For over 55 years, the “Naked Warriors” and combat coxswains of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW)community have served with distinction, earning our Nation’s highest honors. This print depicts elite Sailors working together as a cohesive team in the maritime environment. Each SEAL (Sea, Air, and Land) and SWCC (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman) operator in the picture represents a deep history of proud service across numerous conflicts. This unique scene captures the legacy of excellence established by NSW Sailors as masters of maritime special operations. The original oil painting, displayed in the BUD/S quarterdeck by the Navy SEAL Museum, contains micronized Coronado seawater, sand, and BUD/S Grinder material encapsulated in microscopic polymer spheres called Everence.
In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, SEAL operators inserted during the initial stages of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM-Afghanistan and carried out over 75 special reconnaissance and direct action missions. At the inception of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, SEAL and SWCC forces were instrumental in numerous special reconnaissance and direct action missions. SEALs and SWCC continue to conduct operations in both theaters and are a vital component in the pursuit of terrorist networks around the globe.
History of US Navy SEALs
SEAL Teams trace their history to World War II and four units created for specialized missions. The Scouts and Raiders were formed in 1942 for operations in Europe and North Africa. The Naval Combat Demolition Units were formed in 1943 to clear the beaches in Europe. In late 1943, training began for the Operational Swimmers of the Office of Strategic Services and the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) were created in the Pacific for reconnaissance and demolition of beach obstacles. At the end of WWII, the UDT “Frogmen” were the only remaining units. During the Korean conflict, the UDT mission expanded to include operations prior to amphibious landings; raids along the coast and behind enemy lines; rail and tunnel destruction; underwater mine countermeasures; and recovery swimmer operations in support of space missions.
In January 1962, SEAL Teams ONE and TWO were commissioned to conduct unconventional and counter-guerilla warfare, and clandestine operations in maritime and riverine environments. Following the success of Vietnam operations, SEALs were called on to participate in combat operations in Grenada (1983), Panama (1989-1990), and the Persian Gulf (1990-1991). NSW has also conducted missions in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Liberia, Philippines, and elsewhere.
History of US Navy SWCC
NSW’s Special Boat Teams trace their history to the Patrol Coastal and Patrol Boat Torpedo units of WWII supporting reconnaissance, blockade, sabotage, and raiding missions as well as attacking enemy shore facilities, shipping,and combatants.
The development of a riverine capability during the Vietnam War produced the forerunner to the modern Special Warfare Combatant-craft capability. In February 1964, the Navy established Boat Support Unit ONE under Naval Operations Support Group, Pacific to operate the newly reinstated Patrol Torpedo Fast (PTF) program. As the Vietnam mission expanded, additional craft, tactics, and training evolved to support SEAL operations. After 1978, newly commissioned Special Boat Squadrons ONE (Coronado, CA) and TWO (Little Creek, VA) combined decommissioned Coastal River Squadrons’ and Divisions’ assets. Seven Special Boat Units (SBU) evolved from these.
To standardize warfare, seamanship and physical training for all Special Boat Sailors, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command (RADM R. C. Smith), proposed establishing the Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) program in 1993. The inaugural class of all-volunteer and specially screened Sailors convened on 15 August 1994 at the Naval Special Warfare Center.