Ever since I was about 13 years old, I wanted to be a Navy SEAL. I read every SEAL book I could get my hands on, bought the T-Shirts, and even had a SEAL flag hanging above my bed for a few years.
The pinnacle of my desire to be in the SEALS was when a certain documentary came out around the year I graduated high school (1999).
That documentary was none other than “BUD/S Class 234“, which aired on the discovery channel.
I would post the full documentary here, but every time it’s posted to Youtube inevitably it gets taken down.
The documentary closely followed a BUD/S class from 1st phase, all the way through their graduation.
It documented the trials, tribulations, and sheer pain and suffering that each man endured, and is one of my favorite documentaries to this day.
I taped it on a VHS (that actually used to be a thing, millennials…), and watched it so many times that the audio and video quality of that same tape now is terrible, to say the least.
Needless to say, I never ended up going to BUD/S, or even joining the Navy for that matter.
Related Article: Top 20 Reasons To Join The Military (And 7 Reasons NOT To)
I recently stumbled across the documentary on Youtube just a few weeks ago, and gave it another watch.
It got me thinking, what ever happened to these guys?
Who made it through BUD/S and who didn’t?
What did they end up doing with their lives?
Where are they now?
Throughout this post, we’ll talk about each candidate that I could successfully find information on.
I scoured countless reddit posts, linkedin profiles, archived newspaper articles, youtube videos, etc.
I tried to not include anything that could possibly be deemed classified / sensitive information, keeping their current locations secret.
Also, one of the guys from class 234 (Josh Demeter) personally reached out to me and gave me the inside scoop on some of these guys. (thanks for that Josh!)
You’ll see that info under “Insider Scoop” of each guy.
Again, I tried to keep out the most private of information.
BUD/S Class 234 Statistics
Original class size: 80
How many original students graduated (no rollbacks): 17
Class 234 roll ins graduated: 8
Total class graduation size: 25
Graduation Date: June 1, 2001.
Here’s a copy of the graduation program that I obtained:
Lt. Tarey Gettys
Originally from Irvine, CA.
Gettys was probably the most filmed candidate in the documentary.
As the highest ranking member of the class, he was also incidentally the officer in charge (the OIC).
As the OIC, the instructors paid him a lot of (unwanted on his part, most likely) attention.
Not unusual for any BUD/S class, but as a result of his position in the class, he also got a lot of camera time.
Where is Tarey Gettys now?
According to his LinkedIn profile, Gettys is both an investor and board observer for GIS Strategic Ventures.
GIS is a strategic initiative arm of Guardian life insurance, one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the US. (Source)
Prior to that, he had an 8 month stint as a General Manager of Vievu, a company that specializes in body cameras and other video technologies.
IT3 Travis Lively
Originally from Erving, MA.
Lively was probably one of the most memorable characters from BUD/S class 234.
He earned a reputation for not only being quick witted and camera-friendly, but by all accounts was one of the most well-liked students in the class.
In fact, he was one of my personal favorites (not that you care, anyway 😉
Where Is Travis Lively Now?
After serving over 10 years as a Navy SEAL, Lively worked as a subject matter expert in the tactical employment of UAS / UAV aircraft.
He also went on to become a professional screenwriter and producer, most notably a cameo in the documentary “Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story”.
He (along with several of his other classmates) can also be seen briefly in the opening scene from the movie “Lone Survivor”.
I haven’t spoken with Lively in a few years, but I know that he is focusing more on the production and screenwriting projects that he has now. He used to have a pretty active Facebook account, but most of the guys scaled back on social media after Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty were killed. There was a lot of information going around that wasn’t positive.
ET1 Luis Rivera
Originally from Luling, LA.
Rivera was the class LPO, or leading petty officer, and at 29 years of age, one of the oldest in the class.
He was probably best known for not only his tenacity, but also for the fact that it was his 3rd attempt at BUD/S.
Rivera was known as a class motivator, pushing other students to overcome their own mental and physical boundaries.
In fact, he was such a motivating figure that his class nickname was “Mom”.
He was also, incidentally, the honor man for BUD/S Class 234.
After graduating from BUD/S class 234, Rivera moved on to SEAL Team 3 Alpha Platoon and served as a platoon chief.
He ended up serving 24 years and 8 months, retiring as a Senior Chief in March of 2015.
Where Is Luis Rivera Now?
