Sniper School

Navy-SEAL-Sniper

Due to the recent release of the movie American Sniper directed by Clint Eastwood more and more people want to know how to become a SEAL sniper.  For those of you who don’t know, American Sniper is based off of the book by Chris Kyle telling his journey through life as the most deadly sniper in American military history.  The movie reveals some interesting questions to many one of the main ones being “how can I become a SEAL sniper?” The answer is simple fist you have to pass the hardest military boot camp in the world AKA BUD/S. (For more information on BUD/S visit my earlier post) Then you have to pass the SECOND hardest military training camp in the world. In America we call that United States Navy SEAL Sniper Training.

Sniper training is three months of twelve hour days and its seven days a week.  Due to the fact that many applicants have just passed BUD/S the course is as physically demanding to the students as it is mentally.  Sniper school is so hard that according to Brandon, a SEAL sniper, ‘”Sniper school is one of the very few courses a SEAL will not be looked down upon for failing to complete. It’s an unwritten rule that you don’t give guys a hard time for washing out of sniper school. Because the course is known for its insane difficulty, just being selected or volunteering to go automatically elicits respect in the teams'”(Inside the SEAL Teams Pt. 1).  The first phase of sniper school is the shooting phase.  During the shooting phase you learn how to operate, shoot, and clean any and all of the guns that you might use overseas.  While many of the of the SEALs applying for the course already have knowledge of guns and most grew up shooting at a young age for some this is the hardest part.  Perhaps the most stressful part of the whole course is the cold bore shot test.  For the cold bore test you have to shoot one bullet from a distance set by your instructors with out any warm up.  This shooting with a cold gun will cause the bullet to drop considerably.  According Maryland Shooting Association the reason behind the bullets drop is, “The colder the air, the more dense it becomes. From what I recall the bullet will have a different point of impact on the target. The colder air temp (denser air) will cause the bullet to drop faster then in the summer. I think the formula is 1 inch drop per every 10 degree drop in temp at 100 yards”(MDshooters.com).  This effect is the same from cold air to a cold gun barrel.

The second half of the class is the Stalking phase.  During this phase the prospective snipers learned how to slowly move in, take the shot on a target, and move out all with out being seen.  During this phase the emphasis was on camouflage and patience.  According to Brandon, ‘”They taught us how to make a veg fan, clipping branches from Manzanita bushes or whatever happened to be around and zip tying them together. We learned to hide behind this ad hoc camouflage as we would slowly rise up in the middle of the bushes, eyes just peeking over the top of the fan, using either our binos or the naked eye to peer through the veg clippings and get an idea of where our target was, then slowly melting back down again'”(Inside the SEAL Teams Pt. 2).  This stalking phase is perhaps the most important part of the entire class as if you even want to take the shot you need to make it first.

SEAL snipers have extreme dedication and patience as they take days to just execute one shot.  The men who’s training involves going through hell and back are one of the reasons behind the effectiveness of the SEAL teams.

Works Cited
“American Sniper.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
“Cold Weather Effects on Rifle Accuracy – Maryland Shooters.” Maryland Shooters RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
“INSIDE THE SEAL TEAMS – Navy SEAL Sniper School (Part 1) | Navy SEALs.” Navy SEALs. N.p., 07 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
“INSIDE THE SEAL TEAMS – Navy SEAL Sniper School (Part 2) | Navy SEALs.” Navy SEALs. N.p., 13 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.
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SEALs and Dogs

Charles Yu once said, “If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.” With dogs being considered by many people more loyal, more courageous, and more alert than all humans are it’s an obvious choice to use man’s best friend on the battle field.  These dogs have gone with their human counterparts all across the world and one was even used by SEAL team six during Operation Neptune Spear; the mission that killed Osama bin Laden (Neptune).  These dogs are perhaps the most valuable asset that these ground assault teams will ever wish for.

Dogs have been used in war before the United States or Navy SEALs were even thought of.  In the time of The Kingdom of Lydia, around 600 BCE, the first written record of a combat dog was recorded. It was said that the King Alyattes “had his soldiers turn packs of dogs loose on Cimmerian troops”(The Dogs of War). War dogs have also been used by the ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese(History).  By the time World War Two came around the United States was late to the game of the war dogs. In World War Two dogs had already been used by the majority of the countries involved in the conflict during World War One and were being used again.  In World War Two the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps were all using combat assault dogs (USMC War Dogs).

In the present day these combat assault dogs are being equipped with vests at an estimated price of $30,000 and following their teammates into war (Neptune).  Dogs are even known to jump tandem with their trainers from extreme altitudes.  These dogs are not only equipped with state of the art bullet proof vests which allow the owner to see wherever the dog is going, but also any unhealthy teeth are replaced by the newest advancement in CAD technology, titanium teeth (Titanium Fangs?).  These teeth will screw up some terrorists day when he gets latched to by a mixture of dog and metal.  Recently, the world’s highest tandem dog jump occurred with a height of 30,100 feet in the air (Military Working Dog). This jump was made by a Navy SEAL and his dog Cara. As shown in “No Easy Day,” the troops love the CAD’s and will give them affectionate nicknames like “the ‘hair missile'”(Owen).

