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SEAL-mania grips nation in wake of bin Laden raid

Navy SEALs conduct immediate action drills at the John C. Stennis Space Center. The drills are a part of the SEALs pre-deployment training. Navy SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Operations Command and are trained to conduct a variety of operations from the sea, air and land.

JOHN SCORZA/COURTESY U.S. NAVY

By Published: May 16, 2011

Joe Stumpf snaps the 115-pound barbell up to his chest and swiftly lifts it over his head, The Associated Press writes, holding it with gritting teeth and locked arms as sweat streams down from his gray hair line.

The barbell hits the ground in a clang seconds later. After eight reps, the 54-year-old businessman dressed in camouflage pants rushes to the next excruciating exercise.

Stumpf is one of a growing number of Americans putting themselves through grueling fitness programs modeled after Navy SEAL workouts as interest in the elite military unit has soared since one of its teams killed Osama bin Laden. Everyone these days seems to be dreaming of what it's like to be a SEAL, know a SEAL or at least look like one.

Book publishers say they cannot order the printings of the memoirs of former SEALs fast enough, while people are dialing 1-800-Hooyah! like mad to get their hands on T-shirts emblazoned with the SEAL insignia and sayings like: "When it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight! Call in the US Navy SEALs."

Awe over the covert operation is even putting the city of Fort Pierce, Fla., on the map for vacation destinations, according to the AP. The city's National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum - the only museum dedicated to the secretive SEALs - has been flooded with calls from people planning to visit.

But nothing short of joining the SEALs offers a more true-to-life taste of their toughness than the workout places run by ex-Navy commandos.

"Every little boy has got a SEAL in them," Stumpf joked after completing one of the workouts in Southern California.

Read more about SEAL-mania sweeping the nation by the Associated Press.

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