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UDT Memorial at Bellows AFB taken in October 2016.[1]

The Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) were a special-purpose force established by the United States Navy during World War II. They came to be considered more elite and tactical during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Their primary WWII function began with the reconnaissance and removal of natural or man-made obstacles on beaches prior to amphibious landings. They later were assigned to assist in the recovery of space capsules and astronauts after splash down in the Mercury and Apollo space flight programs.[2] The United States Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams were pioneers in underwater demolition, closed-circuit diving, combat swimming, and midget submarine (dry and wet submersible) operations. Commando training was added making them the forerunner to the United States Navy SEAL program that exists today.[3]

In 1983, after additional SEAL training, the UDTs were re-designated as SEAL Teams or The Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) were a special-purpose force established by the United States Navy during World War II. They came to be considered more elite and tactical during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Their primary WWII function began with the reconnaissance and removal of natural or man-made obstacles on beaches prior to amphibious landings. They later were assigned to assist in the recovery of space capsules and astronauts after splash down in the Mercury and Apollo space flight programs.[2] The United States Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams were pioneers in underwater demolition, closed-circuit diving, combat swimming, and midget submarine (dry and wet submersible) operations. Commando training was added making them the forerunner to the United States Navy SEAL program that exists today.[3]

In 1983, after additional SEAL training, the UDTs were re-designated as SEAL Teams or Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Teams (SDVTs). SDVTs have since been re-designated SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams.[4]

Early history

The United States Navy studied the problems encountered by the disastrous Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Teams (SDVTs). SDVTs have since been re-designated SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams.[4]

The United States Navy studied the problems encountered by the disastrous Allied amphibious landings during the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I. This contributed to the development and experimentation of new landing techniques in the mid-1930s. In August 1941, landing trials were performed and one hazardous operation led to Army Second Lieutenant Lloyd E. Peddicord being assigned the task of analyzing the need for a human intelligence (HUMINT) capability.[3]

When the U.S. entered World War II, the Navy realized that in order to strike at the Axis powers the U.S. forces would need to perform a large number of amphibious attacks. The Navy decided that men would have to go in to reconnoiter the landing beaches, locate obstacles and defenses, as well as guide the landing forces ashore. In August 1942, Peddicord set up a recon school for his new unit, Navy Scouts and Raiders, at the amphibious training base at Little Creek, Virginia.[3]

In 1942, the Army and Navy jointly established the Amphibious Scout and Raider School at Fort Pierce, Florida. Here Lieutenant Commander Phil H. Bucklew, the "Father of Naval Special Warfare", helped organize and train what became the Navy's 'first group' to specialize in amphibious raids and tactics.

Pressure to further implement human intelligence gathering prior to landings heightened after Naval amphibious landing craft were damaged by coral reefs during the Battle of Tarawa in November 1943. Aerial reconnaissance incorrectly showed the reefs were submerged deep enough to allow the landing craft to float over. Sailors and Marines were forced to abandon their craft in chest deep water a thousand yards from shore, helping Japanese gunners inflict heavy U.S. casualties.[3] After that experience, Rear admiral Kelley Turner, Commander of the V Amphibious Corps (VAC), directed that 30 officers and 150 enlisted men be moved to Waimanalo ATB (on the island of Oahu) to form the nucleus of a reconnaissance and demolition training program. It is here that the UDTs of the Pacific were born.[5]

Later in war, the Army Engineers passed down demolition jobs to the U.S. Navy. It then became the Navy's responsibility to clear any obstacles and defenses in the near shore area.[citation needed]

A memorial to the founding of the UDT has been built at Bellows Air Force Station near the original Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Waimanalo.

Naval Combat Demolition Units

When the U.S. entered World War II, the Navy realized that in order to strike at the Axis powers the U.S. forces would need to perform a large number of amphibious attacks. The Navy decided that men would have to go in to reconnoiter the landing beaches, locate obstacles and defenses, as well as guide the landing forces ashore. In August 1942, Peddicord set up a recon school for his new unit, Navy Scouts and Raiders, at the amphibious training base at Little Creek, Virginia.[3]

In 1942, the Army and Navy jointly established the Amphibious Scout and Raider School at Fort Pierce, Florida. Here Lieutenant Commander Phil H. Bucklew, the "Father of Naval Special Warfare", helped organize and train what became the Navy's 'first group' to specialize in amphibious raids and tactics.