Rivera actually has led a very interesting, if not challenging, life.
I won’t get in to the details here, but if you’d like to read his full story check out his bio on this site.
Rivera is like the textbook definition of bad ass, and a true hero. Watch his story below:
ENS Justin Legg
Originally from Spotswood, NJ.
Justin Legg was another class favorite, and received a decent amount of camera time.
The first few times I watched it, I was always getting Legg and Gettys mixed up because they looked so alike (at least in my eyes).
Justin Legg graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2000 with a degree in Systems Engineering.
He actually started with BUD/S class 233, but on the Saturday morning before hell week started he ended up in the hospital with an unknown injury.
He was rolled to Class 234, where he ended up graduating.
Where Is Justin Legg Now?
Legg has a really long story, almost to the point where I’ve thought about writing up a full “Where is Legg now” article.
I’ll probably do that at some point.
To make that long story short, he ended up deploying to the middle east twice, including a 7 month tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Source)
He also works as a motivational speaker, check out this recent interview he did with Team Never Quit below.
If you could take Leggs’ motivation / never quit attitude and bottle it up, you could make millions.
A truly remarkable man and story.
Petty officer Ryan Bischoff successfully completed hell week with Class 234, but was having some issues during dive phase (phase 2) of training.
After numerous unsuccessful attempts at passing pool comp, he was rolled to BUD/S class 235 and ordered to start on Week 1 day 1.
He ended up graduating with Class 235 and moving on to the teams, serving from August 1999 to January 2004.
Where Is Ryan Bischoff Now?
According to his LinkedIn page, Bischoff currently resides in his hometown of Juneau, Alaska.
Upon discharge from the Navy, he served a brief stint as a Protective Security Specialist with a a private security company called Triple Canopy.
Bischoff has been working as a journeyman for Alaska Electric Light And Power Company (AEL&P) as a journeyman since 2006.
I ran into Bischoff in San Diego (Clairmont Mesa) a few years after BUDs. He wasn’t working at Triple Canopy quite yet. Instead, he was running personal protection for someone in Beverly Hills. He was just getting ready to make the transition to Triple Canopy.
IS3 Eric Potter
Originally from Aurora, CO.
Potter was made famous in the movie “Lone Survivor”, successfully answering a math question posed by Instructor Patstone.
You might remember it, but here’s the clip in case you don’t:
He was also the dude that was discovered to have an underweight pack in Phase 3 (land warfare), along with Lively.
Where Is Potter Now?
I couldn’t find a ton of info on Potter, only that he did indeed graduate and eventually ended up at an SDV team in Hawaii. (Source)
According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s still actively serving in the Navy.
Update (4/5/2019): I recently learned that Potter was promoted to Senior Chief. (thanks Kevin!)
IS3 Steve Chayra
Originally from Las Vegas, NV.
I don’t remember Chayra as much I as I remember Legg, Gettys, or Rivera, but that could just be because he didn’t seem to get that much camera time.
Chayra served as a SEAL until 2006.
Where Is Steve Chayra Now?
After completing his time in the SEALS, Chayra moved on to personal security and protection for high net worth individuals.
According to his LinkedIn page, Chayra is now a business owner at Red Road Training.
Red Road Training specializes in personal transformation of mind and body strength, and Chayra has personally worked with professional athletes (like Giants Defensive End Romeo Okwara), and
There’s actually a really interesting interview with Chayra on Youtube, check it out below:
ENS Brad Kolarov
Originally from Poway, CA.
Kolarov always struck me as a very intelligent guy. In one scene in the BUD/S class 234 documentary, each boat crew was instructed to complete a task.
I can’t remember exactly what the task was, but it involved log PT.
Out of all of the boat crews, Kolarovs’ crew was the only one that completed the task exactly as it was assigned.
Attention to detail…
Upon graduating BUD/S class 234, Kolarov was assigned to SEAL Team 7. He served for 9 years, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Where Is Brad Kolarov Now?
According to his LinkedIn page, Kolarov is now a managing partner and co-founder of B23, a software development company located in the Washington D.C. metro area.
Prior to that, he was an account executive at Amazon web services for 3 years. (Source)
BM3 Justin Carr
Originally from Bolingbrook, IL.
Justin Carr is another one of the students that received limited camera time, but he did in fact graduate with class 234.
Where Is Justin Carr Now?
