Paul Tharp

"I love to win, that’s why I train. I’m 45 years old. There’s nothing more exhilarating than running past these guys who are 25."

Rate/Rank: Master Chief Petty Officer, Navy SEAL
Hometown: Central Indiana
Service: 1984–Present

Master Chief Petty Officer (SOCM) Paul Tharp has a thirst for competition. Growing up in central Indiana, he was a member of his local Boy Scout troop and moved on to competitive swimming in high school, where he also marched in the band.

Upon graduating high school in 1984, he joined the Navy. After serving for two years in the Fleet, he entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training with class 146 - ST4 87-92 / DEVGRU 92 - 07 / OEF / Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). It was there that Master Chief Petty Officer Tharp spearheaded the establishment of the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School, preparing prospective SEALs for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. He currently serves as the Command Master Chief of Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command – the “A” School for SEAL and SWCC selection, training and qualification.

A multisport athlete and avid age-group competitor in his 27-year Navy career, SOCM Tharp has competed in several triathlons, half-Ironman triathlons and other multisport events. He competed in Ironman Canada in 2008 with a completion time of 10 hours, 46 minutes.