The Navy SEALs foster an unconventional mindset in enlisted men and officers that cultivates teamwork, creative thinking, and awareness under extremely high stress and high-risk situations. This makes SEALs the most effective weapons in the Global War on Terror. The beginning of that training is conducted in Coronado, California, at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training. BUD/S is six months of the most demanding training in the U.S. military. Immediately following BUD/S, graduates attend four months of high-paced advanced tactical training known as SEAL Qualification Training (SQT). To read a detailed description of BUD/S and SQT, look at their operational training.

Having recently earned their tridents, a select number of new enlisted SEALs will attend 18Delta SOF Medicine Course at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, while a few others continue their training in Panama City, Florida, to train as SEAL Delivery Vehicle operators. The majority, however, will go directly to a SEAL team on either the East or West Coast to begin platoon training—what operators call “the real deal,” training for war. You can see more on platoon training here. On average, SEALs will be assigned to at least two platoons at their first team. The process for a platoon, from forming up to disbanding, spans between 18 to 24 months, and includes a work-up, deployment, and stand-down phase.

Pepperdine University Professor Dr. Michael Crooke has accomplished much in his life—athlete, veteran, business entrepreneur, academic—but he claims his experience as a Navy SEAL laid the foundation for his many achievements. Learn what he has to say about his life after the teams.

Watch below to see how being a SEAL helps you after you move on from the SEAL teams.