After completing his time as a SEAL, Carr earned his doctor of pharmacy from the Univ. of Iowa in 2013.
Carr is now a pharmacist for the California Department of Corrections at Salinas Valley State Prison.
You can read his full bio here.
ENS Stephen Holley, Jr.
Originally from Dallas, TX.
Holley didn’t get that much camera time either, but he did in fact graduate from Class 234.
Prior to BUD/S, he graduated from the US Naval Academy.
After graduating, he served as a SEAL officer at SEAL Team 5 for 5 years, a completed four deployments to Iraq and Southeast Asia. (Source)
Where Is Stephen Holley Now?
After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Holley went on to co-found a company called Trident Response Group, a risk management firm. (Source)
After a few stints in commercial real estate, Holley ultimately founded a non profit organization called “Carry The Load” in 2011. (Source)
He also founded a company called SixSite, a line of hunting gear. (Source)
He was recently interviewed by Valor Magazine, check it out below:
ENS Bradley Geary
I always thought Geary kind of looked like Steve-O from “Jackass”.
Originally I wasn’t sure if Geary graduated with Class 234, but I do know for a fact that he did become a Navy SEAL.
It wasn’t until I acquired the graduation program that I confirmed he in fact did graduate 234.
An interesting fact about Geary is that he was actually a very accomplished swimmer before his time in the Navy.
According to one story I read on Facebook, he actually won a berth to the Olympic trials, but missed a slot on the team by 2/100ths of a second. (Source)
He attended BUD/S class 234 after graduating from the US Naval Academy.
Where Is Brad Geary Now?
I couldn’t find any recent information on him, other than this Youtube video.
One article quoted him talking about fallen SEAL Danny Dietz, and the article mentions that he served with him.
Since Dietz was assigned to SDV 2 in Virginia Beach, we can infer that Geary likely made his way to SDV 2 after BUD/S and SQT.
I’m not sure if Brad Geary made it over to the east coast or not. I know that I spoke with him a little while after BUDs and he and his wife were living in [redacted]. I don’t remember what Team he was assigned to; just that he was doing something like Herbalife on the side.
While he didn’t get as much camera time as some of the others, Picchione was another popular guy in the class.
I couldn’t find whether or not Picchione graduated with Class 234, but he did ultimately become a Navy SEAL.
Where Is Lou Picchione Now?
Picchione spent 5 years active duty in the SEALS, and went on to work in executive protection with Alexander Global Strategies.
You can read his bio here.
STG2 Danny Fox
Originally from Williamsville, MO.
Fox successfully graduated BUD/S class 234, and is still serving as an Active-duty SEAL.
From an update I received, he is now serving as a Master Chief. (thanks Kevin!)
EN3 Michael Morgan, Jr.
Originally from Dewitt, Michigan.
Morgan was the student who couldn’t breath through his mouth when his face mask was full of water.
He eventually overcame his issues with the help of the instructors, and graduated from Class 234.
I couldn’t find any further information on him.
STG3 Andrew Rosebrough
Originally from Columbia, MD. At 17 years old, Rosebrough was the youngest student in class 234.
I believe he graduated 234 at the age of 18, however.
In fact, if I had to take an educated guess, I don’t think it is.
ENS Zachary Ruthven
Ruthven was another candidate that didn’t get much camera time. In fact, I don’t recall seeing him at all, and I must have watched the documentary several hundred times.
Growing up in Edwardsville, Illinois, Ruthven was actually began SEAL training in an earlier BUD/S class, and was rolled back to 234 because of an injury. (Source)
GMSN Matthew Creedican
Originally from Bend, OR. Graduated class 234, whereabouts unknown.
GM3 Jeremy Crispino
Originally from Baltimore, MD. Graduated Class 234, E5 gunners mate. Started his own company called FabShop NDT, which specializes in advanced ultrasonic inspection. (Source)
Now living in Texas.
STG2 Aaron Justiss
Originally from Alabaster, AL. Graduated BUD/S Class 234. No other information found.
PR3 Shawn Fasano
Originally from Boise, Idaho. Graduated but whereabouts unknown.
EMFN Daniel Spinowitz
Originally from Brick, NJ. Graduated but whereabouts unknown.
AO3 Charles Ingeneri
Originally from Flanders, NJ. Graduated BUD/S Class 234. No information found.
