Navy SEAL operations under CIA's wing go back to the Vietnam war era. More recently, the covert operation deep inside Pakistan, which killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, was also conducted by the CIA, using the Navy SEALs.
In March 1961, Arleigh Burke, the then Chief of Naval Operations, suggested the formulation of guerrilla and counter-guerrilla units, capable of operating from sea, air and land - this proposal was actually the birth of Navy SEALs.
Initially two teams were formed; one was stationed in San Diego, while the other was posted in Virginia. The members of both teams were trained in the art of hand-to-hand combat, demolitions, foreign languages and high-altitude parachuting.
According to Roy Boehm, who was the member of the first SEAL team, the newly erected unit had its first mission directed against Cuba. The missions included beach reconnaissance after deployment from submarines. These missions were aimed at getting intelligence before a possible invasion by the US.
Navy SEALs training is extremely difficult, known as the toughest in the world. The dropout rates sometimes are over 90 percent.
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The primary objective of this force is direct action and counter-terrorism. However, this is a versatile unit which can conduct almost all types of covert missions.
Due to well-publicised terrorism incidents in the 1970s, the US military felt the need for a full time counter terrorist unit for which different proposals were considered before the official formation of the Delta Force.
For Delta’s operational personnel, the term ‘operator’ is officially used. Members rarely wear military uniforms and when uniforms are worn they are without any markings, branch and sir names.
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