Members of SEAL Team 1 gathered this month to commemorate and honor SEAL Team 1′s first commanding officer, Capt. David “Dave” Del Giudice, who died in May at age 88.
Del Guidice’s wife, sons and former roommate joined SEAL Team 1 at San Clemente Island Sept. 16 to visit the training areas where Navy SEALs are made and to exchange memories of the legendary leader.
“The Naval Special Warfare community lost a treasured teammate and one of SEAL Team’s consummate professionals with the passing of Dave Del Giudice,” said Rear Adm. H.W. Howard, commander of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command, according to a Navy news release shortly his death. “He will be remembered as a quiet professional, one who shaped our history, upholding the tenants of our Ethos and serving as an inspiration to those he led.”
At the memorial service, four members of SEAL Team 1 spread Del Giudice’s ashes as they swam off the coast of San Clemente Island. They also gave his wife a folded U.S. flag, SEAL Trident and SEAL Team 1 command coin once they returned.
“Now that he has moved out to his final pick-up line for extract, we can say with confidence that his work on Earth is done; he’s run his race well, and his mission is complete,” Navy chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Griffin said during the memorial service, according to the news release.
Also present at the ceremony was Del Giudice’s friend, retired Lt. Cmdr. Timothy “Tad” A. Devine, who was roommates with Del Giudice during Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training in 1958.
After UDT/R training, Del Giudice was assigned to Underwater Demolition Team 12, where he served as the team’s platoon commander, officer in charge and executive officer, and deployed to Vietnam. While there, he was the assistant flotilla commander and worked with 10 other members of UDT 12 to supply the Laotian government with landing craft through the Mekong River.
This experience was crucial when then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Arleigh Burke authorized the establishment of SEAL teams in December 1961. He tapped Del Giudice as commanding officer of SEAL Team 1.
Del Giudice returned to Vietnam in January 1962, and was tasked with helping to train Vietnamese Coastal Force personnel in reconnaissance and guerilla warfare, and how to train future classes of the Biet Hai [Special Sea Force] commandos.
Altogether, Del Giudice served in the Navy for 24 years and assignments after his time as CO of SEAL Team 1 included serving as the budget sponsor for Naval Inshore Warfare Commands in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and as the first operations officer for Naval Special Warfare Group 1′s predecessor, Naval Operations Support Group Pacific.
Del Guidice’s last assignment was as commanding officer of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California. He retired in 1978.
U.S. Special Operations Command, established in 1987, chose Del Giudice as a Commando Hall of Honor awardee in 2010.