Navy SEALs can trace their roots to the Second World War. The United States Navy recognized the need for the covert reconnaissance of landing beaches and coastal defenses. As a result, the Amphibious Scout and Raider School was established in 1942 at Fort Pierce, Florida. The unit's acronym ("SEAL") is derived from their capacity to operate at sea, in the air, and on land – but it is their ability to work underwater that separates SEALs from most other military units in the world. The experience gained from operating in the ocean and freshwater battlefields has shaped their identity and, as a result, they are regarded as being amongst the most highly skilled and trained amphibious units in the world. Navy SEALs are trained and have been deployed in a wide variety of missions, including direct action and special reconnaissance operations, unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, and other missions. Without exception, all SEALs are male members of either the United States Navy or the United States Marine Corps.
The CIA's highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) often recruit operators from the SEAL Teams. Joint Navy SEALs and CIA operations go back to the famed MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War. This cooperation still exists today and is seen in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the finding and killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
SEAL training is extremely rigorous, having a reputation as some of the toughest anywhere in the world. The dropout rate for BUDs classes are sometimes over 90 percent. The average Navy SEAL spends over a year in a series of formal training environments before being awarded the Special Warfare Operator Naval Rating and the Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 5326 Combatant Swimmer (SEAL) or, in the case of commissioned naval officers, the designation Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Officer.
SEAL Teams are organized into two groups: Naval Special Warfare Group One (West Coast), and Naval Special Warfare Group Two (East Coast), which come under the command of Naval Special Warfare Command, stationed at NAB Coronado, California. Currently, there are nine confirmed Navy SEAL Teams. The key word here is "confirmed", because there is a number of teams, existence and names of which is a closely guarded secret. The original SEAL Teams in the Vietnam War were separated between West Coast (Team ONE) and East Coast (Team TWO) SEALs. The current SEAL Team deployments include Teams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10. Team 6 is no longer identified by this name.
The Teams deploy as Naval Special Warfare Squadrons or Special Operations Task Forces and can deploy anywhere in the world. Squadrons will normally be deployed and fall under a Joint Task Force (JTF) or a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) as a Special Operations Task Force (SOTF). Each SEAL Team is commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), and has a number of operational SEAL platoons and a headquarters element. A SEAL Team has a Staff Headquarters element and three 40-man Troops. Each Troop consist of a Headquarters element consisting of a Troop Commander, typically a Lieutenant Commander (O-4), a Troop Senior Enlisted (E-8), a Targeting/Operations Officer (O-2/3) and a Targeting/Operations Leading/Chief Petty Officer (E-6/7). Under the HQ element are two SEAL platoons of 16–20 men (two officers, 14–16 enlisted SEALs, and sometimes two enlisted EOD Operators); a company-sized Combat Service Support (CSS) and/or Combat Support (CS) consisting of staff N-codes (the Army and Marine Corps use S-codes); N1 Administrative support, N2 Intelligence, N3 Operations, N4 Logistics, N5 Plans and Targeting, N6 Communications, N7 Training, and N8 Air/Medical.
Each Troop can be easily task organized into four squads of eight 4–5 man fire teams for operational purposes. The size of each SEAL “Team” with Troops and support staff is approximately 300 personnel. The typical SEAL platoon has an OIC (Officer in Charge, usually a Lieutenant (O-3), an AOIC (Assistant Officer in Charge, usually a Lieutenant (junior grade), O-2), a platoon chief (E-7), an Operations NCO/LPO (Leading Petty Officer, E-6) and other operators E-4 to E-6. The core leadership in the Troop and Platoon are the Commander/OIC and the Senior Enlisted NCO (Senior Chief/Chief). Troop core skills consist of: Sniper, Breacher, Communicator, Maritime/Engineering, Close Air Support, Corpsman, Point-man/Navigator, Primary Driver/Navigator (Rural/Urban/Protective Security), Heavy Weapons Operator, Sensitive Site Exploitation, Air Operations Master, Lead Climber, Lead Diver/Navigator, Interrogator, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Technical Surveillance, and Advanced Special Operations. Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, a naval base in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is home to SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8, and 10. Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, a naval base in Coronado, California, is home to SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5, and 7. There is also a SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) unit, SDVT-1, located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. SDVT-2 was based in Virginia; it was disestablished and merged into SDVT-1. SDV Teams are SEAL teams with an added underwater delivery capability. An SDV platoon consists of 12–15 SEALs.
