Ten Most Famous Navy SEALs

Posted July 28th, 2009 by Navy SEAL

Everyone, who has an aspiration of serving in the armed forces, harbors dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL, but only a small percentage, realize this dream. Moreover, the exploits of the SEALs are largely secretive, and more often than not away from intensive public scrutiny.

However, there are times when a few individuals become a part of the popular consciousness because of their exceptional courage, exploits, or achievements. Given below is a list of 10 such famous Navy SEALs.

Roy Boehm

Arguably one of most famous of all Navy SEALs, and considered the godfather of all SEALs. He was the first officer in charge of SEAL Team Two.

Roy. H. Boehm served the military for 30 years in various capacities, and rose from the enlisted ranks to develop, and lead what was to become an elite combat force called the US Navy SEALs He was instrumental in not only designing and developing but also implementing and leading this commando force.

Rudy Boesch

This retired Navy SEAL became popular for his stint in the reality series Survivor: Borneo, and for being its oldest competitor. Moreover, he finished in 3rd place.

He had an enviable record as a SEAL, and was a team leader, who had 45 years of uninterrupted military career.

Scott Helvenston

The youngest Navy SEAL, to complete the rigorous BUD/S, he worked for Blackwater Security post retirement. He was sent to Iraq, but was killed in the infamous Fallujah ambush, within a few days of his arrival in the country.

At a young age of 16, he was given special permission to join the Navy, and had an unblemished 12 year career before he left.

Eric T. Olson

He is the current head of the United States Special Operations Command or USSOCOM and is the only Navy SEAL to have achieved such a distinction; moreover he is also the first Naval Officer who has been given the charge of US SOCOM.

A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School, Admiral Eric Thor Olson, completed his SEAL training in 1974. He was the commander of SEAL Team Six, which was a special counter terrorism unit.

Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura is a retired Navy SEAL, turned retired professional wrestler turned American politician who was the 38th Governor of the US State of Minnesota.

He has also donned the role of an actor, radio host, and a television talk show host.

Christopher Cassidy

He holds an important place amongst Navy SEALs as he also became a NASA astronaut. He was an integral part of the SEALs for ten years, and in that capacity made two important tours of duty to Afghanistan and the Mediterranean.

Michael P. Murphy

He was posthumously awarded Americas highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his courageous actions in the war in Afghanistan. Since, the Vietnam War, no other person from the Navy has been awarded this rare honor.

Thomas R. Norris

He holds pride of place amongst Navy SEALs for his rescue missions in the Vietnam War. For this he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Richard Machowicz

He is famous for his role as a host on Future Weapons, a show that is aired on Discovery Channel. A former U. S Navy SEAL, who has proficiency in many martial arts, he has also authored a book.

Richard Marcinko

He was in charge of SEAL Team 6 and is now a popular author.

It will come as no surprise that after the rigorous military training, and unimaginable feats of bravery, Navy SEALs go on to achieve things, which very few can achieve. This is just a small list of these over-achieving individuals who have stood out and become famous for their accomplishments.

This Article is written by James Kara Murat.

48 Responses to “Ten Most Famous Navy SEALs”

  1. Robert Wickham

    I am trying to locate Peter Dirks. I believe he was a LCDR or CDR when he retired from the Navy. He is my Godfather. I also retired from the Navy.

  2. Anthony Fernandez

    You will see my name on this list one day.


    Not so sure you have your facts together. Matter of fact, I know you don’t.





  6. Matt

    @Anthony Fernandez:

    If I’m not mistaken, you don’t become a SEAL because you want to be famous.

  7. Chase

    He didn’t say those were his reasons for becoming a SEAL. I’m sure he said because he wants to one day be among the most impressive SEALs in history.

  8. Ben A.

    Very much the oposite if you get through indoc youll DOR way before hell week. To be a SEAL isnt for glory or to make mom n Pa happy

  9. Shakey

    Great unit,it isn’t any wonder so many young men wish to join.Many call,but few are chosen.You will never know unless you try!

