SAN DIEGO – For a young high school student interested in literature and the arts, training Navy Seals still seemed more interesting than writing books. And that’s how former Navy Seal Rorke Denver became part of a small cadre of elite soldiers.
“Like a lot of young men, I didn’t know what to do. My dad sent me a copy of Winston Churchill’s ”My Early Life,” where he talks about his entrance to the military as a young officer in the British military, and that book served as a call to action. It is what brought me to the military,” says Denver.
Denver went on to become a top U.S. Navy Seal trainer and the executive officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center’s Advanced Training Command.
“You have to push so hard to become part of that brotherhood that once you make it, once you get there you do feel that you entered into something that is special, that is rare for people to experience and is made for a select few,” says Denver.
Denver spent 14 years in active duty, ran every phase of training for the U.S. Navy Seals, leading special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He received several awards along the way.
It was when he was on active duty that Denver got a chance to practice another craft, this time in the arts. He played himself as Assault Platoon Team Leader Lt. Commander Rorke in “Act of Valor,” a 2012 movie that used active duty Seals as actors and went on to gross $80 million at the box office. “It was a very unique film; we were all on active duty military orders to support that film.”
But Denver always loved literature, reading and writing, and after a great career in the Navy, he wanted to write a book to share his experience. “I always loved writing, and I’m more of an art and literary guy than I am a math and science guy,” says Denver.
He wrote “Damn Few: Making the Modern Seal Warrior,” and this biographical tale about battle and relationships and what it means to be a U.S. Navy Seal became a New York Times best seller.
“Writing ‘Damn Few: Making the Modern Seal Warrior’ has been a treat. I always wanted to write and got to a time in my career where I thought I had something to write about. I wanted to share lessons from the battlefield and lessons from how we learn and select and prepare Seals for war,” Denver says about the book.
Denver has also become a motivational speaker. “You just can’t quit in the line of work I did in the military, and not quitting in your next life is a huge force. If you just don’t quit at some point there a good chance you’re going to see success.”
Second Tour is an ABC News digital series profiling the lives of military veterans who are doing unique things in the civilian world. For more stories visit http://abcnews.go.com/US/Second_Tour/.