Slide background


Hitching A Ride: Navy SEALS At Work

Virginia Beach, Virginia. (February 16, 2024): Wow, that’s one unusual way to get to work! In this photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Trey Hutcheson, Naval Special Warfare operators use a submarine diver propulsion vehicle to transport the team to their objective during underwater training. The Navy formed its unconventional warfare units during World War II to tackle dangerous assignments including direct action, counterterrorism, special reconnaissance, and personnel recovery. These pioneering units included the Marine Scouts and Raiders along with the first underwater demolition teams.

When President John F. Kennedy ordered the services to develop their unconventional warfare capability, the Navy responded by forming SEAL Teams One and Two in January 1962. Using personnel from existing underwater demolition teams, the SEALS were used to conduct counter guerrilla warfare and clandestine operations in maritime environments. In the Vietnam era, the Navy's special units included separate Underwater Demolition Teams (the successors to Navy Combat Demolition Units) and SEAL teams (successors to Scouts and Raiders). In 1983, the Underwater Demolition Teams were merged into the SEALS.

Today, the Naval Special Warfare branch is organized into eight SEAL teams, three Special Boat units, and various supporting commands totaling about 9,200 personnel. The SEALS are the force-of-choice for conducting small unit raids from oceans, rivers, or swamps and they have distinguished themselves as a reliable, highly skilled, and lethal force.

Due to the nature of special operations work, the Navy SEALS go through what is considered by many military experts to be the toughest training in the world