Down the street on Sangley Naval Base outside Manila, past the Little Bird helicopters lined up on the flight line, is the home of Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG). On the compound on any given day, it is not uncommon to find U.S. Navy SEALs training their Philippine counterparts. It is a relationship that stretches back decades, one that is quickly confirmed while inside NAVSOG headquarters, where plaques from American SEAL teams and the odd U.S. Special Forces combat diver team adorn the walls.
The first Philippine Navy Underwater Operations Team (UOT) was established in November of 1956. Interestingly, history is a little vague as to what the unit was created for. In many cases, the Philippine Armed Forces (AFP) were patterned after the U.S. military in the post-World War Two environment with little concern given to the local particularisms or modifying tables of organization and equipment to fit the indigenous culture. That said, piracy was and is a security concern in the Philippines that necessitates a maritime capability. Thus the first six UOT members were drawn from the Philippine Marine Corps.
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