Thomas Rosehaley is a busy man these days. When he’s not flying across the globe working as a personal security professional, he’s back at home keeping on top of his medical training, which is his bailiwick. He had just arrived back in the states but was not getting much free time. “I’m diving tomorrow in Monterrey Bay and then have a Med class at Folsom Prison, I’ll call you on my way home from there,” he said.
In Part 1 of our interview, we spoke about how he ended up in BUDS right after high school, and the initial training he went thru right up until he made it to his training at Coronado. His initial class of about 160 was sliced down to 46 before the class even made it to Hell Well and was further reduced to 26 after that 5 ½ day experience.
But if you think that was the hardest part, think again, he said the next portion of the training, during the Dive Phase actually had some of the more difficult moments.
“The course is designed to demoralize you at first,” Rosehaley said. “Their thought process is we’re going to break you down, test your mettle and then…slowly build you back up.”
“You really have to suck it up, and the instructors are constantly in the background encouraging the guys to quit, looking for any weakness. At that point, you just narrow your focus,” he said. “There were times my only focus was to survive until dinner.”
We both laughed because everyone has been there at one point or another. Rosehaley added, “then at night, as you are hunched over your creamed corn, you find the resolved to go one more meal, one more day. It gets reduced to that at times.”
After Hell Week, he said the sailors got a week where there was a bit of recovery where the candidates got a chance to regain some strength and grow back the toenails that were lost during Hell Week.
But then it was right into the Second Phase, the Dive Phase. That consisted of one week with an introduction to SCUBA which many of the candidates had never dove before. And then they’d roll into LARV Rebreathers which Army SF guys will remember as the Draeger system.
“Pool Comp is to the second phase what Hell Week was to the first phase,” he remembers. “It is a brutal, and yes brutal assessment of your underwater, open circuit and SCUBA abilities, he said.
The candidates once again are beaten down by the instructors in very tough conditions. Rosehaley stated that most of the training is conducted in just 9-12 feet of freshwater in the CTT (Combat Training Tank). So what was the purpose of the beating underwater I asked? “Well, more than anything the instructors want to see that you won’t panic underwater when things go wrong and frequently can. And the beatings were equated to coming ashore in very rough surf.”
So what happens underwater during the toughest parts of this? “Well, your mask will be ripped off, you may get a shot to the face with your regulator in your mouth, you’ll lose one if not both of your fins and they may try to untie your weights, all fun stuff,” he said.
Rosehaley recalled one instructor stretching his dual line gas line and tying an overhand knot in it which effectively blocked his air supply. He said that candidates have to keep their wits about them, remove the tanks and restore the air supply while maintaining their depth. “Pool Comp is a tough challenge and many of the guys who made it thru Hell Week didn’t have what it took there,” he said. “It was a life-changing experience.”
In should be remembered from the first part of the interview that the training he was going thru, some of the toughest in the military or anyone’s military for that matter was done when he was just months removed from high school. It isn’t often that men pass that course after having a few years of military experience. To do it right out of high school is quite an accomplishment these days.
In our final segment of the interview, we’ll talk about finishing out BUDS training, one terrifying sequence that he remembers and what life has been like post-Navy for Rosehaley. Including working for some high-profile celebrity clients and working as a professional security detail for a Hollywood film in Mexico.