The US Navy SEAL is considered as the most elite Special Ops unit of the US Military. Navy SEALs have not only played a vital role in the Vietnam War but also in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. But that’s not all – they were also involved in the UN Peace Keeping missions in Somalia and participated in a mission in Mogadishu to capture warlord General Aidid. Here is an insight into some of the successful Navy SEAL missions.
The Vietnam War
April 1972 – The US Air Force stopped their air rescue operations because within a week they had lost 5 aircrafts and 9 airmen. Two airmen had also been captured and the Air Force decided that the only way to extract their airmen was by deploying ground forces. A Navy SEAL Team was called in for the operation. Led by Lieutenant Junior Grade Thomas Norris, their mission was to rescue Lt. Mark Clark and Lt. Col Hamilton. Clark was hiding near the Cam Lo River while Hamilton was hiding 1mile off the river. Hamilton using his golfing skills and remembering details traversed through the villages and fields playing his indigenous “nine holes” and successfully avoided enemy patrols to reach the river. The SEAL Team led by Norris made their way up from the Cam Lo River moving on the side of the river as the current was swift and rescued Clark. While attempting the rescue of Hamilton, 2 SEALs were wounded. Norris and another SEAL dressed as fishermen paddled upstream using a sampan. They found Hamilton and put him in the sampan. At the outbreak of dawn they were noticed by the enemy who fired on them. They were finally given backup fire from an ARVN outpost. Lt Tom Norris received the Medal of Honor for his bravery.
The Persian Gulf War
January – February 1991
The US Air Force had bombed all military bases and cities in Iraq and then it was time for ground war. US Navy ships were waiting off the coast of Kuwait with thousands of Marines ready for landing. But the mission was to trick the Iraqi into believing that they needed to prepare for a sea-borne invasion as this would catch them unawares when the US launched a land attack. A Navy SEAL Team was deployed on February 23, 1991. The team consisted of 6 SEALs led by Lieutenant Junior Grade Tom Dietz. The SEAL Team raced in 2 Fountain 33 speedboats towards the Kuwaiti shore. They swam the final 500 yards packed with heavy explosives. Once on the beach they set charges for the explosive in their backpacks for 0100 hrs (01:00am). After placing their charges the SEAL Team headed back to their boats and opened fire using machine guns. Once the charges went off, two large units of Republican Guards were spotted by US Recon Satellites and they were moving away from the landing area of the Allied ground forces. The SEAL Team received a message after 2 days from General Norman Schwarzkopf, Operation Commander and it read, “Enemy forces are moving towards beach. The Allied forces are going behind them. You have saved the lives of many fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines. Bravo Zulu!”
This Article is written by James Kara Murat