The raid on Monday morning that killed the world's most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden has put the US navy Seals in spotlight.
The men, hailed as heroes across the country, will march in no parades. They serve in what is unofficially called Seal Team 6, a unit so secretive that the White House and the Defense Department do not directly acknowledge its existence, reports various media outlets.
Its members have hunted down war criminals in Bosnia, fought in some of the bloodiest battles in Afghanistan and shot three Somali pirates dead on a bobbing lifeboat during the rescue of an American hostage in 2009.
All Seal members face years of brutal preparation, including a notorious six months of basic underwater demolition training in Coronado, Calif. During hell week, recruits get a total of four hours of sleep during five and a half days of nonstop running, swimming in the cold surf and rolling in mud. About 80% of the candidates do not make it; at least one has died, according to Slate magazine.
Seal Team 6 has specialized in war on the seas, but in the decade since September 11, 2001, it has increasingly fought on land in Iraq and Afghanistan.