Throughout the history of the world man’s best friend has served as a companion and comfort. But now they have become something new to the American Soldiers, they are now a brother in arms.

 

Works Cited
“The Dogs of War — A Short History of Canines in Combat.” Militaryhistorynowcom. N.p., 08 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
Losowsky, Andrew. “History Of War Dogs.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
Madrigal, Alexis C. “A Military Dog Jumping Out of a Helicopter.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 05 May 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
Owen, Mark, and Kevin Maurer. No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Padilla, Jesse. “OperationNeptune Spear.” Entirely Pets. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
“Titanium Fangs?” Mother Nature Network. MMN, 6 May 2011. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
“USMC War Dogs in WWII.” USMC History Division. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.

Schooling of the SEALs

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To some this image may seem odd as many consider the Navy SEALs to be mindless killing machines who have no intelligence and “wait for [their] leader to point to an enemy and say, ‘Go whack him.'” instead of making sensible decisions on their own (Flanagan).  However, that is so far from the truth. Navy SEALs are often highly intelligent men and a lot have college degrees even if they are not officers. Out of the above graduates from the Naval Academy, about 3% of them will become Navy SEALs. Such is the case with Mark Owen: “One year [of college] turned into four.”(Owen 105). Having this knowledge then prompts a new question, What do the majority of SEALs major in? There are three main types of SEALs: those who graduated high school the enlisted, those who graduated college and enlisted, and those who graduated college and became officers instead of enlisting.

First of all to become a SEAL you must have education even if you choose not to be a college grad.  Becoming a SEAL requires you to be proficient in reading, speaking, writing, and understanding the English language. It also requires the candidate to have graduated high school (military.com).  The SEALs who choose to go through this route will be an enlisted man and will start of as a Seaman Recruit and will never probably make it higher then a Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (militaryfactory.com). However even these SEALs have a wide array of knowledge in their own different fields: “[Steve was not only] an outstanding SEAL, he could also talk politics, investing, and football at the same level”(Owen).  Many of these SEALs have knowledge in various fields of business and many are very knowledgeable in stocks.

The next type of SEALs are those who graduated college and decided to enlist instead of becoming an officer. This is a smaller group of people as most people who graduate college and decided to join the military join as an officer to get the bigger pay check. The people who join this group are college graduates who want to continue having trigger time instead of sitting in an office doing paperwork. Many often don’t realize that these SEALs have just as much knowledge as the officers do and are often underestimated.  In fact some veteran SEALs even encourage this route instead of the officer route to prospective SEALs who have graduated college:”I made friends with a former SEAL in school who advised me not to join as an officer”(Owen).

The final group of SEALs are the officers who have graduated college.  These SEALs have either graduated from the Naval Academy or from another college and participated in a NROTC program. Many people want to know what kind of college degrees these kinds of SEALs get.  Most of these SEALs focus on degrees related to STEM programs. They choose STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mechanics, because those skills are found to be helpful when they are out in the field. These SEALs are officers and are in charge of planning out the missions that are going to happen and how and when they are going to happen. When these SEALs go out on a mission they are constantly relaying information from the techs who are in the safety of various bases or airfields back to the men who are under his commands.

Which ever route these SEALs choose on their route to combat they are all very skillful and capable combat machines.

Works Cited
“Academy Graduation Photos.” Defense.gov Photos. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
“Become a Navy SEAL: Education and Career Roadmap.” N.p., n.d. Web. 24     Feb. 2015.
Eclecticcrab. “What Major Should a Navy SEAL Take in College?” Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
“How Many Academy Students Become SEALs.” Quora. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
“The Kings of Clonmel Quotes.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
“Navy SEAL Requirements.” Military.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
“Thread: College and Navy Seals.” OFFICIAL US NAVY SEAL + SWCC TRAINING FORUM RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
Writer, Staff. “US Navy Ranks.” Military Factory. N.p., 4 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.

BUD/S Training

What separates Navy SEALs from other SPECOP groups? What makes SEALs “Olympic athletes that kill people for a living,” and everyone else just soldiers? (Couch IV). Many would argue that it is because of BUD/S or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL. BUD/S is a six month training program designed to test prospective SEALs to their limits (navyseals.com). BUD/S is considered by some the “Toughest Military Training in the World” (military.com). BUD/S program is broken up into three segments: Physical conditioning, diving, and land warfare.

The first phase of training, physical conditioning, is designed to break you down both physically and mentally. In the first phase you are expected to do more and more difficult workouts then the week before (sealswcc.com). This first phase of BUD/S is often considered to be the hardest as there are the most dropouts during this time. Typically if someone makes it through phase one the only reason he would drop out is if he couldn’t stay calm while diving or couldn’t shoot up to expectations. BUD/S lasts between 7 and 8 weeks and comes to an apex with “Hell Week.” Hell Week is five and a half days of well hell. During Hell Week the average amount of sleep that each candidate gets is a little bit less than four hours. That’s total time mind you not per-day. Despite the lack of sleep each candidate is still expected to run about two hundred miles and to participate in 20 hours of PT every day (sealswcc.com).

