Someone Special: The Making of a US Navy SEAL

Editors' review

March 27, 2016

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The United States Navy's Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, were established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 as a small, elite maritime military force to conduct Unconventional Warfare. They carry out the types of clandestine, small-unit, high-impact missions that large forces with high-profile platforms (such as ships, tanks, jets and submarines) cannot. SEALs also conduct essential on-the-ground Special Reconnaissance of critical targets for imminent strikes by larger conventional forces.
SEALs are US Special Operations Command’s force-of-choice among Navy, Army and Air Force Special Operations Forces (SOF) to conduct small-unit maritime military operations which originate from, and return to a river, ocean, swamp, delta or coastline. SEALs can negotiate shallow water areas such as the Persian Gulf coastline, where large ships and submarines are limited by depth.
The Navy SEALs are trained to operate in all the environments (sea, air and land) for which they are named. SEALs are also prepared to operate in climate extremes of scorching desert, freezing Arctic, and humid jungle. The SEALs’ current pursuit of elusive, dangerous and high-priority terrorist targets has them operating in remote, mountainous regions of Afghanistan, and in cities torn by factional violence, such as Baghdad, Iraq. Historically, SEALs have always had “one foot in the water.” The reality today, however, is that they initiate lethal Direct Action strikes equally well from air and land.