US Navy SEALs are split into two groups, Group ONE is based on the West Coast at San Diego, CA under the Pacific Command while Group TWO reside on the East Coast at Virginia Beach, VA under the Atlantic Command.
Current SEAL Teams include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 & 10 with SEAL Team 6 being renamed US Navy Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU.
Seal Team Operational Structure
An operational SEAL Team will commanded by a US Navy Commander and be configured into three 40 man Task Units. Each Task Unit will have an HQ element and be commanded by an O-5 TU Commander, E-8 TU Senior Enlisted, O-2/3 Operations Officer, and an E-6/7 Leading Chief Petty Officer. Under the TU Command will be two SEAL platoons of two officers and 14-16 enlisted SEALs plus TU support staff.
Each Task Unit can be reconfigured as operational requirements dictate breaking down into 4 man fire teams or larger units with additional specialists drawn from within the SEAL teams themselves.
SEAL teams can deploy anywhere in the world and deliver skill sets that much larger units are unable to provide such as snipers, maritime engineering, close air support, air operations master, interrogator, bomb disposal, surveillance and of course, underwater demolitions and diving. These are just a sample of the core competencies that SEAL team members are trained for and highly adept at using in operational environments.
US Navy SEAL Teams Brief History
The US Navy SEALs has had a veritable past and a rich history of its own. The earliest veterans to man strategic missions were the Operational Swimmers of the Office of Strategic Services or OSS who manned many such missions before the Navy SEALs did.
The initial training started in November 1943 in the Camp Pendleton. This training camp then moved to Catalina Island during January in 1944. Later on within 3 months the training camp finally moved to the Bahamas. These early versions of the US Navy SEALs initiated various flexible swimming fins, diving equipment which was closed circuit in nature, submersible swimming equipment, as well as diverse combat swimming tools. Various limpet mine attack equipment was also used in these early training sessions.
The first OSS mission
It was in May of the year 1944 that General Donovan who was the current head of the OSS, segregated the entire team into various groups. Group 1 was headed by Lt. Choate to Admiral Nimitz in order to initiate this early Navy SEALs team into the Pacific Theater. In July 1944 this team became a part of the UDT-10. In the first submarine Navy SEALs operation performed by the OSS a team of 5 men carried out this task. This mission employed usage of the USS BURFISH located in the Caroline Islands during August in the year 1944.
The Granite Plan
It as Admiral Nimitz who formed this special strategy called the Granite Plan. For effective combat in the Pacific region the Navy SEALs operations required a lot of strategy, skill and plenty of amphibious force. Usually the typical targets were coral atolls in which the natural reefs provided good cover for the Navy SEALs. In the initial part of November 1943, the SeaBees tried out some experimental blasting operations under the water. These were initially put together in the famous Waipio Amphibious Operating Base located on Oahu, in order to start the underwater demolition training tactics.
The need for unconventional warfare
It was the wish of President Kennedy to initiate and develop an unconventional tactic for warfare. As part of this plan the US Navy initiated the first Navy SEAL teams in 1962 – Navy SEAL one and two. These teams were established from the personnel taken from the underwater demolition teams and the first mission of these Navy SEALs was to perform guerilla warfare in riverine and maritime environments.
The Vietnam War
One of the first Navy SEALs mission was the Vietnam War. It began shortly after the Navy SEALs were established and it was mandatory for the team to participate in it. In various maritime operations of a clandestine nature, the Navy SEAL advisors taught the Vietnamese in performing these operations. The UDT type of training course was also started for the Navy SEALs during this time. It was used for the Commandos of Biet Hai as well as the Junk Force Commando Platoons located in Danang. It was during February of 1966 that a small Navy SEAL team one came to Vietnam to perform missions involving direct action.
This Article is written by James Kara Murat