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How the Navy’s ‘Hell Week’ Reveals Who Has What it Takes to Be a SEAL

by SOFREP News Jan 29, 2021
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US Navy SEAL candidates during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California, January 23, 2018. US Navy/PO1 Abe McNatt
US Navy SEAL candidates during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California, January 23, 2018. US Navy/PO1 Abe McNatt

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training is a six-month selection process and the gateway into the Navy’s SEAL Teams.

Broken into three phases (First Phase, Second Phase, Third Phase), BUD/S has an attrition rate of between 70 and 85 percent. The complete SEAL pipeline attrition rate — from the moment someone walks into the recruiter’s office to the end of advanced qualification training — is over 90 percent.

First Phase is the basic conditioning part of BUD/S. Students learn to work as a team under increasingly difficult physical and mental conditions, with four-mile timed runs, obstacle course timed runs, and two-mile timed swims determining who stays and who goes. This phase is where most students’ dream of becoming a SEAL ends. This is also where Hell Week takes place.

Second Phase is the dive part of BUD/S, where students are introduced to basic combat diver operations. The pool competence test in this phase is arguably the second-hardest event during BUD/S, after Hell Week.

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