Warrior creeds, such as the Ranger’s famous creed, have been around for over a century to guide the actions of operators on and off the battlefield. The creed is a code of conduct and inspirational daily reminder of the “reason we train and fight” for the men and women of these units. Many outside observers point to the mission of the units and preparation of the teams when describing who these people are. Warriors know better. It is the Warrior Ethos that best describes who they are, an ethos that has been shared, albeit with different words, with the Samurai, the Spartans, the Marines and other Special Operations forces around the world.
The SEAL Code was created just two years ago. Prior to this, the SEALs had an unspoken code defined by the culture, historical experience and training. “Leave no man behind” and “failure is not an option” are examples of cultural mantras that evolved as the unwritten “SEAL code” from the Teams battlefield experiences in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere. We have held to this code, never leaving a teammate in the field, dead or alive. Recent experience in Afghanistan with Medal of Honor winner LT Murphy and his teammates exemplifies this code of conduct.
The SEAL code, however, was not recorded or “written in stone” and as the community grew, it needed some grounding. Would it be more powerful if it were more than a few mantras like “leave no man behind” and “Failure is not an option?” It became clear to the SEALs that they needed a more comprehensive creed that was not subject to interpretation and erosion over time. In 2005 a cross-functional team from all ranks was brought together to ponder the issue and come up with a durable, written, code. The team took input from all quarters, and did some serious community soul searching to penetrate the essence of what it meant to be a SEAL. The results are nothing short of extraordinary.
How do you think the SEAL Code stands up? Will it be powerful and durable enough to guide Naval Special Warfare operators into a chaotic future, much as the Ranger Creed has done for the Rangers?
We at NavySEALs.com feel that the SEAL Code stands tall with the greatest creeds of martial history and is one of the most succinct articulations of how a warrior culture is to conduct themselves in war and peace. Read for yourself and decide:
The SEAL Code
• Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate
• Serve with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield
• Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit
• Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates
• Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation
• Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies
• Earn your Trident everyday
United States Navy SEAL
In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed.
Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life.
I am that man.
My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.
My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.
I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.
Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.
We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.
I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.
We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.
We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.
Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.
Bravo! Let’s all try to live up to this wonderful code of conduct in our daily pursuit of excellence. I believe you would see some serious results.