Military | Photography

Navy Seals: Sugar Cookies and Puppy Piles

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Towleroad readers in San Francisco experienced a collective tremor this weekend as the Chronicle published an article about the rigorous training Navy Seals are expected to complete. I'm not sure I've ever had an article forwarded to me by so many people. I thank you all! For the rest of you, here are some highlights. There are quite a few more photos at the Chronicle site.

Above left: "This maneuver is a 'puppy pile.' It's a visceral lesson in combat tactics: body heat is precious, there are only a few ways to retain it, and it's dumb to be squeamish."

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Bottom left: "The young men soak their boots, battle dress uniform trousers and white T-shirts. Their bare, crewcut heads must stay immersed as waves bat them around. Eight minutes later they rise, race to the sand dunes, drop and roll to become 'sugar cookies.' This rinse cycle repeats five times. Faces grow flushed and mottled with cold, some men violently shiver, a few abdomens start to convulse."

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Sugar cookies and puppy piles. I've never heard something that sounds so Strawberry Shortcake been used to describe something that looks like it's one step away from an on-location Active Duty video.

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Building Elite Forces for Military of Future [sf chronicle]

Is My Oarfish Hot or Not? [tr]

(thanks carl, joe, don, joel, richard, etc)

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  1. The stories these guys could tell. Andy, are you up for the mission?

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | May 15, 2006 8:24:47 AM

  2. My particular tormentor in High School, the jock who called me 'faggot' and 'queer' (until I busted his nose in a fair fight in 11th grade) went on to the SEALS, and then had a sex change after service. I felt it was some sort of Cozmic justice...
    I sometimes think that the homoeroticism implicit in the SEALS or among the Marines I know is acceptable as long as it remains unconscious...

    Posted by: Mr.Bill | May 15, 2006 8:38:12 AM

  3. Great photography

    Posted by: Patrick | May 15, 2006 9:41:17 AM

  4. There's a 6-part series from the Discovery Channel entitled "Navy SEALs: BUDS Class 234" which follows a SEALs training class through the process. It is interesting and makes you think a lot about what why the training is done this way and what kind of guys end up making it as SEALs -- it's surprising what a high percentage of these very tough, buff and hearty guys drop out of the process voluntariily. But I found myself thinking that the process makes some sense -- that it may be the only way to single out those few men who can go through an enormous amount of agony and stress and sort of shrug it off.

    It is also full of a lot of VERY hot scense like the soi-disant "puppy piles" and the pool training where you get to see trainer SEALs doing mouth to mouth on some of the trainees. Definitely worth a look. Available on DVD and Neflix.

    Posted by: Buster | May 15, 2006 9:45:34 AM

  5. I see bondage, I see discipline. I see fantasies.

    Posted by: GaYToR | May 15, 2006 9:46:38 AM


    Posted by: DAVE | May 15, 2006 10:17:16 AM

  7. Do they call this "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" training? lol

    Posted by: Nate | May 15, 2006 11:41:38 AM

  8. Makes me want to break out my old Ken Ryker videos, all over again!

    Posted by: Rad | May 15, 2006 1:17:09 PM

  9. I dated a guy once who said he had been in the SEALS program and that the following had been part of the training: 60 guys crowded into the barracks during a week of activities like 20-mile jogs wearing 75-pound backpacks, etc., and no one was allowed to shower. After a week, showers were permitted, but all 60 guys had to get clean in 15 minutes. The set-up was that there were 3 guys, each stationed at one of 3 showerheads, and the other 57 lined up. The 57 then went through the shower assembly-line. At the first showerhead, the first guy would soap up upper bodies; at the second (where the guy I dated had been stationed), the seconod guy would soap up lower bodies, including genitals; and at the third showerhead, the third guy would rinse off all the soap. (My friend said he realized he was gay while he was on his knees, soaping up 57 sets of dicks and balls, one after another after another...) Meanwhile, of course, if you so much as THOUGHT about having sex with another guy, you were, like, court-martialed.

    It's certainly possible that this guy made the whole thing up, including the fact that he even did a stint in the SEALS, just to turn me on (as if he needed to; he already looked like a somewhat older A&F model). But, knowing how loony the military is, I don't have a problem believing it, either. It sure is a sexy story.

    Can anyone out there validate or debunk?