Pressure to further implement human intelligence gathering prior to landings heightened after Naval amphibious landing craft were damaged by coral reefs during the Battle of Tarawa in November 1943. Aerial reconnaissance incorrectly showed the reefs were submerged deep enough to allow the landing craft to float over. Sailors and Marines were forced to abandon their craft in chest deep water a thousand yards from shore, helping Japanese gunners inflict heavy U.S. casualties.[3] After that experience, Rear admiral Kelley Turner, Commander of the V Amphibious Corps (VAC), directed that 30 officers and 150 enlisted men be moved to Waimanalo ATB (on the island of Oahu) to form the nucleus of a reconnaissance and demolition training program. It is here that the UDTs of the Pacific were born.[5]

Later in war, the Army Engineers passed down demolition jobs to the U.S. Navy. It then became the Navy's responsibility to clear any obstacles and defenses in the near shore area.[citation needed]

A memorial to the founding of the UDT has been built at Bellows Air Force Station near the original Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Waimanalo.

In early 1942 it became apparent that the Navy needed that capability to destroy submerged obstacles, natural or man-made, for amphibious landings. In late 1942, a group of Navy salvage personnel received a one-week concentrated course on demolitions, explosive cable cutting and commando raiding techniques. The Navy Scouts and Raiders unit was first employed in Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa in November 1942.[6] During Torch, this unit cut the cable and net barrier across a river in North Africa, allowing Rangers to land upstream and capture an airfield.

In early May 1943, a two-phase "Naval Demolition Project" was ordered by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) "to meet a present and urgent requirement". The first phase began at Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Solomons, Maryland with the establishment of Operational Naval Demolition Unit No. 1. Six Officers and eighteen enlisted men reported from NTC Camp Peary dynamiting and demolition school for a four-week course.[7][8] Those Seabees were immediately sent to participate in the invasion of Sicily[9] where they were div

In early May 1943, a two-phase "Naval Demolition Project" was ordered by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) "to meet a present and urgent requirement". The first phase began at Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Solomons, Maryland with the establishment of Operational Naval Demolition Unit No. 1. Six Officers and eighteen enlisted men reported from NTC Camp Peary dynamiting and demolition school for a four-week course.[7][8] Those Seabees were immediately sent to participate in the invasion of Sicily[9] where they were divided in three groups that landed on the beaches near Licata, Gela and Scoglitti.[10]

Later in 1943 the Navy decided to create a component dedicated to the removal of amphibious obstructions. It was to be known as a Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) consisting of one junior Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) officer and five enlisted. A NCDU was to clear beach obstacles for an invasion force with the team coming ashore in an LCRS inflatable boat.[11] On 7 May, Admiral Ernest J. King, the CNO, picked Lieutenant Commander Draper L. Kauffman USNR to lead the training. The first six classes graduated from "Area E" at NTC Camp Peary between May and mid-July.[12] From Camp Peary the NCDU training was moved to Fort Pierce with the first class beginning there mid-July. Despite the move, Camp Peary was Kauffman's primary source of manpower. "He would go up to Camp Peary's Dynamite School and assemble the Seabees in the auditorium saying: "I need volunteers for hazardous, prolonged and distant duty."[13] Kauffman's other volunteers came from the U.S. Marines, and U.S. Army combat engineers. Training commenced with one grueling week designed to "separate the men from the boys". Some said that "the men had sense enough to quit, leaving Kauffman with the boys."[14] It was and is still considered the first "Hell Week."

At the beginning of November 1943, six men from Kauffman's Naval Combat Demolition Unit Eleven (NCDU-11) were sent to England to start preparations for Operation Overlord. All told, the NCDUs had 34 teams in England for the invasion of Normandy. While waiting for D-day the NCDUs trained with the 146th, 277th and 299th Combat Engineer Battalions.[15] Each NCDU had 5 men from a Combat Engineer Battalion attached to the team. In the beginning the first 10 NCDUs were split into 3 groups.[15]

Initially it was somewhat ad hoc as they had no Commanding Officer, but the Senior officer was the leader of group III, Lieutenant Smith (CEC). He served in that capacity unofficially for the entire group.Lieutenant Smith (CEC). He served in that capacity unofficially for the entire group.[15] His group III performed numerous experimental demolitions work and developed the Hagensen Pack.[15](an innovation that used 2.5-pound (1.1 kg) of tetryl placed into rubber tubes that could be twisted around obstacles)[16] As more teams arrived a NCDU Command was created for the invasion. The NCDUs at Normandy were numbers: 11, 22–30, 41–46, 127–8, 130-42[15]

The Germans had constructed intricate defenses on the French line. These included steel posts driven into the sand and topped with explosives. Large 3-ton steel barricades called Belgian Gates were placed well into the surf zone. Reinforced mortar and machine gun nests were dotted along the beaches.

