Eli Crane: USMilitary.com/NavySeal.com Person of the Year 2023

(Written by L.C. Fowler, NavySeal.com/USMilitary.com) Have you ever faced a mountain so steep the peak seemed to mock you? That was Eli Crane's journey through Navy SEAL training. Not once, but twice.

Waves crash over you, pushing your physical and mental limits until they're not just lines in the sand but trenches dug deep by resolve. Can you imagine going back for more after failure?

But what happens when that resilience fuels a leap from the battlefield to the business boardroom...to even Congress' steps? We've seen heroes in action movies, but have we truly grasped their grit?

You might think his story ends with honor medals and salutes. Think again.

Our NavySeal.com Man of The Year went from failure to SEAL to businessman to Congressman, so stay with me as we unravel the layers of leadership lessons that could redefine your battles...

Eli Crane Navy SEAL Table Of Contents:

A Journey To BUD/S SEAL Training

While in college, Eli was in a Barnes and Noble and read a book about Navy Seals. It seemed like the coolest job ever, and he looked at the minimum physical scores and said to himself, “I think I can do this.”

Eli's dad gave him excellent advice in High School: the truth to happiness is picking something you would do for free. And as he was reading that book in Barnes and Nobles about Navy SEALs, he said, “Shooting all these guns, going after bad guys, jumping out of planes, and diving; that sounds cool, and it’s probably something I would do for free.” That put him down a path of trying to achieve that. Even though he was starting his senior year at the University of Arizona when 9/11 happened. The following week, he decided to enlist in the Navy. As he watched those planes fly into those buildings, he knew that this was a time when the country needed men and women to grow up and go serve. Within seven or eight days, he was on a plane headed to Chicago to start boot camp.

Failure Is An Event Never The Person

Eli failed his first attempt to graduate BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training in Coronado, CA).  He made it through hell week, and then a week and a half later, his performance dropped from training. The instructors pulled him into a room and said, “Look, we know you're tough, but we need the best of the best here, and you’re not measuring up. You failed this and that evolution, and your peers ranked you in the bottom twenty-five percent of your class. So we recommend you go out to the fleet, think about it, improve, and return in a year.” However, it was brutal for Eli, especially after making it through hell week with burns on his toenails and all the skin that was chafed off, as he hadn’t even recovered yet.

After two and a half years, he got the opportunity to come back with BUD/S class 256, which started with 220 guys, and ended up graduating with 24 originals that started.

Rigors of BUD/S and Overcoming Setbacks

Being a Navy SEAL doesn't start with jumping out of planes or shooting expertly; it begins with gritting your teeth through heartache and learning how to turn pain into purpose—a lesson well-learned by Mr. Crane himself.

Key Takeaway: 

Eli Crane's tale shows us that falling short the first time is no reason to quit. He faced SEAL training, with its brutal tests and sleepless 'Hell Week,' not just once but twice, proving real strength lies in bouncing back tougher than before. As Zig Ziglar often said, ‘Failure is an event, not the person.’

Duty, Honor, Country: Deployment and Loss

Eli didn't just join a team when he became part of SEAL Team 3—he found his second family. The bonds formed between these warriors are ironclad forged under fire—literally. You're miles from home in hostile territory; your life hangs on the trust you've built with your brothers-in-arms. That’s what Eli experienced every day during deployment.

But war is cruel—it doesn’t care about brotherhood or valor. Tragically, not everyone makes it back home for Crane and his team members. The loss of fellow SEALs is a weight that each member carries long after their boots leave the battlefield—a sobering reminder that freedom isn't free.

In combat zones like Iraq, where Eli served alongside some of America's finest warriors, SEAL Team 3 faced relentless challenges, yet they held fast to their principles: duty called them there; honor was their way forward amidst chaos; country—that idea larger than any single person—was worth all they gave.

This chapter isn’t just history—it’s an ongoing story that molds men like Crane who go beyond service in uniform to continue impacting lives around them post-deployment with entrepreneurial ventures such as Bottle Breacher. When we talk about heroes among us who have stood tall against adversity both abroad and at home—we’re talking about folks like Eli Crane.

“I saw first-hand how we were trying to help other countries by building them wells, giving them generators, food, water, and protecting them. I felt like I was making a small difference in the fight between good and evil because many of the guys we were going after were just plain, straight-up evil. They were murdering all sorts of, not only US personnel but their countrymen; they were as violent as they came.”  Eli Crane Embracing Failure as a Stepping Stone

You might think that being part of the elite Navy SEALs means you've never faced failure. But Eli Crane would tell you otherwise; he knows firsthand that even the best can stumble. Not making it through his first round of SEAL training was just the beginning for him.

According to Eli, "I think that disappointment was one of the many things that would help shape who I would become. I realized that successful people don’t let that fear of failure define them. My parents did end up getting divorced when I was around seventeen, which sucked and blew up my entire life, but I found the good in that, and I’ve used it as motivation to make sure my family is stronger and tighter."

