The United States Navy SEALs ( SEa Air Land) are the U.S. Navy’s elite SOF. Today’s SEALs can trace their origins to WWII; the Navy needed a specialist unit for covert beach reconnaissance of potential landing areas. Rear Admiral Richard K. Turner directed the formation of nine Underwater Demolition teams. Nearly 200 troops trained at Waimanalo amphibious training base to form Underwater Demolition teams One and Two.

The UDTs first saw action in 1944, and eventually, 34 teams were created. In March 1961, the Chief of Naval Operations recommended the establishment of guerrilla and counter-guerrilla units, and the need for them to operate on sea, air, and land. The first two teams were formed and stationed on the East and West coasts. Today’s Navy SEALs have seen action all over the world and are at the tip of the spear in America’s GWOT.

*Photos courtesy of DVIDS

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