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.
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.