  10. old Squid

    Jesse Ventura was never a SEAL, he was in UDT 12. All this came out when he was governor. On a Minnesota Public Radio interview from December 14, 1999 then Governor Ventura’s office confirmed that Ventura was never a member of the SEALs and his spokesman stated that Ventura has “never tried to convince people otherwise”

  11. Caleb Williams

    @ Matt

    You’re 100% correct sir, im an aspiring SEAL and im glad that those withing the SEALs looking for fame are few and far between

  12. SGT B

    About Rudy Boesch: I always wondered why that particular competition didn’t end early, I mean, Rudy could have strolled out on the morning of the second day, wiped off his knife, and announced “I’m the only guy left, where’s my prize?”
    (Joking guys, joking…)
    Rudy went on to another competitive series on USA Channel, this time as the HMFIC. The show involved demonstrating mastery of a number of military-related skills, and Scott Helvenston was one of the competitors.

    Stay safe guys…

  13. navy vet

    i’m a viet nam vet. served four years on the uss cacapon. i don’t know what it takes to be a seal, but i have always admired those men.

    i’m not looking for glory. i’m just proud to have served my country and would go again tomorrow, if called.

  14. HMC(AC) Retired

    A very good frind of mine was a Seal in Viet Nam and died in the late 60s there. He and his mother and step father lived around the corner from our home. His name was Les Funk. He was a great guy and always did like hanging around from him before he joined the Navy

  15. Cane Tenacity

    Absolute utmost respect for all those in the military, esp. those like the SEALs. Like some who wear shirts that show their favorite professional or college team on it, I have some plain blue shirts with white lettering that just say “Navy Seals” – b/c they are my favorite team

    Just finished reading “Lone Survivor”, very good read about SEAL Team 10 and Operation Redwing. Marcus Luttrell talks about how ex-SEAL governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura performed the official ceremony of welcoming Class 226. Now, I guess it seems there’s some confusion about whether Ventura was a SEAL or not … I don’t know, but from what Marcus Luttrell said in the book, he was

    Again, utmost respect for all those in the military. God bless and thank you

  16. Kevin Stroh

    Mike Carroll, Left Seal Team in 1994 with 4 years left on his contract (he became a millionaire in his own business) and requalified for SEAL Team 5 in 2007 at age 50 and after hip surgery. He is re-retiring again in a few months.

    A true American Hero.

  17. crisco

    Jesse Ventura or Jim as I know him, absolutely was a seal, he will not be dragged down to argue, with idiots (*squid) that don’t know their elbow from their a** I have know him since wee were 6 years old. Believe me you can IGNOR the FACTS all you want the Man is a Navy Seal even the Navy says so.

  18. Debra Compton

    I have reason to believe that a man named Robert (Bob) Cramer is tying to scam my father out of his life savings. He claims to be a retired Navy Seal. We have serious doubts about this. Can you please let me know how I can find out how I verify this information.

    Thank you

  19. cwr

    Debra, contact the Naval Special Warfare Foundation and they can tell you what BUDs class he was in. Best of luck.

  20. Joe Griesi

    Mcfee Wilson claims to ba a famous seal because of missions he claims he was involved with in Viet Nam…Could you please verify this or if he was even a Seal….

    Thank you

    75th inf Ranger
    Viet Nam

  21. Tom Wisbey

    I’m searching for “Brent Michael Lancaster” any help?

  22. donald sharbaugh

    I served on the uss jason and lt. frank thornton was my department head. he was quite a legend at coranado. just wondering if he is still with us

  23. phil vamvaketis

    gentlemen, In your ten most famous group where the hell is john houchin, this man ran davy jones locker for 8 years as a civilian, dove on the thresher when it disappeared ,and was instrumental in helping develope the ironlung used first as a decompression aid( the docter taking all the credit at the time),by the way your all frogmen, seals being latterday terminology for the diving branch of the service and all seals are trained in demolition which is why many seals in combat situations work with the demolition specialists.



