Navy SEAL Commandos

Members of a Special Boat Team man their weapons. Special…

Members of a Special Boat Team man their weapons. Special Boat Teams often support the SEALs by landing or extracting them and by giving fire support. Photo DoD.

Anti-terrorist/special operations units train for thousands of hours for a mission that might not ever happen, and if it does, it may last a few seconds. This was the case on April 12th, 2009, 7:19 pm Somalia time, when three SEALs from DevGru (US Naval Special Warfare Development Group) precisely placed three rounds into the heads of the three Somali pirates holding Captain Richard Phillips hostage.

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As a SEAL breaks water, he is prepared to engage with his MK24, Model 0 (Sig Sauer P226). The MK24 has corrosion resistant finish to exterior/internal parts. Photo: DoD

The SEALs had parachuted into the Indian Ocean at night, retrieved their RHIBs (rigid hull, inflatable boats) that were parachuted with them, and entered the landing dock of the USS BOXER. The SEAL shooters were shooting from a moving deck. They knew the towrope attached to the boat holding the pirates and hostages was 30 meters long and zeroed their rifles accordingly. Reports say that the SEALs were using KAC (Knight’s Armament) SR25, Mark 11, Mod 0 suppressed rifles with IR (infrared) optics.

History & Dynamics
The SEALs, which take their name from the mediums where they can operate –Sea, Air, Land – can trace their lineage to the World War II underwater Demolition Teams. However, the SEALs were officially established in January 1962 to give the Navy a special ops capability. For years, the Navy maintained both UDT (underwater demolition) and SEAL teams, but eventually the units were merged.

Initially, there were two SEAL Teams, Team One on the west coast and Team Two on the east coast. Members of both teams would see action in Vietnam. As the missions have expanded, so have the number of teams. Currently SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5, and 7 are based at Coronado, California and are part of Naval Special Warfare Group One, while SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8, and 10 are based at Little Creek, Virginia and are part of Naval Special Warfare Group Two. SEAL Team 6 (aka DevGru) is based at Dam Neck, Virginia. Detachments from various teams may be deployed overseas at any given team.

Each SEAL Team has their own HQ and three 40-man troops. DevGru has four troops. Each troop is broken into an HQ element and two 16-man platoons. When specialized EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) personnel are added, a platoon will have 18 men. On operations, the troop may be broken into eight four-man fire teams. When support personnel are included, a SEAL Team will have approximately 300 members.

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SEALs undergoing CQC (Close Quarters Combat) training using their CQC M4s. Note the Aimpoint red dot sight and front vertical foregrip. Photo: DoD

There are also two SDVTs (SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams) – SDVT 1 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and SDVT-2 at Little Creek, Viriginia. Each SDVT has four platoons; each consists of 12 to 15 SEALs. The SBUs (Special Boat Units) are often associated with the SEALs. The SBUs are an elite group of small boat operators trained to operate along coastlines and on inland waterways, to support the SEALs. Special Boat Squadron 1 is based at Coronado, and Special Boat Squadron 2 is based at Little Creek. Currently, there are approximately 2,000 SEALs in the US Navy.

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  • kevin

    The second picture is of Gettys. He was in class 234.

  • DSumner

    SBU’s were redesignated Special Boat Teams (SBT) in 2002.

  • Thomas Weinrich

    (Not josh ward)