When the public thinks of elite warriors, it's often the Navy SEALs that come to mind. Their name is an acronym of Sea, Air, and Land, denoting their ability to go wherever they're needed to complete their mission. SEALs and their predecessors have been involved in major conflicts around the world since World War II, and thus have a long and colorful organization history. One of their most publicized take-downs was Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, so it's clear that their reputation is growing.


1. A Start in World War II

There were a number of specialized maritime commando units operating in World War II that were a precursor to the modern SEALs. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a predecessor of the CIA, had a maritime section, which was tasked with infiltrating clandestine agents and supplying resistance groups by sea, as well as conducting maritime sabotage. Amphibious Scouts and Raiders teams were created to reconnoiter prospective landing beaches. They also led assaults to the correct beaches and had a pivotal role in North Africa and D-Day landings.

what are SEALs Spencer Platt / Getty Images

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