Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
U.S. Navy SEALs
The United States Navy SEALs (Sea-Air-Land) handle Special Operations/Counter-Terrorism missions from the sea, air and land for the United States Navy. Their missions include reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, clandestine operations, and unconventional and counter–guerilla warfare.
Each SEAL team specializes in an Area of Operation (AO), such as jungle, arctic, woodland or desert terrain. Special tactics, techniques and equipment apply to each AO — from SEAL Delivery Vehicles and high–speed gunner boats to advanced SCUBA gear and other sophisticated equipment.
Force fact file
The U.S. Navy SEALs are considered by many to be the world's premier Special Operations and Counter-Terrorism Force. Though technically specializing in maritime insertion, the SEALs are inserted by sea, air or land, hence the acronym. From the jungles of Vietnam, to the shores of Panama, or to the sands of Iraq, SEALs have proven to be a fearsome and effective Special Operations/Counter-Terrorist Unit.
Historically, they can trace their history to the first group of volunteers selected from the Naval Construction Battalions (Seabees) in the spring of 1943. These volunteers were organized into special teams called ‘Navy Combat Demolition Units’ (NCDUs). The units were tasked with reconnoitering and clearing beach obstacles for troops going ashore during amphibious landings, and evolved into Combat Swimmer Reconnaissance Units.
The NCDUs distinguished themselves during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. In 1947, the Navy organized its first underwater offensive strike units. During the Korean Conflict, these Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) took part in the landing at Inchon as well as other missions including demolition raids on bridges and tunnels accessible from the water. They also conducted limited minesweeping operations in harbors and rivers.
During the 1960s, each branch of the armed forces formed its own counterinsurgency force. The Navy used UDT personnel to form multiple units called SEAL teams. January 1962 marked the commissioning of SEAL Team ONE in the Pacific Fleet and SEAL Team TWO in the Atlantic Fleet. These teams were developed to conduct unconventional warfare, counter-guerrilla warfare and clandestine operations in both blue water and brown water environments.
Those qualifying to become Navy SEALS are authorized to wear and display the Special Warfare Badge, also known as the SEAL Trident. This badge, commonly called the "trident" or "Budweiser" (for its resemblance to the Budweiser Eagle), serves as the insignia for the SEALs as a whole and is the largest and most recognizable warfare pin in the United States Navy.
Concurrently, Naval Operations Support Groups were formed to aid UDTs, SEALs, and two other unique units —Boat Support and Beach Jumpers— in administration, planning, research, and development. During the Vietnam War, UDTs performed reconnaissance missions and SEALs carried out numerous offensive operations.
In 1967, the Naval Operations Support Groups were renamed ‘Naval Special Warfare Groups’ (NSWGs) as involvement increased in special operations.
The Naval Special Warfare Command was commissioned April 16, 1987, at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego, California. Its mission is to prepare Naval Special Warfare forces to carry out their assigned missions and to develop special operations strategy, doctrine, and tactics.
Navy SEAL Teams and Structure
A Navy SEAL Platoon consists of 16 men per platoon. This can be easily split into two 4-man squads for operational purposes. The actual size of each SEAL "Team" is larger, ranging between eight to ten Boat Teams per SEAL Team.
As of this writing, there are nine confirmed Navy SEAL Teams. The original SEAL Teams in the Vietnam were separated between East Coast (Team One) and West Coast (Team Two) SEALs. The "Official" current SEAL Team deployments are from Teams 1 through 5, and 8: The Teams now deploy as Naval Special Warfare Squadrons. Any Team is able to deploy anywhere in the world.
SEAL Team ONE is based in Coronado, CA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational SEAL platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team ONE’s previous geographic area of concentration was Southeast Asia.
SEAL Team TWO is based at Little Creek, VA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team TWO’s previous geographic area of concentration is Europe, and was the only SEAL team with an arctic warfare capability.
SEAL Team THREE is based in Coronado, CA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team THREE’s previous geographic area of concentration was Southwest Asia.
SEAL Team FOUR is based at Little Creek, VA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has ten operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team FOUR’s previous geographic area of concentration was Central and South America. SEAL Team FOUR is the only SEAL Team with a viable standing language capability, Spanish.
SEAL Team FIVE is based in Coronado, CA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team FIVE’s previous geographic area of concentration was the Northern Pacific.
