Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students participate in a team building exercise in Coronado, California. A female Naval Academy senior is considering entering the pipeline to begin BUD/S training. (MC1 Lawrence Davis/Navy)

Students at Virginia Tech are being recruited to join the Navy SEALs, and with more young men and women being invited than any other school in the country.

The Navy SEALs holds two phases of training for Naval ROTC students across the country. The first is a Summer selection try out, in which only 53 students are invited.

In fact, it means that of the 18 ROTC students chosen to train as U.S. Navy SEALs this year, four are from the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and the university’s Naval ROTC. Another six Hokies are among the 53 men and women nationwide to begin the rigorous SEAL selection process.

Virginia Tech’s Naval ROTC Commanding Officer Michael Fisher said, “We’re sending six students and that number comes from a total of 76 ROTC units across the nation.”

The second phase is where the Navy SEALs picks the students it wants to join as officers. Usually, 20 students nationwide are invited. This year, it’s only 18, and four of them are Hokies. In the past two years, no ROTC program in the country has had more students selected for SEAL training than Virginia Tech.

Fisher said in response to Virginia Tech having so many being considered, “I’m extraordinarily proud of my midshipmen and it really inspires me to see how hard these students are working and preparing to enter such an extraordinarily difficult field.

After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1989, Peter Phillips was a Navy SEAL through 2014. Now, he helps prepare students who dream of doing the same.

Phillips, the Corps of Cadets 1st Battalion Deputy Commandant, explained, “I was able to establish, sort of, mentorship programs with the midshipmen that wanted to be SEALs with active duty SEALs so they could talk to active duty SEALs around the country about what it takes to be a SEAL.”

SEALs (Sea, Air, and Land teams) are the Navy’s most elite special operations force. Candidates come from the Navy’s Officer Candidate School, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Navy’s ROTC programs at 166 colleges and universities across the country, and from applicants already serving with naval units.