PopSci: How unruly, knife-wielding swimmers became the first Navy SEALs


From the book ALPHA: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs by David Philipps. Copyright © 2021 by David Philipps. Published by Crown, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

The Navy SEAL Teams were created in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, who as a commander of a small patrol torpedo boat in World War II had seen the outsized value of small units in big fights and understood, as one early SEAL put it, “that a well-trained David can kick Goliath in the balls.” SEAL stood for “Sea, Air, and Land” and represented all the capabilities of the new force. The Navy wanted commando troops able to strike underwater, on the beaches, or from the air.

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