    Posted by: JOE 2 | May 15, 2006 1:46:11 PM

  10. That top-right pic is too hot. Damn.

    Posted by: Jase | May 15, 2006 1:46:38 PM

  11. Only three weeks ago, you posted about the anti-DA/DT protesters here at West Point and now you post this. I hate to say it, but posting pictures of military training and then turning it into something utterly sexual does a huge disservice to any of us who are serving who have to fight the idea that service can somehow be accomplished without sexual tension. For every person who is in the military and serving under DA/DT, this is simply one more stone for the opposition to use against us.

    Posted by: adam | May 15, 2006 2:58:24 PM

  12. Adam,

    Your comment makes sense. And, since I have never served in the military, I am obviously speaking from a position of ignorance. However, I do know, just from being alive for almost five decades, that pretending that feelings - sexual or otherwise - aren't there rarely does anybody any good. It seems to me that one of the reasons DA/DT is a bad idea is that it asks people to pretend that things are a certain way when, in fact, they're not. Clearly, sexual feelings and sexual tension are going to exist in the military whether LGBT people are allowed to serve openly or not - sexual feelings and sexual tension are going to exist any time you throw a bunch of people together in any situation, military or otherwise. And, just because people acknowledge and are aware of sexual feelings and sexual tension doesn't mean that their behavior has to be dictated by those feelings and by that tension. So it seems to me that protesting DA/DT by saying that service can be accomplished without sexual tension misses the point: sexual feelings, along with other feelings like jealousy, elation, anger, awe, and resentment, can exist and people can be aware of them. AND people can choose not to act on them, but rather to act as a cohesive unit regardless of what they are feeling.

    As I said, I've never been in the military so I may be talking completely out my ass. I'm curious to know your take on it.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | May 15, 2006 8:49:12 PM

  13. Joe,
    I agree with you that I missed the boat on that one. I shouldn't have said that sexual tension doesn't exist, and I was wrong, because it does. I completely agree with you that sexuality must be confronted in an open and honest way. This, however, is different than discussion or confrontation, but is, in some sense, exploitation. It's akin to saying that since sexual tension exists betweem men and women in the workplace, it's OK to post pictures of secretaries to oogle them. I guess my point is simply that this post seems to do nothing to contribute to the dialogue and steps neccessary to help ease the tension, but does contribute to solidifying the stereotype that those who support the ban perpetuate.

    I would also say that, believe it or not, what they're doing, however much like an Active Duty video it may seem...when your body temperature is that low, you're starved, tired and, sexuality doesn't enter into it. What those men are probably thinking (and I'm no Navy SEAL) has nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with fatigue, pain and endurance. However, when all is said and done, others, who are uninvolved, have taken pictures of them at what is probably one of the most difficult moments in their lives and overtly sexualized them.

    So, no, sexuality does not enter into the equation...but to view it through a sexual lense, as this post does, only fuels the fire. (I apologize if I'm's pretty late over here)

    Posted by: Adam | May 15, 2006 9:57:47 PM

  14. Adam,

    Thanks for responding. You make some interesting and valid points. I guess the reason this post doesn't bother me in the same way is that it exists on a blog intended primarily for gay men, one that is known to include, along with political content, photos and videos of sexy guys just for pure enjoyment. It's not a website devoted to overturning DA/DT that's aimed at people who support DA/DT, or who are on the fence about it. And, regardless of the fact that the guys in these photos are physically stressed out and unlikely to be thinking about boning each other in the moment, some men (and women) find them sexy.

    Although we all want professional sports to let gay players come out, we don't object to the posting here of sexy athlete photos - even though some straight men are uncomfortable with the knowledge that a guy in the locker room might find them attractive.

    To me, it's a matter of context and intended audience. It would certainly be inappropriate and ill-advised to march around outside of Congress with these photos on placards while the Senate is debating the merits of overturning DA/DT. Similarly, if people were petioning a city's police department to actively recruit more LGBT officers or to allow LGBT officers to be out on the job, it would probably be a bad idea to send the police commissioner a calendar filled with homoerotic photos of models in cop drag. But that doesn't mean there can't be gay erotica with miltary or cop themes when it's enjoyed in an appropriate setting.