  25. SGT Fain

    Jesse Ventura was not a navy seal. He was UDT and never set foot in Vietnam. He’s a phony and a liar.

  26. jim

    SEE Below about Jesse Ventura…..HA!

    Bill Salisbury, an attorney in San Diego and a former Navy SEAL officer, accused Ventura of “pretending” to be a SEAL and wrote that Ventura would be blurring an important distinction by claiming to be a SEAL when he was actually a frogman with the UDT. Compared to SEAL Teams, UDTs saw less combat and took fewer casualties.[7][8][9] Following that, Governor Ventura’s office confirmed that Ventura was never a member of the SEALs. His spokesman stated that Ventura has never tried to convince people otherwise.[7] Ventura stated: “Today we refer to all of us as SEALs; that’s all it is.”[

  27. Ryan John

    wow no marcus luttrell

  28. Helen

    Our family grieves the lost of the SEALS recently lost in Afghanistan. We find some comfort in knowing that they died defending our freedom. We also find comfort in know that SEALS DO NOT GIVE UP. THEY REMAIN STRONG AND CARRY OUT THEIR MISSIONS. THANK GOD FOR THEM.

    May all SEAL families find comfort in knowing we can never fully understand where we get these brave men, but we are forever grateful for their heroic actions. Be proud that you knew a Navy SEAL.

  29. fred heller

    where is jack murphy on the list? murph the surf apeared in life magizine,books and movies were written about him! he spent more time in solitary confinement than any other prisinor.he stole the star of india from a museum.what about murph?

  30. Jim

    Some of the divers attached to the submarine tender I was stationed on were designated as UDT/SEALs. They wore both insignia as far as I remember.

  31. cindy

    My boyfriend was one of the Seals on Nov 8 79 who went in to save the hostages and became a hostage himself and was torchered (sp wrong) himself, you wont find his name on any list. He was a navy seal for 14 years, came out Chief Warrent Officer. He was seal team 4. He has nightmares, and had alot done to him that i dont even know. I do feel for all the ones that went through what he did for our country and to save thoes. Thoes in SC that were thoes of the 3 Navy in training with all of the marines will rememember him. Espically all the Marines lol. He gave them a hard time. The vets deserve all the help they can get for what they go through.

  32. Ssanty702

    Mr. Rogers was a navy Seal. Wore long sleeves to cover tattoos he got in the navy. Cool huh?

  33. Andrew

    Cindy- your boyfriend lied. No navy SEAL has ever been captured. Look it up.

  34. LCDFR Richard Pearson

    you people do not have all the facts I think Billy Machin should be on you famous list he saved our ass got a silver star posthumously. Also first seal KIA in NAM. Who would put Marcinko ahead of Medal of Honor Winner Mike Thorton. You people are so parochial on the East coast. I am a retired SEAL and wish you would put a great deal more research into you remarks. There are many men more famous than the controversial first SEAL as well.

  35. phil vamvaketis

    Jesse Ventura is busy trying to defend our freedom by exposing potential threats to it,both past and present. As a former brother in arms with all of you he deserves your support in his struggle to expose destructive forces in our country. He’s got a lot a heart, you should be proud he’s one of yours.

  36. Mk23

    @ Ssanty702…. That Mister Rogers story is absolute internet BS. He never served a day in the military in his life.

  37. Mk23

    On Ventura: “Ventura graduated with BUD/S class 58 in December 1970 and was part of Underwater Demolition Team 12 (UDT). The UDTs were merged with the US Navy SEALs in 1983, 8 years after Ventura had left the Navy.”

    However…Ventura NEVER had a 5326 nec (Seals), he was 5321 (udt) and had no claim to being a SEAL and certainly none to SEAL Team One. He also did no combat udt. If he had served through 83, that might have been difference and he could have made the claim, but he didn’t and he can’t. Too bad about his book and the bad info he spreads in it, but he did serve and did go through BUD/s and that’s a hell of a lot more than most people do.

