Americana: Navy SEALs

They've fought in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan - and in lots of places we'll never know about. Photo by Michael W. Pendergrass.

There’s an old saying, “Don’t send a boy to do a man’s job.” Since their creation in 1961, the Navy SEALs have undertaken special operations jobs that required extreme skill, flawless timing, and the ultimate courage. They’ve been deployed in such trouble spots as Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. At least, those are the places we know about. Given the nature of their missions, no doubt they have completed other secret assignments as well.

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The name SEAL derives from their operations on SEa, Air, and Land. They trace their roots back to World War II, and the Naval Combat Demolition Unit. Today, they are the special forces arm of the Navy, and among their missions are reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, hostage rescue, and counter-terrorism.

And, we’ve just found out, killing World Enemy No. 1, Osama bin Laden. As of this writing, it appears that a team of about 40 SEALs, 24 on the ground, invaded bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. They took out al Qaeda’s leader, recovered his body, brought out other documentation which may prove invaluable in helping break up cells, all without taking a single casualty. Today, all of America is more aware of – and extremely grateful for – the talented men who are proud to be Navy SEALs.

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