Naval Special Warfare Group ONE is located at NAB Coronado, CA. Naval Special Warfare Groups (NSWG) are echelon II Captain (O6) major commands established by NAVSPECWARCOM to equip, support, and provide command and control elements and trained and ready SEAL and SDV platoons and forces to the geographic CINCs. NSW Groups ONE and TWO are organized into:
• Three SEAL Teams, comprised of eight 16-man platoons, which conduct reconnaissance, DA, UW, FID, and other operations in maritime or riverine environments;
• One SDV Team which operates and maintains submersible systems that deliver and recover SEALs in hostile areas and conduct reconnaissance and DA missions; and
• NSW Units, which are small command and control elements located outside the continental United States, support other NSW forces assigned to theater SOCs or components of naval task forces.
Naval Special Warfare Group ONE (NSWG 1) in Coronado, California, is one of the six major operational components of the Naval Special Warfare Command. It is commanded by a Navy Captain (O-6). NSWG 1 has under its operational and administrative control, SEAL Team ONE, SEAL Team THREE, SEAL Team FIVE, and SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE. Administrative control of NSWU-1 AND NSWU-3 is with Naval Special Warfare Group ONE. The group deploys Naval Special Warfare forces worldwide to meet the training, exercise, contingency, and wartime requirements of the theater Commanders. Naval Special Warfare Group ONE is capable of task-organizing to support worldwide commitments as a deployed Naval Special Warfare Task Group (NSWTG), as they did during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. NSWG1 geographically concentrates on the Pacific and Central Commands areas of responsibility.
• NSW Unit ONE (NSWU-1)
• NSW Unit THREE (NSWU-3)
• SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE (SDVT-1)
• SEAL Team ONE (ST-1)
• SEAL Team THREE (ST-3)
• SEAL Team FIVE (ST-5)
• Mobile Communications Team (MCT)
• Logistics & Support Unit
Naval Special Warfare Group 3 (NSWG-3), based at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in California, is one of six constituent formations of the United States Naval Special Warfare Command. Until 2008, NSWG-3 was composed of two SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams: SDVT-1 in Pearl Harbor and SDVT-2 in Little Creek. In 2008, SDVT-2 was disestablished and merged into SDVT-1, which is now headquartered in San Diego and operates detachments in Pearl Harbor and Little Creek. SDV Teams are SEAL teams with an added underwater delivery capability. An SDV platoon consists of 12-15 SEALs.
SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One (SDVT-1) is commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5). The table of equipment for the unit includes three operational SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDV) and a Dry Deck Shelter (DDS). The normal table of organization includes three task units and a headquarters element. Each SDV Task Unit operates independently from a host submarine in the conduct of Naval Special Warfare missions. SDV Task Units typically deploy aboard host submarines, but may be deployed from shore or surface ships. SDVT-1 conducts operations throughout the Pacific Command's and Central Command's geographic areas of responsibility.
SDVT-2 was disestablished on 8 August, 2008, and merged with SDVT-1. Formerly consisting of 28 navy divers in the command in addition to SEALs and SDV technicians, SDVT-2 was reportedly replaced by a small Dry Deck Shelter detachment.
NSWG-3 is the organization tasked with developing expertise in deploying Naval Special Warfare assets from submarines. Current non-classified methods of deployment include the SEAL Delivery Vehicle, Dry Deck Shelter and Advanced SEAL Delivery System.
The Naval Special Warfare Group-4 (NSWG-4), was established Oct. 2002 as a result of NSW-21 Restructure Force changes. the Group is located at Little Creek, Naval Amphibious Base in Va. She is subordinate to US SOCOM and Naval Special Warfare Command. NSWG-4's subordinate units are Special Boat Teams 12, 20, and 22. NSWG-4 is tasked to organize, equip and train SWCC crews to assigned combatant craft at the Special Boat Teams to support Naval Special Warfare.
The Group is responsible for the development and testing of Combatant craft and associated ordinance and equipment. NSWG-4 is also responsible for the development and evaluating operational doctrine, tactics and procedures. NSWG-4 monitors and certifies the Combat Readiness of assigned craft and SWCC.
NSWG-4 Operational areas of responsibility are the World’s coastal and riverine areas. NSWG-4 is a Staff Organization, commanded by a senior SEAL Captain with many departments filled by SEALs and senior SWCC holding positions in Operations, Training and Command Master Chief.
