SEAL training is extremely demanding, both mentally and physically, and produces the world's best maritime warriors. Our focus during this training is based on three core pillars:
- Men of Character: The nature of our mission requires men who will uphold the Navy Core Values - Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
- Physical: The nature of our mission also requires men who are physically fit and capable in every environment, especially the water.
- Technical: Finally, maritime Special Operations require SEALS who are intelligent and can quickly learn new tasks.
BUD/SNaval Special Warfare Training - Following basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL, and basic rating training, you will begin Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Training in Coronado, CA. This six-month course of instruction will focus on physical conditioning, small boat handling, diving physics, basic diving techniques, land warfare, weapons, demolitions, communications, and reconnaissance.
Swimming in BUD/S First Phase (Basic Conditioning) - 8 weeks - First Phase Trains, develops, and assesses SEAL candidates in physical conditioning, water competency, teamwork, and mental tenacity. This phase is eight weeks long. Physical conditioning with running, swimming, and calisthenics grows harder and harder as the weeks progress. You will participate in weekly four mile timed runs in boots, timed obstacle courses, swim distances up to two miles wearing fins in the ocean, and learn small boat seamanship.
Hell WeekThe first three weeks of First Phase will prepare you for the fourth week, better known as "Hell Week." During this week, you will participate in five and one-half days of continuous training, with a maximum of four hours sleep total. This week is designed as the ultimate test of one's physical and mental motivation while in First Phase. Hell Week proves to those who make it that the human body can do ten times the amount of work the average man thinks possible. During Hell Week, you will learn the value of cool headedness, perseverance, and above all, TEAMWORK. The remaining four weeks are devoted to teaching various methods of conducting hydrographic surveys and how to create a hydrographic chart.
Dive TrainingSecond Phase (Diving) - 8 weeks - Diving Phase Trains, develops, and qualifies SEAL candidates as competent basic combat swimmers. This phase is eight weeks long. During this period, physical training continues and becomes even more intensive. Second Phase concentrates on combat SCUBA. You will learn two types of SCUBA: open circuit (compressed air) and closed circuit (100% oxygen). Emphasis is placed on long distance underwater dives with the goal of training students to become basic combat divers, using swimming and diving techniques as a means of transportation from their launch point to their combat objective. This is a skill that separates SEALs from all other Special Operations forces.
San Clemente Island Training FacilityThird Phase (Land Warfare) - 9 weeks - Third Phase trains, develops, and qualifies SEAL candidates in basic weapons, demolition, and small unit tactics. This phase of training is nine weeks in length. Physical training continues to become more strenuous as the run distance increases and the minimum passing times are lowered for the runs, swims, and obstacle course. Third Phase concentrates on teaching land navigation, small-unit tactics, patrolling techniques, rappelling, marksmanship, and military explosives. The final three and a half weeks of Third Phase are spent on San Clemente Island, where students apply all the techniques they have acquired during training.
BUD/S Training Timeline
* Indoctrination (5 weeks)
* Basic Conditioning (8 weeks)
* Diving (8 weeks)
* Land Warfare (9 weeks)
* Basic Parachute Training (3 weeks)
* Receive Naval Special Warfare Classification - (NEC) Code
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training is conducted at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado (San Diego, CA) and lasts 26 weeks. Assignment to BUD/S is conditional on passing the PST, which requires the following minimums:
- 500-yard swim using breast or side stroke in under 12:30
- At least 42 push-ups in 2 minutes
- At least 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes
- At least 6 pull-ups (no time limit)
- Run 1.5 miles in boots and long pants in under 11:30
- Members’ vision must be no worse than 20/200 in both eyes. Vision must be correctable to 20/20. SEAL candidates may qualify for PRK surgery to correct their vision
Again, the above are the minimum requirements necessary to qualify for BUD/S. Prospective trainees are expected to far exceed these minimums. Competitive scores are as follows:
- 500-yard swim using breast or combat side stroke in less than 10:00
- 80-90 push-ups in 2 minutes
- 80-100 sit-ups in 2 minutes
- 20 pull-ups from a dead hang (no time limit)
- Run 1.5 miles in boots and long pants in under 9:30
Upon arrival at Naval Special Warfare Command, check-ins for BUD/S are immediately placed into a pre-indoc phase of training known as 'PTRR', or Physical Training Rest and Recuperation. PTRR is also where all of the 'roll-backs' are placed while waiting to be put into a class. Once additional medical screening is given, and after enough BUD/S candidates arrive for the same class, organized physical training begins.
BUD/S consists of a five-week 'Indoctrination Course', known as INDOC, followed by three phases, covering physical conditioning (eight weeks), diving (eight weeks), and land warfare (nine weeks) respectively. Officer and enlisted personnel go through the same training program, and it is designed to develop and test their stamina, leadership and ability to work as a team.
