What Do Navy SEALs Do?

Navy SEALs perform a number of specialized warfare missions that fall outside the purview of regular military forces, including counterterrorism, guerrilla warfare, special surveillance and foreign national military training. Although officially considered to be a maritime military force, Navy SEALs operate in all type of environments.

The Navy SEALs, which were created by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, specialize in unconventional warfare methods. They were first deployed to South Vietnam to disrupt enemy communications, raid their camps, destroy their supplies, and ruin their ammunition. For this mission, they were trained to handle the jungles and rivers of Vietnam.

After success in Vietnam, the Navy SEAL program was continued, and SEALs were specially trained for other circumstances; the name of the group stands for "Sea, Earth, Air and Land" to indicate their ability to handle any element. SEALs train for all occasions and environments, including mountains, desert, jungle and frigid conditions, so that they can join forces with any branch of the military when necessary.

SEAL operations involve intense training, precise planning and accurate execution. Typically, just one or two SEALs work on a mission; however, up to 32 may be deployed at one time. The average length of a mission is six to eight months.

When not deployed, SEALs hone their skills and train for new technologies and missions.