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From SEAL To Shining Gems

AUSTIN, Texas, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "Lish," Elisha Ralph Morgan, went from being a Navy SEAL (Sea Air and Land) to a gemologist in 1987. When he talks about his special assignments in far-flung destinations like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Venezuela and Sri Lanka, Lish wasn't armed with modern government-issued weaponry. He had the most advanced portable gemological equipment to complete what he calls "high-value gemological missions." 

Like many operators from covert combat units, Lish doesn't discuss his Navy SEAL days in much detail. What Lish is willing to share is how it all started. In 1971, Lish was 17, already demonstrating leadership skills as captain of the football and track teams and class president.

He was a good runner and a "fair" swimmer by his assessment. Lish also had solid academic transcripts. And, coming from a long line of family members that served in the military, enlisting in the Navy to fight in the Vietnam War was his generational turn.

In June 1972, Lish was one of 157 hand-picked men to undergo basic SEAL training. Of that 157 only 16 men made the final cut, Lish being one of them. When he graduated from his SEAL training, Lish was part of Class #66. He took part in a number of missions throughout Southeast Asia in the next three years and left the SEALs for the first time in September 1975.   

With a world open to him in his early twenties, Lish attended the Brooks Institute of Photography and minored in photojournalism. Work choices that followed were in keeping with a person that likes to be active in their job. But even with these new challenges, Lish found himself back with the SEALs in February 1984. At 30, he went through SEAL team training a second time.

Lish was an active-duty SEAL for another three years and retired from active duty in 1987. He then started up his own tree removal and trimming service called The Whistling Tree Man, and he placed print ads in a Palo Alto weekly newspaper. Given his athletic abilities, physical strength, and climbing skills, Lish quickly built his client list based on referrals and the small print ad.

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