The Scouts and Raiders spent weeks gathering information during nightly surveillance missions up and down the French coast. Replicas of the Belgian Gates were constructed on the south coast of England for the NCDUs to practice demolitions on. It was possible to blow a gate to pieces, but that only created a mass of tangled debris spread along the beaches, thereby creating more of an obstacle. The NCDU found that the best method was to sever the key corner joints in a gate, so that it fell down flat.

According to the Allied attack plans, infantry supported by naval gunfire would make the initial landings, followed by tanks and troop carriers to clear any remaining German bunkers and snipers. The NCDU teams (designated Demolitions Gap-Assault teams) would come in with the second wave and work at low tide to clear the obstacles. Their mission was to open sixteen 50-foot (15 m) wide corridors for the landing at each of the U.S. landing zones (Omaha Beach and Utah Beach).

Unfortunately, the plans could not be executed as laid out. The preparatory air and naval bombardment was ineffective, leaving many German guns in position to fire on the attackers. Also, tidal condit

The Scouts and Raiders spent weeks gathering information during nightly surveillance missions up and down the French coast. Replicas of the Belgian Gates were constructed on the south coast of England for the NCDUs to practice demolitions on. It was possible to blow a gate to pieces, but that only created a mass of tangled debris spread along the beaches, thereby creating more of an obstacle. The NCDU found that the best method was to sever the key corner joints in a gate, so that it fell down flat.

According to the Allied attack plans, infantry supported by naval gunfire would make the initial landings, followed by tanks and troop carriers to clear any remaining German bunkers and snipers. The NCDU teams (designated Demolitions Gap-Assault teams) would come in with the second wave and work at low tide to clear the obstacles. Their mission was to open sixteen 50-foot (15 m) wide corridors for the landing at each of the U.S. landing zones (Omaha Beach and Utah Beach).

Unfortunately, the plans could not be executed as laid out. The preparatory air and naval bombardment was ineffective, leaving many German guns in position to fire on the attackers. Also, tidal conditions caused many of the NCDU teams to land prematurely – in some cases ahead of the first wave. Despite heavy German fire and resulting casualties, the NCDU men planted charges and demolished many obstacles.

As the infantry came ashore, some soldiers took cover on the seaward sides of obstacles that had demolition charges on them. They quickly moved onto the beach. The greatest difficulty was on Omaha Beach. By nightfall only thirteen of the planned sixteen gaps were open, and of the 175 NCDU men who went ashore there, 31 were killed and 60 were wounded. The attack on Utah Beach was much more successful. There, only four were killed and eleven wounded, when an artillery shell hit a team working to clear the beach.[5] Overall, NCDUs had 53 percent casualties. NCDUs also participated in Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France.

With Europe invaded Admiral Turner requisitioned all available NCDUs from Fort Pierce for integration into the UDTs for the Pacific. However, the first NCDUs, 1-10, had been staged at Turner City, Florida Island in the Solomon Islands during January 1944.[17] A few were temporarily attached to UDTs.[17] Later NCDUs 1-10 were combined to form Underwater Demolition Team Able.[17] This team was disbanded with NCDUs 2 and 3, plus three others assigned to MacArthur's 7th Amphibious force, and were the only NCDUs remaining at war's end. The other men from Team Able were assigned to numbered UDTs.

The first units that were designated as Underwater Demolition Teams were formed in the Pacific Theater. Rear Admiral Turner, the Navy's top amphibious expert, ordered the formation of nine Underwater Demolition Teams. The personnel for these teams were mostly Seabees that had started out in the UCDUs. UDT training was at Waimānalo, Hawaii, under V Amphibious Corps operational and administrative control. Most of the instructors and trainees were graduates of the Fort Pierce NCDU or Scouts and Raiders schools, Seabees, Marines, and Army soldiers.

