Frogmen Navy SEALs ride across country to raise awareness

A team of retired US Navy SEALs will embark on a mission this weekend, but instead of hiding in the dark of night, they’ll ride across the country on motorcycles, delivering an important message for fellow frogmen.

After four years of planning, the inauguration Twistin’ the Wrist for Frogmen Ride begins Saturday, March 5th, at Fort Pierce, Fla., the birthplace of the Navy SEALs.

Eight former SEALs travel to California, stopping at Harley-Davidson locations in Florida, the Gulf Coast, New Mexico, Arizona and ending at the USS Midway Museum San Diego.

“This is where we started. This is our home. That’s the mothership,” said retired Navy SEAL Jesse Clay of the Navy SEAL Museum at Fort Pierce.

The museum’s goal is to preserve the history and legacy of the SEALS and serve their families through the Trident House Charities Program. The motorcycle ride is designed to support the elite SEAL community and their families, and to raise awareness of the sacrifices SEALs endure for our freedom.

While a 3,000-mile motorcycle ride might be safer than some of their duties to protect their country, the group is spreading a critical message: how to support soldiers returning home.

“Our biggest thing is letting people know that when these guys come home, they have to show A. some respect and B. some understanding,” Clay said. “It’s like teaching a dog to bite, and suddenly the dog doesn’t have anyone to bite… Our goal is to help people reconnect with their families, let them know what we do and.” what we stand for Let them know they are protected.”

Navy SEAL and BUD (Basic Underwater Demolition) students participate in Log Physical Training during Hell Week.
Navy SEAL and BUD (Basic Underwater Demolition) students participate in Log Physical Training during Hell Week.
Eric S. Logsdon/Handout

Clay became a Navy SEAL in the 1980s and served in South America, Europe and the Middle East for approximately 14 years.

When he returned, Clay described going through what many veterans go through. He missed the camaraderie, the team atmosphere, and most importantly, the understanding of a teammate.

“When you’re part of the team, everything is great. You know, it’s high speed, low drag, and you’re working, and you have your brothers and your support, and it’s all good,” Clay said. “When you then leave this environment, everything is different.”

Jesse Clay during his years of service as a Navy SEAL. (Image credit: Jesse Clay/Navy SEAL Museum)

Clay said he was fortunate to meet some members of the Vietnam SEAL team who have become like family to him and have supported him when he needed it most. He has continued this circle of Brotherhood over the years.

Cross-country event flyer.
The retired Navy SEALs will depart on March 5th.

“I started training some of the young people to fight, and when they came back, I noticed that they were experiencing a lot of the same things I was,” he recalled. “Just like someone from the Vietnam era was there for me, I tried to be there for them when I came back from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.”

Clay continued his military involvement as an instructor with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, teaching courses for law enforcement and the military.

His love of motorcycles and sharing that knowledge led him to teach courses for Harley-Davidson and now he is teaming up with Harley and the Navy SEAL Museum for the first Twistin’ the Wrist for Frogmen ride, donated to the Trident House Charities Program Museum benefits.

Each stop along the ride will be at a Harley-Davidson dealership, where frogmen will be welcomed with open arms. Clay said they had so many offers to take her in that they had to turn down a few.

“The response has been incredible, but we only have so many days,” he said.

After a kick-off party in Daytona Beach at the Daytona International Speedway for Bike Week, the group begins the trek west to Panama City Beach and then New Orleans. They spend a night in Beaumont, Texas before continuing to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they will meet up with a special group of Marines.

US Navy SEAL candidates participate "Immerse yourself in surfing" during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California.
US Navy SEAL candidates participate in “surf immersion” during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California.
MC1 Anthony Walker/US Navy

Clay lights up as he talks about meeting the Navajo Code Talkers in New Mexico, referring to the group of American Indians who used the tribal language to send secret messages during both world wars.

“This is how we survived the First and Second World Wars. We’ve been successful at sending messages in their native language,” Clay said.

The voyage concludes March 17 at the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.

Once you become a SEAL, Clay said, never forget your fellow brethren, but that support extends to all military personnel.

“If you know anyone in the military — past or present — is going through a tough time, reach out to us, let us know,” Clay said.

The Navy SEAL Museum is a good place to go for someone looking for help. Clay said talking to another veteran is a good place to start.

“It’s interesting to see how easy it is for you to communicate with someone when they know you’ve been where they are, you’ve been in their skin, or understand what they’re going through,” Clay said. “That makes it pretty easy. Then many walls will fall.” Frogmen Navy SEALs ride across country to raise awareness


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