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The Evolution Of The Elite United States Navy Sea Ls: Vietnam To Modern Day Conflicts

1942 words - 8 pages

As war rages on, there is a special breed of man who puts everything on the line for the safety and preservation of his country. These men operate behind the scenes without any conventional help available to them and with no need of meritorious recognition. These men are the most elite branch of the United States military: the Navy SEALs. As mentioned in their ethos, they are ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve their missions and the goals established by their country. They are trained not to fail; this legacy has been fulfilled since their creation during the Vietnam War. This conflict tested both their strength and values as modern day ...view middle of the document...

Their name itself presents their capabilities into an acronym: sea, air, and land. These elite soldiers were hand selected from an already maritime unit: the Underwater Demolitions Teams. From the initial staging, those UDT members had to pass a variety of rigorous trainings and schools that taught them what they needed to know in order to become Navy SEALs. This three-month SEAL Basic Indoctrine (SBI) training was taught in the Cuyamaca Mountains in Camp Kerry and focused on aspects of unconventional warfare such as hand-to-hand combat, high-altitude parachuting, safecracking, demolitions, and languages. Additionally after SBI training, these newly born SEALs would be introduced to platoon tactics that were extremely useful for the conflict in Vietnam. At first, the SEALs were organized into two separate teams: Team 1 that was based in Coronado, California and Team 2 in Little Creek, Virginia. The locations of the two teams were strategically based for both training and tactical use. This meant that the SEALs could be positioned anywhere in the world within a matter of hours.

The SEALs were also organized in such a way so that they could be implemented as effectively as possible. For starters, their versatile sizes enabled them to operate on any mission at any given time. They could work as a twelve-man platoon, a six-man squad, a four-man fire team, or a as a two-man swim buddy team (Navyseals). Generally, four or five platoons operated in Vietnam at a time, temporarily however. Their tours typically lasted around six months but many SEALs normally made several of them to show their commitment and duty to their country.

Even though the SEALs had an amazement of tactical and “war changing” uses, they were not recognized as so by most of the military advisors in Vietnam and even the department of the United States Navy as well. The SEALs weren’t oblivious to this and realized that they needed to earn their stripes and work their way up the ladder of superiority. So in the beginning, the SEALs were given a series of run-of-the-mill missions in some of the nastiest and dangerous parts of Vietnam: the Rung Sat zone (The U.S Navy SEALs: From Vietnam to Finding Bin Laden 124). The Rung Sat zone was considered a special or secret zone to many and was not in the Delta proper. In this region, the SEALs conducted a variety of missions including ambushes, hit-and-run raids, reconnaissance patrols, and special intelligence collection. In addition to these clandestine operations, they SEALs were also tasked with advising and training a group of Vietnamese forces that were called the LDNN (“The Green Faces”). The LDNN were the Vietnamese version of the United States Navy SEALs and were successful in their operations. The LDNN used United States provided fast boats for their missions just as the U.S SEALs implemented them into their operations.

For the SEAL teams, intelligence was of priority that would either break or make a mission. During the initial...

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