This past weekend, the United States military suffered a devastating loss when a Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. The chopper was carrying 22 Navy SEALs, 3 Air Force airmen, a 5 member Army air crew, and a military dog, all of whom perished upon impact. As we remember the great sacrifices made by these soldiers and pray for their families, I thought the blog this week could focus on the amazing work that SEALs do.
Established in March of 1961, the SEALs teams were formed as guerilla and counter-guerilla units that were capable of operating on sea, air, or land. The teams were trained in commando warfare, hand-to-hand combat, high-altitude parachuting, demolitions, and foreign languages. Beginning in the Vietnam War, SEALs were utilized by the CIA in covert operations and engaged in direct combat with the enemy.
The SEALs have been instrumental in removing foreign threats in order to keep the United States and its allies safe. The most recent example of their heroism is the elimination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. During the last decade, the SEALs have been responsible for the capture or killing of hundreds of terrorists. Additionally, the elite soldiers have been credited with many hostage rescues and rescuing fellow soldiers.
The training program to become a SEAL is reportedly one of the most difficult in the world, with a dropout rate of 80%.The average applicant will spend about a year in formal training courses before being awarded the SEAL designation. After earning that designation, several other more specialized training courses are required. A SEAL could be in training for as many as 30 months before going on his first deployment.
The Navy SEALs are some of the most elite, best trained soldiers in the world, and I’m proud to know that they’re out there every day fighting for our freedom.