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‘Black Hawk Down’ member to speak

By the time Andalusia educators have heard the stories of the man who will address them at their first-of-the-year assembly Tuesday, teaching might seem a whole lot easier by comparison.

Dr. Howard Wasdin is a chiropractor. But in a previous life in the Navy, he was not just a Navy SEAL, but a member of the elite SEAL Team 6.

Wasdin was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, and the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in action. He was wounded three times in “Operation Gothic Serpent,” in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993, an incident commonly known as “Black Hawk Down,” nick-named after the story depicted by Mark Bowden in his book and movie of the same name.

Wasdin

Wasdin

Brook Blair, an administrative assistant for Andalusia City Schools who coordinated the event, said she set out looking for a member of the military special forces.

“We are focusing on team building,” she said. “I wanted to find a member of a tight-knit group, who had each other’s back, no matter what. They are dependent upon each other for their very lives.”

The City of Andalusia partnered with the schools to bring Dr. Wasdin here, and city employees also will hear his speech.

“I think there is a great deal to be learned from someone who has dedicated his life to so much discipline and goal-setting,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “All of us can gain something from that, and certainly our city employees, whose main goal is to serve our citizens. Someone of his background should certainly be able to share need for goal setting, discipline, and service of others.”

Wasdin is the co-author of several books about SEAL Team 6, including “SEAL Team Six – Memoirs of an elite Navy SEAL sniper,” which he co-wrote with Stephen Templin. The young adult version of the book was recognized by the American Library Association as a standout for encouraging “reluctant young readers” to read.

Wasdin will autograph the books, which are available in the school system’s central office, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Andalusia High School library. The public is invited to meet him there.