In the first phase BUD/S students are divided into 'Boat Crews' which can consist of six to eight men. However, although some exercises will be undertaken as boat crews (such as 'log PT', which requires boats crews to run and lift logs that weigh 150 pounds each, and 'Surf Passage', where boat crews must navigate the Pacific surf in inflatable boats), the first phase of BUD/S also consists of a series of demanding individual physical tests including frequent sets of push-ups and sit-ups, ocean swims and timed four mile runs in boots and long trousers (to be completed in 32 minutes). The first phase is most well known for Hell Week, which usually occurs during the third week. During this period, from Sunday evening until Friday afternoon, trainees get a total of approximately four hours of sleep, (exactly how much depends upon the schedule set by the instructors, and how closely the trainees can be kept to that schedule) while subjected to intense physical stress. Trainees are almost always wet, cold and covered in sand which leads to trainees developing what is known as 'Hell Week shuffle', which is a way of walking that keeps salt-stained clothing away from chafed skin. The last day of Hell Week is known as 'So Sorry Day', during which the BUD/S students are made to crawl and slither their way through scum-covered water in the 'demo pits' as automatic weapons fire blank rounds over their heads and artillery simulators explode around them.
SEAL training and duty is voluntary. Many BUD/S students find that they do not have the desire to continue to endure the physical and mental strain of training, and subsequently Drop On Request, or DOR, from the course. The tradition of DOR consists of dropping one's helmet liner next to a pole with a brass ship’s bell attached to it, and ringing the bell three times. Classes typically lose around 70–80% of their trainees — either due to DORs or injuries sustained during training. The Navy will not release exact numbers, either percentages or raw figures, of the attrition rate for BUD/S. Most trainees are eliminated prior to completion of Hell Week, but trainees will continue to DOR in the second phase or be forced to leave because of injuries, or failing either the diving tests or the timed runs and swims.
There is no way to predict what percentage of trainees will DOR during BUD/S. SEAL instructors say that in every class, approximately 10 percent of the students simply do not have the physical ability to complete the training. Another 10–15 percent will definitely make it through unless they sustain a serious physical injury. The other 75–80 percent is 'up for grabs' depending on their motivation. There has been at least one BUD/S class where no one has completed the program.
A trainee who DOR’s from First Phase before the completion of Hell Week must start from the beginning of INDOC if they subsequently reapply to the BUD/S program and are accepted. They must complete Hell Week again. Trainees who rolled back after completing Hell Week due to injury or another factor are rolled into whatever day of training a board of instructors and other individuals deem necessary. Some are back to day 1–1 of 1st Phase, while others may be rolled into day 5–1. Any BUD/S trainee who drops on request after Hell Week goes through the same outprocessing as a trainee who quits before or during Hell Week. If they reapply to BUD/S, they must also complete Hell Week again.
There are many SEALs who have attempted BUD/S two or even perhaps three times before successfully completing training. There is only one person who has successfully completed Hell Week three times. He completed training after his third application to BUD/S.
After BUD/S, students must then attend the Army Airborne School for three weeks of static line parachute training and physical conditioning (this conditioning is relatively undemanding compared to BUD/S). Freefall parachute training is conducted at Navy’s Strategic Air Operations (SAO) school in the desert outside of San Diego. Until 2003, the Army trained Navy Special Warfare teams to freefall. The new school allows more SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant Crewmen (SWCC) to become free-fall and HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) qualified than ever before. Upon completion of the three-week SAO school, they receive their Naval Special Warfare Classification (NEC) code. Finally, the last requirement before going to a team requires students to go through SEAL Qualification Training, or SQT, which is a 15-week course. This course is also conducted in and around the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. After completion of SQT training, students are then considered SEALs and are awarded the SEAL pin, or Trident.
Upon assignment to a team, the new SEALs will be assigned to a Platoon as an Operator. Once in a Task Unit/Platoon, the Operator will train for a 18-month period (work-up) before deployment.
Phase One of a work-up is called the Professional Development Phase (PRODEV). PRODEV is a 6-month block where Operators gain critical skills required by the Task Units/Platoons for deployment. Operators can expect to acquire the following core skills:
- Surreptitious Entry
- Electronic and Media Exploitation
- Technical Surveillance
- High Threat Protective Security (PSD)
- Advanced Weapons Training
- Advanced Driving Skills (Urban/Rural/Security)
- Advanced Climbing/Rope Skills
- Advanced Air Operations: HAHO/Jumpmaster/Parachute Rigger and Packer
- Ranger School (U.S. Army)
- Diving Supervisor
- Range Safety Officer
- Instructor School
- Leadership School
- Foreign Weapons
- Explosive Ordinance Disposal
- UAV Operator
- Language School
- Advanced Special Operations
Phase Two of a work-up is called Unit Level Training (ULT). ULT is a 6-month block where the Task Units train in their core mission areas (Land Warfare, Close Quarters Combat, Urban Warfare, Maritime Interdiction, Combat Swimmer, Long Range Interdiction, Air Operations, Special Reconnasaince and Maritime Operations, Advanced Marksmanship/Heavy Weapons).
Phase Three of a work-up is called Squadron Integration Training (SIT). SIT is the last 6-month block where the Task Unit conducts advanced training as well as integrates all supporting attachments (N-codes (N1-N8), Special Boat Squadrons, Medical Teams, EOD, Interpretors, Intelligence/HUMINT Teams, Cryptological Support Teams, etc). A final Certification Exercise is conducted with the entire SEAL Team to synchronize Task Unit operations under the Task Group umbrella. Following CERTEX, a SEAL Team becomes a SEAL Squadron and deploys to the area of operations for 6-10 months. The Task Units will be assigned a area of operations and work under a Squadron Headquarters Unit called a Task Group.
US Army Special Forces related Troop Terms are: Task Group/AOB; Task Unit/FOB; Platoon/ODA Team; Squad/Troop