By Jeanette Steele
The Navy’s SEALs turn 50 this month. President John F. Kennedy, a Navy man himself, would probably be proud.
Created at Kennedy’s behest in 1962 to counter Communist guerrillas in Vietnam, the former World War II frogmen have transformed into one of the U.S. military’s elite forces, doing everything from traditional fighting to stealth missions to taking out pirates.
And while famously tight-lipped, these sea-air-land fighters created a story too big to keep quiet last year: The May night raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Active and retired SEALs are looking back on their history this week.
“From the Mekong Delta to the Hindu Kush, deep at sea or far into the desert, Navy SEALs have proven themselves to be tough, versatile, and successful,” said Rear Adm. Sean Pybus, Naval Special Warfare commanding officer, at a closed-to-the-public ceremony in Coronado Friday.
The force, created out of Navy underwater demolition units, started with two teams, 20 officers and 100 enlisted sailors on Jan. 1, 1962. Coronado was the location of SEAL Team One; Little Creek, Va., was home to Team Two.