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Community honors life of retired SEAL, 'Survivor' star Rudy Boesch

A funeral service was held for retired Navy SEAL and competitor on the first season of Survivor.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Aug. 23, 2000, file photo, a group of "Survivor" contestants, break into laughter during a live town hall meeting at CBS Studios in Hollywood in Los Angeles. Survivors are, from left, bottom row, Susan Hawk, Rudy Boesch, Kelly Wiglesworth and Richard Hatch, covering his face, top row, Greg Buis, Jenna Lewis, Gervase Peterson, Colleen Haskell and Sean Kenniff. Boesch, a retired tough-as-nails Navy SEAL and fan favorite on the inaugural season of "Survivor," died Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 91. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Family, friends, shipmates, and fellow shipmates honored the life and service of retired Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate (SEAL) Rudolph “Rudy” Boesch at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Fort-Story base theater on December 3. 

RELATED: Rudy Boesch, early fan favorite on 'Survivor,' dies at 91

Boesch joined the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1944 at the age of 17, and one year later enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he spent the next 45 years on active duty. He immediately volunteered for Underwater Demolition Team training where his stellar performance led to his selection as one of the first U.S. Navy SEALs.

The U.S. Navy said Boesch retired in 1990 after serving two tours in Vietnam with SEAL Team Two and serving as Senior Enlisted Leader at United States Special Operations Command.

Throughout the ceremony on Tuesday, close friends and family recalled special moments and funny anecdotes that celebrated and honored Rudy’s life and legacy.

“Rudy was not just our senior enlisted leader for 26 years, he was SEAL Team Two,” said retired Vice Adm. Joseph Maguire, Acting Director of National Intelligence and previous SEAL Team Two Commanding Officer.

“Rudy set the standard of conduct for military bearing, for physical excellence and for dedication to mission, to team, to family and to the country that he loved. Rudy didn’t just set the standard for all of us. Rudy was the standard.”

In 2000, Boesch became famous across the U.S. after competing on the first season of Survivor where he finished in third place. Several years later he became the oldest contestant on the show when he was brought back for Survivor: All-Stars. Despite this newfound fame, the U.S. Navy said Boesch’s commitment to Naval Special Warfare never wavered.

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