Pretty awesome to read about the origins of the SEALs. Check it out.
They are heavily armed and known for carrying out dangerous and remote pursuits in night time helicopter raids.
But for the first Navy SEALs that would have been something of a luxury as they landed on beaches in the dark on two-man motorised rafts dubbed ‘flying mattresses’.
Often members were only armed with knives and wore nothing but swimming trunks and flippers as they carried out seaborne clandestine missions during the Second World War.
Frank Monteleone, 89, was a member of an elite commando force within the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the precursor to the CIA.
Created after the United States entered Second World War, the OSS pioneered many of the intelligence-gathering techniques and commando-style tactics used by today’s U.S. Special Forces.
The spy agency’s Maritime Unit, formed in 1943, shares the credit for setting the foundation for what would become the Navy SEALs, created during the Kennedy administration in 1962.
Head of the OSS, William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan – a Wall Street lawyer – recruited yachtsmen, Olympic-calibre swimmers and California’s ‘beach rats’ – lifeguards and surfers.
The son of Italian immigrants, Mr Monteleone was recruited by the OSS because he spoke fluent Italian and was trained as a Navy radio operator.
He said he went through ‘all kinds of training’ with the services, including demolition and hand-to-hand combat, but had missed out on parachute training – a must for any OSS operator.