    The issue can certainly be argued both ways, and I respect your position. It bugs me when there are effeminate, gay hairdressers in movies - even though there are effeminate, gay hairdressers in real life who have every right to be effeminate and gay and hairdressers - just because of where we are at this point in the gay civil rights movement; I don't think homophobes need to have their stereotypes reinforced. It seems to me that your feeling about these Navy SEALS photos is similar. And I would absolutely feel the same way about them, if this weren't a special-interest web site. But who knows? Maybe the general population is more familiar with this site than I realize.

    Anyway - thanks for your service, and for the dialogue. I appreciate them both.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | May 15, 2006 11:55:13 PM

  15. Those pictures of military guys are hot. Thank god I'm able to seperate my politics from my labido.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | May 16, 2006 7:48:09 PM

  16. I think the only homophobic stereotype being reinforced by these pictures is the one where gay men find other gay men attractive.

    Joe2, I appreciate the respectful, sensible way you explain the danger of the 'queens on TV' stereotype being promoted while making it clear that they are people too. We already spend a great deal of time cleaning up our own act for straight society. We’re ashamed of queens, we turn our dykes into lesbians, we cringe at rainbow flags, we adopt right-wing talking points to prove how moderate we can be, we make sure we are seen kissing in public far less than the average straight couple, their personal lives are everywhere you look while ours are just what we do in our ‘personal lives ‘, we hold up old stereotypes as sacrificial lambs to the hetero-slaughter, etc, etc, etc all because the progressive consensus in our community has decided that this kind of homogenization is the only path to acceptance. Here we are contemplating yet again giving this gay interest picture spread more scrutiny because we are over(gay)sexualizing these pics against the participants will when that very dynamic is the subject matter of most of western societies entertainment media. Again, we’re supposed to be apologetic of doing on a personal internet blog what straight society does rampantly throughout the entire public media landscape?

    If we start allowing ourselves to be afraid of expressing interest in other men because we think that expression might hurt us as a community in the eyes of homophobes - and the other gays they’ve made that impression upon - then there is no turning back.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | May 16, 2006 8:20:49 PM

  17. "I think the only homophobic stereotype being reinforced by these pictures is the one where gay men find other gay men attractive."

    Obviously I meant to end with "...other men attractive."

    I have a daily quota to meet after all.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | May 16, 2006 8:22:13 PM

  18. I noticed in the newspaper article that Bush wants 500 more warriors.

    I wish that anyone in Washington before considering sending anyone anyplace would make a trip to the Vietnam Memorial. Walk along the path and note your reflection in the the names - 57,000 Americans, average age 19. And I would hope that experience would prove haunting. These were individuals gay and straight - but now what does that matter.

    I have no desire to start a political argument that leads nowhere. I'm simiplly pointing out that these warriors are foremost sentient beings deserving of our respect.


    Posted by: James | May 21, 2006 1:04:34 AM

  19. Should this conflict, or any new ones that arise, continue much longer, you will see open gays in the military. Historically, when we've needed more manpower, the military allows in those first termed undesireable; women, de-segragated blacks, and the uneducated. In the past few years, the Military has raised the enlistment age to 40 in some cases, dropped the requirement for a GED or HS diploma, and lowered the standard for Height and Weight. According to history, next come the criminals "join the army or go to jail"-types, and sooner or later the "gay" part will fall into place. Now it's not the most pleasant way to get what you want, but in this case you cannot have your cake and eat it too.
    On the plus side, new studies showing our service members serving along side partner nations in our Multi-National Forces, many of whom served along side our men and women while being openly gay, are showing no negative feedback, thus enforcing the positive ideal of the gay/straight soldlier.
    And novey SEALS and other SOF guys are hot. Many military guys are. I know, cuz I am one. But i do know how to express myself approprialty, as any soldier should.

    Posted by: Red | May 22, 2006 5:11:02 PM

  20. We can all agre that the DA/DT policy is merely a shield for homo-fobes. What is the difference between some dude finding a female in his office hot, and some dude finding another dude in the office hot? not a damn thing. Yet as a straight guy, I can go to school/office around hot females and focus on the objective at hand, not that I want to 'bone' them or the like.

    Remember, America was founded by prudes. And the people outspoken against homosexuality are merely 'trained' into a certain mindset of religious belief, or just plain bigots. So F*** those simpelton jack@$$es.

    Posted by: K-LoK | Dec 13, 2007 2:13:21 AM

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