Former SEAL Joel Lambert Avoids Capture on Discovery Channel’s ‘Lone Target’

By Angel Canales

Feb 10, 2014 6:00am

A new Discovery Channel reality series shows Joel Lambert evading some of the world’s elite military and law enforcement tracking teams. Here’s his story.

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Joel Lambert trekking through the Panama forest. Barbini/Discovery Channel

Growing up in a small logging town on the Columbia River in Washington, Joel Lambert, the star of Discovery Channel’s “Lone Target,” remembers hearing stories about Navy SEALs that both fascinated and intrigue him.

“When I was a young kid my dad’s friend attempted SEAL training and didn’t make it through and he would come to the house and he would tell stories about what I know now is drown-proofing, where your hands are tied behind your back and your feet are tied up and you’re shoved in the deep end of the pool and forced to survive,” says Lambert.  ”I did a lot of research about the SEALs and did nothing but training for almost a year,” says Lambert.

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Joel Lambert's first Navy SEAL team. Courtesy Joel Lambert

As a kid, Joel always wanted to challenge himself and swim in the deep end of the pool. “I was the kid with the mask, fins and snorkel in the deep end by himself and I would think about that. It was a thing that used to scare me the most and something was pushing me,” says Lambert. Once he joined the Navy in January 1998, he got a chance to face that fear and challenge himself.

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Joel Lambert during explosives training. Courtesy Joel Lambert

Lambert decided that trying out to be a Navy SEAL would be the ultimate challenge he had been searching for. “It changed my DNA and everything about me for the better,” says Lambert. He made it through BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training and served for 10 years, eight of them on SEAL Teams 2 and 4. He went to Aviation Ordinance School in Pensacola, Fla., and then on to the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado Island, Calif.

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Joel Lambert in Kabul, Afghanistan. Courtesy Joel Lambert

Lambert served in combat missions and was deployed to Afghanistan, the European theatre and Kosovo. During his time with the SEALs, Lambert planned 20 combat missions; headed the mission critical ordnance department containing all weaponry and optics for 16 SEAL operators; and trained SEAL operators and foreign special operations personnel from Singapore, Thailand, Greece, Egypt, Germany, Netherlands and Estonia. His last two years in the SEALs, he was a BUD/S instructor and helped created a new generation of SEALs.

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Joel Lambert walking through the desert. Scott Sandman/Discovery Channel

Lambert is putting all his training skills to the test each week as the star of the new Discovery Channel reality series ‘Lone Target.” He gets to play hide-and-seek, evading some of the world’s most elite military and law enforcement tracking teams. “I like the fact that I can still be able to be who I am and was in the SEAL teams with the brotherhood and take it to a completely different scenario,” says Lambert.

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Joel Lambert intertwining twigs and sticks for a fire. Jason Cooper/Discovery Channel

Only carrying a backpack with a basic survival kit, Lambert has 48 hours or less to evade capture in each country using survival techniques he learned in the SEALs. After being dropped at an unknown secret starting point, crossing borders and piercing security, cameras follow him as he evades capture. “Aside from the entirely different scenario, it is the same at the core as the SEALs. That is the beauty of the challenge of an impossible situation, where it’s going to cost everything…that’s awesome.” says Lambert.

Lone Target airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

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, click here.

ABC News’ Video Editor Arthur Niemynski contributed to this story.

 

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