This examiner’s son is a local Tallahassee police officer and he told the story of a recent call concerning several teens finding a sealed plastic bag in a holding pond in their neighborhood. The bag contained several hundred dollars worth of electronic items that appeared to be stolen cell phones, GPS systems, and other items taken from cars reported stolen in the neighborhood. The water temperature was about 40 degrees and the teens went in to waist deep water to retrieve the bag they saw from a dock. When asked why they did it, they responded; “We want to be Navy SEALs.”
This examiner, who has an article in the top 25 currently being voted on in the modenook.com.america-inspired writing contest, recently visited the local Navy recruiting station to ensure the recruiters were voting for the finalist story of wounded warrior Marine SSG Chad Brumpton. During the visit the Navy recruiter told the examiner that recent reported missions made by the Navy SEALs has influenced many local young men to inquire and enlist in hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL.
SEAL training is brutal. It takes over 30 months to train a Navy SEAL to the point at which he will be ready for deployment. The SEALs that emerge are ready to handle pretty much any task they could be called on to perform, including diving, combat swimming, navigation, demolitions, weapons, and parachuting. The training pushes them to the limit both mentally and physically in order to weed out those who may not be able to successfully complete the demanding missions and operations with which SEALs are faced. The types of stresses they endure during BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) are the same stresses they will endure as SEALs. If they can’t withstand it when lives aren’t on the line, chances are good they won’t be able to withstand it when lives are at stake. The acronym “SEAL” is very descriptive of what this elite organization is all about, the “SE” is for the “Sea” part of the underwater capabilities; the “A” is for the “Air” assaults and parachuting; and the “L” is for the “land” or ground capabilities to seek, destroy and rescue missions.
Entering training to become a Navy SEAL is voluntary. Anyone can volunteer, and officers and enlisted men train side by side. In order to enter SEAL training, however, they do have to meet certain requirements. Those wishing to volunteer for SEAL training have to:
be an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy
be a man (women aren’t allowed to be Navy SEALs)
be 28 or younger (although waivers for 29- and 30-year-olds are possible)
have good vision — at least 20/40 in one eye and 20/70 in the other (corrective surgery is also possible)
be a U.S. citizen
pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
Pass a stringent physical screening test that includes the following procedure: swim 500 yards in 12.5 minutes or less, followed by a 10-minute rest; do 42 push-ups in under two minutes, followed by a two-minute rest; do 50 sit-ups in under two minutes, followed by a two-minute rest; do six pull-ups, followed by a 10-minute rest; run 1.5 miles in boots and long pants in less than 11.5 minutes
Once a potential SEAL qualifies for training, the real fun starts. This examiner has some personal knowledge and experience of what it takes to become a member of an elite military organization since it was part of a dream to become an Army Ranger. The first step was airborne school, an eight week course at Fort Benning Jump School that was a grueling test of physical and mental training. Ask yourself, “Who in their right mind would jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 1500 feet”? This examiner did, not once, but eight times. The Army Ranger is the equivalent of the Navy SEALs, but for today’s warfare the assigned missions are quite different.
One of the first reported missions of heroic proportions was about the Navy SEAL snipers on the fantail of a destroyer cut down three Somali pirates in a lifeboat and rescued an American sea captain on Easter Sunday. The surprise nighttime assault in choppy seas ended a five-day standoff between a team of rogue gunmen and the world’s most powerful elite military unit.
The most recent successful SEAL’s mission was the daring rescue of an American woman and a Danishman being held hostage in Somalia that left nine kidnappers dead. This is the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May parachuted into the African country under cover of darkness early on Wednesday and crept up to an outdoor camp where the two hostages were being held. President Barack Obama had authorised the mission, by SEAL Team 6, two days earlier. And minutes after he gave his state of the union address to Congress this past week. He was on the phone to the American’s father to tell him his daughter was safe.
Obama said: “As commander-in-chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission and the dedicated professionals who supported their efforts.”
There are also some extremely sad stories to tell about SEAL Team 6 and this came in July of last year. A helicopter was shot down in by Afghan insurgents as it was rushing to aid troops in a firefight, killing 30 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs, most of whom belonged to Team 6, the unit whose members were involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said.
And last, but not least, the mental requirement in maintaining interpersonal relations as a SEAL is the most challenging. SEALs are a totally close knit group relying on “teamwork” Marriages and other away-for-work relationships suffer, not only from the type of work required, but the constant pressure to be the best of the best. SEALs take pride in never having left a team member behind on a mission. Some have even stated that the love of the team supercedes that of any other relationship. It is that close of a respect for each other. It takes a special kind of man to become a Navy SEAL.