Navy SEAL Jumps
When SEALs arrive from the air, they are often going to extremely difficult-to-reach places. In this case, they may jump from a plane into the ocean with their Zodiac, parachute into the area, or use fast-rope and rappelling techniques.
When parachuting, SEALs use either static-line or free-fall techniques. Free-fall techniques include High Altitude/Low Opening (HALO) jumps and the more difficult High Altitude/High Opening (HAHO) jumps (see Navy SEALs.com: Air Equipment to learn about these types of jumps). High-altitude jumping requires oxygen and special equipment to ensure that the chute opens in the event the jumper blacks out, which is not that uncommon for high-altitude jumps. Goggles can shatter from the cold, and eyes can freeze shut, making the fall even more interesting. A device called an FF2 will automatically activate the jumper's rip cord if the chute hasn't opened at a preset altitude.
HAHO jumps, where chutes are deployed just a few seconds after the jump and SEALs form a "stack" to stay together, keep the SEALs in a tight group when they land. This is a difficult maneuver that requires a lot of training as a team. The lowest man in the formation uses a compass and landmarks to steer them to their destination.
Fast-rope and rappelling techniques require helicopters to drop SEALs by way of a rope to their location. Fast roping is a drop technique whereby a 50-to-90-foot (15-to-27-meter) rope is dropped from the helicopter, and SEALs slide down the rope using a Swiss seat harness. To brake, they apply their hands in a towel-wringing motion -- using their feet to brake would damage the rope.
Navy SEALs on Land
Once SEALs are on the ground, their equipment, like their clothing, must suit the particular environment. Mountain-climbing gear, snow shoes, land-navigation equipment, and the right vehicles are all critical to their success.
Camouflage netting for desert environments where there is little-to-no natural concealment can keep SEALs from becoming an enemy target. Dust goggles keep them from being blinded by flying sand, and CamelBak water packs allow them to drink while still having use of their hands.
Operations in jungle or wooded areas necessitate machetes to clear dense foliage as well as special netting and hammocks to ward off potentially lethal insect bites.
For all types of environments, SEALs carry a map, a compass and a handheld GPS receiver.
Jesse "the Body" Ventura has his very own SEAL Trident. After completing BUD/S training, he was deployed as a UDT frogman and served in Vietnam. He went on to become a professional wrestler and Governor of Minnesota.
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