We’ll never forget the success the Navy SEALS had in their mission to take out Osama bin Laden a few weeks ago.  How much do you know about this special military unit? 

SEALS stands for Sea, Air and Land.  What separates the Navy SEALS from the other military branches’ special operations forces is the SEALS’s specialty of being able to operate underwater.  All members of the SEALS are males and either in the Navy or the Coast Guard.

The history of the SEALS began in World War Two when the military found they needed scout units to land on beaches ahead of invasions in North Africa, Europe and in the Pacific.  These units would take out land mines and determine the obstacles and defenses that invasion forces would have to face.

That first special operations unit was trained at Fort Pierce, Florida and were used in 1942 to direct allied forces in the invasion of North Africa.

The Navy SEALS got its biggest boost from President Kennedy in 1961 as the United States was becoming more involved against Communist forces in Southeast Asia.  As a Navy veteran during World War Two in the South Pacific, Kennedy knew the problems American forces would face. 

Kennedy knew the value of special forces for unconventional warfare.  It was during the same speech that Kennedy challenged America to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade that he committed $100-million to expand special operation forces.  It was then that the chief of U-S Naval operations recommended a special unit to do exactly the kinds of things the SEALS do today.

Kennedy’s moon challenge got nearly all the media attention, but his recognition of the need for very special, very elite units of soldiers for some of the toughest jobs created some of the most well-trained military forces on earth.