ENS Eric Hu
Originally from Menlo Park, CA. Graduated BUD/S Class 234. No information found.
ENS Jason Pace
Originally from Irvine, CA. Graduated BUD/S Class 234. Previously attended and graduated from the US Naval Academy.
Was awarded All American honors in 2000 on the Naval Academy’s water polo team, and also broke school records as a sophomore. (Source)
Current whereabouts unknown.
IC3 Zachary Haas
Originally from Dana Point, CA. No information found.
IS3 Robert Holland
Originally from Fresno, CA. Graduated Class 234, no information found.
GMSA David Lane
Originally from La Mirada, CA.
Dropped First Phase
Alvarez, Chaney, Butters, Donaldson, Jackson, Macgranahan, Crider, Nowlin, Maust, Gumbuyan, Cirbo, Moseley, Gaines, Mccorkindal, Jackson, Mcgeehan, Schaffer, Cirbo, Griffiths, Banda, Gaines, Green, Prow, Rogers, Mcphereson, Wulfsberg, Perron, Shoemaker, Schimmel, Buck, Koth.
Demeter dropped in first phase, an ultimately became a rescue swimmer for the US Navy. According to his Linkedin profile, he’s now a branch manager at American Financial Network, Inc. in Washington state.
Demeter actually reached out to me via email today to clarify his story, here’s what he had to say:
The reason you don’t recognize some names or didn’t see them in the documentary is because the class was ever evolving. I actually had orders to Class 233. 6 of us that showed up for 233 were immediately “rolled” into class 234.
We shadowed 233 through Indoc and 1st phase and helped out with their Hellweek before classing up with 234’s Indoc.
234 actually started out with 125 students. Only 83 made it through Indoc and into 1st phase.
Of the 25 graduates of 234, only 12 were from the original class. We had people rolling in and out of the class throughout the phases.
None of us were happy about the cameras and that included the instructors. Discovery Channel mailed out copies of the final cut to a few people (I was one of the recipients).
Take what you see with a grain of salt; the experience was quite different than what was shown on TV.
I hurt my knee in 1st phase and quit. The cadre there liked me enough to fly me out to San Clemente for a few weeks to run OPFOR (opposition force) with a team of 5 students who had dropped from 233.
We set up watch stations and patrols to try and stop Team 5, Foxtrot platoon from “gathering intelligence” on a water tower acting as a communications array.
We did well enough to impress some of Team 5 and they coordinated for me to get orders there in a support role for my surgery and recovery. I had 2 surgeries on my knee – one in January of 2001 and one in March.
I was assigned over at Team 5 until March of 2002 when I failed my sea duty screening. At that point, the Navy rendered me “non-deployable” and medically separated me.
I was able to get a job at Sea World in San Diego that May and worked there as a dolphin trainer until January of 2004. Then, I went to work for SAIC in their bio-solutions division training dolphins for EOD Mobile Unit 3.
Two former BUDs instructors had just opened up a company called Silver Strand Sea Sports. Their idea was to take the diving from 2nd Phase and teach it to civilians.
SAIC sent me over to test their program and it was fantastic. I ended up with my closed-circuit certification and a little taste of what 2nd Phase must have been like (without the Wheel of Pain).
I bounced around to a few jobs after that before getting into the mortgage industry. In 2010, a recruiter was able to get me into the Navy reserves (with a 40 page waiver).
I found myself stationed back on NAB, Coronado, but this time with ACB-1 (Amphibious Construction Battalion 1).
I was still working residential mortgages while I was in the reserves and recently transitioned back to active duty Navy in May of 2018.
I’m now stationed in San Diego on the USS New Orleans (LPD-18).
Other BUD/S Class 234 Students
The following students dropped during the first phase Coronado bay swim:
Carroll, Evans, Hopkins, Sutton, Wellens.
Dropped / Rolled During Hell Week
Dropped on Monday: Walker, Russell, Demski, Casey, Welch, Carter, Hoffman.
Instructor Terence Patstone
Terry Patstone was probably my favorite BUD/S class 234 instructor.
In fact, he seems to be a favorite for a lot of guys, some even going to the lengths of drawing a sketch of him.
Even though he came off like a badass, there was just something about Patstone that told me he was the kind of guy that had a “tough but fair” mentality.
In a recent AMA with Justin Legg on Reddit, he was asked what Patstone was like.
