During my years of training to become a SEAL, I heard many rumors that made SEAL training seem like this impossible mountain to climb. Here are a few of the rumors that I recall and I often get asked from recruits about the recruiting process, BUD/S itself, as well as life as a SEAL. My rule of thumb is if you hear something about SEAL training from someone who has NEVER been a SEAL, then chances are it is wrong. Here is a list of some serious misinformation about SEAL Training:
RUMOR CONTROL - You have to learn to how to hold your breath for 4-5 minutes at BUDS. FALSE
NO - you do not have to hold your breath for long periods of time. During the 50m swim, if you can learn how to swim efficiently, you will find that your breath hold time is under a minute for that distance. Even the drown-proofing, underwater knot tying, and Pool Competency in 2nd phase is limited to maybe one minute of holding your breath. The key is relaxing when underwater when performing work / tasks. There is not need to try to hold your breath for long periods of time. People die each year practicing for these events so do not do them. The Navy will teach you how to do these skills when you get there. For now learn how to swim efficiently and get from one of the pool to the other in as few strokes as possible. See videos of swimming tests
RUMOR CONTROL - Since they got rid of Mini-BUD/S, the Navy wants SEAL recruits to go to SEAL Training camps before they go to Boot Camp. FALSE
Mini-BUD/S was an officer course that pre-trained about 100 officer candidates from ROTC and USNA each year. They attended three weeks of the training in the summer at BUD/S. I did this training in 1990. Due to the needs of the Navy to produce more SEALs, BUD/S has not been able to do this summer training since after 2003. I have heard in the past few months that some Navy SEAL recruits think that it is mandatory to attend a Navy SEAL style training camp complete with 24 hour Hell week simulation. As a guest instructor at a few of these camps, I can say that the Navy does NOT make these events a mandatory part of your pre-training. In fact, the Navy does not want to see a recruit get injured prior to enlisting. However, the training does offer the candidate a taste of SEAL training and the pre-training will either 100% motivate or 100% de-motivate the person toward / away from the SEAL program. In my opinion, the Navy has gone out of its way to make the pre-training cycle better for recruits - with the addition of Navy SEAL / EOD mentors in each recruiting district and the pre-BUDS training after boot camp in Great Lakes to help prepare the students physically for the training. As far as paying for a training program, if you want to kick yourself in the nuts and see how you do - that is your business, the Navy does not recommend it.
RUMOR CONTROL - You should enlist in the Army or USMC to get some experience first in combat arms before enlisting into SEALs. FALSE
You can do what is called an inter-service transfer from the Army or USMC and become a Navy Sailor but they are very difficult to do. The Army / USMC will keep who they have until your enlistment is done. Now after you have served your contract in the Army / USMC, you can join the Navy and go to SEAL training. But the ONLY way to get to BUDS is by being in the Navy. Well - there is one way - see next RUMOR CONTROL
RUMOR CONTROL - You can be in the Coast Guard and go to BUDS. WAS TRUE...now FALSE
The Navy and Coast Guard started a program (that has recently ended in 2011) now that the Coast Guard is doing more Specialized Operations in defense of our ports against terrorists. Coast Guardsmen who qualify can go to SEAL training, but when they graduate they have to be a SEAL at a SEAL Team for four years, then will be allowed to go back to the Coast Guard if they wish and be a Spec Ops asset in the Coast Guard DOG program.
RUMOR CONTROL - You have to drown and they bring you back to life before you can graduate. FALSE
Come on! This one is ridiculous. I do not even know how to answer this one when I get asked it without using profanity. Not sure where this one came from. There have been people who were saved from drowning, died from drowning in the past 50 years, but it is not a requirement for graduation.
RUMOR CONTROL - I hear they drop you 10 miles out to sea and you have to swim back to Coronado. FALSE
You do have to swim a six mile ocean swim but it is about 100yds from shore and parallel to shore the whole time.
RUMOR CONTROL - I hear they tie you up and throw you in the ocean. FALSE
There is a test called Drown-proofing - maybe this is where the idea you have to drown to graduate came from. BUT they do tie your feet together and hands behind your back but you do this in a pool. There are a series of skills to perform for the 30 minutes test to include bobbing, floating, swimming, flipping, and diving underwater.
RUMOR CONTROL - I hear they give you a puppy and you have to kill it before you graduate. FALSE
Come on! I used to think there was no thing as a stupid question. This one takes the cake. This one is tough to answer without calling someone stupid. But, I have heard this at least a dozen times by people who are not SEALs. Once again, this one is ridiculous and never happens. I feel wrong even giving this one a slot in my rumor list.
RUMOR CONTROL - I want to sign up for SO rating but the recruiter says I cannot and have to choose a regular Navy rating when I do the delayed entry program. TRUE
This one is true - you have to sign up with the Delayed Entry Program as another rating besides SO - Special Operator - after you successfully pass the Navy SEAL PST then you can become an SO rate.
RUMOR CONTROL - I have flat feet. I cannot join the military. FALSE - but depends
The military allows those with flat feet to join the military. However, flat footers may get an 'at first disqualification' at MEPS because of "flat feet".
Yes, waivers can be obtained by most but some do require a consult before a waiver will be considered and not all of those are granted.
RUMOR CONTROL - The Navy SEAL program does not allow age waivers to get to BUD/S. FALSE but depends
The age waiver is very selective and reviewed on a case by case basis by the Commanding Officer at BUDS and SEAL Community Manager.
RUMOR CONTROL - I hear you cannot be married and become a Navy SEAL. FALSE
There are many married Navy SEALs. There are many divorced and single Navy SEALs too. The job is tough with regular deployments into war zones which is stressful on families, but many families endure and grow stronger from the experience. It takes a very independent woman to be a Navy SEAL wife, but it can be done.
RUMOR CONTROL - I heard I have to have a suicide pill with me on missions in case I get captured. FALSE
No - not true at all. The Lone Survivor did not have a kill pill did he?
RUMOR CONTROL - A USMC recruiter told me I could go USMC then go to BUDS. Is that true? FALSE - well in a way.
They say this all the time - for decades now! But basically it works like this - YES you can go USMC - do your time - then get OUT of the USMC - join the NAVY and go to BUDS. YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE NAVY TO GO TO BUDS! I know many who have done that. The only other option is the Inter-service transfer which is very tough to get done - leaving one branch to go to another will only happen IF that branch is downsizing.
Navy SEAL - Rumor Control
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