How the Navy SEALs Work

By: Lee Ann Obringer

Navy SEAL Special Reconnaissance and Direct Action

In Somalia, on December 2, 1992, during Operation Restore Hope, Navy SEALs were needed to clear the path for a Marine landing to secure the Mogadishu airport. SEALs from Team One swam to shore, measuring water depth, shore gradient, and beach composition to create maps and secure the landing. A few days later, they explored the Mogadishu Harbor to determine if an adequate port for supply ships could be found. Unexpected problems came when they found that the water in the harbor was contaminated with raw sewage and other wastes. The SEALs completed their jobs, but some became sick from the mission.

The following day, when the Marine landing was taking place, SEALs, along with Marine Recon Units, swam ahead of the landing forces as scouts. What they found was media representatives, bright lights, and television cameras in their faces as they emerged from the water and walked onto the beach. The Marine landing went on, televised for all the world to see.


Direct Action

Also in Somalia, a SEAL sniper prevented a group of marines from being shot at by a Somali gunman.

It was reported that a SEAL sniper with an M88 .50 caliber sniper rifle spotted a Somali gunman ducking behind a rock wall. He believed that the gunman was getting his weapon ready to fire at approaching Marines, who were under orders to capture the Somali faction leader, Hussein Mohammed Aideed. The SEAL knew that he could not warn the Marines in time to avoid becoming targets. He fired his rifle, sending the bullet through the rock wall and taking down the gunman behind it.