Special Boat Detachments (SBD) like its earlier historic namesakes MST-1,2, and 3 are small Spec Boat Dets. deployed from its parent Special Boat Team.
The SBD will form up, train, and qualify on the combatant craft to be used. They will also receive all combat related skills, training and tactics for missions they will conduct overseas. Once the training cycle is completed the Special Boat Team training Department will conduct a Operational Readiness Exercise (ORE). NSWG-4 may also monitor the ORE. This is a realistic as possible Final Battle Problem that will test and grade all skills learned by the detachment. Once they passed the ORE the Special Boat Team and NSWG-4 will certify them ready for deployment.
The SBD is then sent overseas on a Operational deployment to conduct Maritime Naval Special Warfare at the orders of the SOF In-Theater Commander The deployment is normally six months long. The SBD will normally support a SEAL Platoon, but with NSW-21 Force changes several SBDs will deploy together with a SEAL Squadron and its platoons of SEALs. The SBD normally support SEAL operations, but capable of conducting certain operations with other SOF units and Marine RECON. The Special Boat Detachments are capable of conducting certain Special Operation Missions designed for the Boats and SWCC. SBDs are on the tip of the spear when deployed, conducting, or on station to conduct "Real World" Operations.
SEAL Team 1 is based out of Coronado, California and consists of eight SEAL platoons in total. The Team is headed up by a Navy Commander and focuses its work and efforts in Southeast Asia. In short, Navy SEAL Team 1 deploys said platoons in Guam to the Naval Special Warfare Unit One. It also conducts trainings known as DFTs or Deployments and Training in both the Pacific and Central theaters. On January 1, 1962, Navy SEAL Team 1 was put into operation. The first recruits consisted of men who were already skilled in Underwater Demolition and were part of UDT Teams 11 – 12. These men were then put through a variety of other trainings throughout various military schools in order to gain the skills necessary in order to operate within jungle based terrain, which was needed at the time. Though the first SEALs who made up Navy SEAL Team 1 were used to dealing with near-shore missions, they had to learn to operate in various elements including inland travel, which is why they were put through more rigorous training than other branches of the military. Throughout the history of SEAL Team 1, two officers were commissioned to travel to Vietnam in order to determine if the newly formed Navy SEALs could be of service in the area. After this meeting two platoons from SEAL Team 1 were sent to Vietnam where they served a six month tour, wherein they were responsible for training the Vietnamese in general military operations. It is recorded in history that Navy SEAL Team 1 was ultimately responsible for an estimated one-thousand confirmed kills and nearly another 400 probable kills during this time in the Vietnam War.
Little Creek, Virginia serves as the home and headquarters for Navy SEAL Team 2, which like Navy SEAL Team 1 is led by a Navy Commander. Eight platoons in total make up the military force behind Navy SEAL Team 2. As far as Deployment and Training is concerned, Navy SEAL Team 2 focuses in Europe, wherein it sends platoons to Germany where they serve on Amphibious Ships which are deployed to fleets 2 and 6. It should be noted that Navy SEAL 2 is the only SEAL Team that has arctic warfare capabilities. This is one of the most unique traits of SEAL Team 2 that sets it apart from all others. When Navy SEAL 2 was first formed it was lead by LT. John F. Callahan and consisted almost solely of members from UDT-21. Additional statistics state that Navy SEAL 2 began with a total of ten officers and fifty general ranks. One notable Navy SEAL who served as part of Navy SEAL Team 2 is Harry Constance who joined in 1966. Within four years Harry Constance had completed 300 missions during combat in Vietnam and also captured nearly 200 enemy prisoners. Harry Constance is in fact considered to be one of the most well recognized SEALs from his time. All his endeavors resulted in 3 bronze star medals and after being wounded in battle a Purple Heart. Harry Constance was in fact idolized by the majority of men who served not only as part of Navy SEAL Team 2, but also all other Navy SEAL Teams that were in operation at the time.
