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SEAL Platoons

The platoon is the fighting element of the SEAL team. A SEAL platoon usually consists of 16 operators.

Traditionally, the SEALs would tend to operate in smaller units, although many operations in the War On Terror have seen SEALs deploying at the platoon or even task unit level (2 or more platoons).

For operational deployment, SEAL platoons can be divided into:

8-man Squads
8 men fit into a single NSW RHIB, MK V, or SOC-R boat.
Squads can further can be divided into:

2 x 4-man Fire Teams
a typical SEAL fire team will include at least one machine gunner, to guard the rear of the patrol, and for engaging area targets, with 2-3 riflemen for engaging point targets.
Fire Teams can themselves be divided into:

2 Swim Pairs
SEALs operate the buddy system, in which pairs of operators watch each others backs

Platoon skills

In comparison to some other Special Operations Forces (SOFs), SEALs are more generalist in terms of individual skill sets. This is due, in part, to their tendency to operate in small units. If, for example, a unit's demolitions expert is taken out, then the other members of the unit can take over the role. This is less true of, say, U.S. Army Special Forces, who tend to operate in 12-man ODAs.

SEAL 4-man fire team
A 4-man SEAL Fire Team performing a live fire exercise.
U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund

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