SEAL Team SEVEN is based at Coronado, CA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team SEVEN is one of the two newly commissioned SEAL TEAMS along with TEAM TEN.
SEAL Team EIGHT is based at Little Creek, VA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team EIGHT's geographic area of concentration is the Caribbean, Africa, and the Mediterranean.
SEAL Team TEN is based at Little Creek, VA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team TEN is one of two newly commission SEAL TEAMS along with TEAM SEVEN.
In addition to these is SEAL Team SIX, the SEALs' primary counter-terrorist unit. Although every SEAL team trains in counter-terrorism, SEAL Team SIX, a.k.a. DEVGRU, specializes in it. Their history can be traced to the failed attempt to rescue hostages from the US embassy in Iran by Delta Force, the Army's CT unit. DEVGRU was formerly know as SEAL TEAM SIX in an attempt to confuse the Soviet Union during the Cold War into believing there were more TEAMS like it. DEVGRU recruits its members exclusively from any of the other SEAL TEAMS. All DEVGRU recruits are fully qualified SEALS. Upon arriving they have to go through six month of operational training before assignment to regular duty.
SEAL teams go through some of the toughest military training in the world. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training is conducted at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado lasting 26 weeks. Students encounter obstacles that develop and test their stamina, leadership and ability to work as a team. On average, a BUD/S class can expect to lose about 70-80% of their initial muster from the beginning to the end of the course. BUD/S, and the SEALs as a whole, are voluntary services, and many BUD/S students find that they do not have the desire to continue to endure the physical and mental abuse, and subsequently Drop On Request, or DOR, from the course. After BUD/S, the students must then attend Army Jump School at Ft. Benning, GA, a relative breeze compared to BUD/S, in order to become airborne qualified. Finally, these apprentice warriors must go through SEAL Qualification Training, or SQT, which is a 15 week course, again conducted in and arround the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
BUD/S consists of a five-week "Indoctrination Course," followed by three phases, covering physical conditioning (eight weeks), diving (eight weeks), and land warfare (nine weeks) respectively. After the third phase recruits undergo a three-week Basic Parachute Training course at Fort Benning, followed by the receipt of their Naval Special Warfare Classification (NEC) code. BUD/S is known for Hell Week, a period of several days during First Phase when SEAL trainees are deprived of sleep (they get less than four hours the entire week), and made to do strenuous physical tasks far more difficult than those of any other week during the training cycle. Although SEAL classes typically lose around 75% of their trainees (DORs or injuries sustained during training), far fewer recruits quit after Hell Week than before. Although completion of BUD/S marks young men (women are not admitted into SEAL training) as standouts, they do not earn their SEAL pin, or Trident, until undergoing the SQT course.
Famous Navy SEALs
- Thomas R. Norris - Vietnam-era SEAL, Medal of Honor Recipient.
- Scott Helvenston - graduated training at 17, becoming the youngest Navy SEAL in history.
- Rudy Boesch - competitor in the TV reality shows Survivor and Survivor: All-Stars.
- Richard Marcinko - founder of SEAL Team SIX and Red Cell, and NY Times bestseller Rogue Warrior co-author.
- Jesse Ventura - former Governor of Minnesota, actor, and former professional wrestler.
- Roy Boehm - First commanding officer of Seal Team Two.
- Dennis Chalker - plankowner of Seal Team Six and Red Cell
- Gary Jackson - president Blackwater USA, a private military contractor
- Chuck Pfarrer - SEAL Team SIX Operator, screenwriter with credits including The Jackal, Darkman, Red Planet, Virus , Hard Target, and Navy SEALS , and author of the NY Times bestseller Warrior Soul .
- William Shepherd - First commander of the International Space Station.
- Underwater Demolition Team
- U.S. Special Operations Command
- U.S. Special Operations Forces
- U.S. Marine Force Reconnaissance
- Red Cell
- Air Force Air Commandos
- Delta Force
- 22 Special Air Service (SAS) regiment
- U.S. Navy SEALs Information Website - official site.
- U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command Website - official site.
- SpecialOperations.com: BUD/S Information Page
- SpecialOperations.com: SEALs Information Page
- US Navy. Navy Fact File: Navy SEALs. San Diego, California: Naval Special Warfare Command–Public Affairs Office. March 16, 1996.
"Encyclopedia of The Navy SEALs"
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