Under the direction of Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, UDTs 1 and 2 were hastily trained for their Kwajalein mission in January 194

Under the direction of Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, UDTs 1 and 2 were hastily trained for their Kwajalein mission in January 1944.[6] The training made use of inflatable boats and included some swimming. The teams were expected to paddle in, and work in shallow water, leaving the deep-water demolitions to the Army. Marine Reconnaissance units would conduct the hydrography from shallow water to inland while the accompanying UDT would conduct the demolition and hydrography from near-deep water to the shallows. At that time the men in the teams wore fatigues, boots and helmets. They were lifelined to their boats and stayed out of the water as much as possible.

The UDTs were organized with approximately sixteen officers and eighty men each. One Marine and one Army officer were liaisons within each team.[18] They were deployed in every major amphibious landing after Tarawa with 34 teams eventually being commissioned. The last teams created for the invasion of Japan were spared deployment by the atomic bombing of Japan. When it was over, teams 1-21 were the teams that had deployed operationally, meaning that slightly over half of the operational UDTs came from the Seabees.

Prior to Operation Galvanic and Tarawa, V Amphibious Corps had identified coral as an issue for future amphibious operations. Rear Admiral Turner, Commander, V Amphibious Corps, had ordered a review to address the problem. VAC found that the only people having any applicable experience with the material were men in the Naval Construction Battalions. The Admiral tasked Lt. Thomas C. Crist (CEC) to develop a method for blasting coral under combat conditions and putting together a team for that purpose.[19] LT Crist started by contacting others he had blasted coral with in CB 5 and by the end November 1943 he had assembled close to 30 officers and 150 enlisted men, at Waipio Amphibious Operating Base on Maui.[19]

The invasion of Tarawa in November 1943 nearly met disaster due to unseen obstructions in the water. Tarawa lies in eastern Micronesia and had an unusual neap tide leaving insufficient clearance for the Higgins boats (LCVPs) to get over the reef. The Amtracs carrying the first wave crossed the reef successfully. But the LCVPs carrying the second wave ran aground on the reef. The Marines had to wade several hundred yards to shore while wearing full packs, under heavy fire across treacherously uneven coral. Many drowned or were killed before making the beach. The first wave, fighting without reinforcements from the second wave, took heavy losses on the beach.

Kwajalein, Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, Guam

With the war over thousands of Japanese troops remained in China. The issue was given to the Marine's III Marine Amphibious Corps. UDT 9 was assigned to Operation Beleaguer to recon the landings of the 1st Marine Division at Taku and Tsingtao the first two weeks of October 1945.[35] On their way to China the Navy had UDT 8 carry out a mission at Jinaen, Korea 8–27 September 1945.[35] When UDT 9 arrived back in the States it was made one of the two post-War teams and redesignated UDT Baker.[35]

UDT 8 was also sent to China and was at Taku, Chefoo, and Tsingtao.[36]

Operation Crossroads

Bikini atoll was chosen for the site of the nuclear tests of Operation Crossroads.

"In March 1946, [34]

With the war over thousands of Japanese troops remained in China. The issue was given to the Marine's III Marine Amphibious Corps. UDT 9 was assigned to Operation Beleaguer to recon the landings of the 1st Marine Division at Taku and Tsingtao the first two weeks of October 1945.[35] On their way to China the Navy had UDT 8 carry out a mission at Jinaen, Korea 8–27 September 1945.[35] When UDT 9 arrived back in the States it was made one of the two post-War teams and redesignated UDT Baker.[35]

UDT 8 was also sent to China and was at Taku, Chefoo, and Tsingtao.[36]

Operation CrossroadsUDT 8 was also sent to China and was at Taku, Chefoo, and Tsingtao.[36]

Bikini atoll was chosen for the site of the nuclear tests of Operation Crossroads.

"In March 1946, Project Y scientists from Los Alamos decided that the analysis of a sample of water from the immediate vicinity of the nuclear detonation was essential if the tests were to be properly eval

"In March 1946, Project Y scientists from Los Alamos decided that the analysis of a sample of water from the immediate vicinity of the nuclear detonation was essential if the tests were to be properly evaluated. After consideration of several proposals to accomplish this, it was finally decided to employ drone boats of the type used by Naval Combat Demolition Units in France during the war".[37]

