US Navy SEALs History
|The Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) of the Navy were the predecessors of the US Navy Seals. The UDTs came about during World War II as special teams trained in commando tactics and in the use of demolitions to destroy marine and coastal targets such as minefields. The UDTs were acclaimed for their actions in North Africa, the Normandy invasion, and the Pacific theater.
The Navy SEAL Program was created by President John F. Kennedy on January 1, 1962. The Navy realized the necessity for guerilla/counter-guerilla warfare and wanted to establish itself in the role of special warfare. The term “SEAL” comes from the unit’s mission to be able to operate anywhere in the world: Sea, Air, and Land.
Two original SEAL teams were established: Seal Team 1 out of Coronado in California, and Seal Team 2 out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The teams were trained in unconventional specialties such as demolitions, hand-to-hand combat, and high altitude-low opening (HALO) parachuting.
The Navy SEAL teams began deploying overseas as early as March, 1962, when they were tasked with training South Vietnamese soldiers to fight against the Northern aggressors. As the conflict in Vietnam expanded, so did the SEALs’ role in it. SEAL teams conducted guerilla warfare, disrupting the North Vietnamese Army’s supply lines and ambushing key targets.
Since the Vietnam War, Navy SEALs have participated in multiple military operations, including Operations Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Storm, Restore Hope, Gothic Serpent, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Red Wing.
Navy SEALs continue to serve in locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan today.