Although the first SEAL missions were in communist Cuba, the first war they fought was Vietnam. Originally sent to train South Vietnamese troops in the same methods they used, SEAL teams quickly began to be used for covert operations. Their anti-guerrilla tactics were effective in bringing the war to the enemy and their camouflage paint saw them named “the men with green faces” by the Viet Cong. Although they mainly operated from boats, they also developed air assault operations from helicopters in Vietnam.

While many SEAL missions remain classified, the teams have seen action in nearly every conflict the United States has been involved in, including Panama, Grenada, Bosnia, and Somalia. The SEALs have undertaken a number of rescue operations, including freeing the cruise ship Achille Lauro from terrorists. Since then have rescued hostages in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia. In recent years they have been involved in counterinsurgency in the Middle East.

Training to become a SEAL involves the Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training course, or BUD/S. It’s a seventh-month-long course that has three phases: conditioning, diving, and land warfare. The most infamous period of training is Hell Week, five days designed to push candidates past their mental and physical limits. It’s estimated that 75 percent of all candidates drop out of training. For those who pass, parachute training and SEAL Qualification Training follow before finally being accepted into the SEALs.

To be continued……..