Philadelphia native pens book about being pioneering Black Navy SEAL

John Watts was given the nickname "Shadow" by other SEALs as an alternative to a racial slur.

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Friday, November 11, 2022
Philly native pens book about being pioneering Black Navy SEAL
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A Philadelphia native and veteran is marking Veterans Day by sharing the story of his place in military history.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia native and veteran is marking Veterans Day by sharing the story of his place in military history

John Watts was one of the first Black Navy SEALs.

He joined the Navy in 1965 at the age of 17.

At the time, Watts only knew of a handful of Black men who even attempted the feat, and he was the only Black man in his platoon.

He talked about his experience with Action News Race and Culture reporter TaRhonda Thomas.

Watts recalls it was a challenge both physically and emotionally.

Some fellow SEALs didn't think he was worthy, and others gave him the nickname "Shadow" as an alternative to a racial slur.

In the new book "Shadow Seal" Watts relives his journey... and why he felt compelled to enlist in the Navy.

"I owed it to myself. And I owed it to his country. Even though I still haven't achieved all that the promise was for this country. I had achieved more than some had expected," Watts said.

Watts grew up in North Philadelphia. He now lives in Florida.

The book "Shadow Seal" is available on Amazon.