A Brief History of the Navy Seals

The Navy SEALs play an essential role in our nation’s security. The SEAL moniker in the name stands for the areas they protect; Sea, Air, and Land. They are the foundation of the Naval Special Warfare combat forces, a branch of the United States Army that helps protect the nation. The SEALs are trained to run Special Operations in all areas or environments. The process and training are incredibly complicated and involves mental, emotional, and physical challenges.


We can trace the origins of the SEALs back to World War 2. The SEALs are similar to some of the Scouts and Raiders, Office of Strategic Services, Operational Swimmers, Underwater Demolition Teams, Combat Demolition Units, and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons of World War II. None of those original organizations still exist today, but they did inspire the current system. 


During World War 2, a significant amount of battles occurred on beaches and the water. The increase in that warfare required special operations; therefore, the select Navy and Army personnel gathered together at the Amphibious Training Base, Little Creek, on 15 August 1942 to begin Amphibious Scouts and Raiders (Joint) training. The Scouts and Raider’s job was to identify, capture, and defend the beach objective. One of the first members of the force was Phil H. Bucklew, the “Father of Naval Special Warfare,” after the Naval Special Warfare Center building is named after him.


The first operation the squadron saw was Operation TORCH in November 1942, which were the first allied landings in Europe. Shortly after, in July of 1943, the second group of scouts and raiders, codenamed Special Service Unit 1, was born. Their first mission was at Finschafen on New Guinea in September 1943. Personal conflicts arose over how to conduct military operations, and all non-navy members were reassigned. The unit was renamed the 7th Amphibious Scouts conducted more than 40 operations throughout the Pacific until the end of the war.


The next Scout and Raiders organization operated throughout China, to fight with alongside the Sino-American Cooperation Organization, or SACO. With SACO, they established the core of amphibious warfare in China. Many more groups and sections were created to function both in the European and Pacific Theater, the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) became an increasingly standard part of American warfare. Throughout the entirety of World War 2, these special operations were a critical part of the allied war efforts.


The UDT was used throughout the Korean War in the 1950s. In response to John F Kennedy’s desire for the particular services to create opportunities for unconventional warfare, the Navy SEALs unit One and Two were born. They continued to function throughout every conflict America was involved in, to date. The Navy SEALs play a crucial role in the American Military system. The Navy Seals have played an incredible role in American warfare over the past 100 years, and the brave men and women continue to serve and protect this country today.