Lead by a Navy Commander, Navy SEAL 3 located in Coronado, California consists of a total of eight platoons and also features a headquarters element. Navy SEAL Team 3 focuses its service in Southwest Asia. Additionally, Navy SEAL 3 deals with deployment of platoons to Guam via Naval Special Warfare Unit one. These platoons are deployed amongst the 3rd, 5th, and 7th fleets aboard various amphibious ships. The Central and Pacific Theaters are where the Deployments and Trainings (DFTs) of Navy SEAL Team 3 take place. Throughout history Navy SEAL 3 has served in numerous combat missions. In August of 1990 when Iraq took to invading Kuwait, Navy SEAL Team 3 was sent to take part in various missions in the area. Additionally, in more recent history SEAL Team 3 served in Afghanistan wherein they once again took part in various missions, where much of the time they used what are known as Desert Patrol Vehicles which have widely been associated solely with Navy SEAL Team 3. Navy SEAL Team 3 is part of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 along with Teams 1, 5, and 7. Navy SEAL Team 3 is also considered to be a West Coast Team. Navy SEAL Team 3 is a highly trained and motivated unit that provides numerous functions for the US Military. Much of what Navy SEAL Team 3 has accomplished, along with other Navy SEAL Teams is generally kept quiet. Though their successes are generally announced and have gone down in history we may never know everything that Navy SEAL 3 has accomplished for this great country.
10 operational platoons make up Navy SEAL Team 4 which is based out of Little Creek, Virginia. Navy SEAL Team 4 is headed by a Navy Commander and also features a headquarters element apart from the 10 platoons that make it whole. The focus of Navy SEAL 4 is concentrated in both South America and Central America. When it comes to basic deployment, Navy SEAL Team 4 deploys platoons to amphibious ships amongst the second fleet along Naval Special Warfare Unit Eight located in Panama. Additionally, Navy SEAL Team 4 conducts Deployments and Trainings (DFTs) in both the Central American theater and South American theater. One unique thing that sets Navy SEAL Team 4 apart from all other Navy SEAL Teams is the fact that it features a “visible standing language capability”; this language being Spanish. All other Navy SEAL Teams have a language focus of English. Navy SEAL Team 4 is part of Naval Special Warfare Group 2 along with Teams 2, 8, and 10. Navy SEAL Team 4 is also considered to be a East Coast Team. Throughout Navy SEAL history Navy SEAL Team 4 has taken part in various combat missions. In 1983 Navy SEAL Team 4 along with Navy SEAL Team 6 were sent to Grenada to provide protection for US citizens who were on the island. Team 4 was first given the “Green Light” to prepare the mission which was then given to Team 6. However, Team 4 provided much needed reconnaissance and assistance to the US Marine Corps who were focused on landing at a airfield. Team 4 is famous for their assistance and bravery in Grenada.
Under the direction of a Navy Commander Navy SEAL Team 5 consists of a headquarters element and 8 active platoons. The main focus of concentration of Navy SEAL Team 5 consists of geographic areas is the Northern Pacific. These platoons are deployed among the 3rd, 5th, and 7th fleets amongst Naval Special Warfare Unit One located in Guam. The Deployments and Trainings of Navy SEAL Team 5 take place in both the Pacific and Central Theaters. Navy SEAL Team 5 is part of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 along with Teams 1, 3, and 7. Navy SEAL Team 5 is also considered to be a West Coast Team. At various times throughout history Navy SEAL Team 5 has been called to action. Most notably in 1990, Navy SEAL Team 5 was called to service after Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. Members of SEAL Team 5 entered Kuwait along with various Navy Special Boat Units. These units made it into Kuwait before the borders were sealed off by the Iraqi’s. Throughout the siege in Kuwait Navy SEAL Team 5 executed various successful missions for the Unites States Military. No matter what Navy SEAL Team 5 is called to do they always complete their missions with the utmost professionalism and effectiveness needed by our country in times of need. They are a strong line of defense that has been heralded for their bravery and that will always be here to assist in the protection of the American people. Just as they have been there in the past, they will be here in the future to protect everything that America stands for.
