Story Number: NNS140815-10Release Date: 8/15/2014 2:48:00 PM
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (EXW) Brandon Raile, Naval Special Warfare Group 1 Public Affairs
CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The last active duty SEAL to have served in combat operations during the Vietnam War retired during a ceremony at Coronado, California, Aug. 14.
Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Kirby D. Horrell's career spanned nearly 47 years. He enlisted in the Navy Nov. 15, 1967 and attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) as part of Class 59 shortly thereafter.
Retired Capt. John McTighe, former teammate of Horrell, was a guest speaker for the ceremony and highlighted Horrell's impact on the on the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community.
"The accomplishments we've made since September 11, 2001 were made upon your actions," said McTighe. "We've built so much on your legacy."
Despite the personal recognition, Horrell shied away from discussing his own accomplishments, and instead focused on the impact of Vietnam-era SEALs, as a whole, on the NSW community.
"This ceremony isn't about me, this is really about all the SEALs who were in Vietnam," said Horrell. "It's about all of us who stood shoulder to shoulder fighting a very unpopular war. We built the foundation of NSW that everything today stands on."
After being piped over the side with his wife, Terri, at the ceremony's conclusion, Horrell asked the other members of Class 59 who were present to join him in being piped over the side as a team. One after another, more than a dozen SEALs filed across the red carpet to a standing ovation. With that final walk, Horrell concluded his Navy career surrounded by the very people with whom it had begun.
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