The United States Navy SEALS were established in 1962 and are viewed by many military experts as the premier maritime commando unit in the world. The missions of the teams include;
– Supporting conventional military operations
– Counter-terrorist operations
– Clandestine and covert special operations
– Strategic reconnaissance and information collection operations
– Direct action missions including raids, hostage rescue and apprehension of high value enemy personnel, terrorists and war criminals.
– All missions require insertion/extraction capabilities via sea, air and land based methods and techniques.
Candidates must graduate from the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) located at the Coronado Naval Base, Coronado, California. This six month long course is perhaps the most physically demanding in the American military and some say it has no equal worldwide. Attrition rates are high – historically only 30% of those entering BUD/S manage to graduate.
Navy leaders have conducted numerous studies in an attempt to find common personality traits, characteristics and experiences shared by those who graduate from BUD/S. One group has always stood out amongst the rest – candidates with a background in amateur wrestling have historically passed BUD/S at a much higher rate than all other candidate populations. Experienced frogmen, many of them former wrestlers, believe that wrestling requires many of the same individual qualities needed to successfully complete BUD/S. They cite such qualities as mental and physical toughness, work ethic and dedication, endurance, self-reliance and the ability to perform under pressure as being some of the major traits shared by successful wrestlers and Navy SEALS alike.
Wrestlers are viewed by many as the toughest athletes in the world and it is not surprising to members of the wrestling community that their peers enjoy great success during while serving in special operations units. One active duty NAVY Seal, who cannot be named in this article, was an NCAA All-American as a college wrestler, placing 5th, 3rd and 3rd at the Division I national tournament. He believes that “the transition from wrestler to Navy SEAL is a natural one, both mentally and physically” and that his many years of wrestling were directly responsible for him successfully graduating BUD/S and ultimately becoming a Navy SEAL. His message to all young men with high school and college wrestling experience is to visit or call the nearest Navy recruiter and ask for specific information on the Navy Special Warfare program.
The Marine Corps once had a recruiting slogan that said, “We’re looking for a few good men.” It appears that the Navy SEALS are looking a few good wrestlers!