The Navy SEALS are the U.S. Navy’s top special operations force. Taken from the acronym, they operate at sea, in the air and on land. They perform covert missions behind enemy lines, destroy enemy targets, gather intelligence and prevent acts of terrorism.
Even their screening test isn’t for wimps. Wanna know how intense it is? Try swimming 500-yards in under twelve minutes and thirty seconds, doing two-minute timed push-ups, two-minute timed curl-ups and a 1.5 mile run on the clock.
It was the elite SEAL Team 6 that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in May. Officially, the team’s name is classified and they engage in operations that are at the highest level of classification.
“People in general, white or Black, don’t really understand what a SEAL is and what a SEAL does,“ says Senior Chief and Navy SEAL Joe Jones.
Jones has been in the Navy for 24 years and has served as a SEAL for the past 15 years.
“It’s the greatest job that I’ve ever had in my life,” he says.
To help spread awareness of the Navy SEALS among African-Americans, Saturday, June 18, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET, Jones and his team will be putting local athletes’ endurance to the test with a SEAL Fitness Challenge at Howard University. Those brave enough to step up to the challenge will go through the same drills as SEALs in their screening test.
Jones, who joined the SEALS in 1997, is one out of roughly 52 African-Americans in the entire Navy SEAL program. There are about 2,500 SEALs overall.
He believes that the main reasons Blacks are not a part of the SEALs is because many are not aware that the SEALs exist--and swimming.
“I’ve spoken to African-American friends who weren’t in the SEAL teams and the first thing they say to me is, ‘Man, I don’t want to deal with that water,’ or ‘the water is intimidating,’ or that they don’t know how to swim” he says.
Though he is not a recruiter, if people get interested in the SEAL teams after Saturday, he hopes that they will join. He also hopes that the competing athletes walk away with mental toughness techniques.
“I’m gonna be giving a mental toughness brief. It helps athletes out by getting them in the mind-set to achieve, and not just in athletics, but whatever goals they are trying to achieve in life.”
The event is open to all high-school and college-aged athletes. Think you’re fit for the challenge? Find out more and sign up here.