The only easy day was yesterday.
Deep within the US Navy, an elite force of special covert commandos remains a closely guarded secret from the Soviet threat. Trained to be the best in the world, equipped with the latest technology this group of violent renegade soldiers exist for one purpose: to protect America from the threat of communism and terrorism by sea, by air and by land.
Sounds like a comic book doesnít it? Well the team is real. President John F. Kennedy
created the Navy Special Warfare Development Group, or Navy SEALS, in the 60ís where they served in The Vietnam War
, the Cold War
, the Gulf War
and beyond to The War on Terror
. Before they were Navy Divers (elite soldiers sent to recover lost nukes at sea) and UDT, underwater demolitions experts sent to blow up enemy ships transporting those nukes for their diver swim buddies to recover.
Several images might come to mind in thinking about SEALS: black clad Frogmen who swim from America to their destination halfway across the world, tiger stripped jungle fighters from Vietnam, and bug eyed crazies who underwent Training from Hell
to become the ultimate warrior. These views are only slightly exaggerated, SEALS are intended to be all three.
A brief history of Navy SEALS:
- World War II: After the bombing of Pearl Harbor America saw the need for coastal reconnaissance and beach landing forces. Thus, the team known as the Scouts & Raiders were born where they operated in Europe and Africa where they supported the invading Americans against the German forces including the Normandy invasion. At the same time, the Navy Combat Demolition Units would blow up beach obstacles preceding a landing.
However the first concept of SEALS came with the OSS Operational Swimmers who would be dropped behind enemy lines to spy and conduct raids. The Navy Underwater Demolitions Team who were teams of demolitions experts blowing up underwater obstacles
would later adopt the idea and form the Navy SEALS.
- The Korean War:
- The Vietnam War:
- The Cold War:
- Seal Team Six: After Marcinko was removed from command of SEAL Team Two he was involved as an adviser on Desert One, the rescue of hostages in Iran. The mission ended in tragedy, and a follow up mission was planned with the idea of forming a Joint Task Force for the mission. Marcinko delivered the brief but before he did he read through it and changed the involvement of SEALS from an element to a command, which would greatly expand and broaden their involvement in counterterrorsm. His edit went through when the JTF was formed, however in doing so he created the problem of there being no SEAL Team focused on terrorism, so he had to create one. After drafting the proposal and he was given the blessing of his superiors, he ran roughshod over the Navy in recruiting members for the team as well as the specialized equipment and standards he demanded.
- Red Cell: After relinquishing command of SEAL Six Marcinko was approached by one of his superiors about a threat both considered no one saw coming: terrorism. Marcinko explained the lapses in security he saw before being tasked with creating, essentially, a terrorist group that would attack American targets to show weaknesses in their security. According to accounts from his biography and fictional novels Red Cell blew up Air Force One, kidnapped an admiral protected by Navy Investigation Services because he was concerned they weren't enough to protect him, infiltrated Camp David at the behest of Nancy Reagan, and nuclear sub pens where they could have either stolen the subs or blown them up. So the story goes a witch hunt was launched because Marcinko exposed these secrets and he was eventually removed from command, the incident was covered up (hence JAG stating the episode based on his exploits were fiction) and Marcinko served prison time.
- The War on Terror:
Tropes associated with Navy SEALS:
- Badass Boast: When creating Team Six Richard Marcinko proposed the logo; a globe with a horseshoe lid, and Badass Creed WGMATATS: We Get More Ass Than A Toilet Seat.
- Badass Crew: A natural requirement.
- Determinator: SEALS are taught to be this, with trainees who gut it out more valued than those who might be more skilled or find the training easier.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: SEAL instructors are not assholes like the media depicts military trainers, but they teach survival escape and evasion tactics playing the part of the enemy in case SEALS are captured so they have an idea of what to expect, then they get real nasty. Constant hazing, sabotaging trainees equipment until they get the idea to post guards, shooting at them, running through explosives, keeping them awake, or forcing those who are slow to exercise until they either collapse or quit. They are not assholes in doing this, those who do not quit no matter how much they struggle are held in high regard by the instructors and considered the best in the world, even more so than those who do well. Also it should be noted that true combat situations are far more unforgiving than even the harshest instructor could ever hope to be, the harder your training the more prepared you will be when your life is on the line.
- Indeed, the sign outside SEAL Training in Little Creek says, "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat." Harsher SEALS change it to bleed and die.