Eli's story isn't about avoiding failure but what you do after you fall. This guy turned his initial defeat into fuel for success, coming back to conquer one of the most demanding military programs in the world on his second attempt. It goes to show that resilience trumps all.

When things don’t pan out in business and life—maybe your start-up doesn't get off the ground or your product flops—the key is to learn and pivot, not throw in the towel. Think like a SEAL; let setbacks shape—not shatter—your resolve.

The Importance of Adaptability in Leadership

Being adaptable isn't just helpful—leading effectively under pressure is essential. The battlefield teaches harsh lessons, but those who adapt thrive during and beyond service. And nobody embodies this better than Eli Crane.

Key Takeaway:

Eli Crane's story isn't just about military service; it embodies the unwavering commitment to duty, honor, and country. His journey from intense SEAL operations to coping with loss and transitioning into entrepreneurship shows a hero who continues to serve beyond the battlefield.

The Birth and Boom of Bottle Breacher

Imagine cracking open a cold one with a .50 caliber bullet. A thought reminiscent of an action movie, no? But for Eli Crane, this explosive idea sparked the inception of Bottle Breacher, turning repurposed ammunition into badass bottle openers.

Crafting a Unique Business Idea

Eli Crane's Navy SEAL background wasn't just about discipline and daring feats; it also taught him to think outside the ammo box. He combined that creativity with his passion for entrepreneurship to create Bottle Breacher’s signature product: handcrafted .50 caliber bottle openers. It was more than just opening bottles; it was about opening conversations on craftsmanship and military pride.

Beyond being conversation starters at parties, these products represent respect for service members’ dedication—a salute in every sip. And let's be honest, there’s something undeniably cool about popping tops with bullets once destined for battlefields—now serving up brews instead.

A "Shark Tank" Success Story

If you're wondering how much firepower this veteran-owned business packs commercially, here are some hard-hitting numbers: after appearing on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank," where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to investors (aka 'sharks'), Bottle Breacher experienced massive growth—to the tune of over $20 million in sales.

When Eli stepped onto the Shark Tank stage, he delivered his mission with a precision worthy of his SEAL training. The result? A deal struck swiftly as gunfire—with Mark Cuban leading the charge alongside Kevin O'Leary. This partnership didn’t just add capital; it injected confidence into Bottle Breacher’s brand power by proving that even sharks recognize potential when they see it explode onto their radar.

Becoming a "Shark Tank" success story isn't merely luck—it's strategic positioning meeting preparation under pressure. Just like planning a complex operation in enemy territory requires meticulous attention to detail and unwavering courage, so does navigating entrepreneurial waters teeming with competition ready to take you down if given half a chance.

The Role of Media Exposure in Business Growth

a business swimming in the vast ocean of commerce, barely making ripples. Then comes a tidal wave called media exposure, turning those ripples into towering waves. That happened to Bottle Breacher after its "Shark Tank" appearance. Suddenly, from just another veteran-owned startup, it became a household name.

The "Shark Tank" Effect on Bottle Breacher

Landing on primetime TV can be like striking gold for small businesses – and Eli Crane hit the motherlode when he presented his unique .50 caliber bottle openers to the Sharks. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill pitch; here was an ex-Navy SEAL with combat-tested grit selling badassery you could use to pop open your beers.

Bottle Breacher's sales tell the tale better than any statistician could - skyrocketing well past 20 million dollars since that fateful episode aired. But let’s not chalk up all that success solely to airtime; it was how they leveraged their newfound visibility post-Shark Tank." They didn’t just sit back and wait for orders; they took action faster than a SEAL team breaching a compound.

Many don't realize that while millions now knew about them thanks to ABC’s hit show, Crane's military precision in executing his business strategy afterward kept Bottle Breacher sailing smoothly through uncharted waters. The company capitalized on its moment in the limelight by effectively expanding product lines and ramping up marketing efforts using its Shark-partnered resources.

Key Takeaway: 

Bottle Breacher's "Shark Tank" success shows that media exposure can catapult a business from obscurity to fame. But it’s the strategic follow-through post-spotlight that truly drives growth.  Bottle Breacher soared past $20 million in sales by using their Shark-backed resources wisely and expanding aggressively after their TV debut.  Eli Crane proves that seizing spotlight moments with military precision and aligning them with social good can create waves of lasting impact beyond just prime-time buzz.

Giving Back To To The Veteran Community

If there was ever doubt about whether tough guys wear hearts on sleeves (or engraved on bullet casings), let Eli Crane dispel that myth with each contribution made through Bottle Breacher. As someone who stepped right off foreign soil and onto the entrepreneurial ground without missing a beat—and never forgetting comrades left behind—he embodies what it means when we say “leave no man behind.” Whether fighting terrorists overseas or fighting unemployment at home among fellow veterans, this former Navy SEAL proves some missions don’t end—they evolve.

