Even aspiring Navy SEALs are susceptible to COVID-19 infection, but the Navy is working double time to get training back on track.
The road to becoming a Navy SEAL is a long and arduous one, but for candidates who had their training placed on hold in March, it’s been even longer. Three groups of the Navy Special Warfare Center’s selection-and-assessment training for SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman (SWCC) were paused on March 16 amid concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 among trainers and trainees.
By May 11, all three groups will resume training while taking extra precautions to limit any potential exposure to the novel coronavirus.
“We took a conservative approach to properly assess our student population and establish protocols in order to minimize risk to them during training,” said Capt. Bart Randall, commodore, of the NSW Center. He went on to add that the decision to restart training is based on mitigation efforts the staff have put in place, using CDC and Defense Department guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.
Along with making changes to how Navy SEAL and SWCC training is conducted, Navy personnel are screened regularly throughout the arduous special operations training pipeline to identify and treat anyone that exhibits signs of COVID-19 infection.
“The health and well-being of our students still remains our top priority,” said Randall. “Any student showing signs of illness will be pulled from training and evaluated by medical professionals before returning.”
Personnel in both the SEAL and SWCC pipelines have seen their training shift to allow for social distancing, including increased spacing between candidates during runs and swims to minimize their exposure to one another and any potential spread of the virus.
“NSW expects its operators to be flexible in all phases of mission planning and execution, and we practice what we teach at our schoolhouse,” said Randall. “NSW Center will continue to safely train and deliver SEALS and SWCC to the Force capable of performing at the high standards demanded of NSW operators.”