North Hutchinson Island

Hutchinson Island museum to dedicate SEAL memorial

Photo provided by the National Navy UDT SEAL Museum

By Joe Crankshaw - TCPalm

A larger than life-size, bronze statue depicting a fully equipped Navy SEAL, will become the center of a memorial to fallen Underwater Demolition Team men and Navy SEALs on May 28 at the National UDT-SEAL Museum on North Hutchinson Island.

“It will memorialize all who have given their lives in all wars,” said retired Navy Capt. Michael R, Howard, director of the museum. Howard is a retired SEAL. The acronym stands for Sea, Air and Land, where the highly trained special warriors fight.

The statue is by internationally known sculptor Roy Shifrin, whose works are displayed in Europe and the United States. It is the second bronze statue at the nationally recognized museum. The first, entitled “The Naked Warrior,” depicts a World War II UDT member who trained at the Naval Amphibious Training Station in Fort Pierce.

The contrast between the two statues illustrates how the specialized force has evolved. The World War II figure carries a sheaf knife, is clad in swimming trunks and flippers and carries a face mask. The statue of the modern SEAL has a breathing device, helmet, wet suit, flippers, communications gear and a firearm.

The new statue will be enclosed by a series of curved panels on which the names of all UDT and SEALs, who have died in service, will be engraved.

A brief ceremony will be conducted when the statue is installed, with a more formal activity planned for Memorial Day on May 31, said Howard.

The Hutchinson Island facility began as a museum to display treasure from the Spanish Plate Fleet of 1715, which sank during a hurricane off the Treasure Coast. It was one of two such museums, the second was the McClarty Museum in Sebastian.

After thieves stole treasure exhibits from the Sebastian Museum, the State Department of Natural Resources, which operated the two sites, shut down both of them in 1983.