General Question

SpringTime's avatar

Anyone have experience with family or yourself being a Navy SEAL?

Asked by SpringTime (72points) May 22nd, 2010 from iPhone

My son is in the process in enlisting in the Navy, in particular the SEALS. He will be 19 next month and is in excellent physical condition. I am looking for any insights, experiences, advice to pass on to him.

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10 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

You can’t enlist in the SEALs. You enlist in the Navy and then try to pass selection as a SEAL candidate. If you make it, you’re in for some of the toughest training in the world. If you wash out, you face the rest of your enlistment doing some menial job. I’m retired Army, but my father had SEAL units in his command, so I know how the drill works.

SpringTime's avatar

My son has been talking to a Navy recruiter for the SEALS and has already worked out with the SEALS in training. He still has to take a physical, do a physical test and an aptitude test to see if he would qualify. Then it’s a little over 2 years training, where we were told only 25% make it through. The recruiter made it sound as if one of his recruits doesn’t make it through, they just have to give him a call and he can find them another worthwhile job. From what you said, it sounds like my son might want to delve into that further.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@SpringTime The recruiter is being overly optimistic, as they usually are. He should select a specialty rating to try for if he washes out of SEAL school. That way the rest of his enlistment won’t be wasted swabbing decks and painting bulkheads.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t have any experience with the SEALS, I just wanted to say that it is best for your son to get anything a recruiter tells him in writing. Some recruiters only care about their numbers and will do and say things that aren’t necessarily true. If he is being promised anything, he should get it in writing.

jerv's avatar

I went into the nuclear propulsion program, which is about as hard to get into as SEAL training, and they aren’t kidding about the attrition rate.

And @stranger_in_a_strange_land is correct; a guaranteed A-school is a good thing, and not having one is about the stupidest thing you can do. For instance, “Nuclear waste” Electricians Mates hit the fleet as a conventional (non-nuclear) EM, and the knuckle-draggers remain MMs (often in A-gang), but that is because most wash out after graduating A-school and earning their basketball or screw. As for the ETs that wash out… nuke ET is different enough from conventional ET that most ETs that wash out are known as IBMs; Instant Boatswains Mate. In layman’s terms, that means scraping barnacles and hauling ropes in Deck department.

SpringTime's avatar

I am still new to this topic – what is A school?

jerv's avatar

“A”-school is where you learn a particular job, or as the Navy calls them “rating”. Without a rating, you are just another warm body to put wherever they need one, often in the worst jobs possible.

Since I went to and graduated EM A-school, that meant that when I hit the fleet, I would go to E-division in the Engineering department as opposed to spending my time in the hot-and-humid “Fire room” with the ships boilers doing the tasks that the BTs Boiler Technicians didn’t want to.

As it stands, being a low-ranking person in the military is not great, but those without an A-school tend to be 1–2 paygrades below that, and are also less knowledgeable about whatever job they are put into due to lack of specialized training that they are relatively useless and treated accordingly; a pile of floor sweepings can pull rank on a non-rate E-1… and often do more/better work!

trident86's avatar

Have your son contact these guys here:

We have a group of SEAL Motivators (all active or retired Navy SEALs) who actively recruit prospective SEALs. These guys have been there and done that, and their agenda is to encourage young, qualified guys to apply for SEAL training, then do everything possible to help them succeed. The recruiter is giving you straight information on the attrition rate at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. he drop rate is currently 75% for a wide variety of reasons (medical, physical, psychological, pre-existing legal problems, alcohol incidents, etc.). Your son will be asked to register with the website (which is NOT a commitment of any sort!). The closest SEAL motivator (geographically) will contact him, then contact the recruiter, and act as a mediator so your son gets the right information, in a timely manner, so that he can make an informed choice. Unlike the recruiter whose priority is to get people to enlist in the Navy, our guy wants your son to get a legitimate shot at being a SEAL, and will go out of his way to help him succeed.

This in NO way guarantees success for your son, since BUD/S is a team and individual event), but your son will have at least as much of a chance as anyone else.

blaze626's avatar

I’m not involved with special ops, but know some people and have Navy experience.

I would suggest not enlisting just for buds, chances are good that it won’t work out. It’s not even usually for lack of motivation or ability, it’s almost always for injuries.

It would seem best, as suggested earlier, to pick a rate and try for special programs along the way. If someone really has what it takes, is a talented swimmer, and has amazing endurance, they will get picked up for something. There’s no need to lock yourself into it even before boot camp, to the exclusion of other opportunities.

Just for example, I was in a boot camp division of ~80 people.
~10 didn’t get through boot camp on time.
~30 had buds contracts. I think about half got there, and I didn’t hear about any making it through. I later met some in the fleet with new rates they had to strike for. None were happy about it.
~30 had guaranteed schools, usually in technical rates. I think we all made it to the fleet.
~10 had guaranteed schools with special options like rescue swimmer, swcc, aircrew, eod, etc.
These seemed to have varying success rates, but relatively good overall. Some special programs have their own rates now, it didn’t used to be like that.

I actually kept track because I was always interested in special programs but never tried for any. I think I lacked the self confidence to do it, but looking back I wish I would have tried. Those programs are the coolest thing about the military.

jerv's avatar

BUD/S… the only Navy school that even can compete with NNPTC for entrance requirements, toughness, and probably the only one with higher attrition though with fewer injuries… except those induced during suicide attempts.

You don’t want to even think about trying either Nuke school or any SpecOps training unless you are damn sure you can make it through, and more importantly cannot be dissuaded. It’s not enough to want it, you have to WANT it. Otherwise, you will be broken.

@blaze626 Programs like that are what the recruiters like to promote. Notice that they never showed the guys in grubby coveralls yanking a fuel pump out, or a Charlie working party humping supplies? Hell, they often asked us guys in Engineering to hide when visitors were around! (The exception being Tim Allen, who had a sincere interest in the mainspaces; he really isn’t much different from his character on Home Improvement) No, it’s always the cool stuff like Ops, Reactor Operator, or SEAL that you see in the ads.

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