Frogman Art

Although lots of people harp on the JFK connection to today’s SEALs, the fact is, they were just an updated rebranding of units that date back to the old UDTs and NCDUs (Naval Combat Demolition Unit) of WWII. Speaking of which, the first NCDU unit was established some 78 years ago this month when a”Naval Demolition Project” at Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Solomons, Maryland resulted in the establishment of Operational Naval Demolition Unit No. 1.

Ultimately some 34 NCDUs, largely trained at ATB, Fort Pierce, Florida, where the SEAL Museum stands today, would land at Normandy, 13 hit the beach in Southern France for the Dragoon Landings, and a further 30 see action in the Pacific before the end of the war.

With that, the Naval History and Heritage Command have a great selection of combat art involving SEAL Teams. It makes sense as so much of their training and operations are purposely off-camera.

Check out this sampling:

Seals on Ambush. Established to carry out guerrilla and anti-guerrilla operations in harbors, inland waters, and their adjacent land areas, SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) teams usually operated in 6 man units to gather intelligence and conduct raids, reconnaissance patrols, salvage dives, and, as depicted here, ambushes of enemy forces. (Painting, Acrylic on Canvas, by Marbury Brown, 1967; Framed Dimensions 38H X 50 1/2W Accession #: 88-161-EU)

Parachuting SEAL Team, (Painting by P. Granbinetti, 1974. Courtesy of Navy Experimental Diving Unit. NH 85219-KN)

93-088-a U.S. Navy SEALs Recon Beach Near Pearlis Airport, Grenada Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Mike Leahy; 1982; Unframed Dimensions 18H X 24W

US Navy Special Warfare Team Surveys the Sava River. The Navy continued to act as part of a United Nations team peacekeeping in the Serbia and Kosovo regions. Here, a Navy SEAL team helps locate mines and underwater impediments laid in the Sava River. (Painting, Oil on Canvas Board; by John Charles Roach; 1997; Accession #: 97-141-O)

Danger Ascending: “While I have never observed U.S. Navy Seals in operations, an event from my childhood inspired this painting. I was at Norfolk Naval Station when several Seal/UDT “frogmen” entered the water about a hundred yards out in the harbor. No sign of them for a while. Then, silently they emerged from the water, climbed up onto the pier before us, dripping wet with big grins on their faces. It was a powerful impression. I painted this scene as a modern reflection from my long-ago experience.” (Painting, Oil on Canvas; by Morgan Ian Wilbur; 2013; Framed Dimension 35H X 45W Accession #: 2013-058-04)

Have a great weekend guys. Maybe do some swimming. Go to the beach. 

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