Navy SEALs (04:36)
The American Navy SEALs are one of most elite units in military history. On May 2, 2011, SEAL Team 6 carried out Operation Neptune Spear to kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. The mission was well publicized, but the SEALs run thousands of missions that go unnoticed.
SEAL Training (06:35)
The SEALs began in 1962 and less than 1% of the military has been a part of the 10 teams. Trainees undergo a six-month boot camp called Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUDS. The training ensures mental and physical toughness.
First Navy SEALs (02:21)
During World War II, special amphibious demolition units were established within the Navy to scout and clear enemy beaches. On D-Day, demolition units paddled ashore before the main assault to clear mines. They opened eight landing sites, but half the unit was killed.
Battle of Saipan (02:39)
Underwater demolition units were used in the battle in the Pacific Theater. Armed with only knives, unit members swam to the island to secure landing zones. The mission was highly classified.
The Frogmen (02:02)
During the Korean War, underwater demolition units pivoted to blowing up railroads, raiding munitions, and performing rescues on land. They became known as Frogmen for the amphibious nature of warfare. The Navy was part of the production of the 1951 movie "The Frogmen."
SEALs in the Cold War (03:30)
The style of warfare was changing during the Cold War and President John F. Kennedy needed amphibious, stealth soldiers. Navy SEAL Teams 1 and 2 began in 1962; recruits came from underwater demolition teams. They were sent to Vietnam in an advisory role.
SEALs in Vietnam (05:18)
As the conflict escalated, SEAL Teams 1 and 2 began combat missions in Vietnam. They used helicopters for rapid strikes and established many of the tactics used today. They committed covert operations as part of the Phoenix Program.
SEALs Post-Vietnam (04:17)
The SEALs began pulling out of Vietnam in 1971. The military's budget for Special Forces was reduced and SEALs were reassigned to regular Naval units. The failed rescue attempt of those held in the Iran hostage crisis showed the need for SEALs teams.
SEAL Team 6 (06:37)
Failure in Iran led to the creation of the Joint Special Operations Command to conduct counterterrorism. Each branch of the military provided a team and for the Navy it was SEAL Team 6. Commander Dick Marcinko built the team to be the most elite fighters outside regular military rules.
SEALs in Grenada (07:55)
SEAL Team 6's first combat missions were in Grenada. The team went in before the American invasion to assess a military airfield, take out radio controls, and protect the pro-American governor general. The war ended after four days, but 19 soldiers, including four SEALs, died.
SEALs in Panama (06:50)
President George H.W. Bush had SEAL Team 6 gathering intel on Dictator General Manuel Noriega in Panama. After a U.S. officer and his wife were kidnapped, Bush planned an invasion. SEAL Team 2 carried out their first amphibious mission since Vietnam.
SEAL Team 4 in Panama (01:52)
SEAL Team 4's mission was to disable Noriega's jet. A Panamanian force at the hangar ambushed the team of 50, but they were able to disable the plane; four SEALs, including a team commander, died.
Task Force Ranger (06:20)
In the early 1990s, bin Laden's terrorist group al-Qaeda was growing throughout the Middle East. In 1993, President Bill Clinton sent Task Force Ranger, which included top SEAL snipers, into Somalia to takeout bin Laden backed militia leadership and end a famine.
Battle of Mogadishu (08:59)
Task Force Ranger's plan to capture top militia leadership turned into a battle. Two SEAL Team 6 snipers were among the soldiers when a Black Hawk helicopter was shot down.
Causalities in Mogadishu (06:36)
SEAL Team 6 sniper Howard Wasdin was part of a heavily hit convey, while a second Black Hawk was shot down. He was shot three times but was evacuated. Eighteen services members died, and Task Force Ranger left Somalia shortly after.
Bin Laden's Rise (03:58)
In 1998, bin Laden and al-Qaeda bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Clinton opted to not send Special Forces to find him, and newly elected President George W. Bush underestimated the threat bin Laden posed. The 9/11 attacks transformed the use of Special Forces.
