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15 Surprising Facts About US Navy Seals

15 Surprising Facts About US Navy Seals


Everyone knows that the Navy SEALs are some of the most highly trained military personnel in the world. They carry out top secret missions all the time and we only really know about a fraction of them. Whenever something happens in the world we all have to wonder if one of our SEAL teams had something to do with it.

SEAL stands for Sea, Air and Land and they carry out missions by way of all three of those mediums. Even though they work mostly in secrecy there are plenty of facts that are known about them. The government would prefer that you know nothing about them though. There are two teams our government won’t even acknowledge exist, even though we all know they do.

There are plenty of things that aren’t common knowledge though and we are going to shed some light on those today. The government pretending that two of the teams don’t even exist is one of those things. Did you know that they use dogs on their missions? You will learn about these dogs that are smarter than some of your friends, as well as the fact that the SEALs don’t need water to be successful on a mission in a different country. You will also learn plenty of other facts that you probably didn’t know.

15. The logo is sometimes referred to as The Budweiser


The Navy SEAL uniforms feature a specially designed logo that is officially called the “Special Warfare Insignia”. The name stems from the training regimen that each SEAL has to partake in to make the special team. This logo looks very similar to the Anheuser-Busch logo so a lot of people refer to it as “The Budweiser” logo.

You can bet that a lot of downtime is spent with a Bud in hand so it’s really not that far of a stretch. They didn’t come up with the name by accident. However it is referred to, it’s an honor that not many people get to experience.

14. The operations are secret but the training isn’t


A Navy SEAL will never tell you where they are headed or what they are going to do. In a lot of cases they won’t even tell you where they have been or what they have done. Everything is top secret and the world just can’t know what’s going on. However, the training they go through isn’t so secretive.

The general public can go to Imperial Beach on Coronado in California and watch the SEAL recruits in action. Everything they do isn’t outside but those preparations that are can be watched by the general public if you go to the right beach at the right time.

13. SEALs don’t work only in the water


When people think of the Navy SEAL teams they automatically think of the guys with the scuba gear, sneaking up to shorelines underwater. However, the “A” in SEAL stands for air and they do plenty of work above the ground as well.

One of their most used operations is called “HALO”, or High Altitude-Low Opening jumps. In this type of operation the SEALs jump out of a plane at 25,000 feet, or higher, and free fall several minutes toward the ground. They don’t open their parachutes until they are around 500 feet above the ground. In some cases they can actually travel more than twenty miles before setting foot on the ground.

12. Navy SEALs think fast on their feet


All of the training the SEALs go through is to prepare them for a number of potential scenarios they might face in the heat of battle. The training is extremely tough for a reason. In the field of battle, when the heat is on, he who makes the smartest move usually comes out on top.

The training that the SEALs go through is so rigorous, both mentally and physically, that it prepares them to think quickly in any possible situation. They are so well prepared that it’s a rare occasion that anyone gets the drop on them or that they will make slow decisions in the heat of battle.

11. There is a nearly 80% washout rate of new recruits


To be the best of the best takes a very special individual. It’s an honor that not many have the opportunity to achieve but that doesn’t stop countless hopefuls from trying out for the specialty teams. Incoming recruits face 132 hours of intense physical training on land and in the water. They do it with very little sleep and they are put through intense testing of physical and mental toughness.

Obviously it’s not easy to get through and that’s what makes them so elite. In the beginning stages of the new recruit training there is a washout rate of nearly 80%. The remaining twenty percent continue on to find the best of the best. There is a reason there aren’t that many teams in action.

10. JFK’s ‘Man on the Moon’ speech was the start


On May 15th, 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave his historic speech to congress. During it he talked about funding for different operations of the military and a lot of people didn’t really know what he was referring to at the time. About a year later the United States Navy unveiled two SEAL teams and the world has never been the same since.

Kennedy was a veteran of the navy and knew that there was more they could do. During that famous speech he knew what he wanted to do and today they are the elite of the elite as far as special operation teams go.

9. Water boarding is no longer part of SEAL training


Water boarding is a form of torture that simulates a human drowning and it’s a very terrifying thing for anyone that has to endure it. There is a very good reason that many terrorists use it to seek out information from opposing forces.

It used to be a part of the normal SEAL training routine but they had to eliminate it eventually. The reason is that nobody could pass the training. It led to low morale amongst those that failed so it was eventually phased out.

