“The only easy day was yesterday.”
The U.S. Navy’s primary special operations force, the Navy SEALs conducting maritime military operations going all the way back to the Vietnam War.
Here are things you may not have known about these modern-day warriors.
42. Only Because Holodecks Don’t Exist Yet
To practice for the Bin Laden compound mission, Seal Team 6 recreated a full-size replica of the compound in North Carolina and practiced over and over again to make sure everything went right.
41. We’re Vomiting Just Thinking about It
The Navy SEAL physical screening requires a 500 yard swim in 12:30, 50 push-ups in 2 minutes, 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes, 10 consecutive pull-ups in 2 minutes, and a 1.5 mile run in 10:30. Only after being able to accomplish these things will a candidate be admitted into training to become a Navy SEAL where, somehow, everything gets harder.
40. Fear Itself
Navy SEALs undergo rigorous mental training to rewire their brains so that they can respond to fear without freaking out the way normal humans do.
39. Carrey On
During filming of The Grinch, Jim Carrey consulted a Navy SEAL to teach him how to handle torture so he could withstand the grueling make up process. We think he didn’t want to reveal any information about who stole Christmas.
38. Wait for the Drop
Around 80% of SEAL trainees drop out before finishing the program. For us, just thinking about the 132 hours of training during Hell Week is enough to make us want to get back into bed. Or, more accurately, stay in bed.
When a trainee drops out, they ring this bell.
37. In Their Element
With their specialized training, Navy SEALs are not restricted to just the sea, but are capable of fighting in desert, urban, and jungle conditions. The SEAL stands for Sea, Air, and Land.
36. Training Day
SEAL training isn’t particularly secretive, and San Diego tourists can visit local beaches and watch prospective SEALs haul logs, operate inflatable boats, and practice landings. If that bores you, you can always just watch the actual seals.
35. They’re Not Alone
The Navy SEALs have counterparts in other branches of the military. The Army has the Green Berets, Night Stalkers, Army Rangers, and Delta Force. The Marine Corps have RECON and MARSOC. These are soldiers that receive training above and beyond that of the other troops and are considered Special Forces.
34. A Spoon Would Hurt More
During his interview with NASA, Bill Shepherd, a Navy SEAL who became an astronaut, was asked what he was best at. His answer: “Killing people with a knife.”
33. Sea, Land, Air… Outer Space
Not the only former Navy SEALs go to space, Chris Cassidy, current SEAL and Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA spent time on the International Space Station participating in numerous space walks and taking awesome selfies.
Chris Cassidy Selfie
32. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
Rudy Boesch was one of the very first Navy SEALs and participated in 45 combat missions including raids, ambushes, rescues, and intelligence ops. He was also a contestant on Survivor. He competed twice, at age 72 and 75. He didn’t win the show, but he won the heart of America.
31. Quite the Body of Work
One of the most famous former Navy SEALs, Jessie “The Body” Ventura was a member of the Navy’s UDT during the Vietnam War. He went on to become a professional wrestler, then a television personality, and finally the Governor of Minnesota.
30. It’s Not Just Any Old Fork
The trident that Navy SEALS wear on their uniforms are officially designated as the “Special Warfare Insignia,” but is sometimes called the “Budweiser” in part for the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) course and in part because it bears a striking resemblance to the Anheuser-Busch logo.
29. Golden Tribute
During the funeral of Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor, who died in combat after jumping on a grenade to save his teammates, every SEAL on the west coast attended and affixed their golden tridents to his coffin.
28. Is It In You?
The runner-up in the first Ironman race ever was a Navy SEAL named John Dunbar. He was winning the race until his support team ran out of water and started feeding him beer instead.
27. The Honda Civic of Guns
The Navy SEAL arsenal includes the Russian-made AK-47 due to its reliability in almost all situations.
26. The Things We Steal for Love
There was an aerospace engineer stationed with Navy SEALs who was arrested for stealing $74,000 of military funds to build himself a plane so he could more easily visit his wife, which is almost as romantic as it is stupid. Almost.
25. G.I. Jane
Up until 2016, by law, women were not allowed to join the Navy SEALs. Since the pipeline for applications opened, no women have applied. Considering one of the requirements is learning how to properly drown, we can’t really blame them.
24. A Hard Man
Navy SEAL John Schmidt III, who has served in the military for 23 years, is facing disciplinary action for apparently moonlighting as a porn star with such titles as “Apple Smashing Lap Dance.” The issue, apparently, is that he’s not allowed to do other work while employed as a Navy SEAL.
23. Dogs of War
The Navy SEAL dog of choice is the Belgian Malinois. They are highly trained special ops experts who can identify concealed humans and explosives, are extremely fast runners, and can even operate a parachute either in tandem or solo. Good to know that we’d be even less useful than a dog.
22. American Sniper
Chris Kyle, a US Navy SEAL sniper, had over 150 confirmed kills and many more unconfirmed, earning himself the nickname “The Devil” amongst Iraqi insurgents. The previous American record for a sniper was 109 confirmed kills.
