Navy SEAL Weapons: History

Posted January 12th, 2010 by Laurel King

weaponsThe United States Navy SEALs (or Sea Air Land) is an elite force whose origins date back to the UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) of World War II. In 1943, the UDT began training for Atlantic and Pacific invasion duty, charting beaches and destroying obstacles blocking amphibious landings. In the beginning, UDTs used no air tanks, face masks or swim fins. Their only weapons were inflated bags (called Hagensen packs) filled with twenty pounds of explosives, used to destroy rocks or coral underwater. The UDTs (also called Frogmen) began their first inland missions in Korea, during 1950.

Several years later, in 1962, President John F. Kennedy established the SEALs as the first unconventional U.S. military force. Because of the guerilla-type war tactics during Vietnam, he recognized the need for a small, elite force to combat these techniques. Beginning in 1964, the SEALs disrupted the Vietcong political infrastructure in the Mekong Delta, targeting high-ranking Vietcong and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) officials. These specialized squads of 2 to 7 men kidnapped, ambushed and infiltrated enemy camps with great force and effect.

Since their inception, the Navy SEALs have been given a great deal of latitude in the type of weapons they use to complete their missions. Weapon choices vary widely, depending upon the preference of the individual, their skill set and specific weapons currently available. Typical SEAL weapons include the standard-issue M4A1 carbine assault rifle and a secondary weapon (usually a 9mm pistol) used as backup. However, the range of weapons chosen by team members can vary widely, including assault rifles, sniper rifles, submachine and machine guns, combat shotguns, grenade launchers, mortars and anti-tank rockets.

This Article is written by James Kara Murat

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