An Interview with Navy _____________________________________________About Navy Special Operations/Special WarfareQ We have all heard the names – Green Berets, Rangers, Delta Force, SEALs. All of themare special forces, but it seems that SEALs are the best. Why is that?A Each of our military branches has an elite group that is extremely physically fit and hasbeen heavily trained in advanced warfare techniques ranging from small arms and martial arts tosurvival practices and forward observation for calling in artillery fire and airstrikes. Typicallythey also have been trained in language, psychological warfare, field medicine and other thingsthat help them gain the support of friendly natives as well. One of the factors that sets NavySEALs apart from the rest is that their training begins under water with demolition training.While it is nice to see that some people would classify Navy SEALs as better than the otherspecial forces, we simply recognize that their capabilities are different.Q I would bet that there are lots of people who wind up competing for only a few spotswithin the Navy special warfare units. Would I be correct?A It is true that a couple thousand people will enter the initial SEAL training program whenat the most only a few hundred positions will be available. What I have to point out, however, isthat Navy special operations and special warfare encompasses much more than just the SEALcategory, and those jobs can be equally demanding and necessary. They also can be every bit asrewarding.Q So, you say that there are other special operations jobs, but they’re not consideredSEALs? What kinds of jobs would those be?A Let’s start with the common precondition for this kind of service – extremely goodphysical condition, including an extremely good capacity to swim on and under the water. Withthat as a starting point, it becomes easier to see how explosive ordinance demolition, specialwarfare combatant-craft crewman, diver, and aviation rescue swimmer jobs all fit the category.Q I guess I don’t know enough about those jobs. Can you explain them for me?A Sure. Let’s start with Explosive Ordinance Demolition, EOD. As I mentioned earlier, allof this training begins with a course in basic underwater demolition and swimming. You willhear this being called BUD/S training. It focuses on swimming and diving skills, and also on theremoving, disabling and destroying of underwater mines and other explosive devices. For thosewho are really good at it, the job takes them around the world, sometimes parachuting in, tohandle lethal weapons of every kind in support of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA,Secret Service, etc.
Diver is another special operations category. These specialists handle construction, demolitionsalvage and search and rescue assignments around the globe, often in extreme underwaterconditions. They also can be qualified in demolition and parachute jumping.Q How about the other categories?A Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC), as the name implies, is a specialwarfare role of extreme importance. These are the people who handle covert insertions behindenemy lines, reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and extreme firepower in very small units.Everything they do incorporates speed, stealth and firepower. This might require special foreignlanguage training as well.The last category is Aviation Rescue Swimmer (AIRR). This category ranges from extremewarfare situations to extreme rescue and humanitarian support. The work begins in the air,typically in a helicopter, but continues in the water, sometimes with anti-submarine warfare ormine countermeasures, sometimes with drug interdiction, sometimes with recovery and rescue. Italso often includes the delivery of humanitarian aid and relief, and that can be anywhere in theworld. It’s an elite, risky and dangerous job.Q How does one qualify for entering one of these programs?A For starters, there is the Navy Challenge physical screening test. This involves a 500-yardswim, 42 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 6 pull-ups, and a 1.5 mile run, all with time limits. We sometimesare able to conduct these at cooperating schools. Other clearances also are required, includingeducation, lawful behavior, medical and vocational testing for suitability.Q With this extraordinary training and the kinds of risks that are involved, does the Navyprovide special incentives for people in these roles?A I’m glad that you asked because, yes, there are incentives. For those who can meet therequirements, there are enlistment bonuses, special duty pay and, depending on the situations,there can be additional parachute, dive, demolition and/or foreign language pay.Q These all sound like exciting positions. How does one get started pursuing some of theseopportunities?A Actually, the best first step is to contact the local recruiting station to find out about anyand all of the jobs that we have available. To reach us, simply contact our station by calling______________, or stop in most afternoons at ___________________________________. Ifyou or an out of-town friend want to locate another station near them, visit www.navy.com andclick on “find a recruiter” on the right side of the home page, then enter your zip code number. Acall to 800-4go –Navy will do the trick as well.
Additional comment:To put the Navy’s role in perspective, you need to recognize that 70 percent of the world iscovered by ocean, 80 percent of the world’s population lives along coasts and 90 percent of theworld’s commerce travels by water. Protecting all of that is our job, and that makes America’sNavy a global force for good.Sailors serve on land and from the sea; from ships on the water, submarines under the water, andplanes and helicopters over the water – all to meet America’s threats far away so that thosethreats cannot harm us here. We welcome the best men and women to join us in accomplishingtoday’s missions and meeting tomorrow’s challenges. - 30 –