There are many drawbacks to being married to a military guy: you don't have much money, you have little control over where you live, you worry he could get killed in a war no one supports, etc etc etc. But one of the military spouse's simple pleasures, when her man is downrange, is being able to one-up the other wives with her husband's job. Oh, your husband is military police? Well mine is infantry. Mmhmm. Oh yes MPs are really badass. You keep telling yourself that, hon.
Now that all of America is suddenly aware of the super hero manliness of the Navy SEALs, everyone can join in with some military wives in basking in the reflected manliness. The Washington Post's Fredrick Kunkle reports that the entire town of Virginia Beach, home to the SEALs, is doing just that. Within military culture, the hierarchy of manliness goes something like: 1. special forces, 2. infantry, 3. other combat arms, 4. everyone else. SEALs are the specialest of special forces.
"Almost everyone has a military pedigree in this Navy town, so almost everyone claims to know a SEAL, a former SEAL or somebody else who does," Kunkle writes of Virginia Beach. "[A]ll those years of speculation about bin Laden's whereabouts have been replaced by a new post-Sept. 11 mystery: Where is the SEAL, or SEALs, who put the bullets in bin Laden? Someone has to know around here."
Kunkle spoke to several Virginia Beach locals who spoke reverentially of the SEALs (pictured above on a 2002 training mission in the Philippines). They're tattooed and ripped and "All they want to do is pick up babes," one bar owner said. Kunkle explains, "Even apparently well-grounded adults talk about the SEALs as the closest thing we know to comic book characters: They have superhuman powers to withstand cold, heights and fear! They have secret identities! They dive into the sea from submarines and leap from airplanes at 30,000 feet! ... And such good manners!"