Senior Chief Petty Officer Jayme Pastoric/US Navy/DVIDS
- In a recent interview with PBS, retired SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven said, "SEAL training really doesn’t have a lot to do with how big and how strong and how fast you are. There’s only one thing you have to do in SEAL training. And that’s not quit."
- McRaven was head of the Joint Special Operations Command when US Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011.
- SEAL candidates go through a rigorous training process, including a "Hell Week" in which recruits sleep only about four hours per night.
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In an interview with PBS News Hour’s Judy Woodruff, retired Adm. Bill McRaven, the former SEAL who oversaw the 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound as the head of Joint Special Operations Command, told Woodruff that there’s only thing a SEAL recruit has to do during their grueling training: "Not quit."
"So, the one thing that defines everybody that goes through SEAL training is that they didn’t ring the bell, as we say," McRaven said. "They didn’t quit. And that’s really what you’re trying to find in the young SEAL students, because, in the course of your career, you’re going to be cold, wet, miserable. You’re going to kind of fail often as a result of bad missions, bad training."
McRaven started out his Navy career as a SEAL, rising through the ranks until he was charged with overseeing the entire special forces community as the commander of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
While tenacity is an essential part of being a great SEAL, there’s a lot of training that goes into being a part of the Navy’s most elite fighting squad.
Before even heading to BUD/S recruits go to Naval Special Warfare Prep in Great Lakes, Illinois for two months of physical and mental preparation.
MC1 Les Long/US Navy/DVIDS
Candidates learn the ropes at Naval Special Warfare orientation, which lasts three weeks and orients trainees to what lies ahead at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt
"During Orientation, officers and enlisted candidates become familiar with the obstacle course, practice swimming and learn the values of teamwork and perseverance. Candidates must show humility and integrity as instructors begin the process of selecting the candidates that demonstrate the proper character and passion for excellence," according to the SEALs and Surface Warfare Combatant Craft website.
SEAL candidates start the Surf Passage, one of the most well known parts of SEAL training.
U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lynn F. Andrews/RELEASED/DVIDS
Surf Passage is a notoriously challenging part of BUD/S training, as Business Insider previously reported. During orientation, SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewmen candidates, usually divided into teams of six or seven, carry their boats above their heads down the beach toward the ocean. They must take their boats waist-deep into the water before they can get in, and paddle out toward breaking waves, which can be three to five feet high — or larger.
Sometimes boats flip over, scattering crew and gear in what’s called a "yard sale." But if teams successfully make it out past the breakers, they get to ride the waves back to shore.
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