The United States Navy SEALs Team Six is also known as United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG) or DEVGRU. It is one of the United States' two secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units (SMUs); the other such group is 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force). Most recently DEVGRU's designation had been changed by the Defense Department to a new name. However, the new name is currently classified. When SEAL Team Six was first created it was devoted exclusively to counter-terrorism with a worldwide maritime responsibility; its objectives typically included targets such as ships, oil rigs, naval bases, or other civilian or military bases that were accessible from the sea or inland waterways. DEVGRU's full mission is classified but is thought to include preemptive, pro-active counterterrorist operations, counter-proliferation (efforts to prevent the spread of both conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction), as well as assassination or recovery of high-value targets (HVTs) from unfriendly nations. DEVGRU is one of only a handful of U.S. special mission units authorized to use preemptive actions against terrorists and their facilities. On May 1/2 2011, DEVGRU was involved in the operation “Neptune Spear “ that killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in the affluent suburb of Abottabad, Pakistan. The operation was carried out with support of other JSOC units, the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group. The raid also involved close collaboration with the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
SEAL Team 7 was commissioned March 2002 and is a subordinate command of Naval Special Warfare Group 1. Since its commissioning, SEAL Team 7 has made three combat deployments to both the Central and Pacific Command theatres of operation in support of the global war on terrorism. SEAL Team 7 recently returned from a six-month deployment in Iraq and the Pacific theater in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the global war on terrorism. Their actions helped increase security and stability in the Al Anbar province of Iraq and their contributions were significant in degrading the capability of terrorist organizations in Iraq and around the world.
SEAL Team 8 is based at Little Creek, VA. Commanded by a Navy Commander (O-5), it has eight operational platoons and a headquarters element. SEAL Team EIGHT’s geographic area of concentration is the Caribbean, Africa, and the Mediterranean. SEAL Team Eight deploys platoons with carrier battle groups (CVBGs) and amphibious ships in support of Second, Fifth, and Sixth Fleet commanders, and conducts DFTs throughout the Caribbean, Africa, and the Mediterranean littoral.
SEAL Team 10 is comprised of 6 platoons. Its headquarters is in Little Creek, Virginia. It is a part of the Naval Special Warfare Group 2, along with the SEAL Teams 2, 4, and 8. Most recently SEAL Team 10 was deployed to Afghanistan in support of operation “Enduring Freedom”. One of the most notable operations, which put SEAL Team 10 on the media radar, was operation “Red Wings”, during which SEAL Team 10 operators were heavily outnumbered by Afghan militants, and lost three of their members.
Naval Special Warfare Unit Two (NSWU-2) is one of subordinate units of the SOCEUR (Special Operations Command Europe). Naval Special Warfare Unit TWO is based in Stuttgart, Germany. NSWU-2 provides operational support to forward deployed platoons and conducts theater planning for contingencies and exercises for Naval Special Warfare forces in the EUCOM theater of operations. NSWU-2 is capable of forming the nucleus of a Naval Special Warfare Task Unit.
[Edited on Dec. 8, 2012] The SEAL Delivery Vehicle or (SDV) is a manned submersible and a type of Swimmer Delivery Vehicle used to deliver United States Navy SEALs and their equipment for special operations missions and is also operated by the Royal Navy's Special Boat Service who operates 3 SDV's.
The SDV is used primarily for covert or clandestine missions to denied access areas (either held by hostile forces or where military activity would draw notice and objection).
It should not be confused with the larger, dry submersible called the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS). The SDV is flooded, and the swimmers ride exposed to the water, breathing from the vehicle's compressed air supply or using their own SCUBA gear. (The ASDS is dry inside, with a full life support and air conditioning system.)
The SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) unit, SDVT-1, is a subordinate of the Naval Special Warfare Group 3, now headquartered in Coronado. They operate detachments in Pearl Harbor and Little Creek. SDVT-2 was based in Virginia; it was disestablished and merged into SDVT-1. SDV Teams are SEAL teams with an added underwater delivery capability. An SDV platoon consists of 12–15 SEALs.
The Mobile Communications Team is an operational component of the communications- electronics departments of the Naval Special Warfare Groups ONE and TWO. They are responsible for: (1) Providing operational communications support to SEAL Teams, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams, and to Special Boat Squadrons for deployed fleet and joint units; (2) Organizing, training, and integrating new equipment and developing tactics to provide the highest quality Naval Special Warfare communications operations and support; (3) Preparing, implementing, and reviewing communications plans in coordination with higher authority, Naval Special Warfare Command components and other fleet and joint units.
As always, the above insignia are available on a limited number of selected quality products via my “Military Insignia” galleries. You may simply follow the direct links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries
I will also make my insignia designs available free of charge to any military units and personnel, for any non-profit/non-commercial and charitable causes, benefiting troops and their families. In addition, I would make my designs available free of charge to any military branches, formations and units for any non-commercial internal duty-specific purposes, such as unit-related web design, training materials or presentations, as I did on numerous occasions in the past.
The above information provided in part by Wikipedia, The Institute of Heraldry, Global Security. Special thanks to www.sealteam.com, and a number of official websites of the above-mentioned units.