The Bugler

Bugler Newsletter

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

In honor of the SEALs completing their fiftieth year of service to our country the following excerpts tell us a little of their history from the official website of U.S. Navy SEALs.

Fifty-one years ago this month, President John F. Kennedy charged the services with developing teams that had unconventional warfare capability. SEAL Teams One and Two were established. These teams were not the first but actually today's Naval Special Warfare operators can trace their origins to the Scouts and Raiders, Naval Combat Demolition Units "NCDUs," Office of Strategic Services Operational Swimmers, Underwater Demolition Teams and Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons of World War II. While none of those early organizations have survived to present, their pioneering efforts in unconventional warfare are mirrored in the missions and professionalism of the present Naval Special Warfare warriors.

Scouts and Raiders teams were formed in the summer of 1942 to work as beach reconnaissance teams for an eventual cross channel invasion of Europe. By April 1944, 34 NCDUs were deployed to England in preparation for Operation Overlord, the amphibious landing at Normandy.

When the North Korean army invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, there were 11 personnel detached as a UDT group. This force grew to three different teams with a combined strength of 300 men. They UDTs successfully conducted demolition raids on railroad tunnels and bridges along the Korean coast. They also went ahead of landing craft, identifying mudflats and marking low points in the channel. On Oct 13, 1950 William Giannotti conducted the first U.S. combat operation using an "aqualung."

In researching ways to support the work of the UDTs, many new ideas were developed that changed both military and civilians lives. They pioneered flexible swim fins and facemasks, closed-circuit diving equipment, the use of swimmer submersibles, and combat swimming and limpet mine attacks.

Responding to President Kennedy's charge and formed entirely with personnel from Underwater Demolition Teams, the SEALs mission was to conduct counter guerilla warfare and clandestine operations in maritime and riverine environments.

SEAL involvement in Vietnam began immediately, advising and training the Vietnamese. In 1966 a small SEAL Team One began to conduct "direct action missions." Eventually eight SEAL platoons would be in the country on a continuing basis.

Above is one of over 150 photos from Navy SEAL's website.

Naval Special Warfare forces have participated in Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada 1983; Operation Earnest Will, Persian Gulf 1987-1990; Operation Just Cause, Panama 1989-1990; and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Middle East/Persian Gulf 1990-1991. NSW has also conducted missions in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Liberia and elsewhere.

The Naval Special Warfare personnel continue to serve our country. After the attacks on American soil on September 11, 2001 Naval Special Forces were on the ground in Afghanistan in October. Naval Special Warfare has played a significant role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, employing the largest number of SEALs and SWCC in its history.


If you plan to be in the New York City area before May 27, we highly recommend the new exhibition, WWII & NYC, that is currently on display at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library at 170 Central Park West. According to the museum's website,

"WWII & NYC is an account of how New York and its metropolitan region contributed to Allied victory. The exhibition also explores the captivating, sobering, and moving stories of how New Yorkers experienced and confronted the challenges of 'total war.'" The museum is holding a variety of events to coincide with the exhibit including movie nights showing war movies from the time and children events to help them learn about this time period in an interactive way. This exhibit, in a very manageable space and time, gives a great history lesson on WWII & NYC. If you cannot visit the museum in person, you can explore many parts of the exhibit on their website.

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