UDT Easy, later named UDT 3, was given the designation TU 1.1.3 for the Operation and was assigned the control and maintenance of the drone boats. On 27 April, 7 officers and 51 enlisted men embarked the USS Begor at the Seabee base Port Hueneme, CA,[37] for transit to Bikini. At Bikini the drones were controlled from the Begor . Once a water sample was taken the drone would return to the Begor to be hosed down for decontamination. After a Radiation Safety Officer had taken a Geiger counter reading and the OK given, the UDTs would board with a radiation chemist to retrieve the sample.[38] Begor came to have the reputation as the most contaminated boat in the fleet.[38]

A major iss

A major issue afterwards was the treatment of the dislocated natives. In November 1948, the Bikinians were relocated to the uninhabited Island of Kili, however that island was located inside a coral reef that had no channel for access to the sea.[39] In the spring of 1949, the Governor of the Trust Territories, Marshall Group requested the U.S. Navy blast a channel to change this.[39] That task was given to the Seabees on Kwajalin whose CO quickly determined this was actually a UDT project.[39] He sent a request to CINCPACFLT who forwarded it to COMPHIBPAC.[39] This ultimately resulted in the sending of UDT 3 on a Civic action program that turned out better than politicians could have hoped. The King of the Bikinians held a send off feast for the UDTs the night before they departed.[39]

Even though no combat operations seemed likely, the UDTs continued to research new techniques for underwater and shallow-water operations. One area was the use of SCUBA equipment. Dr. Chris Lambertsen had developed the Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit (LARU), an oxygen rebreather, which was used by the Maritime Unit of the OSS. In October 1943, he demonstrated it to LCDR Kauffman, but was told there was no place in current UDT operations for this radically new device.[40][41] Dr. Lambertsen and the OSS continued to work on closed-circuit oxygen diving and combat swimming. When the OSS was dissolved in 1945, Lambertsen retained the LARU inventory. He later demonstrated the LARU to Army Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the UDTs. In 1947, he demonstrated the LARU to LCDR Francis "Doug" Fane, then a senior UDT commander.[40][42] LCDR Fane was enthusiastic for new diving techniques. He pushed for the adoption of rebreathers and SCUBA gear for future operations, but the Navy Experimental Diving Unit and the Navy Dive School, which used the old "hard-hat" diving apparatus, declared the new equipment be too dangerous. Nonetheless, LCDR Fane invited Dr. Lambertsen to NAB Little Creek, Virginia in January 1948 to demonstrate and train UDT personnel in SCUBA operations. This was the first-ever SCUBA training for Navy divers. Following this training, LCDR Fane and Dr. Lambertsen demonstrated new UDT capabilities with a successful lock-out and re-entry from USS Grouper, an underway submarine, to show the Navy's need for this capability. LCDR Fane then started the classified "Submersible Operations" or SUBOPS platoon with men drawn from UDT 2 and 4 under the direction of Lieutenant (junior grade) Bruce Dunning.[40][43]

LCDR Fane also brought the conventional "Aqua-lung" open-circuit SCUBA system into use by the UDTs. Open-circuit SCUBA is less useful to combat divers, as the exhausted air produces a tell-tale trail of bubbles. However, in the early 1950s, the UDTs decided they preferred open-circuit SCU

LCDR Fane also brought the conventional "Aqua-lung" open-circuit SCUBA system into use by the UDTs. Open-circuit SCUBA is less useful to combat divers, as the exhausted air produces a tell-tale trail of bubbles. However, in the early 1950s, the UDTs decided they preferred open-circuit SCUBA, and converted entirely to it. The remaining stock of LARUs was supposedly destroyed in a beach-party bonfire.[citation needed] Later on, the UDT reverted to closed-circuit SCUBA, using improved rebreathers developed by Dr. Lambertsen.

It was at this time that the UDT, led by LCDR Fane, established training facilities at Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands.[44]

The UDT also began developing weapons skills and procedures for commando operations on land in coastal regions. The UDT started experiments with insertion/extraction by helicopter, jumping from a moving helicopter into the water or rappelling like mountain climbers to the ground. Experimentation developed a system for emergency extraction by plane called "Skyhook". Skyhook utilized a large helium balloon and cable rig with harness. A special grabbing device on the nose of a C-130 enabled a pilot to snatch the cable tethered to the balloon and lift a person off the ground. Once airborne, the crew would winch the cable in and retrieve the personnel though the back of the aircraft. This technique was discontinued for training purposes after the death of a SEAL at NAB Coronado on a training lift. The teams still utilize the Skyhook for equipment extraction and retain the capability for war if an extreme situation requires it.

