Water covers more than 70% of the Earth’s area, and that is no small obstacle to any military operation. The United States, which has the most powerful naval force in the world, has long recognized that problem.
They organized their navy into many specialized forces, in addition to the seven fleets operating by each region, the US Navy also had a force of Marines and Marine reconnaissance.
Although trained in different branches, the common point of all soldiers and officers operating in these forces is that they must be able to dive and be able to fight in a completely underwater environment. The United States Navy, Marines, and their reconnaissance force all have to attend a diving school in Panama City.
The US Navy’s special forces divers were trained under an even more arduous program at the Special Forces’ Aquatic Operations School in Key West, Florida. It was rated one of the most challenging courses for soldiers, where even the commanders of the special forces could be disqualified.
But the program at Key West still doesn’t even match what the SEALs (the most special force of the US military can fight in both air, land and water) are trained.
The SEALs are still under the special forces of the US Navy, but their training program is actually set at a different level, the toughest peak in the world.
In this article, we learn how the US Navy SEALs were trained.
An elite force
In 1942, exactly nine months after the Battle of Pearl Harbor, the US military noticed a flaw in their naval operations. It was the absence of a secret reconnaissance force, the soldiers on duty to land silently on the beach to mine mines and disable the enemy’s coastal defenses.
This activity is intended to clear the way for the army or marines before the official battle begins. And to do that, the US Army’s School of Reconnaissance and Landing of Ambushes created a training program for a new unit called the Underwater Destroyer Team (UDT).
The UDT force was then trained in a more naval branch of the Marines, but still retains ground skills. They are under the general administration of both the US Army and Marines.
The first training ended just as UDT soldiers took part in the D-Day Battle in Normandy, and then followed by most of the major US military battles in the Pacific. UDT is the precursor to the SEAL, as this force is further refined in terms of naval warfare.
During this evolution, each SEAL had to be forged in order to be able to fight diving soaked in the blood, becoming his own DNA. Particularly, the process of recruiting rookies for the SEAL is also famous for its strictness.
Candidates need to pass a very harsh physical screening test: In which, recruits must swim more than 450 meters within the 12-and-a-half-minute limit. They then had to do 50 push-ups over the next 2 minutes, squatting 50 times over the next 2 minutes.
The test continued with 2 minutes of pulling the bar with the goal of 10 consecutive non-stop and finally running 2.4 km in 10 minutes and 30 seconds. Passing this test, the new recruit can join the training.
The SEAL Navy Special Forces training program lasts in 6 stages. The first phase of military training takes place in 8 weeks. Phase 2, students will be participating in the Navy’s Special War Martial Arts School, also for 8 weeks. Then there is phase 3, with an orientation to demolish under water for 3 weeks.
After this phase, participants will enter a 24 week period learning basic underwater demolition skills. In the end, they will get to skydive for 5 weeks. SEAL trainees are expected to participate in the final stage called SEAL certification for 26 weeks.
How are SEAL navy soldiers trained?
At the end of the entire training course, only about 20% of the trainees will graduate, the remaining 80% will be eliminated. The graduates of the SEAL naval training course continue training for another 18 months before they can accept their first mission.
During this 18-month training course, SEALs will be selected to join SEAL teams or SEAL troops, which are tasked with sending them to the secret landing site. Currently, the US Navy is maintaining operations of 10 SEAL teams and 2 SEAL armies around the world.
For special missions
The harsh selection and training process must have a reason, the SEAL is the only special unit of the US military capable of performing special underwater operations, such as placing limpet mines on enemy ships. or conduct scouting of the enemy’s harbor.
One of their famous underwater missions took place in 1989 during Operation Just Cause. A group of four SEALs were sent to sink Manuel Noriega’s ship, to stop the Panamanian dictator’s escape route. Despite the resistance of a large number of guards, the SEAL team was able to place mines on the bottom of the ship and destroy it.
Two years later during the Persian Gulf War, a SEAL team participating in the Desert Shield campaign successfully infiltrated the capital Kuwait for several hours. They helped gather reconnaissance information and made plans to rescue the US ambassadors held hostage.
During the Afghabistan and Iraq war, the SEAL also played a pioneering role in paving the way and gathering intelligence. They are also the same force that killed terrorist boss Osama bin Laden in 2011 during an operation in Pakistan.
In the middle of the current period, when there is increasing uncertainty in the Pacific region and a possible cold war with China, the US naval SEAL force is increasingly important.
The Pentagon is also focusing its attention on this particular naval group. They are pouring budgets for the SEAL, continuing to refine and equip their forces with many modern weapons.
In the context of ongoing great-power competition in the Pacific, SEAL forces and special operations will be the trump card for the United States to face these challenges, military experts say. that they may encounter in the future.