The Navy SEALS are known for their particularly intense training regimens, which can take place at a variety of locations. However, the SEALs are pausing their training in Washington state parks after locals voiced concerns about it.
The Whidbey Environmental Action Network filed a lawsuit against the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission about the issue. “It is difficult to find peace in the woods when armed frogmen might be lurking behind every tree,” the group’s lawyers stated at a legal brief last month. Additionally, local residents voice concerns about the physiological and environmental impact the SEAL training may have, according to the New York Post.
“I do not care to catch a glimpse of apparently armed men skulking around and I DEFINITELY do not want to risk having my young grandchildren see such a sight,” a resident wrote about the issue. Others voiced similar complaints, prompting the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to act. After a 4-3 vote, they agreed to scale back SEAL training. This limits where and when the SEALs can train and spurred the lawsuit to block training there completely.
Navy spokesperson Joe Overton counters saying they used the parks for more than 30 years now without interfering with anyone. The parks also offer a wide variety of conditions the SEALs would likely encounter. “This area provides a unique environment of cold water, extreme tidal changes, multi-variant currents, low visibility, complex underwater terrain, climate and rigorous land terrain, which provides an advanced training environment,” he said. Overton also emphasized they do not use live-fire ammunition or explosive devices.
As of now, it is unknown if training will cease completely or if the SEALs will have to make do with a reduced area.
United States Navy Trains Dolphins to Protect One Quarter of U.S. Nuclear Stockpile
Though the Navy SEALs are having training in Washington state stifled, another group is still going strong. The unit in question contains dolphins and sea lions, both of which guard a quarter of the U.S. nuclear stockpile.
That’s right, Military.com states the Navy has been training dolphins since 1967 for military applications. In this instance, they protect Bangor, Washington, a location that is the single largest nuclear weapons site on the planet. Receiving their training at Naval Base Kitsap, they protect the nuclear stockpile from a multitude of threats. These include mine clearing, force protection, and recovery missions.
For instance, dolphins’ incredible biological sonar helps detect hazards under the surface like mines. If someone happens to infiltrate the area, the guard dolphins will tag them with a buoy, forcing them to float to the surface for capture. If you can think of an underwater threat in that area, chances are the dolphins will deal with it.
The Navy claims to do this to protect the nuclear stockpile from all sides, but I think it’s also for bragging rights.