CORONADO, CA – Distinguished guests joined with special warfare personnel, past and present, at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Naval Special Warfare Community Jan. 13.
In response to then-President John F. Kennedy’s desire for the Armed Forces to possess an unconventional warfare capability, the SEAL teams in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets were officially established, effective Jan. 1, 1962. SEAL Teams 1 and 2 were commissioned with 10 officers and 50 enlisted men each. Since that time, the SEAL teams have grown impressively in number and capability.
“Over the past 50 years, Navy SEALs have become one of the finest irregular warfare forces in the world today,” said Rear Adm. Sean A. Pybus, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. “From the Mekong Delta to the Hindu Kush, deep at sea or far into the desert, Navy SEALs have proven themselves to be tough, versatile, and successful. Forged from the same steel as their predecessors, today’s SEALs will continue to adapt, evolve, and win, as our Navy and nation need.”
Hosted by SEAL Team 1, the ceremony recognized 50 years of dedication and selfless service that members of the Naval Special Warfare community have volunteered to the nation.
“I haven’t felt like a new guy in a long time, and I’m just hoping that nobody makes me go get wet,” said Capt. Collin P. Green, commander, Naval Special Warfare Group 1, during his opening remarks. “It’s great to be together as a family to celebrate such a significant milestone in our history, and it is a real honor to be up here in front of so many distinguished Naval Special Warfare operators.”
“Let today be a catalyst for us to rededicate ourselves to learning more about the individuals here today and the events that populate the chapters of our great history. Take the time today to meet the forefathers of Naval Special Warfare.”
Green introduced Medal of Honor recipient Mike Thornton, who shared his memories of his teammates and his life as a Navy SEAL.
“One thing I do know about the teams of yesterday and the teams of today is that we don’t go to battle for accolades or for medals. We go to battle for the greatest nation in the world. We go to battle for the man on the right of us and the man on the left of us, we go for the man in front of us and the man behind us -our comrades-in-arms. We go to battle for each other because we want to sustain freedom as we know it, and we want to sustain that same freedom for the future of America.”
To commemorate this day, former SEAL Team 1 veterans and Vietnam veterans, Louis Mcintosh and Phillip “Moki” Martin, presented a plaque showcasing the history of SEAL Team 1 to Pybus.
“When you think about 50 years and a unit like SEAL Team One that has done so many things, I am just in awe of what we have accomplished,” said Martin. “I’ve watched these young guys today, and I see where they are in terms of how they train, how they are equipped, and what they are doing. I’ll tell you that they have come a long way, but I sure am glad that I was part of the path that led them to this point.”
“I saw a lot of good friends [today], some of which I haven’t seen for over 40 years. The ceremony was a good time. It was a good, emotional time, but it was certainly a good time.”
As the colors posted and the benediction was read, former and current members of the Naval Special Warfare community came together, sharing a common thread that withstands the test of time.
“Although all of us here have served during different times, we all have experienced the same sacrifices to earn our place in this community,” said SEAL Team 1 Command Master Chief Jason M. Tuschen.
“These sacrifices have forged a common bond throughout all generations of frogmen. We are witness to that bond here today, exemplified by the wide range of guests gathered here to celebrate the significance of this event and this brotherhood that was born 50 years ago.”