The second stage of BUD/S is diving. While the basic physical conditioning stage is over candidates are expected to step up the amount of PT while still finding the time to become proficient divers for the US Navy. Just like the first phase, phase two lasts 7 to 8 weeks. Often candidates who are not comfortable in the water before starting BUD/S will drop out (sealswcc.com). It is during this stage that the trainees are “drown proofed.” During drown proofing instructors will tie a candidates hands and feet together and put them in a nine foot deep pool and give them a variety of tasks to do while bound (howstuffworks.com).

The third stage of BUD/S is land warfare. The land warfare phase is yet another 7 to 8 week program. The third stage also has guess what, you got it an increase in PT. The third stage also starts the usage of the shooting ranges. It is the third stage of BUD/S when the “D” or demolition part of BUD/S really becomes relevant. During this third candidates learn how to use military grade explosives (navyseals.com). The third stage of BUD/S also shows a spike in classroom training as it is here that candidates learn how to read and use maps and compasses. Candidates also learn repelling and other land survival skill that will be important to them out in the field as Navy SEALs (sealswcc.com).

After completing BUD/S the few remaining candidates find pride in knowing that while many of their fellow candidates dropped out and rang the bell, they stuck it out and now are almost a Navy SEAL.

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                                             Works Cited
“BUD/S Training | Navy SEALs.” Navy SEALs. Force 12 Media, 2014. Web. 29 Nov.     2014.
Couch, Dick, Kurt Johnstad, George Galdorisi, and Tom Clancy. Act of Valor. New York: Berkley, 2012. Print.
Mills, Alden. “My Worst Day of BUD/S.” The Daily PT RSS. Military.com, 20 Aug. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
“Navy SEAL BUD/S Training Stages Overview.” SEALSWCC.COM. SEAL Scout Team, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.
Obringer, Lee Ann. “How the Navy SEALs Work.” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks.com, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

The History Of The SEALs

The Navy SEALs are tightly knit group of silent professionals. They come from different backgrounds and different cities. However there is one thing that holds them all together a common goal. Before one can understand why all of these mismatched individuals have come together to form a team whose “reputation is renowned. In some circles, even feared” the individual must first learn the history of the SEALs (SEAL recruiting pamphlet).

The Navy SEALs were started in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy (navyseals.com). The name “SEAL” is not related directly to the oceanic mammal, but instead stands for the three realms SEALs operate in: SEa, Air, and Land. This means that SEALs are tasked with any mission whether it involve swimming several miles just to reach the objective point, or participating in a High Altitude High Opening jump which can have them jumping from a C-130 at sometimes 35000 feet (globalsecurity.org). When President Kennedy started teams 1 and 2, the US was in the middle of the Vietnam war. In Vietnam the SEALs got very personal with the Viet Cong. In some missions the SEALs were within inches of the VC. However, it was in Vietnam that the SEALs began to get credited for their extreme success in both guerrilla and counter-guerrilla tactics.

Now what about that SEAL team six that everyone wants to be a part of? Well SEAL team six wasn’t even the sixth team to be founded. At the time there were only teams 1 and 2. The teams founder Richard Marcinko decided that to make the soviets think that US had more SEAL teams(No Easy Day). Now why does everyone want to be in SEAL team six? The answer to that is simple: it’s the only team to make the news and there is a reason for that. SEAL team six goes by a formal name of United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group which gets abbreviated to DEVGRU. DEVGRU is the Navy’s counter-terrorism unit hence why they are known for taking out key figures in Al Qaida such as Osama bin Laden.

Currently there are nine SEAL teams: ‘” four on both the East and West Coast and one SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team'”(sealswcc.com). The east coast SEALs are located in Virginia and the west coast in California. I hope that you found this first post informative and stay ready for more in the future.

Works Cited

Department of the Navy. Navy Challenge Program: SEAL. N.p.: Department of the Navy, 2011.   Print.

“Navy SEAL Frequently Asked Questions – SEALSWCC.COM | Official Website U.S. Navy   SEALs.” Official Website U.S. Navy SEALs. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

“Navy SEAL History | Navy SEALs.” Navy SEALs. Force 12 Media, 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.

Owen, Mark, and Kevin Maurer. No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL: The  Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden. New York: Penguin, 2012. Print.

Pike, John. “Military.” High-Altitude Airdrop Missions [HAAMS] High Altitude-Low Opening  (HALO) and High Altitude-High Opening (HAHO). N.p., 7 May 2011. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.

About this Blog

This Blog is dedicated to everyone who is in the armed forces especially those few who are in the Naval Special Forces. I am not a SEAL nor am I in the military however it is a life long goal to become a SEAL. I made this site to educate anybody out there who like me wants to become a SEAL or those who just want to learn more about this elite group. For those of you who wish to know more them what I can tell you i suggest you visit http://www.sealswcc.com or http://www.navy.mil