  38. alberto flores

    i want 2 go 2 navy seals asap, im 13, what is the youngest age to go 2 navy seals

  39. cigi

    your list is wrong, the ten most famous seals are the ones you never heard of, the ones that “dont exist”

  40. G L White

    I’m disappointed in SEALS like Shipley, that are willing to blur reality and pretend that Ventura was a SEAL instead of UDT, just to suck up to a celebrity.

    Ventura never got the 5326 NEC and never served the required 6 months probation with a SEAL team. Game over. I’m sorry Ventura doesn’t think his actual UDT service is worthy and had to lie about his service … but that’s his mental problem, not mine.

    Even worse is Shipley & others sucking up to Ventura when they obviously knew he was lying about his secret missions in Vietnam, exposure to Agent Orange, and being in cojmbat — all of which are demonstrably imaginary.

    Normally real combat vets are the first to some down hard on fakes and bullshitters. The fact that some real SEALS are willing to swallow — and even confirm — Jesse’s fairy tales is appalling, and very disappointing.

  41. james

    Im not an american, but i like US-navy seals..and i have some collections of your insignia.

  42. Jackie

    My dear friend Lt. Michael Collins Navy Seal(from Martinez, CA) was killed in Viet Nam March 1971. I miss him every day.

  43. flip

    richard marcinko was the baddest seal ever im sorry that i didnt make the teams because of a hand injury love you bro thanks for the years in service dont mind what they did to you you know you did right toksa

  44. Steve

    Actually Navy SEALs are not trained as divers, that is a misconception. They are trained Combat Swimmers. They rarely go below 30 ft. They do use rebreathers in order to gain tactical advantage by eliminating bubbles which could give away their position. The closest thing to divers as far as SEALs go, to my knowlege, is the SDV teams. Also I agree with Mr. Pearson, Iron Mike and Billy Machen should replace Jesse Ventura and Richard Marchinko. Here are a few more names worth mentioning:
    Phil Bucklew(Father of Modern NSW)
    Bob Kerrey(MOH recipeint, US Senator)
    Wiliiam Shepard(First SEAL in space)

  45. christi

    @Debra Compton. Strange. There is someone who scammed my parents out of their savings that claimed to have been in Special FOrces. Diff name, but would you recognize his pic if I showed it to you? On the hunt for others who were scammed by this guy. You can email me at heavenlyones@gmail.com

    Thank you.

  46. Mike

    After finishing Buds (Basic Underwater Demolition School) Ventura went through and completed Seal Indoc. At that time they had Seal Teams and UDT Teams. They both had to complete Buds first. Seal Indoc was the course you had to complete to become a seal. Seals and UDT did a lot of the same jobs. Seals went inland more where UDT stayed at the waters edge. Ventura chose UDT because at the time the Vietnam war was comming to an end. The Seals were not deploying anymore. At that time if you wanted to get into combat UDT was a better choice. Ventura wanted to be in combat. Venture (Did) complete (Seal Indoc) however, he was not assigned to a Seal Team and did not deploy to Vietnam as a Seal. He deployed to Vietnam in one of the UDT Teams. In 1983 the UDT Teams and Seal teams merged together and then they were all Seals. From 1962-1983 there were only 2 Seal Teams. Seal Team 1 on the West Coast and Seal Team 2 on the East Coast. When UDT and SEALS merged as one the West Coast Teams were 1,3,5 and on the East Coast you had Seal Team 2.4,8. The Teams have expanded again and you have more Teams on each Coast. Seal Team Six (Dev Group) is on the East Coast and has always been :) I hope this has helped! :)

  47. Roy

    You left out one ofe the most standuot seal accomplishments. Mike Thornton. US Navy SEAL only person ever to win the Medal of Honor while saving the life of another Medal of Honor recipient. I believe he retired in the late 90s. he recieved the medal in Vietnam it is documented.

  48. CAPT C. Hohnbaum

    CIGi is right, the most famous are the ones you never knew, never heard about and don’t boast. They are true heros, quiet in what they do, experts in what the expectations are.

    All are true heros, driven, respected and honored. Hoorah

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