Certain members of the CIA have endured the test and it’s reported that the person that lasted the longest only lasted for 14 seconds. The Navy has come up with other grueling tests to put its recruits through now. Drowning them wouldn’t be good for recruitment.

8. After 9/11 the total number of members was raised


Prior to September 11th, 2001, the Navy Seals Team Six had about ninety members of elite trained personnel. After that tragic day the number was increased to nearly 300 members as there was a need for more because they were going to be very busy all over the world.

Overall there are about 2,500 Navy SEALs on active duty. To give you some perspective on how elite those members are, that number is only about 1% of the entire United States Navy roster. Those 1% are responsible for some of the most dangerous missions in the world and more often than not, they are extremely successful.

7. Navy SEALs had a 200 to 1 kill ratio in Vietnam


It’s common knowledge that the Navy SEALs are very good at what they do. When they do fail it usually makes global headlines because something went terribly wrong. In the overall scheme of things though, they are very successful in their missions and the world doesn’t even know most of what goes on.

To give you an idea of how successful they are, during the Vietnam War, Teams One and Two combined for a 200 to 1 kill ratio. That’s 200 kills to every one man lost. That is an amazing success rate that only the best of the best can pull off. Unfortunately forty-six members did die during that war, but the number is far less than they dealt out.

6. There are 8 SEAL teams


The Navy Special Warfare (NSW) actually employs a total of eight SEAL teams. They are split into two different groups, Group One contains the odd numbered teams (1, 3, etc.) and Group Two contains the even numbered teams. The teams are all numbered from one to ten but don’t ask the government about Teams Six and Nine. According to them those teams don’t exist.

Now we all know they do indeed exist because Team Six is the one that took out Osama Bin Laden. However if you ask the government they will just tell you that they don’t know anything about them. Yes he died and the American Military was responsible for it, but exactly who carried it out is supposed to be a secret. Until they make a movie out of it anyway.

5. SEALs aren’t the only special ops in the military


Since they seem to get the bulk of the headlines whenever a secret op is performed successfully, a lot of people think that the Navy SEALs are the only special ops unit that is part of the United States military. That’s not true though as there are several other special ops units that are in full use.

The Army uses Green Berets, Army Rangers and Night Stalkers. The Air Force has Delta Force and the Marines use MARSOC and RECON. Each of these groups are the elite of the elite in their faction of the United States military. The SEALs get most of the headlines but that doesn’t mean that the other groups aren’t as active or as successful.

4. SEALs do just as much work in landlocked countries


The Navy SEAL teams are the best of the best when it comes to gaining access to another country through the water. They can travel very long distances over or under the water and use a shoreline to enter another country without being noticed. However, they do just as much work in countries that have no shoreline at all.

Afghanistan is a great example of this. The country is completely landlocked with no shorelines to work with. SEAL teams have played a major role over there since 2001. They can help secure oil fields or help the other US troops that are over there. Their most successful mission was when SEAL Team Six killed Osama Bin Laden back in 2011.

3. No women allowed (by law)


The Navy SEALs are one of two communities that are required by law to not allow women members. The other is the Navy SWCC. I’m fairly certain that there are plenty of women that are in the United States military that are more than capable of handling themselves with the best of the best but because of the things the SEALs do, how they do them, where they do them and the spaces they work in, females are not allowed to join up.

That may change one day as we continue to evolve in the world. For right now though there isn’t enough space available on these special missions to accommodate women personnel. The rule isn’t meant to be discrimination against women; it’s just that the nature of the job doesn’t allow for special accommodations to be made at the moment. Over time that will change though.

2. The Belgian Malinois is a favorite choice for SEALs


The Belgian Malinois is a special kind of smart dog. We all know that there are some breeds that are smarter than others but this breed is the best of the bunch. They go through complete training and accompany the SEALs on many missions.

They are known as “War Dogs” and they do plenty to contribute to a top secret mission. They can find hidden explosives or people, and they enter upcoming dangerous areas first so they can come back to their team and alert them to what is waiting for them up ahead.

These dogs can even operate parachutes and many of them jump solo!

1. SEAL Team Six was started with fraud


Richard Marcinko was the original founder of SEAL Team Six. He numbered it at six because he wanted the Russians to think there were more of them than there really were at the time. In reality there were only three teams at that time.

Since everything they did was so secretive, Marcinko found several ways to fund the group. Not all of them were on the up and up and he ended up doing time in a Federal prison for defrauding the government. He did it for the greater good though and without those actions we may not have seen the success they have produced over the years.


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