US special forces are the best in the world at what they do....recon, search, and destroy
BY STEPHANIE GASKELL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, April 14th 2009, 4:00 AM
It costs as much as $500,000 to train a U.S. Navy SEAL - and the commandos just proved they're worth every penny.
Elite Special Forces undergo years of grueling training to become the country's go-to guys in tight spots.
The investment paid off this week when - in a remarkable rescue - SEAL snipers on the U.S. destroyer Bainbridge freed Capt. Richard Phillips by picking off three Somali pirates with simultaneous shots from 100 feet away in rolling seas as the sun went down.
"I've been hearing that it was a lucky shot, but this is what they're trained for," said Lt. Nathan Potter, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif.
There are only about 2,000 SEALs on active duty, not surprising because the training alone can take years.
"You can't just grow these people on trees," said Tim Brown, a senior fellow with GlobalSecurity.org.
"It takes years and years to develop them. They train these people to push themselves past the limits, to ignore their limitations and personal comfort to get the job done, whatever it takes."
First, there are eight weeks of Navy basic training. Then six months of basic underwater demolitions/SEAL training, which includes Hell Week - five days of nearly nonstop training.
After that comes another six months of SEAL qualification training, in which advanced skills are taught.
Only about a third of the trainees complete the course - and even then, there's an additional 18 months of training with a platoon before being deployed into any combat situation.
The cost to train just one SEAL is estimated to run from $350,000 to $500,000.
"You can't really put a price on what they do," said Cmdr. Greg Giesen, spokesman for the Navy's Special Warfare School.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official told the Daily News that the legendary Naval Special Warfare Development Group - known as DevGru, or SEAL Team Six - was involved in the rescue operation.
DevGru consists of the "best of the best" of the Navy SEALs and has been on the front lines in the hunt for terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden.
Former Navy SEAL William Brown, 31, of New Jersey, said he wasn't surprised at all by the outcome of the Somali hostage standoff.
"Historically, when there's an American in trouble, the SEALs have been the choice of liberation," he said.
With James Gordon Meek[/b]