This so-called SEALs Hall of Fame represents the list of the most famous Navy SEALs publicly known and whose contributions were remarkable. Those who become very popular and well-known in society are featured.
It was hard to compile the list of the most famous SEALs in history because there were thousands of Americans, known and unknown, who fought everywhere where American interests were at stake. Being a Navy SEAL is about pride and honor, and for years that tradition has lived.
Many famous US Navy SEALs became well-known through combat operations. At the same time, many others have also gone on to successful careers in politics, entertainment, and even space exploration after they have finished their military careers.
Among the most respected and feared warriors in the modern era, Navy SEALs are trained for Sea, Air, and Land operations. To become a Navy SEAL, you need to complete what is widely considered the toughest military training in the world.
John Gretton Willink – Jocko Willink
John Gretton “Jocko” Willink is a former US Navy Seals operator who served 20 years in most elite Navy units. He is famous for writing a few bestseller leadership books. He coaches his leadership styles through his company. Currently, he is one of the most famous SEALs.
Jocko Willink’s military service saw combat actions in the war in Iraq, where he eventually commanded the SEAL Team 3’s Task Unit Bruiser that fought in the bloody battle in Ramadi. The unit has become the most highly decorated unit in the Iraqi War. Jocko Willink was honored with the Silver Star and Bronze Star for his service. Jocko Willink also served as a Navy SEAL instructor during his career. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
His TED talk has garnered millions of views which granted him the status of one of the most famous Navy SEALs in history.
BUD/s Class: not known (1990)
Eric T. Olson
He was the first Navy SEAL appointed to three-star and four-star flag ranks and the first naval officer to be USSOCOM’s combatant commander. Admiral Eric Thor Olson was in charge of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 2007 to 2011.
Olson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1973 and qualified as a Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer in 1974. He graduated in BUD/S Class 76. He has served operationally in an Underwater Demolition Team, SEAL Team, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team, Special Boat Squadron, and at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He has commanded at every level.
Eric T. Olson retired from active duty on August 22, 2011, after he had spent more than 38 years in service.
BUD/S Class: 76
Michael A. Monsoor
Michael A. Monsoor is an American hero and a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his ultimate sacrifice in Ramadi, Iraq. Monsoor used his own body to shield his fellow sailors from a hand grenade thrown by an insurgent in a 2006 combat engagement.
He enlisted in the US Navy in 2001 and graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training BUD/S class 250 in 2004. After further training, he was assigned to Delta Platoon, SEAL Team 3.
BUD/S class: 250
He joined the United States Navy at 17 and became the youngest to complete Navy SEAL training. Working in the private sector, he appeared on various reality TV programs and was a personal trainer for Hollywood celebrities such as Demi Moore (for G.I. Jane).
Scott Helvenston was also featured in reality shows Combat Missions and Man vs. Beast (in the latter, he completed an obstacle course faster than a chimpanzee). He also starred in a reality series called Extreme Expeditions: Model Behavior months before leaving for Iraq.
Helvenston was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, along with squad members Jerry “Jerko” Zovko, Wesley Batalona, and Michael Teague while working as a security contractor for Blackwater. His death was part of the infamous incident in 2004, which sparked international shock and outrage.
BUD/S class: not known (1982)
Charles Patrick “Chuck” Pfarrer, III is a former US Navy SEAL from Biloxi, Mississippi, USA. He became an author, novelist, and screenwriter after leaving the Navy. Some of his screenwriting credits include Darkman, Hard Target, Red Planet, and Navy SEALs.
He spent eight years in Navy SEALs and ended his service as Assault Element Commander at the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), formerly known as SEAL Team 6.
BUD/S class: not known (1981)
William H. McRaven
From 2011 to 2014, Navy SEAL William H. McRaven served as Commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), which oversees the Special Operations of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.
The most recognizable operation of his career probably was Operation Neptune Spear. He is credited with organizing and overseeing the execution of the operation, the special ops raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
Admiral McRaven retired from the Navy on August 28, 2014, after more than 37 years of service. Today, he is recognized for his motivational speeches, and he is a notable member of the community.
BUD/S class: not known (1977)
Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell was the only man to survive the four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SDV-1 in Operation Red Wing in June 2005. He detailed his harrowing Afghanistan combat experience in the best-selling book Lone Survivor. Later, the book was turned into a hit film with Mark Wahlberg playing Luttrell.
During Operation Red Wings, he was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions. Marcus Luttrell was a Hospital Corpsman First Class by the end of his eight-year career in the United States Navy.
BUD/S class: 226 (1999)
William McMichael “Bill” Shepherd is an American former Navy SEAL, aerospace, ocean, mechanical engineer, and NASA astronaut who served as Commander of Expedition 1, the first crew on the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut William Shepherd qualified to become a Navy SEAL in 1972 after finishing BUD/S, serving on the UDT, two separate SEAL Teams, and Special Boat Unit TWENTY. He is also a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. That granted him a place among the most famous SEALs in history.
BUD/S class: not known (1972)
Survivor contestant Rudy Boesch was one of the very first Navy SEALs. He earned a Bronze Star for his actions in the Vietnam War, during which he participated in 45 combat missions, including raids, ambushes, rescues, and intelligence operations.
During his time in SEAL Team Two and later, his results were set as physical and operational standards for the team. After 45 years of continuous service, Boesch retired from the US Navy in 1990 as a Master Chief Petty Officer.
BUD/S class: UDT Frogman in 1951
Chris Kyle became the most lethal sniper in US military history over four tours in Iraq as a Navy SEAL. Before he was killed in Texas, he co-wrote American Sniper, a bestselling account of his exploits that ultimately led to Hollywood. It served as the basis for the box office powerhouse that starred Bradley Cooper as Kyle in the blockbuster American Sniper.
He was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat, including one Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with “V” devices, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and numerous other unit and personal awards.
On February 2, 2013, Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, 35, were shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas. Their killer, Eddie Ray Routh, was sentenced to life without parole.
Chris Kyle is one of the most famous Navy SEALs in history.
BUD/S class: not known (1999)
Born as James George Janos but better known by his stage name Jesse Ventura is a former professional wrestler, Predator supporting player, television personality, and former Minnesota Governor. He served in US Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team during the Vietnam War. UDT sailors were eventually retasked as Navy SEALs in the 1980s.
He served as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from January 4, 1999, to January 6, 2003. Despite many controversies around him, Jesse Ventura is still one of the most famous Navy SEALs in history.
BUD/S class: 58 (1970)