Rumsfeld Visits Navy SEALs at California Base
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 31, 2005 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Navy SEALs at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado here Aug. 30, presenting awards and receiving a briefing about current operations.
Rumsfeld presented several Bronze Star Medals and one Purple Heart to Navy SEALs who had recently returned from Iraq and also recognized two prior Purple Heart recipients. He addressed Naval Special Warfare Group 1, a part of the force stationed on the base, and then was briefed on secret missions going on all over the world.
After his briefing, Rumsfeld was greeted by a class of SEAL candidates going through Basic Underwater Demolition School/SEAL. The sailors, who were in the middle of their "Hell Week," were exhausted and dirty but managed to belt out a "Hooyah Secretary Rumsfeld!" before going back to their training.
After the visit, Rumsfeld spoke about the importance of SEALs and other special operations forces in the war on terror. The nature of the enemy is different than in past wars, he said, so the military can't rely solely on its traditional training.
"We're not going to be fighting big armies, big navies and big air forces," he said. "We're going to be dealing with various types of asymmetric threats and low-end activities that are complicated."
To deal with these new types of threats, which could come in many different settings and environments, military officials have been focusing on adding to conventional abilities with special operations units, Rumsfeld said. For the past four years, the military has been increasing the number of special operations units and adding to their equipment, tasks and activities, he explained.
The work the SEALs and other special operations units does is often quiet and involves small movements of people, but it is increasingly important in today's operating environment, Rumsfeld said.
"We are just, as a country, enormously fortunate that we've got folks like these who are willing to dedicate themselves to do this enormously difficult task," he said.