The Navy SEALs and the Army Rangers are both units within the U.S. armed forces that conduct special military operations. The Navy's sea, air and land forces, or SEALs, use unconventional warfare to capture terrorists, underwater reconnaissance and demolition and other missions against military targets. Rangers conduct forced-entry operations, capture or destroy enemy facilities and resources and conduct reconnaissance.
Navy SEALs are known for their unconventional methods and their motto, “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday,” emphasizes their commitment and dedication. SEALs must complete 24 weeks of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, or BUD/S training. They achieve the highest levels of physical conditioning and learn combat diving, land warfare and demolition. The fourth week of training is known as "Hell Week." During Hell Week, prospective SEALs train for 5 1/2 days with only four hours of sleep during the week. They also attend three weeks of Parachute Jump School and 26 weeks of SEAL Qualification Training, where they learn cold-water survival and other advanced warfare techniques. SEALs typically deploy for six to eight months at a time. They insert into combat zones by parachute, on foot, from a helicopter or by swimming.
75th Ranger Regiment
The elite Army Rangers conduct close combat and direct-fire assault missions and joint special operations missions such as air assaults, seizing airfields, destroying enemy targets and capturing or killing enemies. Soldiers must attend Ranger Assessment and Selection Program to learn the skills necessary to become a Ranger. This program is eight weeks for enlisted soldiers and three weeks for officers. Rangers who are ranked sergeant or above must attend Ranger School to become Ranger qualified. This school is approximately two months long. at Ranger School, soldiers receive physical conditioning and learn to conduct and lead operations in mountains and swamps. Rangers who have not reached the rank of sergeant will complete several combat deployments before attending Ranger School.
SEALs vs. Rangers
SEALs' specialized dive training and ability to operate and insert into combat zones in the water separates them from the Rangers. In addition, the initial 24 weeks of BUD/S training for SEALs is significantly longer than the two months of Ranger School required for Army Rangers. In addition, SEALs tend to operate in much smaller groups that may include teams of four men, squads of eight men or platoons of 16 men. Finally, SEAL operations are usually covert, while Rangers conduct direct-action raid force missions.
Elite Special Warfare Teams
Both the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers are combat units that conduct the special operations that regular units do not have the specialized training to complete. These units are only open to men; acceptance into the training programs is highly competitive. Units accept both enlisted members and officers. Ranger School and BUD/S training require extreme levels of physical fitness, mental toughness and discipline. Deciding to join one of these special units requires dedication and commitment.
Choosing a Unit
Military service members seeking to join an elite combat force should consider the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers. Soldiers who want to conduct close combat and direct assaults would do best in the Army Rangers and also enjoy a shorter training period before joining a unit. Service members who are more interested in covert missions, unconventional methods and scuba diving should work toward becoming a Navy SEAL.