Local Navy SEAL appears in Discovery documentary

Rigorous military training becomes segment in TV show

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2002

Ryan Bischoff of Juneau recently appeared in a documentary about the Navy SEAL program produced for the Discovery Channel.

Bischoff, 21, is the son of Kenneth Bischoff, director of the Division of Administrative Services in the state Department of Public Safety, and Linda Dapcevich, a teacher at Juneau-Douglas High School. He has a younger brother, Kyle, 20.

"We think, particularly in these times, that it's pretty special to have that kind of coverage," said Kenneth Bischoff. "It's always nice to have your children be part of something that the rest of the community can see, so we are pretty proud."

Ryan Bischoff underwent normal basic training with the U.S. Navy before applying for the physically rigorous and mentally demanding program of the elite SEAL program, which stands for Sea, Air, Land, his father said. The program includes lots of running, swimming and calisthenics.

"He has always been athletic and wanted to test himself," Kenneth Bischoff said. "He went to a year of college and decided to take time off to do this."

Born and raised in Juneau, Ryan Bischoff lives in San Diego with his wife, Lea.

The documentary was filmed in Coronado, Calif., and titled "Navy SEALS training: BUD/S Class 234." BUD/S stands for basic underwater demolition/SEAL, a training program SEALs must complete. Originally aired Jan. 16 and 20, the documentary is three, one-hour episodes, usually aired all at once, said a representative of the Discovery Channel. The programs are tentatively slated to air again at 4 and 10 p.m. May 24 on Cable Channel 27 in Juneau.

Ryan Bischoff appears in the programs in a classroom setting, swimming and during room inspection, said Linda Dapcevich, who teaches English and social studies. He is interviewed twice briefly.

He graduated with honors from JDHS in 1998. During his high school years, he was active in soccer, football and wrestling, his mother said.

"Prior to arriving at BUD/S, I was not exactly an avid swimmer, but I was always comfortable in the water," Bischoff said in answer to questions e-mailed to him.

"Swimming is something that I believe anybody can develop as a skill just as most anything with practice," he said. "You can practice to an extent, but you really won't know until you have a stress-filled environment that the SEAL instructors impose on you. ... But in terms of tactics, diving and shooting, everything at BUD/S is basic SEAL skills with a ton of stress dumped on you to see how you would react. I guess the ultimate goal is to see how you would react in a real combat situation."

In a ceremony Jan. 25, Bischoff graduated, receiving his Trident - the prized insignia of the SEALs.

"We couldn't be more thrilled," said Dapcevich, who flew to California 10 days ago to attend the ceremony.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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