Reel Story: Last weekend's box-office topper, "The Pacifier," may seem a bit familiar to movie fans who have seen "Kindergarten Cop," "Are We There Yet?" or any other fish-out-of-water film that follows tough guys who are stuck with a bunch of kids they can't handle (with hilarious results).
But for those in need of a refresher, in "The Pacifier," Vin Diesel is Shane Wolfe, a Navy SEAL who is all man and all business. The gruff and growly Wolfe is assigned to protect the Plummer brood, whose scientist father has been murdered by terrorists, and whose mother is overseas on a mission of her own. Although the kids have a quirky nanny (Carol Kane) to look after them, Wolfe is soon doing diaper duty and retrofitting his weapon-holders to keep baby formula at the ready. Of course, this warrior with a heart of gold not only befriends the older children -- a boy-crazy teenage girl (Brittany Snow) and the surly teenage son (Max Thieriot) -- he learns a few lessons of his own along the way.
Yes, we've seen it onscreen a dozen times, but would we ever see it in the real world even once? Would a Navy SEAL ever be dispatched to guard a bunch of civilian kids?
Real Story: No. Nope. No way. Never gonna happen.
According to a very amused spokesperson for the Naval Special Warfare Command, "It's not normal." In fact, "That sort of assignment is not something SEALs are ever assigned to do."
Navy SEALs (an acronym for SEa, Air and Land) are, according to the official Navy Web site (http://www.sealchallenge.navy.mil/seal/), "an individually reliable, collectively disciplined, and highly skilled maritime force." Because of the danger involved in their work, SEALs go through what is considered some of the toughest training in the world. To even enter special-operations training as a civilian, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 28 years old, have no felony convictions, be male, pass a diving physical, have 20/20 vision (with corrective lenses), pass a battery of tests and commit to a four-year enlistment. On top of that, only after boot camp and training in your area of specialty would you even be considered for the SEAL program.
SEALs conduct military actions that are beyond what the conventional military does -- combating terrorism, information warfare, foreign internal defense, counter-drug operations and reconnaissance. What differentiates SEALs from other forces is that their clandestine operations originate in, and return to, the sea. Impressive and terrifying sounding assignments, to be sure, but apparently not as daunting as diaper duty.
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