Navy Seals

Navy SEALs Navy SEALs United States Navy SEALs, who are they, what do they do, why are they so secretive? A Navy SEAL is a highly trained individual. He must go through the toughest training in the world. The government will send them to the ends of the earth to do tasks that would send chills up most of our spines. Most of their operations even though top secret involve capturing an individual of power, to get information through capturing anything our government thinks important . They are sometimes required to kill certain individuals.

They rarely work alone, they depend on each other. Some say that your swim buddy is closer to you than your wife. This is just a glance at what they do. A history lesson on how the Navy SEALs came to be, started back in World War Two. The navy considers the Scouts and Raiders to be the direct-and earliest-frontrunners of todays SEALs.

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But despite the original intention, the Scouts and Raiders did not become broad-based commandos like the SEALs. In most of their operations, they were limited to direct support of the amphibious force, guiding marine and army units ashore. Later a few of them served with guerrilla units behind enemy lines in China, and many were blended in with the Underwater Demolition Teams involved in the campaign against the Japanese in the Pacific. One of the first missions to bring fame to the Scouts and Raiders started out with seventeen sailors boarded a small, wooden-hulled boat and headed up the Wadi Sebou, a stream that went through Port Lutey (now Kenitra, Morocco). Their task was to cut the cables anchoring a boom and antishipping net stretched across the river directly under the machine guns and cannons in a fort overlooking the river. With the way cleared, American warships would be able to fight their way up the river and protect soldiers moving in to seize the citys military airfield.

Not being limited to just sabotage the Scouts and Raiders were also becoming experts in bomb disposing, one was a two-thousand pound mine dropped by parachute. If the mine came down on land instead of water, it was supposed to go off seventeen seconds later. But sometimes the fuzzes jammed and the experts were called in. If in tinkering with the mine, the bomb-disposal man started it ticking again, he had something less than seventeen seconds to get away. The reliance on physical stress as a way of testing a mans capability and screening out those who dont measure up remains an important part of the training of the navys SEALs to this day.

Todays SEALs are also experts on using explosives and, if need be, disarming enemy munitions. So there is a direct link back to the bomb-disposal experts trained half a century ago. The first volunteers came mostly from Seabees, (construction workers for the navy) with officers raided from the bomb-disposal school. Training began with a one-week ordeal that is still known as Hell Week and that quickly eliminated forty percent of the class. The survivors were proud of their accomplishment, but they joked that “Hell Week separated the men from the boys; the men had sense enough to quit and left us with the boys.” The trainees at Fort Pierce spent much of their time in rubber boats and in the mud, and they ran miles every day.

But surprisingly, little attention was paid to swimming. The assumption was that they would paddle ashore as part of an amphibious operation and do their demolition work in relatively shallow water while army demolition experts took over at the high-water mark. Although men of the Underwater Demolition Teams later prided themselves on their nickname of the Naked Warriors, the trainees at Fort Pierce were anything but naked. They did their work dressed in soggy fatigues, with heavy boondocker shoes on their feet and awkward metal helmets on their heads. Much of their training was done at night. The men quickly became very good at handling high explosives.

Those who couldnt overcome their fear of being blown to kingdom come were sent off to other assignments. They were probably the smart ones. As the UDT men later realized, they and their explosives-filled rubber boats were disasters waiting to happen. The newly trained men now will use their tactics. Operating from small rubber boats at night, the men took soundings of the water depth all along the planned invasion beaches.

They even crawled ashore one night and brought back a bucketful of sand so army experts could test it to determine how well it would support tanks and other heavy vehicles as they came ashore. Perhaps more important, they also studied the nighttime silhouette of the French coast so he would be able to guide the invading force as it approached the Normandy beaches for one of the most crucial battles of the European war. Six graduates from Fort Pierce made up a Naval Combat Demolition Unit. These units were later enlarged into thirteen-man assault teams. In contrast, the Underwater Demolition Teams being formed in the Pacific were much larger, consisting of about eighty enlisted men and sixteen officers-smaller than, but roughly comparable to, an army infantry company.

These men were the first to be the initial victims of the great secrecy surrounding plans for the invasion. No one knew who they were, what they were supposed to do , or even where they were expected to eat and sleep. They were sent to England to take command of the units assigned to clear the obstacles at the two American beaches, Omaha and Utah. They visited the potential invasion beaches and sketched out formidable defenses in which steel posts were driven deep into the sand, connected with barbed wire, and reinforced by mortar and machine-gun emplacements. To further strengthen the defenses, the posts were topped by platter shaped teller mines that would go off on contact. Even more worrisome were the huge metal structures that had been spotted hidden near beachesall along the French coast.

These so-called Belgian gates were steel latticework barriers, ten feet square and propped up by heavy steel braces. Although they weighed three tons, they were designed to be manhandled far out onto the sand at low tide to block access to a beach. The word of these formidable defenses worked its way down to the navy demolition teams early enough for them to build their own Belgian gates and then try to destroy them. The trick was not only to blow up the structure. But to prevent littering the beach with a tangle of steel that would remain as much a problem as the original obstacle.

The UDT men or Underwater Demolition Teams were very new to the fleet. They were used to measure the reef of the shore of the beaches for amphibious landings by the Marines. They also were very important for destroying the obstacles in the ocean, set to stop the amphibious forces from getting to shore. The supply officers puzzled over the strange orders they received from the UDTs, whose role in the nivasion was a closely guarded secret. They demanded miles of fishing line.

Then they wanted milk cans welded end to end to serve as reels for the line. The most oddest request of all was all the condoms that they could get. To the team members, this all made sense. The fishing line was used as kind of a measuring stick that was attached to buoys. The condoms were used to protect watches, fuzzes, and other stuff.

During World War II the UDT man was kind of naked warrior, wearing practically nothing except a jock strap, swimming trunks, sometimes sneakers, and a face mask. The only thing he had to protect himself with was a diving knife. They usually never wore swimming fins which was a mistake. He had no breathing apparatus, and his ability to operate under water was limited by the length of time he could hold his breath, not more than a few minutes. The actual demolition of the beach obstacles also became something of an art form, still practiced today.

That technique sent swimmers in to assigned obstacles with satchel charges essentially identical to the ones used today. The flank swimmers at either end of the line carried long rolls of “det cord”, (detonation cord) instead of explosions; while the other swimmers were busy installing the satchel charges, the det cord was strung from one end of the beach to the other. The satchel charges were each tied into this det cord, and then most of the swimmers began to withdraw. Finally, the ends of the det cord were double-primed, once from each end, with a blasting cap and time fuse. Using waterproof fuse lighters, the fuse was lit, and the whole team formed up out at the thousand-meter line for pickup.

When either of the fuses finally burned down to its blasting cap, the “powder train” was initiated; the det cord linked all the charges and caused all to go off within a small fraction of a second-hopefully while the swimmers were already well offshore and safe from the blast effect and chunks of concrete and steel that rained down after such a mission.(US Navy SEALs the power series, Hans Halberstadt,pg.34). The Korean War wasent so the experience of the UDTs were quickly disguarded after the VJ-day but they were not out yet they would be needed in the near future. In September 1950 with amphibious landing at Inchon, Korea. The harbor at Inchon was considered dangerous, with its fluxuation of tides made amphibious landings very difficult. To cut down on the danger the UDTs were called in to survey the channels, docks, tides, and other defenses.

Their job again was to clear the mines from the channels by hand by swimming up to them and placing charges to them and blowing them up. After the Inchon invasion the war changed, the North Koreans started to retrieat.