Lone Target: Joel Lambert as the most hunted former Navy SEAL

The Manhunt - Discovery's channel tv show with Joel Lambert
The Manhunt - Discovery's channel tv show with Joel Lambert (Photo: Discovery)

Joel Lambert, a U.S. Navy Seal and a veteran of the Afghanistan and Kosovo wars, hosted a documentary series for Discovery Channel. He is the star of the Discovery Channel’s Lone Target TV Show. The show is recognized as the most adult ‘hide and seek’ game ever assembled. It is also known as Manhunt for the viewers outside the United States.


The Lone Target is a rough adventure competition that pits 10-year Navy SEAL veteran Joel Lambert against elite military and law enforcement special operations forces tracking teams.

The idea behind Lone Target pits Joel Lambert and his SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) skills against some of the world’s best military tracking units, including units on each continent, including Maori warriors in New Zealand and the U.S. Army’s Phantom Recon unit in the Arizona deserts.

“SERE [survival, evasion, resistance, escape] was something I enjoyed as a Navy SEAL,” Lambert says. “The field craft, SERE, heavy weapons, and explosives were the kinds of things I gravitated towards and did a lot of training in,” he added.

The teams involved in the show also include the Straz Graniczna border guard in Poland and many others. The South African International Anti-Poaching Foundation, the Philippines Army Scout Rangers, an elite anti-drug force from Panama, and a National Police SWAT unit from South Korea also took part in the competition.

Lone Target (Manhunt) with Navy SEAL Joel Lambert
Lone Target (Manhunt) with Navy SEAL Joel Lambert (Photo: Discovery)



The game starts when former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert is left into unfamiliar dangerous terrain with a basic survival kit and water. Through time, he uses various diversionary tactics and attempts to evade capture by each one of those elite forces for 48 hours. The show Lone Target was aired in 224 countries on Discovery Channel under the title Manhunt since February 2014. So as you may imagine, there was a lot of national pride on the line for these teams who searched.

Joel Lambert is a combat veteran of the United States Navy SEAL Teams, where, among many other things, he became EXPERT in basic and advanced SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape) skills, urban evasion, fieldcraft, tracking, counter-tracking, booby traps, and all the rest of the tricks and techniques he uses to evade capture on his Discovery Channel show titled LONE TARGET in the US and MANHUNT in the rest of the world.

The former Navy SEAL Joel Lambert became a specialist in blending into his environment from his years in service. He has become known as the man who survived a mission that sounded almost as harrowing. He battled out impossible odds when Taliban forces on a clandestine mission entrapped him. In comparison to that, it seems like a piece of cake.

Joel Lambert’s rate of success in evading capture

Many of the countries he’s been to failed to capture him even though they had everything at their disposal, from drones, sniffing dogs, satellite imagery, CCTVs, etc. One of the few countries that he failed to escape is the Philippines. The Philippine Army Scout Rangers caught him without using any technology except their truck and boots. Just 99% jungle tracking and hunting skills.

Joel Lambert was caught three times out of six in the first season and only once the second.

“It’s a very hard thing, especially doing it in the daytime so we can film and I have a camera guy with me,” he says. “All the things that are necessary to make the show handicap me, not the hunter force. At first, I thought it was just unfair, but the more I thought about it, I was like, ‘You know what? It makes it even better because when I do get away because then I’ve really pulled some shit off.’”

The idea behind the Lone Target

“I had a background in commercials,” Lambert says. “I never thought this would ever be part of my life again. A friend said he was putting a show together, looking for special operations guys with tracking and survival background. I went out there and saw they had guys from [the British] Special Air Service, Recon Marines, all these guys with specific skills sets. I thought, okay; maybe this is more than just a guy trying to cobble together a pilot.”

He was right. “Lone Target” is a hit for the Discovery Channel. And what Lambert did next would change his life.

American Sniper

This is not the first time Lambert to pose in front of cameras. Before he enlisted in the Navy, he did some acting, but the most notable project besides the Lone Target was a Hollywood blockbuster American Sniper. He played the army sniper on the building when Chris Kyle and his team were trying to find the Mustafa.


  1. Wow, what an incredible story! As a former military member myself, I can only imagine the skills and training that Joel Lambert must have had to become the most hunted former Navy SEAL. It’s really fascinating to read about his experiences and the high-stakes missions he’s been on. The part about him being the only survivor of a helicopter crash was particularly heart-stopping – I can’t even imagine what he must have gone through. Great read, thanks for sharing!


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