During the Korean War, the UDTs operated on the coasts of North Korea, with their efforts initially focused on demolitions and mine disposal. Additionally, the UDT accompanied South Korean commandos on raids in the North to demolish railroad tunnels and bridges. The higher-ranking officers of the UDT frowned upon this activity because it was a non-traditional use of the Naval forces, which took them too far from the water line. Due to the nature of the war, the UDT maintained a low operational profile. Some of the better-known missions include the transport of spies into North Korea, and the destruction of North Korean fishing nets.

A more traditional role for the UDT was in support of Operation CHROMITE, the amphibious landing at Inchon. UDT 1 and UDT 3 divers went in ahead of the landing craft, scouting mud flats, marking low points in the ch

A more traditional role for the UDT was in support of Operation CHROMITE, the amphibious landing at Inchon. UDT 1 and UDT 3 divers went in ahead of the landing craft, scouting mud flats, marking low points in the channel, clearing fouled propellers, and searching for mines. Four UDT personnel acted as wave-guides for the Marine landing.[45]

The UDT assisted in clearing mines in Wonsan harbor, under fire from enemy shore batteries. Two minesweepers were sunk in these operations. A UDT diver dove on the wreck of USS Pledge, the first U.S. combat operation using SCUBA gear.

The Korean War was a period of transition for the men of the UDT. They tested their previous limits and defined new parameters for their special style of warfare. These new techniques and expanded horizons positioned the UDT well to assume an even broader role as war began brewing to the south in Vietnam.[46]

The Navy entered the Vietnam War in 1958, when the UDTs delivered a small watercraft far up the Mekong River into Laos. In 1961, naval advisers started training South Vietnamese personnel in South Vietnam. The men were called the Liên Đoàn Người Nhái (LDNN) or Vietnamese Frogmen, which translates as "Frogmen Team."

UDT teams carried out hydrographic surveys in South Vietnam's coastal waters and reconnaissance missions of harbors, beaches and rivers often under hazardous conditions and enemy fire.[47]

Later, the UDTs supported the Amphibious Ready Groups operating on South Vietnam's rivers. UDTs manned riverine patrol craft and went ashore to demolish obstacles and enemy bunkers. They operated throughout South Vietnam, from the Mekong Delta (Sea Float), The Parrot Beak and French canal AO's through I Corps and the Song Cui Dai Estuary south of Danang.

Birth of Navy SEALs

In the mid-1950s, the Navy saw how the UDT's mission had expanded to a broad range of "unconventional warfare", but also that this clashed with the UDT's traditional focus on swimming and diving operations. It was therefore decided to cre

Later, the UDTs supported the Amphibious Ready Groups operating on South Vietnam's rivers. UDTs manned riverine patrol craft and went ashore to demolish obstacles and enemy bunkers. They operated throughout South Vietnam, from the Mekong Delta (Sea Float), The Parrot Beak and French canal AO's through I Corps and the Song Cui Dai Estuary south of Danang.

In the mid-1950s, the Navy saw how the UDT's mission had expanded to a broad range of "unconventional warfare", but also that this clashed with the UDT's traditional focus on swimming and diving operations. It was therefore decided to create a new type of unit that would build on the UDT's elite qualities and water-borne expertise, but would add land combat skills, including parachute training and guerrilla/counterinsurgency operations.[48] These new teams would come to be known as the US Navy SEALs, an acronym for Sea, Air, and Land. Initially there was a lag in the unit's creation until President John F. Kennedy took office. Kennedy recognized the need for unconventional warfare, and supported the use of special operations forces against guerrilla activity. The Navy moved forward to establish its new special operations force and in January 1962 commissioned SEAL Team ONE in NAB Coronado and SEAL Team TWO at NAB Little Creek. UDT-11 & 12 were still active on the west coast and UDT-21 & 22 on the east coast. The SEALs quickly earned a reputation for valor and stealth in Vietnam, where they conducted clandestine raids in perilous territory. In May 1983, the remaining UDT teams were reorganized as SEAL teams. UDT 11 became SEAL Team Five and UDT 12 became Seal Delivery Vehicle Team One. UDT 21 became SEAL Team Four and UDT 22 became Seal Delivery Vehicle Team Two. A new team, SEAL Team Three was established in October 1983. Since then, teams of SEALs have taken on clandestine missions in war-torn regions around the world, tracking high-profile targets such as Panama's Manuel Noriega and Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, and playing integral roles in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[49][50]

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