Monday, April 16, 2012
"In the Bullpen" with @phillydi - From Navy Seal to NCIS Agent - Sam Hanna
Have you ever wondered what type of man becomes a Navy Seal? Sam Hanna was a legend during his time spent as a Chief Petty Officer and Navy Seal. But what’s myth and what’s fact? I’ve asked fan fiction writer Sweet Lu to join me in taking a revealing look at the man behind the hero and what it’s like to be a member of one of the most elite clubs in the world.
I was lucky and honored in my past life to work for the US Navy for 10 year at the Navy Family Service Center (NFSC) in Little Creek, Virginia which serves as the headquarters for Naval Special Warfare Group Two, and most notably Seal Team 2. One of my jobs was to act as liaison between the various commands at Little Creek and the NFSC. During that time I was assigned to Seal Team 2 which is the only team with arctic warfare capabilities, setting them apart from all others. I treasured the time I spent working with the team and their families. As liaison I was there to act as a resource for the military members and their family and I got to see firsthand the challenges these families face while serving their country.
Although this group is often mythologized, these men are a breed unto themselves. These super, Type ‘A’ personalities are born… not made. They are the Navy’s elite of the elite and they come from all walks of life to join the most exclusive fraternity in the world. During my time spent with the team, I found out they are experts at being experts. They speak multiple languages and have some advance training in nuclear engineering (in case they need to disarm a bomb!). This covert group of men can probably outperform many of their Ivy Leagues counterparts when it comes to smarts. They are highly dedicated, motivated, cocky, confident and stubborn human beings. Sound like somebody we know? Like Sam, their signature trait is toughness and as we watched in Vengeance, these men will never jeopardize the team mission or compromise lives.
From Navy Seal to NCIS Special Agent
Once Navy Seals leave the team and go to work in the civilian world, it’s hard to leave that bad-ass life behind. You won’t find them taking a job at Home Depot. They usually stay in the covert business and Sam was no different. Sam takes many of the skills and traits he honed during the time spent as a Navy Seal to his second career as an NCIS special agent. Sam Hanna always appears to be calm, no matter the situation. We know he meditates, and Callen once wondered if he even had a blood pressure. He is a rock, and the team’s moral center as well; always steadfast, always seeking the truth no matter what the cost. He’s strong and unmovable when he believes what he is doing is right. Callen may be the leader, but Sam is the one who anchors Callen and therefore the team.
His job as an undercover agent forces him to make hard choices every day that can affect his moral compass. In Betrayal, he convinces Jada that he loves her in order to bring down her brother. His moral dilemma, though difficult to reconcile, doesn’t keep him from doing his job, but we see a deep sadness in him due to this deception. But Sam does what he has to do at whatever the personal cost to his soul.
Toughness vs. Paternal Instincts?
Sam is a tough man, and can be very intimidating when he wants to be. But he can also become emotionally attached to people he feels responsible for. He befriends a Sudanese orphan after killing his father but is inconsolable when the young man is murdered. He puts himself in danger to bring the man responsible for Moe’s death to justice. Is he seeking justice or revenge? But honor is important to Sam and his choice will always be justice. He is also protective of the other members of the team. Seeing Kensi as a younger sister, he feels it’s his duty to look out for her well being even knowing what a strong and resourceful woman she is. Although it took a while to warm up to Deeks and his easy going demeanor, Sam recognized that the LAPD detective made the team stronger and more cohesive, and that made all the difference to Sam. In Patriot Acts, Sam even initiated the good-natured teasing, playfully tapping Deeks on the head and telling him he promised Hetty to keep him in line! A fun side of this tough Special Agent was revealed!
Strong Sense of Camaraderie
He is a loyal and steadfast partner that believes in the strength of working as a team. Sam is so serious about being a good partner that he would do anything for Callen. In return, Callen loves Sam and would give his life for him. They are brothers in every sense of the word. Sam is always concerned that Callen isn’t taking care of himself. He chides him to eat right, to wait for backup and not go off on his own. He loves to banter with his partner and misses him when they are apart, in fact getting grumpy and even angry if his partner goes it alone.
Seals know that they are more likely to die with their team mates than with a family member. Seal families have to make extreme sacrifices in the name of national security and it’s usually a thankless job. Seals can be called away at a moment’s notice and without a word to their family. Sometimes they can be away for 200 days out of the year. It’s no wonder that the divorce rate among Seals first marriages is 90%. It’s a testimony to Sam that he was able to juggle the sacrifices he made to his country as a Seal while maintaining a strong family base. Even now as a NCIS agent, Sam’s family can still never know the top-secret nature of his work. They weren’t able to talk to the outside world about the parameters of his job as a Seal and they still can’t as he goes undercover for NCIS. It’s a tough life and not recommended for the faint of heart.
As a former Navy SEAL, Sam still lives by their code of honor and is very proud to have served his country. They don’t fail and they don’t quit. Sam demands this from himself and everyone around him. Like most Navy Seals he has swagger and doesn’t hesitate to brag to his partner he was once known as an international brand. Sam comes from the most exclusive fraternity on the planet, and NCIS, and his friends and family all benefit from knowing and working with this extraordinary man.
Thanks go out to Sweet Lou for helping me with this portrait of Sam Hanna and US Navy Seals. Check out her latest fan fic Going Dark on www.fanfiction.net. See you next time In the Bullpen!
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