The motto of the U.S. Navy SEALs - The only easy day was yesterday - espouses why SEAL training is intentionally difficult in order to prepare SEALs for arduous missions. Candidates enrolled at BUD/S learn this lesson from day one. However, the satisfaction from achieving what few dare to attempt is why candidates choose the SEAL path - and why SEALs stay in the Teams for a career. These rewards - pride, purpose and brotherhood - belong to those individuals who rise to the challenge.
During active duty and deployment, SEALs do whatever it takes to honorably accomplish the mission. Throughout their lives, SEALs commit to upholding the highest standards of character, in uniform and out. It is engrained in their ethos and it is what makes them stand out in a crowd.
DEMANDS ON THE FAMILY: TIME APART WILL BE THE HARDEST OF ALL
ENLISTED SEAL | 6 YEAR COMMITMENT
Serving our country is a demanding role both for SEALs and their families, but it is equally rewarding. It is the ultimate test of a SEAL's character and a family's strength. What gets SEALs and their families through the demands of service is the knowledge that there are thousands of other Navy SEAL families ready to provide support and encouragement.
In total, becoming an enlisted SEAL is at least a 6 year commitment. During recruit training, BUD/S Prep and BUD/S your recruit may be away from home for more than 66 weeks, including processing and graduation. After recruit training graduation and BUD/S Prep at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he will immediately transfer to Coronado, California, to begin BUD/S. When he completes training and is awarded his SEAL Trident pin, he will usually be granted leave (the military term for vacation) before he reports to his first command or additional advanced training. After specialty training, your SEAL may be away on assignment for periods lasting up to nine months - but he will earn 30 days of leave per year.
In total, becoming a SEAL Officer is at least a 10-year commitment. Officer Candidate School, the equivalent of enlisted recruit training, will take place in 1-2 summers during or after college. You are unlikely to have your officer candidate at home during this time. If he enrolls in the United States Naval Academy, he will attend for four years with various amounts of time off, similar to a traditional university. Following his commission as an officer, he will attend BUD/S for the same period as the enlisted men with which he will train side-by-side for approximately 50 weeks. Upon graduation, the newly minted SEAL Officer is obligated to serve for seven years. Officer duty assignments generally last 24 to 36 months. Your officer will likely complete two or three of these assignments to fulfill his commitment. In the meantime, he will receive 30 days of leave per year.
The amount of contact you will have with your SEAL will vary throughout his career experience. Contact during Navy enlisted recruit and SEAL candidate training is intentionally limited, to allow him to focus. He will be allowed to make a short call after arriving at boot camp to let you know he has safely arrived. You will be in touch only briefly until graduation, which the Navy encourages you to attend. For more information about graduation, please visit the Navy's Recruit Training Command website.
Graduation weekend includes family time and activities scheduled for you and your new Sailor. After graduation, Sailors can call, email, text and otherwise stay in touch on their free time. Officer Candidates are granted liberty from Officer Candidates School on weekends after the fourth week of training. Naval Academy students are given leave or liberty during weekends and selected holiday or summer periods.
Many family members of SEAL candidates find support and friendship in other parents whose son, loved one or student is also in training. A good way to connect with other SEAL candidate families is on the family section of the SEAL + SWCC Training Forum. Dedicated to parents, guardians, teachers and other influencers. Once a newly graduated SEAL is assigned to a Team, he and his family become part of the Team's close-knit family, and by extension, part of the supportive Naval Special Warfare community.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS: A SERIES OF TESTS DESIGNED TO WEED OUT THE WEAK
CHALLENGING | REWARDING
The physical nature of life as a Navy SEAL is widely known. Recruits and Officer Candidates are trained intensely so that they will be ready for the challenge. A new recruit should be physically ready before shipping to recruit training. In fact, to qualify for a SEAL contract he must meet high physical standards, including a thorough medical examination. Go to the "Navy SEAL Enlisted Application Steps" section of this website for more details.
You may also contact a Naval Special Operations Mentor or Coordinator at 888-USN-SEAL (888) 876-7325. Mentors or Coordinators can tell you more about the physical qualifications for recruit training, BUD/S Prep and BUD/S to help your son prepare.
If your son, loved one, or student doesn't have a current physical fitness regimen, we recommend using the free, downloadable PDF "Naval Special Warfare Physical Training Guide" found on this site. It was designed specifically to help potential SEAL candidates reach a level of fitness required for a SEAL contract. Many Naval Special Operations Mentors or Coordinators around the nation hold group workouts that help future SEALs step up their workout routine while building camaraderie with others. Once your son enters the Navy's Delayed Entry Program he may attend these sessions.