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History of the US Navy SEALs

Ever wonder how America's most famous Naval group came to be? Learn the history of the US Navy SEALs, and you'll be amazed at what you find out.

The Navy SEALs are famous for their acts of valor as well as the many world-famous missions they've gone on. They're your best ally in war, and the enemy's worst nightmare. 

Over the years, the Navy SEALs have become immortalized in books, spawned hit movies, and also have been given the nod in G.I. Joe cartoons as well. Veterans of this team are also considered to be heroes worthy of books and fame. Ever wonder where this team started, or how they got their name? 

To a point, it's almost expected that greatness like this came from equally impressive roots. Unsurprisingly, the history of the US Navy SEALs is just as badass as the soldiers that are part of the team, too. 

The History of the US Navy SEALs: Part One

Believe it or not, the entire history of the US Navy SEALs is fairly recent. Unlike the National Guard, which has basically been around since the start of the US Army, the Navy SEALs only began in 1962 as part of a directive started by JFK. 

They were a team that was made to be the US Special Operations Command's go-to team for almost every situation that would require a small team of heroes. They are trained to survive in every environment, and are expected to arrive from a coastline or river, do their work, then get picked back up again. 

The Navy SEALs were created as a way to help ramp up forces in Vietnam, and originally only Team One and Team Two were there. As time went on, forces expanded. 

The History of the US Navy SEALs: Part Two

The Navy SEALs program was actually developed from five of the most elite fighting forces of World War II. These five groups, now nonexistent in the military, were: 

  • Army Scouts/Navy Raiders
  • Naval Combat Demolition Units
  • Naval Underwater Demolition Teams
  • Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons
  • The Strategic Services Operational Swimmers

These squadrons, which were some of the most impressive fighters in the military, taught the Navy SEALs how to fight. Nowadays, many of their main battle tactics can be traced back to these World War II and Korean War teams. 

As the Vietnam War began to get more explosive, Kennedy realized that the Army needed a team that can work on land, sea, or air. So, he enlisted the best of each force to help created fighting tactics that would make the SEALs work well. 

Oddly enough, many of the first SEALs were UDT members who had already fought in a number of wars. 

The History of the US Navy SEALs: Part Three

By the end of 1962, the Navy SEALs had been deployed in Vietnam and had successfully completed a number of high-profile missions. By 1963, the CIA had enlisted Navy SEALs to start covert operations in Vietnam with equal success. 

Though there were casualties, the brown waters of the Vietnam Delta proved to be an excellent training ground for the SEALs' rivertime tactics — and further sharpened their skill. 

Even after Nixon started his "Vietnamization" Plan, the SEALs remained active in Vietnam throughout the 1970s. The last SEAL advisor left Vietnam in 1973, though much of the UDT gear that was initially used remained there or was converted into specialty SEAL gear. 

The History of the US Navy SEALs: Part Four

Because of how well the Navy SEALs performed in the Vietnam War, presidents decided to keep the team in action. Along with the mission that led SEAL Team Six to kill Osama Bin Laden, the Navy SEALs also were involved in a number of top name missions, including: 

  • Urgent Fury (Grenada 1983)
  • Desert Storm
  • Enduring Freedom
  • Iraqi Freedom

Many of their missions also remain covert due to matters of national security. So, while we might not know the full history of the US Navy SEALs, we know enough to agree they're a fighting force that the world respects. 

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