A Growth Spurt for the SEALs

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Boondocksaint375

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A Growth Spurt for the SEALs
By Linda Robinson
Posted 6/10/07
The Navy special operations forces are also attempting the delicate and difficult task of expanding the ranks of their elite warriors without sacrificing quality. Naval Special Warfare's orders are to grow by a third by 2012.
Adding 2,000 Navy seals will be a tall order, but Rear Adm. Joe Kernan, No. 2 at the Naval Special Warfare Command, is confident that goal can be achieved through more aggressive recruiting. "We've had so much success on the battlefield that we're just reticent to do anything to change the program," Kernan tells U.S. News.
As with Army Special Forces, the seals (an acronym for Sea, Air, Land) and the Navy's special warfare combat crewmen have always had a hard time finding enough folks who can pass the legendarily tough Basic Underwater Demolition School selection course. Hell Week at the NavalSpecialWarfareCenter at Coronado, Calif., has been featured in countless movies: Young men are pushed through endless drills in the frigid sea and along the Coronado beaches day and night until they collapse from exhaustion.
Seeing results. In the past year, the Navy made finding more seal candidates its top goal. "For the Navy to give us their No. 1 priority in recruiting is a huge step," Kernan says. The force is already seeing results. More young men have been recruited in the past three months than in the past decade, and the current buds class is the largest ever. Recruiting chief Cmdr. Duncan Smith says that the graduation rate has risen to 32 percent, from 27 percent. Kernan credits that increase to better instruction methods, more mentoring, and targeted recruiting.
One new requirement has made a big difference. Candidates must now pass a 500-meter swim test before they even get to the tryout. To help interested young men prepare, Navy recruiting centers and the 888-usn-seal hotline offer dvds on how to improve swim test scores. Enlistment bonuses are $40,000 for seals and $25,000 for special warfare combat crewmen.
Even with all this help, though, Naval Special Warfare still has a long way to go. Currently, only 89 percent of its authorized billets are filled, and that figure will drop to 78 percent next year when the additional slots are added. But Kernan would rather fill those slots gradually. "I'm a little concerned that if over the next four years we fill all of those billets with seals out of the pipeline, we'll grow too fast and populate the seal teams with too many young people," he says.
Since most seal teams find themselves in a combat zone, Kernan prefers that no more than half of their members be new seals. Naval Special Warfare officers are concerned about retaining midgrade officers. Like experienced Army Special Forces soldiers, older seals are offered substantial bonuses to re-enlist, and Kernan says the current re-enlistment rate, 82 percent, is the highest in the Navy.

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070610/18forces.b.htm
 
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Boondocksaint375

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I don't see that happening unless they make the pipeline easier. Goes for any other SOF unit out there. They want more numbers, but are they willing to sacrifice quality for quantity?
 

Ex3

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I think they are having better results because they have former SEALs around the country called SEAL motivators. If a guy is interested in the Teams, the motivators take begin to mentor them.
linky
 

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Ravage

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Ohh yes I've read that thanks to that thy got more and more guys who are quite ready to go to BUD/S and they pass. But whats more important - they stay in the Teams.
 

Typhoon

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I think they are having better results because they have former SEALs around the country called SEAL motivators. If a guy is interested in the Teams, the motivators take begin to mentor them.
That is a good thing IMO.

There is, based on my observations, a significant pool of young men out here who are physically and mentally capable of serving in special forces. However, they need to be sold on making a choice to do that over and above options such as collegiate athletic and/or academic scholarships.

There is hope: At the school where I work one young man in a classroom where I work is attending USMA; while another young man I see in Physics has chosen to go to The Citadel. Not too many Yankees go to The Citadel. He tells me that he would really like to become a member of the special forces. An Air Force recruiter here has had a field day signing up candidates for the PJ option. It is my understanding that the guys from my school who've gone to PJ training have made it and are currently serving. Neither of the two young men I know had to make their choice as they come from comfortable homes; but they really wanted the opportunity to serve their country.

Based on what I've seen the military does not do a good job of identifying potential recruits and then recruiting them to go into the military. By contrast look at what top college football teams do: They have coaches assigned to recruit certain areas, and every May the coaches go to all the high schools in their recruiting area and talk to the head coaches and all the junior class prospects. Players are encouraged to attend the high school football camps that the college runs in late June to July. From that there is an identified data base that contains all the "possibles" that a college may be interested in; and from that data base the staff develops a list of their top recruits based on need and player ability. The program's recruiting coordinator and assistant coaches do everything in their power to encourage their top recruits to come to their school and play football. Young men and women being actively recruited for athletic scholarships get official visits to the college campuses. While there the recruits stay overnight and go through a program designed to sell the program and the college to the recruit. There are all kinds of little things done to pump up the prospective players: Name plates with their names on the varsity lockers; introductions in the basketball arena with laser light shows, etc.

