Missions of the Navy SEALs

Navy SEALs conduct immediate action drills at the John C. Stennis Space Center.
Navy SEALs conduct immediate action drills at the John C. Stennis Space Center. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

U.S. Navy SEALs are one of the best kept secrets in the U.S. military, but they’re also one of the newest sects of forces, established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. The purpose of the SEALs (which stands for sea, air, and land) is to conduct “unconventional warfare” and as the acronym alludes, they’re trained to operate across all terrains, conducting many historic missions since their inception. A few missions by teams that predate the SEALs give credence to their creation, too. And those are just the ones that have been declassified. As the years pass, we’re bound to learn of more historic actions taken by this sect of the U.S. Navy. 

Here are a few of the most notable missions the Navy SEALs have been tasked with over the years:

Yes, 1944’s D-Day took place 18 years prior to the creation of the Navy SEALs. However, the charge onto Normandy’s beaches was led by Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs), which were predecessors to the SEALs. Their job? Deposit explosives under heavy German fire in an effort to clear the path for the thousands of vessels and 150,000 Allied forces storming the beaches. Because of their actions that day, the NCDUs were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. It was one of just three presented for the military actions that took place at Normandy. 

The Battle of Mogadishu
This event in 1993 served as the basis for Black Hawk Down in the midst of Somalia’s Civil War. A Somali faction leader named General Mohamed Farrah Aideed was directing his forces to attack U.N. allies. They were responsible for more than a dozen deaths including a bombing which took the lives of four U.S. military police officers. SEALs were tasked with disrupting Aideed’s forces, and intended to capture Aideed and his commanders. The result was a fifteen-hour battle that killed eighteen Americans and injured another seventy-three. 

Rescue of Captain Richard Phillips
There’s a famous scene from the movie Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks, where one of the pirates declares “I am the captain now.” That was actually a reenactment of a real-life moment that took place when Somali pirates seized Captain Richard Phillips’s merchant ship MV Maersk Alabama. After taking the ship, three of the four pirates who took Phillips hostage fled the ship with Phillips, and a fleet of Navy ships in pursuit. SEALs were deployed to the scene, which resulted in snipers eliminating the pirates just as it appeared that they were preparing to shoot Phillips. 

The End of Osama Bin Laden
No SEAL event in recent memory has been more significant than what transpired on May 2, 2011. Nearly ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, SEAL Team Six was deployed in pursuit of the Taliban leader and orchestrator of the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden. Two dozen SEALs, a translator, and a military working dog took part in the mission which lasted less than forty minutes. 


Posted on October 4 2021 in Blog

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