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The History of the UDT/SEALs, a 70 Year Proud Tradition.

Nov 03, 2016 02:55PM ● By Linda Heath

Which Came First The Chicken or The Egg?  The History of the UDT/SEALs From Inception to The Elite Force of Naval Special Warfare (NSW).  A Proud 70 Year Tradition.

I went to a very exciting and informative presentation by Mr. Don Crawford, a former Naval SEAL Commander and NSW Historian about the beginnings of the Navy SEALs.  it was presented in conjunction with a current display honoring the SEALs of Coronado in the Coronado Public Library.

In the beginning years of WWll 1942, there was a need to have a group of special soldiers to perform very specific tasks not done by the regular Army.  These men were called Scouts and Raiders (S&R).  The group was established by 1st Lt. Lloyd E. Peddicord.  Their first Amphibious Mission of joint Army and Navy S&R was Operation TORCH in October 1942, whose objective was the capture of the Port of Casablanca.
The S&R Grp. 1 was based in Europe, and S&R Grp 2 were the first to Recon Utah Beach before the invasion!

Phil H Bucklew, known as "the Father of Naval Warfare" was stationed in Europe on "Scout Boats".  He and another S&R went in to collect sand samples from Omaha Beach.  His first assignment in WWll was in China where he gathered intelligence from the Japanese invaders.  He was a very Tall man and would bend down to look shorter but the Japanese called him "Big Stoop".

Lt Commander Draper L. Kauffman "the Father of Combat Demolition" commanded the Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) of 6 men and was part of Operation Neptune a combined S&R and NCDU mission for Utah and Omaha Beaches.  During the war he Developed the Naval Combat Demolition Unit training at Ft Pierce Florida and these men became the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT).

Some of the earliest SEAL precursors were the Operational Swimmers of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWll.  Colonel "Wild Bill" Donovan divided the OSS group in two and the other half became UDT 1 & 2.  These men known as "Naked Warriors" performed their tasks wearing only swim trunks, face mask, swim fins and a combat knife.  During the Korean War, UDT teams were used heavily and recognized as Special Operation Forces.
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy announced the need to form Special Forces Units and seemed to establish the SEALs.  This an erroneous factor as the SEa Air and Land (SEAL) forces were established in March of 1961 by Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations.

I was greatly impressed with the presentation and my pride doubled knowing the History of our "local" boys, the Navy SEALs who still hold to high traditions and combat readiness.  I will sleep sounder knowing that in the dark of night a Navy SEAL is patrolling somewhere in the world to protect our freedom! 
Linda Heath, Senior Reporter,


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