Sunday, October 26, 2014

SEALs: Defending America on the Sea, Air, and Land -- Part 4

Dear Readers,

More about the SEALs.  (Can you tell that I am smitten by these courageous warriors?)

You have no doubt heard of BUD/S training.  This vigorous training is broken down into three phases.  The first consists of basic condition, which lasts eight weeks.  Physical training involves calisthenics, running, and, of course, swimming, all of which becoming more and more difficult as the weeks progress.

The fifth week of training earned the nickname “Hell Week” and for good reason.  It beings with five and a half days of continuous training with very little sleep.  The purpose of this week, to push the students to their limit and beyond, weeds out many applicants, testing them both physically and mentally.  Hydrographic reconnaissance takes up the remaining three weeks.

The second phase is the diving phase, seven weeks in duration.  Students learn combat SCUBA, with emphasis placed on long distance underwater dives, preparing the men for basic combat dives.

The third and final phase involves land warfare training and is ten weeks in length.  This phase incorporates demolition, reconnaissance, and focuses on teaching land navigation, patrolling techniques, rappelling, land navigation, and the handling of individual infantry weapons and military explosion.  

Wow!  Can you imagine what these warriors must undergo to call themselves SEALs, all with the goal of defending America?  It boggles my mind … and stirs my heart.   

May the Lord bless you and the United States of America,



Sunday, October 19, 2014

SEALs: Defending America on the Sea, Air, and Land -- Part 3

Dear Readers,

The gold Navy SEAL Trident is reputed to be one of the most difficult military insignias to earn.  Made up of four symbols, which each symbolize something different, the insignia was adopted in 1971.  The eagle represents freedom and American ideals, the musket the right to bear arms and defend American values, the anchor the US Navy, and the trident, which resembles a pitchfork, denotes the maritime nature of the SEALs.

Consider the following which the SEAL hopefuls must learn and accomplish:  underwater reconnaissance, detection of mines and booby traps, seamanship, use of rubber boats, rigorous physical conditioning, long distance surf swimming with equipment, handling of explosives, removal of obstacles, shallow water diving, close order drill, mine sweeping in shallow water.  

Now add to that drills in removing obstacles through use of hand-placed charges, speed and ability in analyzing and solving demolition problems,  night vision and observation of coastal silhouettes, armed and unarmed combat, stealth and concealment.

Perhaps most important in SEAL training is the reliance on and loyalty to team members.  As one leader pointed out, “There is no ‘I” in Team.”

SEALs are one of America’s first line of defense, taking the battle to the enemy.  Is it any wonder that they are the stuff of legends, inspiring movies and books?

May the Lord bless you and the United States of America,


Sunday, October 12, 2014

SEALs: Defending America on the Sea, Air, and Land -- Part 2

Dear Readers,

Lt. Commander Kauffman had a vision.  He saw the men who joined S&R and NCDUs as warriors who would do what other armed services personnel could not:  removing obstacles and demolition (a fancy word for blowing things up).  The training originally lasted eight weeks (10 for some groups).  Today, that training is 26 weeks

This program weeded out many who could not make the grade.  Some estimate the number of those who tried out but were not selected  at 70 percent.  That percentage remains high today.   Physical conditioning was emphasized as well as skills in removal and demolition.

NCDU training continued at Ft. Pierce until V-J Day in September, 1945 when some men were selected for advanced work.  These men were assigned to a UDT base at Maui, Hawaii where they underwent even more training. 

Today, SEALS must complete a demanding SEALs Tactical Training, after completing BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL).  These men are considered the best of the best, giving everything they have to serve their country.

Drop in next week to learn about the coveted SEAL trident.

May the Lord bless you and the United States of America,


Sunday, October 5, 2014

SEALs: Defending America on the Sea, Air, and Land -- Part 1

Dear Readers,

Chances are you’ve watched a movie, read a book, or seen stories of the exploits of SEALs on the news. 

The acronym SEAL identifies the environments in which SEALs operate:  sea, air, and land.  Though equally adept (and deadly) in any of these environments, it is the water where SEALs feel most comfortable, where they return after completing a mission on the land or in the air.

SEALs trace their beginnings to the Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs) of World War II.  Initially, Scout and Raider units were joint Army and Navy, but were later composed of all Navy personnel.  Scout and Raiders made up amphibious reconnaissance units. 

Lt. Commander Draper L. Kauffman was hand selected as the leader of the NCDU project.  Kauffman had a wide experience of demolition work and bomb disposal which he incorporated in the training, setting up a vigorous program, including Hell Week, which remains a cornerstone of SEALs training today.

The NCDU had as their mission statement, “To have the responsibility for removing natural and manmade underwater obstacles, which are likely to obstruct landing operations.  This mission is performed in close cooperation with other units of the amphibious forces.”

More to come next week about the storied SEALs.

May the Lord bless you and the United States of America,