quit. You are never finished. If you have one problem, then go on, push through that problem and go to the next one,”

Quite the prelude to the big game on Saturday.

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