Do you want to be a Navy SEAL, but just don’t know if you have what it takes? Are you worried that because you’re only 5 foot five and weigh 130 pounds, that you won’t make it through the indoctrination course? Whether you’re a science nerd or quarterback jock, being a Navy SEAL isn’t about brawn, it’s about heart. It’s about that concept that in the Western days used to be known as “grit”.
Many young men wishing to join the SEAL program are awed by the tradition and respect garnered at the mention of the word “SEAL”. SEALs are highly trained in a combination of basic warrior skills as well as in the most modern technology and weaponry known to man when it comes to combat and warfare. By reputation, SEALs are considered one of the most elite Special Forces groups in American military force branches.
What are the requirements to become a Navy SEAL?
To succeed as a Navy SEAL, a person must rely on both mental discipline and basic intelligence and common sense. Buds’ training requires more than just muscle, guts, and sinew to make it through one of the most intense, unforgiving, and grueling military training programs around the world. It takes heart.
BUDs training for Navy SEALs occurs on a deceptively innocent-looking beach in southern California. Coronado Bay, San Diego is a surfer’s haven of gently crashing waves, warm breezes, sand, and more than its share of sun-browned bodies strutting their stuff along the oceanfront. However, the scenario is deceiving, especially to young BUDs recruits first arriving at Coronado Bay, and before their first dip into the frigid waters and offshore currents that appear in winter.
BUDs training is broken into three phases:
Phase One – Extreme physical conditioning regimens, the Obstacle Course, and Hell Week
Phase Two – More physical training, and combat scuba diving
Phase Three More physical training, specialized demolition training, land warfare and recon training.
- Before a person even gets to the training facility at Coronado Bay, recruits must pass routine physical and mental tests. Recruits destined for BUDs training must score highly on written tests and passed physical training tests with high scores.
The first phase of BUDs training lasts eight weeks and consists of extremely difficult physical conditioning regimens that will include running, daily exercise, more running, and of course, swimming. During this portion of BUDs training, recruits are also expected to complete “drown proofing” exercises and timed obstacle course runs.
The infamous Hell Week comes during the third week of Phase One and is the point in time when large numbers of recruits drop out of the program. Hell Week lasts for five days. Recruits are expected to complete what boils down to nonstop physical training with very, very little sleep. It is also the point in time where a recruit needs to dig the deepest, to search their heart for the strength and the determination to continue.
Whether you struggle with Log PT or the Mud Flats, Cast and Recovery, or Around the World, a BUDs recruit needs to dig deeper and deeper each and every day of training. “The Only Easy Day was Yesterday” is a term coined by veteran Navy SEALs and it stands as true today as it did almost thirty years ago. It means pushing harder each and every day of training, and finding strength when the last drops of it had been wrung out of you the day before.
The determination and stamina to keep going comes from deep inside, from the gut, and is a definition of character and tenacity more commonly known as heart. Says one Navy SEAL veteran, “If you want the litmus test of a Navy SEAL, tell him he can’t do something and then watch him fly.”
While all phases of the BUD training regimen are difficult and challenging, a recruit will find that size and brawn does not measure up to the amount of heart and determination found within each recruit. It’s heart that will get a recruit through the Mud Flats. It’s heart that will prevent a recruit from ringing the bell. It’s the heart that will pound with excitement, exhaustion, and relief at the end of yet another day.
According to many Navy SEALs, going through the SEAL BUDs training program is one of the most difficult things they have ever dealt with in life, regardless of whether they are civilians or soldiers. It marks a “before and after” point in the life of any young man who has successfully graduated the rigorous training program.
Sure, a Navy SEAL is guaranteed plenty of excitement, danger, thrills, and adrenaline rushes, but a Navy SEAL is a person also, just like you. Small, skinny, tall or buffed, a Navy SEAL is highly trained and educated. They attend an endless round of classes, PT, classes, more PT, and then more PT on top of that.
Navy SEALs may come in all shapes and sizes, and from different backgrounds, cultures and religious denominations, but the one thing they share in common is that elusive and invisible ingredient called spirit. Attitude and arrogance have no place in the life of a Navy SEAL. Rather, success is determined by state of mind, and yes, good, old-fashioned “grit”.
Teamwork and camaraderie is the name of the game, and to be a good Navy SEAL, one must become part of a team. No me, myself and I when it comes to SEALs, no, it’s a constant plural, in every aspect of training. Buddies forge bonds of friendship that are never broken, and help each other meet and surpass challenges. Every minute of every day that a BUDs recruit is going through the training process, his heart grows bigger and stronger until it encompasses not only himself, but also other members of his team.
So, do you have what it takes, that power that delves deeper than flesh and muscle? Do you have the power of the SEAL? All it takes is heart. Don’t take my word for it. Read here about the real life of a Navy Seal and see for yourself how lives can change… forever.