The dreaded week every United States Navy SEAL must complete, Hell Week is a week of misery. It’s known as the most grueling week of the first phase of training. Each recruit may end up running more than 200 miles and will likely train for around 20 hours per day. They may only get about four total hours of sleep for the entire week.
Hell Week lasts 5.5 days and separates the men from the boys. It’s the reason many will never become Navy SEALS. However, those that make it through will find out who they are and what they are truly capable of.
The video from SEAL SWCC shows how intense this week is with simulated munitions, explosions, flairs, gunfire and plenty more. It’s a physically grueling week with chaos going on all around you as you attempt to complete tasks that will likely seem impossible.
Training seems to never stop and some may even find themselves falling asleep during the training. With harassment all throughout this week, it will break a recruit mentally and physically. Nobody makes it through Hell Week alone. SEALS must work as a team to survive or they may find themselves outside looking in.
Hell Week Training
It happens in the third week of the first phase of training. If you made it through the first two weeks, this will be the one that either makes you or breaks you. It’s wet, cold, brutally difficult, miserable, and incredibly intense.
Hell Week lasts 5.5 days and only about 25% of recruits will make it through the week. It will test the desire and determination of every recruit that wants to become a Navy SEAL. This will likely be one of the greatest achievements of a SEALS’ life.
During Hell Week, recruits will learn how much they are truly capable of and what their limitations are. Many will find out they can do 20 times more than they ever thought possible. Defining moments in the life of a Navy SEAL start in Hell Week.
Who Survives Hell Week?
While many may think it’s all about the biggest and strongest individuals surviving hell week, they would be wrong. Research shows that those completing this week of training are not always the largest or the strongest. They may not be the fastest swimmers. However, they all have one thing in common: a completely burning desire to become a Navy SEAL. It’s all about those who want it the most and BUD/S instructors say you can see it in their eyes.
During this week, trainees will be in motion constantly. They will be running, paddling, carrying boats, swimming, doing sit-ups, push-ups, log PTs, slogging through mud, surf passage, and rolling in the sand. It’s insanely challenging and often trainees are expected to complete tasks while they are wet, cold, covered in mud, dealing with cuts in salt water, or dealing with chafed raw skin.
Injuries don’t slow down SEALS during Hell Week. They will be sleep-deprived, come close to hypothermia, or even suffer from hallucinations. While they will have plenty of food to eat throughout Hell Week, they won’t get nearly as much sleep as they would normally. Trainees often fall asleep while eating, paddling, or even running. They have to be pulled from the water by their team and teamwork is vital to the success of any SEAL during Hell Week.
Is it Safe?
Hell Week is incredibly intense, but safety is a big deal, too. Medical personnel is on hand at all times to ensure trainees don’t end up in an emergency situation. While instructors will use the bullhorn to try and make trainees quit, those making it through are evaluated and monitored the entire way. But to be honest, recruits do die. However, it’s only a small percentage.
Quitting Leads to Donuts
Often, instructors will use tactics, such as donuts and coffee to get trainees to quit. All they have to do is come out of the water or cold, rink a bell and they get to enjoy this treat in front of those going through the training. However, once you quit, there’s no going back.
Many recruits often make the mistake of thinking physical strength will get them through Hell Week at BUD/S Training. However, it takes more than just physical strength. A recruit must be mentally tough or they will never survive this week. It’s too easy to decide you’re too sandy, too cold, too tired, or too sore to continue.
Those with mental strength will push through to get what they want and will discover they are capable of more than they ever thought possible. Instructors will work hard to make those not meant to be SEALS quit, but those that survive will prove their mental toughness just as much as their physical strength.
Before deciding if the path toward becoming a United States Navy SEAL is for you, watch the Hell Week video from SEAL SWCC. It will open your eyes to what you’ll be going through and you’ll know how much you really want to be a SEAL.