CAPE CHARLES, Va. (WAVY) – The Navy SEALs have an expression “no man left behind.” A retired SEAL is now on a personal mission he says may be his most important one. It doesn’t use top secret equipment – just his running shoes.
“I don’t know of a more difficult job,” said Don Mann.
Mann says in his 18 years as a SEAL he never ran away from anything. “Absolutely not,” he added.
His journey took him to San Diego and then to Hampton Roads where he spent time in both SEAL Teams Two and Six.
“There is nothing else in the world I wanted to do,” Mann said. “I’ve never changed my mind on that.”
He admits his proudest moment actually happened years after he retired from the SEALs in 1989.
“I was in shock and overflowing with pride with those guys,” Mann added.
Mann wasn’t there, but he had a hand in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He trained several of the SEALS who were on that mission.
“They got the green light and they got on the helicopters,” he said. “They flew across the border and hours later they had him in a body bag.”
Now Mann strides towards a different mission. He started an organization called Frogman Charities geared towards helping SEALs and their families.
“The military members do not make a lot of money,” Mann said. “The lower enlisted really don’t make a lot of money and the families need financial aid.”
Mann’s latest project is having a virtual 5k to raise $1 million for fallen and wounded SEALs. What he is asking people to do is sign up for the 5k on his website and then go running when you have time.
“You make the promise to yourself that you’re going to do a 5k,” Mann added. “You do 3.1 mile run or possibly a 3.1 mile walk. Just go whenever you want.”
“There is nothing more meaningful to me to have a mission or an objective,” Mann said. “This is to a raise $1 million for charities.”