Gen. McChrystal explains what is so special around Navy SEALs and why they are so remarkable

US Navy SEALs boarding ship

When you mention Navy SEALs, most people think they are as superheroes who work together like a real-life Avengers team.

The Navy SEALs are undeniably remarkable and extraordinary, but for a different reason, says retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal in his new book “Team of Teams,” co-written with Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell. General McChrystal led the US war in Afghanistan before he stepped down in 2010.

“Americans enjoy the exciting, cinematic vision of a squad of muscle-bound Goliath boasting Olympian speed, strength, and precision; a group whose collective success is the inevitable consequence of the individual strengths of its members and the masterful planning of a visionary commander,” McChrystal added that this is the wrong lens to view them in.

What makes Navy SEALs so remarkable and what their exhausting training is meant to ingrain in them, is their intense, selfless teamwork that allows them to process any difficulty with near telepathy, he added.

He uses the example of when Navy SEALs rescued captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates in 2009, as dramatized in 2013 in Hollywood made the movie “Captain Phillips.”

To the public, ret. gen. McChrystal writes, that three Navy SEAL snipers picked off three pirates holding Phillips hostage at night and at sea from a distance of 75 yards is what was truly impressive; the thing is, those shots within the scope of military history may have been difficult but were not “particularly dazzling.” What was worthy of attention, he says, was that each of the snipers fired simultaneously at their targets, each identifying the exact moment when they had their shot.

“Such oneness is not inevitable, nor is it a fortunate coincidence,” McChrystal writes. “The Navy SEALs forge it methodically and deliberately.”

Their unity is built into the brutal six-month training program known as BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training). That’s one of the toughest military training in the world which primarily tests drive and teamwork rather than physical fitness like most people think.

The US Navy reports that of the “160-some students in each entering class, around 90 will drop before the course ends, most in the first few weeks.” Only about 10% drop out because they’re physically unable to progress. Those who succeed do so because they have the required mental toughness and dedication to teamwork. Only then, they becoming a Navy SEALs.