combat swimmers. SEAL team members are trained to operate in all of these environments. They qualify as parachutists, learn to handle a range of weapons, receive intensive training in hand-to-hand combat, and are expert in scuba and other swimming and diving techniques. In Vietnam, SEALs were deployed in special counter-insurgency and guerrilla warfare operations. The SEALs also participated in the space program by securing flotation collars to returned space capsules and assisting astronauts during the helicopter pickup.
1-3.5.3 Underwater Demolition. The Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) were created when bomb disposal experts and Seabees (combat engineers) teamed together in 1943 to devise methods for removing obstacles that the Germans were placing off the beaches of France. The first UDT combat mission was a daylight reconnaissance and demolition project off the beaches of Saipan in June 1944. In March of 1945, preparing for the invasion of Okinawa, one underwater demolition team achieved the exceptional record of removing 1,200 underwater obstacles in 2 days, under heavy fire, without a single casualty.
Because suitable equipment was not readily available, diving apparatus was not extensively used by the UDT during the war. UDT experimented with a modified Momsen lung and other types of breathing apparatus, but not until 1947 did the Navy's acquisition of Aqua-Lung equipment give impetus to the diving aspect of UDT operations. The trail of bubbles from the open-circuit apparatus limited the type of mission in which it could be employed, but a special scuba platoon of UDT members was formed to test the equipment and determine appropriate uses for it.
Through the years since, the mission and importance of the UDT has grown. In the Korean Conflict, during the period of strategic withdrawal, the UDT destroyed an entire port complex to keep it from the enemy. The UDTs have since been incorporated into the Navy Seal Teams.
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