- Fun with Acronyms: Depending on who you ask SEAL either means Sea Air Land or Sleep Eat And Live it up.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Required in training. SEAL Team Six was given an ammo budget bigger than the Marines, which they burnt through to develop their aiming skills.
- The Spartan Way: See Training from Hell immediately below, to become a SEAL involves swimming, running, lifting, swimming, underwater navigation, navigating through explosive laden obstacle courses while shot at, swimming, constant harassment and abuse, navigating a series of tall logs spaced far apart without falling, swimming, survival evasion and escape from enemy patrols, withstanding interrogation and swimming. Those who pass move on to demolitions and parachute work.
- Training from Hell: Only 25-30% of recruits get through SEAL training successfully. The rest are either rolled out because it gets too much and they cannot continue, or they quit. Most likely during "Hell Week" where they get maybe three hours sleep over five days of constant torture.
- Undying Loyalty: They say a natural bond develops between men who are forced to share hellish experiences together, where they are forced to rely upon one another or else they die. When you crank those hellish experiences up to 11 then you get the Navy SEALS. When John F. Kennedy tasked Roy Boehm with creating the SEALS the veteran Frogman told his Commander in Chief, "I did not vote for you, sir, but I'll die for you."
Media where SEALS appear
- The Punisher: Frank Castle is depicted as a Marine whenever he appears, however in most if not all of his works itís also noted he trained with SEALS to become deadlier.
- Charlie Sheenís movie Navy SEALS has a reporter who has contacts among terrorists but refuses to divulge information to Michael Biehn's character about terrorist possessing surface-to-air missiles. He takes her into a kill house (where the teams practice fighting inside buildings) and has a team actually engage around them, to give the reporter an idea of how it feels being helpless around a bunch of armed attackers, to get her to divulge the information needed to rescue the captured US personnel.
- The Rock had actual SEALs perform the diving scenes as well as part of the team sent against the renegade Marines.
- Act of Valor depicts a SEAL team, played by real SEALs using real tactics, tasked with taking down a terrorist cell planning to engage in a massive act of terrorism against the US.
- Zero Dark Thirty
- Rogue Warrior is the autobiography of Richard Marcinko, Commander of SEAL Team Two and creator and Commander of Team Six. He turned it into a franchise of fictional stories based on his experience, Real Life self help books and even a video game.
Live Action TV
- When Eliza Dushku is hit on and asked out on a date when she plays an FBI agent in The Big Bang Theory, she asks if her Navy SEAL husband is also invited. Dushku is known for playing Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Echo in Dollhouse, and Rubi in Wet, in other words badasses. So sheís matched up with the ultimate Bad Ass for one hell of a cockblock.
- Admiral Chegwidden in JAG is a retired Navy SEAL, and on the odd occasion he is involved in a incident he shows he can still be Bad Ass into his sixties.
- There was also the episode Rogue detailing a SEAL Captain launching mock terrorist attacks to expose weaknesses in military installations. Despite the disclaimer the story is fiction it is clearly based on Rogue Warrior.
- Sam Axe in Burn Notice is a retired SEAL (played by none other than Bruce Campbell); he managed to retire at the grade of Commander, receiving a promotion from Lt. Commander his last day of duty. This shows in his general attitude: he might be an overweight womanizing boozer, but then as a retired SEAL he has every right to be overweight and drink (and as for the womanizing—look at the page image caption!), and he is definitely the most by-the-book member of Team Westen (Michael having been a CIA field agent and Fiona having been an IRA operative/weapons expert, Sam is the most likely to appeal to reason and law—as befits a career officer).note
- Obviously, Sony's SOCOMUS Navy Seals series.
- One of the units available in Command & Conquer Red Alert 2. Elites who wipe out enemy soldiers, can swim and blow up buildings.
- As well as Delta Force in the video game...um, Delta Force, players can also choose to play as SEALS among other special forces in Task Force Dagger.
- The Navy Seal is the Americans' special unit in Civilization IV
- Surprisingly averted for most of the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare series. The SEALs don't show up onscreen until Modern Warfare 2 (where their slogan provides a level name), and you don't play one until Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
- The modern Medal of Honor games focused on the absolute cream of the crop special forces such as Tier 1 including SEALS as well as Team Six. Several members were actually caught out advising on uniforms and tactics, and docked several month's pay.