Navy SEALs Books
May 27 : Memorial Day Observance
Go Behind the Lines!
1.) In regards to this website, if I am not, nor ever was a SEAL, may I respond under the "Ask A SEAL" forum?
- Absolutely NOT. We only want legitimate SEALs responding to the posted questions - this helps us ensure that people asking questions are getting accurate, up to date information. NO EXCEPTIONS!!
2.) Are there any questions that should NOT be asked on this website?
- Yes. Under the Ask A SEAL forum, ask only SEAL-related questions (not about games such as SOCOM, etc.). Do not ask about why female's can not be SEALs. Research the forums - it has been brought up in the past but should not be brought up anymore. DO NOT ask active duty SEALs where they are stationed and specific information about themselves. Former and retired SEAL will usually give you their duty stations and it is ok to ask them. Simple rule of thumb - if you ask a SEAL (active/reserve/retired/former) a question and he says he will not answer that specific question, STOP asking it. If you think he is a fraud, report him to the AuthentiSEAL website. DO NOT ask about SEAL Team 6 or Development Group (DevGru) or about Red Cell. Read some of Marcinko's books for information on these units. Do not ask about specifics on potentially classified information (such as the SDV program) for obvious reasons. Operational Security (OPSEC) should be forefront in your mind before asking a question for the safety and maintained security of the SEAL Teams and the men that comprise them and have comprised them. You will be told if you ask about a forbiden topic. If that happens, let it go - do not try to solicit more information on the subject. Also do not ask "which Special Operations group is the best?" There is no answer for that question. ALL are elite and have their specific functions - not ONE is "the best."
3.) I know a guy that claims he was a SEAL. Is there any way to verify his claim and how positive is the verification?
- There absolutely is a way to verify anyone's claims that they are or have ever been a SEAL. Visit the website www.AuthentiSEAL.org for information. There is a link for that site on this site. The verification accuracy is definite! They have a database of every man that has ever graduated from BUD/S training with some information on each man. (Please not: there has NEVER been any "SECRET" SEALs or BUD/S Classes). Have as much information as possible about the subject who claims SEAL status before submitting your request for verification. Visit their website for specific information.
4.) Can females apply for BUD/S training?
- No. The reasoning for this is due to the Ground Combat Exclusion Law passed by US Congress. The program is strictly for men only. No female has ever been accepted to BUD/S. Females may look into other Special Warfare/diving-related programs though, specifically - Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD). Call 1-800-USA-NAVY for more information.
5.) Can I be in a branch other than the Navy and be a SEAL?
- No. The title Navy SEAL should be pretty much self-explanatory. Other branch service members desiring BUD/S training should try to get an inter-service transfer to the U.S. Navy first. Talk to your chain of command or contact the Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWC) for more information.
6.) I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I go to BUD/S to become a United States Navy SEAL?
- No. To attend BUD/S for the United States Navy, you must be a United States citizen. A few "foreign nationals" are accepted into most BUD/S classes (from militaries other than our own), but that is a totally different issue and decided at the discretion of the Naval Special Warfare Center (NSWC) and worked out between the Center and our military allies that may be interested. But for U.S. Navy SEAL hopefuls, you must first obtain U.S. citizenship, then you may apply for BUD/S.
7.) Are there any ASVAB waivers available if I don't meet the required scores?
- Yes. A maximum of 5 point waivers may be requested.
8.) What are the specifics on eyesight requirements for BUD/S applicants?
- 20/40 in one eye; 20/70 in the other with both being correctable to 20/20. Waivers are typically given to those applicants with at least 20/70 in one eye and 20/100 in the other. Eyesight corrective surgery IS now acceptable provided you meet the above listed requirements. In addition to all of this - NO colorblindness is acceptable and that is NOT "waiverable." There are very specific reasons for these requirements (which I will not get into here). Eyesight is the #1, most common disqualifier for BUD/S applicants.
9.) The BUD/S age limit is 28 years old or younger. Can I get a waiver if I am "too old?"
- Yes, no and maybe. Age waivers are fairly standard and common for 29 and 30 year old applicants. Men above the age of 30 have been accepted and have graduated, but it is on a case-by-case basis and it is rare. For example, a 35 year old applicant with no military background will probably NOT get a waiver, while a 37 year old former Army Special Forces soldier may get one because of his SpecOps background experience. It is the decision of the higher authorities as to whether or not they will approve an age waiver. Anyone above the age of 40 years old will probably NOT get a waiver, regardless of background.
10.) How many different waivers may I obtain?
- There is no specific number of waivers allowed, but obviously you want the least amount of waivers, if you need any at all. One waiver should be your max. Of course no waivers is ideal.
11.) What is a "BUD/S package?"
- All of the forms, requests, documents and waivers, etc. that you need to submit to apply for BUD/S training. Visit www.sealchallenge.navy.mil for more specific information.
12.) What is the "SEAL Challenge" contract? How does it work?
- It does NOT guarantee you will go to BUD/S, What it does guarantee is that if you successfully meet all of the requirements and you pass the BUD/S Physical Screening Test (PST), then you will be given a slot in a BUD/S class. It also provides you with 3 opportunities to pass the PST if you fail it initially. Again, more information is available at www.sealchallenge.navy.mil.