Key Takeaway: 

Eli Crane's Bottle Breacher merges badassery with benevolence, turning profits into support for veterans. It’s not just about cool bottle openers; it’s a testament to his SEAL ethos of leaving no one behind—fighting for vets' futures with the same vigor as past battles.

 Entrepreneurship as a Means of Service

Bottle Breacher isn’t merely selling products; it embodies resilience, offering employment opportunities to veterans who understand what it means to serve beyond orders and operations. This is leadership by example—when you've been part of something greater than yourself, you build more than just companies; you forge communities anchored in shared values.

Advocacy and Representation for Veterans

Veterans stepping into advocacy roles or running for office might seem par for the course now, but think again. The transition from elite warrior to public servant requires courage—and who is better than those trained under fire? When someone like Eli Crane runs for Congress in Arizona, he brings an unshakable dedication carved out through years of wearing dog tags instead of suits.

Civilian life doesn't strip away a SEAL’s drive—it refocuses it on ensuring other veterans' voices resonate within halls they once protected from afar. That push towards advocacy translates their battlefield camaraderie into legislative teamwork to fix gaps only those with boots-on-the-ground experience can truly grasp.

Key Takeaway: 

Eli Crane shows us that leaving the Navy SEALs is a new mission in disguise. From launching Bottle Breacher to running for Congress, he proves that service doesn't stop—it transforms into ventures and advocacy echoing military values.

From Battlefield to Ballots: Eli Crane's Political Aspirations

Eli Crane isn't your typical candidate. He traded his SEAL trident for the campaign trail, aiming high with a bid for Congress in Arizona. This former Navy man knows a thing or two about tough battles—both on distant sands and now in the political arena.

Like swapping combat boots for loafers, running for office is no small feat; it demands resilience forged under fire and an unyielding commitment to service—a perfect fit for someone of Crane’s caliber. You might say he's not just dipping his toes into politics but plunging headfirst into icy waters reminiscent of those faced during BUD/S training.

Eli Crane is now a United States Congressman representing Arizona's 2nd district. His platform typically focuses on conservative values, support for veterans, border security, and the fostering of economic growth.  He believes these issues are critical for maintaining America's security and prosperity.  As an entrepreneur, he advocates for policies encouraging business growth and job creation.

What we respect equally about Eli Crane is how he sidesteps political agendas, right or left, and shows a passionate desire to do what is suitable for all Americans.  And as a freshman congressman, he's not afraid to confront anyone, including fellow congressmen/congresswomen, whenever truth prevails. No doubt, his courage from his Navy SEAL days has been carried forward to Washington, DC.

Key Takeaway: 

Eli Crane swaps SEAL missions for political ones, showing that grit from tough Navy training can fuel a strong campaign. His resilience shines through past setbacks and now drives his run for Congress. He's not just campaigning; he's battling with the same tenacity he learned in uniform—and it might just give him an edge.

FAQs about Eli Crane USMilitary.com/NavySeal.com Person of the Year

Was Eli Crane a Navy SEAL?

Absolutely. Eli Crane served as a Navy SEAL, facing tough challenges and showing real grit.

How is Bottle Breacher doing?

Bottle Breacher thrives, turning once-fired bullets into bottle openers and more since its 'Shark Tank' debut.

How many former Navy SEALs are in Congress?

Many ex-SEALs have swapped their fins for politics, aiming to make waves in Congress.

Who is the crane in the House of Representatives for Arizona?

Eli Crane's not just any bird; he's representing Arizona with veteran savvy.

Eli Crane USMilitary/NavySeal.com Person Of The Year Conclusion

Eli Crane, our Person of the Year, is a title well-earned. From failing to finish one of the most demanding military training on earth to succeeding years later, his story teaches us perseverance.

Thank you, Eli, for chasing terrorists with unwavering commitment and skill. You exemplify the passion, goals, and resilience of all our men and women in uniform. And then go on to launch your dream, Bottle Breacher, which proves that tenacity breeds triumph in business, too.

As a freshman congressman in a city known for politics and the mighty power of the dollar (Washington DC), Eli is unafraid to speak the truth and stand on his faith without hesitation, giving God the honor and the credit.

Eli's example teaches us to embrace failure as another step toward victory.  He puts aside his own political agendas, yielding to honesty, fairness, and the desires of his district before his own. During a time when politics abounds and usually dictates, one man will continue to place his name, blood, and honor on the line for his faith, family, Arizonans, you, and our country...  Hooyah, Eli Crane!

1 Response

  1. Written By: Avery

    Before this article, I knew very little about Eli Crane, and now I am a big fan and excited to follow his journey. Great article!

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