Legg didn’t mince words at all, noting that he was a no-nonsense dude who would lay off you if you put out, or tear you up if you didn’t.
Here’s his full answer:
Great dude. He was no nonsense. If you did good, he laid off, if you were lagging, he tuned you up. I had an epic wrestling match with him in the pool during life saving drills and I had to “save” him. He put dive weights in his cargo pockets and fought me the whole way to the edge of the pool. But if wrestled 10 years longer than him and I wrestled through college, he finished in high school. It wasn’t fair to him.
It was very difficult to find any current information on him, but one Reddit thread mentioned that he became a rugby coach.
The only evidence I found to support that was this article.
Instructor Ken Taylor
After Patstone, my other favorite instructor was Instructor Taylor. He seemed like genuinely a nice guy (I’m sure most of the instructors are, tbh), and seemed to be more of a motivator than a punisher.
According to his bio on METal International, Instructor Taylor retired from the US Navy in 2003 as a senior chief petty officer.
Previously he served on 2 SEAL teams, and deployed to locations like The Persian Gulf, Puerto Rico, Korea, and Jordan.
He also played a brief role in the movie “The Objective”, which you can watch on Youtube here.
You can see him first at around the 2 min. 45 sec. mark, see below:
After retiring from the Navy, he went to work for a company called TRX, which makes suspension weight training devices.
He presently works as West Coast Operations Manager for Horizon Performance, a “consulting and SAAS company that delivers cutting edge human assessment and development solutions to elite teams that work in high-impact activities and challenging or uncertain environments.”
Instructor Paul Robinson
“Take care of the gear, gear takes care of you”.
Instructor Robinson served as a Navy SEAL for 25 years, and at one point was a chief of operations.
After retiring from the Navy, he went on to co-found a company called Six Maritime, which specializes in firearms training and security services. (Source)
Instructor Joseph Patrick Burns
Lieutenant Joe Burns was the first phase OIC, and from what I can tell from my research, has been for quite some time.
Couldn’t find any further info on him.
Instructor Mad Max (Max Pranger)
Instructor Max “Mad Max” Pranger served in the US Navy for a little over 14 years, most of it as a SEAL.
After retiring from the Navy, he worked several jobs including as a resume specialist, a plumber, and as an ATA instructor with the US State Department.
He currently is an independent contractor / consultant for Trident Services LLC as a weapons and tactics instructor. (Source)
He also has several guest writer contributions to the website loadoutroom.com, writing about a wide variety of military gear.
No information found.
No information found.
No information found.
No information found.
No information found.
No information found.
Instructor Wiedmann – 3rd Phase Instructor
No information found.
Instructor T – 3rd Phase Instructor
No information found.
Other Fun Facts
As far as I’m aware, none of the graduates from 234 made their way over to SEAL Team 6 (aka DEVGRU).
With that said, even if one of them did, it would be highly unlikely if we ever found out about it!
(Update 3/24) Kate Fleming – Narrator
The narrator of BUD/S Class 234 was Kate Fleming, an american actress, voice artist, and singer.
Some of her other work included playing a teacher in the 1993 short-film “Hard Candy”, as well as the video games “Mario Tennis” (2000) and “Backyard Baseball” (2001).
Fleming died on December 14, 2006 when a flash flood at her home trapped her inside her studio, causing her to drown. (Source)
BUD/S Class 234 Deaths
I also checked with the Navy SEAL memorial, a site which lists the names of all NCDU / SEAL Team members KIA or KIT since World War 2.
As far as I’m aware, there have not been any deaths from members of BUD/S class 234.
Through a variety of sources, I recently learned of one death from Class 234.
Edward Austin Koth, who can be seen in Parts 2 and 4 of the documentary, was KIA at Camp Victory, Iraq on July 26, 2006.
He was assigned to EOD Mobile Unit 8, serving with Multinational Corps Iraq in Baghdad.
Koth quit on Monday morning of Hell Week, but he’s still a bad ass in my opinion.
Class 234 Graduation List
A list of everyone who graduated from the class is as the beginning / intro of each part.
It’s kind of hard to see each name because of the video quality, but they’re listed.
It’s a good day to be at BUD/S. The sun is up, playing in the surf zone, having a little bit of fun.
– Instructor Taylor
Hurrryyy up, don’t fall back….hurrrryyyy up, don’t fall back….hurrryyy up, catch the pack…
– Instructor Patstone