13.) What if I have been to BUD/S before, didn't make it and want to try again?
- Officers are given one shot only. So Officers are NOT afforded the opportunity to re-apply. Enlisted men, on the other hand, may re-apply as many times as they would like provided they still meet all of the requirements. They must also submit a BUD/S package just like everyone else, but must also include a form 1070 explaining why they were voluntarily or involuntarily disenrolled and what steps have been taken to correct those deficencies.
14.) Should I expose myself to freezing cold water to help prepare myself for BUD/S training?
- Absolutely not! Not only is it very dangerous and stupid, but it is also non-beneficial. It is not possible to "get used to" cold water. So why expose yourself to unnecessary punishment and danger? You will get all the cold water you can handle once you get to BUD/S. The Teams need guys that can persevere and endure through ANY conditions and not just "quit" if placed in an uncomfortable situation. So it's not about "getting used to it," but it IS about "dealing with it."
15.) What type of physical preperation and workout should I do to help prepare me for BUD/S?
- If you navigate through this site and others, you will find the US Naval Special Warfare's "recommended" workouts. There are also numerous books and videos available to assist you with this. Whatever workout(s) you decide to do, you should be sure to include lots of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, dips, flutter kicks, running and swimming. Lots of it! Weight training is NOT necessary nor is it recommended for prospective BUD/S candidates. Also, proper, healthy nutrition is very important. Eat right and follow a proper work-out routine and you will go to BUD/S with a healthy mind, body and spirit which will increase your possibilities of making it to graduation!
16.) Is there any type of academic preperation I should do before BUD/S?
- It may be a good idea to review basic mathematic/algebra skills, basic laws of physics and some basic chemistry (mainly the "elements"). This is not absolutely necessary but would be very beneficial and not at all detrimental. Of course ANY additional education is an outstanding idea! Learn as much as you can!!
17.) Should I learn how to SCUBA dive before going to BUD/S?
- SCUBA classes teach RECREATIONAL and other types of "civilian" diving. Prospective SEALs are taught how to be COMBAT divers. Two completely different things. Second phase of BUD/S will teach you all the diving you need to know - much more extensive than ANY other program anywhere. No previous civilian (or other) diving experience is needed nor recommended. If you go in with NO diving experience at all, that is a good thing, because the instructors are then able to "mold you" into the type of the diver needed in the Teams. You won't have any old "bad habits" to break, etc. It's easier to teach someone from scratch than to have to "re-teach" someone things that they THOUGHT they already knew.
18.) What type of H2H fighting (martial arts) system do they use in the Teams and should I take martial arts classes prior to going to BUD/S?
- The Naval Special Warfare community does NOT recognize only one specific form of martial arts or system of fighting. All of the advertisements that say "The OFFICIAL Navy SEAL Hand 2 Hand Comabt System..." or anything similar is just a sales technique - nothing else. These "systems" or "programs" may have been used in platoon work-ups or in the Combat Fighting Course (CFC), but not one specific style is exclusive in the Teams. Some arts that are effective for application within the SEAL Teams include Ninjutsu and Israeli Krav Maga. Martial arts training is NOT able to prepare you for BUD/S (or the SEAL Teams in general), but it is beneficial in conditioning your mind, body and spirit.
19.) Is "quitting" the only way to not make it through BUD/S?
- No. A Drop on Request (DOR) is the most common way to be disenrolled from BUD/S, but is not the only cause. There are also "performance drops," "academic drops," "medical drops" and "staff decision drops." A performance drop is when you continuously fail a timed/graded physical evolution or evolutions. An academic drop is when you are not able to pass a written/academic test/exam. A medical drop is of course a drop due to a medical condition or injury. The "staff decision drop," is very rare, but if the instructor staff all concur that you are not fit for the program (for whatever reasons), they will disenroll you from BUD/S. You would have to be a serious problem to the class in order to receive this punishment. But don't go into BUD/S and be an arrogant ass-clown, because it can be and has been done!
20.) If I get hurt or fail a timed/graded evolution or test, will I be immediately dropped from BUD/S training?