September 11, 2001 (06:10)
Nearly 3,000 people are killed in the deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. SEAL teams throughout the world were placed on standby. Bin Laden is quickly discovered to be behind the attacks.
First SEALs in Afghanistan (06:18)
Task Force K-Bar, led by 200 Navy SEALs, was the first military offensive in Afghanistan in October 2001. The all-Special Forces team's mission was to find, capture, and kill members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. SEALs assessed the Shahikot Valley before Operation Anaconda.
SEALs at Takur Ghar (05:26)
The Shahikot Valley had more al-Qaeda fighters than anticipated. SEAL Team 6 was sent to secure an observation post and Neil Roberts was captured. After 17 hours, the SEALs captured the mountain, but Roberts was killed.
Operation Iraqi Freedom (03:51)
U.S. Forces secured the Shahikot Valley and drove al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan. In 2003, U.S. and coalition forces overthrew Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda seized control in the chaos that followed. SEALs began doing lightning raids against al-Qaeda forces at night.
Kill/Capture Missions (06:25)
By 2007, SEAL teams were on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. They conducted numerous kill/capture missions of key al-Qaeda leaders. A mission in Al Anbar Province was met with an ambush and required rescue by a fire mission.
SEALs and Capt. Phillips (06:12)
In April 2009, SEAL Team 6 was called in to rescue American cargo ship Captain Richard Phillips, who was kidnapped by Somali pirates. The life raft Phillips was held on was much smaller than the boats the SEALs were used to boarding.
Rescue at Sea (06:41)
Phillips' capture dominated the news and SEAL Team 6 was publicly acknowledged for the first time. SEAL snipers took out the pirates from the nearby USS Bainbridge. Phillips was rescued and returned home.
Hunt for bin Laden (03:40)
President Barack Obama made finding bin Laden a priority for the CIA. In 2010, they followed a known associate of bin Laden's to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In March 2011, Obama met with intelligence officers to discuss a possible kill/capture raid.
Plans for Abbottabad (05:08)
Obama continued to weigh his options about the compound as 23 members of SEAL Team 6 began training. The CIA did not know what the SEALs would find inside, and it could destroy U.S. relations with Pakistan. On May 1, 2011, the SEALs prepared to leave their base in Afghanistan.
SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad (08:13)
The team entered Pakistan's restricted airspace in two helicopters, one of which crash landed at the compound. They stormed the compound and started taking fire. They found bin Laden on the third floor and killed him.
SEAL Team 6's Exit (04:25)
SEAL Team 6 gathered evidence from the compound looking for intel on al-Qaeda. With the Pakistani Army nearby, the team hurried to destroy the crashed helicopter and leave Pakistani airspace with bin Laden's body. The team safely crossed the border into Afghanistan.
Bin Laden's Death (02:57)
Obama announced bin Laden's death that night, sparking celebrations throughout the U.S. A media spotlight shone on SEAL Team 6, whose involvement was supposed to be kept secret.
SEAL Team 6 Helicopter Crash (03:35)
On Aug. 6, 2011, in the Tangi Valley an RPG from Taliban forces hit a Special Forces helicopter. Of the 38 who were killed, 15 were from SEAL Team 6 and two were from other SEAL teams. It was the deadliest event in the history of the Navy SEALs.
SEAL Team 6 and Jessica Buchanan (04:25)
In 2011, the American humanitarian worker was kidnapped for ransom in Somalia. After being held in the desert for three months, the FBI learned that Buchanan was having a medical crisis.
Rescue in Somalia (04:07)
SEAL Team 6 parachuted into the desert near where Buchanan and other prisoners were being held. The team made it into the camp unnoticed and took out the terrorists. They rescued Buchanan and the others.
SEAL Team 6 Exposure (06:09)
Buchanan's recuse put SEAL Team 6 in the spotlight again. Two members broke the team's code of silence and went public about the bin Laden raid. Navy SEALs are conflicted about making their work public.
Credits: Navy SEALs: America's Secret Warriors: Extended Edition (00:04)
Credits: Navy SEALs: America's Secret Warriors: Extended Edition
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