21. Life is Better Where it is Wetter.
Navy SEALs are said to be most effective when striking from the water.
20. It Ain’t Easy Being Green
Nicknames for the Navy SEALs include “Frogmen,” “The Teams,” and “The Men with Green Faces.”
19. Face Time
The nickname “The Men with Green Faces” was given to them by the Viet Cong due to the camouflage face paint the SEALs wore during combat missions. So… just for the record, greenface is okay.
18. Michael Phelps Would Have Been Great
Many current SEAL missions were first assigned to the Operational Swimmers of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the CIA. They specialized in dropping operatives behind enemy lines to engage in organized guerilla warfare and to gather information on enemy resources and troop movements.
OSS Swimmers (Frogmen)
17. Clearing the Way
After a disastrous landing on the Tarawa Atoll in 1943 where many Marines were lost due to obstacles such as reefs, the Navy formed Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), another SEAL precursor, tasked with destroying those obstacles to clear the way for a smoother landing.
16. Screw U
The UDT kept operating during the Korean War and even assisted South Korean commandos in destroying tunnels on land. High command had an issue with UDT swimmers operating on land as it did not to fall within their specific umbrella of operations. Apparently, they took the U in UDT very seriously.
15. The Beginning
The Navy SEALs officially started after President John F. Kennedy gave his famous “man on the moon” speech in 1961. In that speech, JFK proposed an increase in paramilitary funding and support for special operations. By the following year, America had Navy SEAL teams 1 and 2, and the Viet Cong had a serious problem.
14. High Fidel-ity
Some of the first missions taken on by the Navy SEALs was doing secret reconnaissance on shore in Cuba in advance of a proposed amphibious invasion of the island. Of course, that never happened.
13. Solid Numbers
During the Vietnam War, Navy SEAL teams One and Two had a kill ratio of 200:1 and were the most highly decorated group of soldiers in the entire war.
12. Renaissance Killer
Navy SEAL Richard Marcinko was so badass that the Viet Cong offered a bounty of 50,000 piasters for his death. Over his career, he earned 34 citations and medals and wrote five best-selling novels. Oh, and he also founded SEAL Team 6.
11. Numbers Game
SEAL Team 6 was actually only one of three SEAL teams at the time, but was given the designation 6 to confuse Soviet Intelligence about exactly how many teams there actually were.
10. Not Their Real Name
SEAL Team 6 was disbanded in 1987 and their successor is officially The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU. People just like referring to them as SEAL Team 6 because it sounds cooler.
9. They Are the Captain Now
The SEAL Team that took out Bin Laden was also the same team that rescued Captain Phillips from Somalian pirates. Perched on the fantail of a destroyer, they managed to take out three pirates on a lifeboat with three simultaneous sniper shots to the head. You know what they say. Three heads are better than one.
8. But They Didn’t Touch the Car
The Navy SEALs conducted extensive operations in Panama were they blew up Manuel Noriega’s private jet and his personal gunboat.
7. Made You Look!
During the Iraq War, Navy SEALs tricked the Iraqi military into thinking an amphibious assault was imminent by setting off explosions and putting marker buoys 500 meters off the Kuwaiti coast.
6. Be Very Very Quiet….
After 9/11, Navy SEALs were deployed to Afghanistan as part of a hunter-killer task force whose primary objective was capturing or killing Al Qaeda senior leadership.
5. Live by the Code
Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell was the sole survivor of a Taliban ambush. After being wounded, he managed to evade the enemy and was aided by members of the Sabray tribe. Following Pashtunwali, an unwritten code of ethics followed by indigenous Pashtun people, the tribal chief fended off further Taliban attacks to keep Luttrell safe until the US military could be contacted.
Marcus Latrell and the man who saved his life, Mohammad Gulab.
4. Man’s Best Friend
In 2009, four years after his return, Luttrell’s dog was shot by a group of hooligans. Luttrell chased them through four counties to catch them. During his call to 911, he told the operator, “You need to get somebody out here because if I catch them I’m going to kill them.” The perpetrators were charged with animal cruelty, which is way better than the death penalty that Luttrell would have given them had the police not gotten there first.
3. Navy SEALs and the Funky Bunch
Luttrell parlayed his combat experiences into a bestselling book called Lone Survivor, that later became a movie starring Mark “Good Vibrations” Wahlberg.
2. Stealthy Penetration
After their successful assassination of Osama Bin Laden, The company Fleshlight rewarded members of SEAL Team Six by sending them Fleshlight sex toys from their ‘stealth’ collection. If a Navy SEAL wants to pleasure himself without you knowing, trust us, he’s already done it.
1. Because it’s Torture, That’s Why
As part of their training, Navy SEALs were waterboarded, but the practice was discontinued because so few SEALs could withstand it. This was leading to low morale.
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