- No. If a student is injured, he will be examined by the medical department staff at BUD/S to determine the extent of the injury. It is their decision as to whether or not the student is fit to continue training with his class. If not, the student will usually be "rolled back." That means that he will be placed in the Physical Training Rehabilitation and Recoperation (PTRR) division until the next upcoming class reaches the point in training where the injured student stopped at, and at that point, the injured "roll back" will re-join regular BUD/S training with that class. Sometimes an injured student may have to be rolled back more than one class if the injury requires such action. If the injury is too severe, prolonged or reoccuring, the student may be dropped from training at which point he would be assigned to the fleet and may re-apply for BUD/S later, once the injury has healed and he is back to 100% health again. Obviously if you continuously fail physical or academic tests, you can not graduate from BUD/S. Periodic "review boards" are conducted, the first one being right before Hell Week. All students with one or more failed evolutions will appear in front of the board of instructors to discuss their deficiencies (one student at a time). The instructor board will all concur on one of three possible decisions: continue with training as regular (usually approved if there is only one small hurdle standing in your way which they think you will be able to overcome very soon), "roll back" into the next class most common decision - but only one roll back permitted for performance or academic reasons, or of course they can drop you from training (usually only if the student is already a "roll back" and still failing evolutions). There is a saying at BUD/S that "every student has ONE silver bullet." Translation being that if you do have to appear in front of a review board for the first time - you will be "rolled back" rather than dropped. Then you "used your silver bullet." If you have to appear in front of a review board again for a second time, you already had your second chance and you will most likely be dropped from training. Also make note that in each class, you are usually afforded about 3 chances to pass each evolution if neccessary, so there is NO excuse for consistent failure anyway. If dropped from training , you are sent to the fleet (regular Navy) and (enlisted men) may re-apply after at least 2 years service in the fleet. Officers, as stated earlier are finished for good as they may not re-apply for training at any later date.
21.) Does BUD/S get easier after Hell Week.
- Hell no. It gets harder and the required times for evolutions drop as you are expected to show improvement every time you perform an evolution. And if you make it to the Teams - it only gets harder so you better love it! But I personally guarantee you that it is ALL 210% worth it!!
22.) What "tips" can you offer to someone that has received his orders for BUD/S and waiting to ship out to Coronado?
- Purchase a COMPLETE new dress uniform that you will wear when you "check-in" to BUD/S on day one. Bright ribbons, NO stains ANYWHERE, nice new white hat, shiny shoes, etc. Use extreme attention to detail! Dress as if the President of the United States was going to inspect you. This is very imoprtant as you want to make a positive first impression for yourself. The instructors want to see students that are "squared away" to the MAX! Be clean shaven with a fresh haircut (even though you'll be cutting it all off shortly) and do not wear any cologne (after shave is ok). Make sure your orders, service record and all other documents and papers are neat and organized for presentation. Carry a black ball point pen with you at all times (but be careful to NOT get any stains on your uniform). Be courteous and professional at all times to everyone. During BUD/S training (even the instructors will tell you this) - lay low. Do what you are told, pass all evolutions on the first attempt (never be last) and don't be a cocky loudmouth. Do not become a problem. Take extreme care of all of your gear (that should go without saying). Shiny helmet, neat uniforms, well-cared for boots, sharpened K-Bar at all times, neatly organized lockers, clean diving gear, etc. BUD/S should be your ONLY concern when you are there. If you have a secondary agenda in mind (such as, getting drunk in Tijuana every saturday night) don't even waste your time going to BUD/S. Don't worry - you will have a little time to party. Class party's are great! Throughout BUD/S always have fun and be able to laugh (not out loud though - on the inside I mean). And always utilize TEAMWORK!!! If you can successfully do everything stated above, stay healthy and never quit, you WILL make it to graduation!!
23.) I want to become a SEAL sniper. How do I do this?
- First off, if you are asking yourself this question - STOP! You are thinking WAY TOO FAR ahead. Get through BUD/S, jump school and SQT first. Then, maybe you can look into whether or not your unit needs a sniper. If so and if you are known as an outstanding marksman, you can submit a request to attend a sniper school or program. No guarantees that you will get it though. The needs of your unit will ultimately be the deciding factor on what schools or additional training may be available to you. So get to the Teams first! Also, please note that a Sniper's job is not like in the Tome Berenger movie, "Sniper." A SEAL Sniper is not sent out with a "mission to take out someone." A SEAL Sniper's main objective is as a position of security for his Teammates. He (and a "spotter") will typically remain a significant distance away from the operational target. He will gather as much information as he can about the target objective from a distance. He will make note of where personnel are stationed in the area. He basically will oversee his Teammates. He will take a shot and snipe someone only if the safety of his teammates is at stake. So he is usually assigned to the unit to act as a sniper and fire a shot only if it is absolutely necessary. SEAL Snipers are not sent out with the sole purpose of assassinating anyone. This is not Hollywood.
24.) What is the difference between a SEAL Team and an SDV Team?
- Guys that are assigned to an SDV Team (SEAL Delivery Vehicle Delivery Team) are SEALs just like any other SEAL. On an SDV Team, you will do and perform the same training and functions that the other SEAL Teams are doing. Only difference is you have an added capability (a very valuable one) - SDV's and ASDS's. You will, of course, focus more of your training actually in the water working with the "mini-submarines," but you do get to partake in all of the other training as well. Most of the SDV program is classified so detail will not be discussed here. All you need to realize is that an SDV Team IS a SEAL Team just as much as the Teams called "SEAL Team _." You are just trained more with an added capability. A common misconception that many people have is that an SDV Team only "delivers SEALs" to their objective. The truth is that an SDV (or ASDS) delivers the SEALs to their objective. The SEALs that it delivers come from the SDV Team. The team of guys that only deliver SEALs to their objective (insertions and extractions) and provide ship-to-shore support are the SBU's, or, Special Boat Units, which are comprised of Special Warfare Combatant Crewmember (SWCC) personnel. These units are not SEALs, but SWCC guys.
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