We’ve all heard rumors, speculation, and tall tales about the Navy SEALs, but how much of that is actually true? As it turns out, the Navy SEALs are about as hardcore as everything you’ve ever heard. Take a look at these 10 true facts about Navy SEALs.
- Around 80 percent of SEAL potentials drop out before finishing the program. The Navy’s Basic Underwater Demolition Course is the very definition of rigorous but even that still doesn’t adequately describe the amount of mental and physical strength needed to complete each obstacle. Recruits must endure and excel at tough running, swimming, and rafting routines daily on top of other grueling tasks that stretch each student well beyond human capabilities. Just the idea of the 132 hours of training during Hell Week is enough to prompt a sailor to ring the class bell 3 times, signaling a permanent stop to his own training.
- SEAL training isn’t as secret as you’d think! In fact, you can visit beaches around San Diego and actually watch some of their training taking place as they haul logs, operate inflatable boats, and practice landings. There’s no available schedule, but they usually are out on the beach by 6 am, and it’s pretty easy to pick a spot and watch.
- Navy SEALs specialize in more than just water operations. The letters in SEAL stand for Sea, Air, and Land, respectively, and SEALs are trained in every skill that could be useful to them in the field. In other words, they specialize in pretty much everything. They are trained to operate in urban, desert, and jungle terrains. They can parachute from airplanes, handle almost any weapon, and are taught to withstand grueling torture. Their small number and wide range of extensive trainings allow them to accomplish tasks that larger forces would not be able to.
- The Belgian Malinois is the Navy SEAL dog of choice. These dogs will accompany SEALs on missions and are trained for special operations. They can operate parachutes and will often jump with their handlers or even solo. The dogs identify concealed humans and explosives. They are also extremely fast runners, reaching speeds double what a fit human can run. The Malinois are also trained to enter danger zones before troops, alerting them to what is ahead.
- The official Navy SEALs first started with President John F. Kennedy when he gave his famous “man on the moon” speech in 1961. In that speech, Kennedy proposed an increase in paramilitary operation funding, and he showed support for all special operations troops. By the next year, he had established Navy SEAL teams 1 and 2. He also saw a useful role for special naval warfare in the Cold War.
- Water boarding used to be a part of a Navy SEAL’s training, but this was discontinued due to the fact that no one could pass the test. This method of torture simulates drowning and is extremely terrifying for anyone to undergo. In fact, those in the CIA who have had to endure water boarding for training have only lasted around 14 seconds.
- After 9/11, the strength of SEAL Team 6 was raised to almost 300 but was only about 90-strong beforehand. In total, there are somewhere around 2,450 active-duty Navy SEALs. This amounts to only 1 percent of the personnel in the Navy.
- Other special operations groups exist in other branches of the military. Some people don’t realize that the Navy SEALs has its counterparts in the Army as the Green Berets, Night Stalkers, and Army Rangers. The special ops force of the Air Force is the Special Tactics. And the Marine Corps has RECON and MARSOC. Each group of troops is specially trained above and beyond the training of other troops.
- There are 8 SEAL teams in the NSW (Naval Special Warfare) and they are split into 2 groups. Group ONE is made up of all the odd-numbered teams while Group TWO contains all the even numbers. The teams range from 1 to 10, but teams 6 and 9 are not acknowledged by the government.
- Together, teams 1 and 2 ended up with a 200 to 1 kill ratio during the Vietnam War. During this same war, only 46 died.
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