About The Exhibit Title

“I MET A NAVY SEAL”

The year: 2000
The place: a dinner party
The conversation: “What do you do for a living?”

When Stephanie Freid-Perenchio telephoned her longtime friend, Jennifer Walton the next morning, she said, “I met a Navy SEAL.” The following year, 9/11 changed the world, and unbeknownst to Stephanie, this introduction and that event would transform her life as a documentary photographer, and result in the collaboration and the book, SEAL - The Unspoken Sacrifice.

With an unprecedented level of access and an invitation to earn their trust, the two women shared a rare opportunity to observe the US Navy SEALs and their families during the seven-year project. Their promise ~ to document without compromise the ordinary lives of extraordinary Navy SEALs. The result is an American story of military service, and a historical portrait of the Naval Special Warfare community.

The timeless black and white photographs are the signatures of men who prepare for the unknown with strength, honor, courage, commitment, and a desire to operate at the highest level, both mentally and physically. Their investment is uncommon, and builds upon the legacy of this elite maritime military force identified by their high profile missions, targets, and locations.

Since the birth of the Navy SEAL Teams in 1962, many tactics, techniques, and procedures have changed, however, the foundation of family, faith, and community remain at the forefront of their lives as passionate husbands, fathers, and sons. These powerful, yet intimate photographs captured during training, deployment, and indescribable sacrifice are reminiscent of those from decades past. They reflect the bonds of brotherhood, the undeniable scars of combat, and the inherited schedules of worldwide Special Operations then, today, and tomorrow.

The magnitude of these experiences are bound and bonded in memory and in remembrance.The journey taken by Team wives, their children, and the authors is included in the SEAL ethos ~“My word is my bond,” - it exemplifies the gravity of what it means to be present among those who aspire to be nothing but the best and willingly sacrifice their lives for the protection of others.

Universally recognized as unbeatable warriors destined for acts of bravery few can imagine, Navy SEALs bestow upon our nation the single most prized gift - our freedom.

SEAL The Unspoken Sacrifice is the story of those men whose depth of duty is unsurpassed and for whom we will continue to gratefully acknowledge with our loyalty and love.

“The strongest muscle is the heart.”

Photos from the May 15 opening at The Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Through the eyes of a SEAL

SEALs and the family members of SEALs describe what it takes to be that special breed of warrior.

The legacy of a SEAL

Family members remember their fallen SEALs as sons, husbands, and fathers. They reflect on the legacy left behind by these quiet warriors who gave their lives serving their country with honor.