By contrast at the school where I work the military recruiters show up and just hang out in the lunch room; and they play "catch as catch can". Meanwhile the top athletes in the school are getting all kinds of attention from college coaches...

If I were running the military I would recruit high school kids like I was running a top intercollegiate athletic program: I would identify exactly the kind of person needed to fill each job in special forces; then have recruiters assigned to specific high schools all across the country. One of the most successful recruiting tools for colleges is that the collegiate coaches have developed excellent working relationships with the high school coaches. Let me suggest that military recruiters should do the same thing with the high schools: They should develop good relationships with both the high school coaches and the guidance counselors. Go to those people and ask them: Who on your team, in your gym class, or in your school would be a good candidate for the special forces/SEALS/PJ's/Recon, etc. Maybe that has been done by recruiters in other areas of the country, but I haven't seen it here.

The Vice Principal of our school was a Marine; one of the guys I coach with, a graduate of the school, was a Marine OIF combat vet. If I were a USMC recruiter I would go to those guys and ask 'em if there is anyone they work with who might make a good Marine. But at my school no one from the Marines has to my knowledge even been to the cafeteria to talk to anyone...

One young man who sits in front of me in class would be the perfect SF candidate: Bright, bilingual, and a national level high school wrestler. Not much in the way of plans after HS; but no one has ever approached him about serving in the military.

I might also have a "camp" where potential recruits could go and see what it is like to serve. Do it just like the big time athletic programs and make it appealing to a potential recruit. And sell the idea to his or her parents.

There are a significant number of players I coach who might make excellent members of the military: They are hard workers, in excellent physical condition, bright but unfocused in school (typical of a teenage boy); and due to their academic record they probably won't do too much after graduation. If a military recruiter comes here and talks to them they might "see the light"...

:soap::2c:
 

Laxmom723

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That is a good thing IMO.

There is, based on my observations, a significant pool of young men out here who are physically and mentally capable of serving in special forces. However, they need to be sold on making a choice to do that over and above options such as collegiate athletic and/or academic scholarships.

snip...

By contrast at the school where I work the military recruiters show up and just hang out in the lunch room; and they play "catch as catch can". Meanwhile the top athletes in the school are getting all kinds of attention from college coaches...

If I were running the military I would recruit high school kids like I was running a top intercollegiate athletic program: I would identify exactly the kind of person needed to fill each job in special forces; then have recruiters assigned to specific high schools all across the country. One of the most successful recruiting tools for colleges is that the collegiate coaches have developed excellent working relationships with the high school coaches. Let me suggest that military recruiters should do the same thing with the high schools: They should develop good relationships with both the high school coaches and the guidance counselors. Go to those people and ask them: Who on your team, in your gym class, or in your school would be a good candidate for the special forces/SEALS/PJ's/Recon, etc. Maybe that has been done by recruiters in other areas of the country, but I haven't seen it here.

:

Thanks Typhoon for the above plan. I hope someone from the recruiting branch looks at it.

We have had in the past 3 years at least a few superb athletes who went on the college but dropped out or a few who went only to find college wasn't what they wanted out of life right now.

We have two Army Reserve folks currenting on the faculty, but we NEVER have recruiters visit.

In my current classes I have at least 5 young men who have discussed enlisting, they are looking to be recruited, if your plan was followed, they might be recognized as (well 1 or 2 anyway) as possibly Special Ops capable (I meant to say). My son recently came to school, did a presentation on being in Iraq, the kids were mezmerized :) I am sometimes at a loss for what to say to the kids when they ask my advice, I wish we had relationships with local recruiters so I could point them in the right direction.

My point, I agree, there are some kids who just never really think about the military as it is out of their realm of knowledge. My room has Navy posters up as well as other Navy memoribilia so the kids usually ask me lots of questions. The breakdown is where to send them for more info.
 

0699

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Maybe even some type of selection course (a weekend type thing, organized regionally) for high school students that would introduce them to the military and give the services some type of screening opportunity.

I think the Royal Marines do something similar.
 
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