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Useful Notes: Navy Seals

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 striped 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 counterterrorism. 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: After the 9/11 attacks SEALS were deployed to the Persian Gulf to intercept suspected Taliban vessels, before moving in on Afghanistan to perform recon and help escort Marines to launch the attack, no doubt the mother of all bodyguards. They would continue to work in country over the following weeks and months, specifically when they themselves were captured and had to be rescued by other elite, Bad Ass special forces. They would later secure Iraqi oil when the country was invaded, saved a hijacked ship from Somali pirates and on May 1st 2011 were sent on a covert operation into Pakistan at the behest of Barack Obama. This was the mission every SEAL writer dreams of, a high stakes infiltration and strike that could potentially result in World War III. That dream was realized when with the aid of intelligence agencies the SEALS were able to track down and assassinate Osama bin Laden, with the news a Real Life example of And There Was Much Rejoicing with sports events interrupted by the news and the legendary SEALS writing themselves into the history books in the process.

Tropes associated with Navy SEALS:

Media where SEALS appear

  • The CIA in Jormungand requests the deployment of the "Night Nine" a.k.a. SEAL Team 9's Alpha Platoon to eliminate Koko Hekmatyar's HCLI crew late in the second season. note  They are the only enemies that take zero casualties against HCLI, and the only reason HCLI survives is because Koko uses her quantum computer to screw with Night Nine's GPS and send them in the wrong direction, right up to the Cuban border. And even then they came very close to killing off Koko's crew.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Lone Survivor is a memoir of a 2005 botched operation in Afghanistan by SEAL Team Ten to kill an Afghan warlord written by the operation's Sole Survivor Marcus Luttrell. In 2014, it was made into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell.

    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 
  • The reboot of Hawaii Five-0 re-imagines Steve McGarrett as a Navy SEAL, and the pilot begins with Steve in the middle of a SEAL mission in South Korea. When asked to head the governor's special task force, Steve becomes a Cowboy Cop, taking his SEAL training and applying it to solve major crimes. Series 2 introduces his SEAL instructor Joe White, a Badass Grandpa who can still hold his own in a fight.
  • Jesse Ventura, in the lead up to SummerSlam, said this.
    I am the only professional wrestler who can legitimately say he was a Navy SEAL. I AM the real deal when it comes to being a pro wrestler and former Navy SEAL. I know Demo Dick Marcinko, Commander, he is a friend of mine. I also climbed the rope ladder a week ago on board the USS Pearl Harbor - I was given eight bells and a salute from both the Captain and the Executive Officer.

    Video Games 
  • Obviously, Sony's SOCOM US 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. Of course, this being a Command and Conquer game, they are absolutely helpless against vehicles.
  • As well as Delta Force in the video, 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.

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