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The elite force

For over 65 years, the men and women of the Naval Special Operations Command have gone above and beyond the call of duty being of service to the Filipino people

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NAVAL Special Operatitons Command formerly known as Naval Special Operations Group, bannered by its commander Captain Dwight Steven Dulnoan PN assembles in a ‘spear-shaped’ formation that symbolizes the distinct role of the Philippine Navy’s special command force. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF Ronald de los Reyes, NAVSOCOM AND THE US NAVY

The Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOCOM) has been synonymous with precision, efficiency and — most importantly — mental and physical toughness. Since 1956, the special command under the Philippine Navy has been specializing in sea, air and land operations, ranging from reconnaissance, close combat, demolition, intelligence and underwater operations. As experts in stealth tactics and high-speed operations, it has tooth and nail combated terrorism, particularly against the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group.

BATTLE-READY Navy Seals are trained in special operations, sabotage, psychological and unconventional warfare.

LIEUTENANT Junior Grade GC Manatad gives a relief pack during one of the civil military operations of NAVSOCOM as part of its 65th anniversary celebrations.

With its well-equipped headquarters in Sangley Point, Cavite, the unit has been producing top-level soldiers from its mentally and physically demanding training regimen, which is patterned under the United States Navy Seal program, regarded as one of the toughest military programs in the world. Here, aspirants have to swim three kilometers and run 10 kilometers every day, particularly swimming 14.6 nautical miles from Roxas Boulevard in Manila to its headquarters in Cavite without rest.

FROGMEN tackle an underwater operation.

They also undergo “Hell Week” during their Basic Naval Special Operations Course (BNSOC) training. Candidates here have to overcome extreme grueling tasks with their boat crews with zero sleep for an entire week. In fact, in one BNSOC class, out of the 79 applicants who originally started in the training, only 21 students graduated.

THEIR training program is physically and mentally demanding, and is regarded as one of the toughest military trainings in the world.

Recently, on its 65th founding anniversary, the military unit highlighted how it has prevailed over various trials during these challenging times with this year’s theme: “Transformative Convergence: An Adaptive Response to Diverse and Complex Adversaries.”

UPPER body strength is key as candidates have to swim three kilometers and run 10 kilometers every day. They must swim 14.6 nautical miles from Roxas Boulevard in Manila to Sangley Point, Cavite City without any rest.

NAVSOCOM Commander, Captain Dwight Steven “Bullfrog” Dulnoan even shared in his speech, “For over 65 years, the men and women of the Naval Special Operations Command have gone above and beyond the call of duty being of service to the Filipino people. Throughout the years, our command encountered various challenges but the personnel of NAVSOCOM were able to combat everything with the highest level of gallantry and professionalism.

“Equipped with intense and high-level training in special operations, the Frogmen earned the capability in responding to any type of insurgency or threats that our country may encounter,” he continued.

SPECIAL command has been specializing in sea, air and land operations, ranging from reconnaissance, close combat, demolition, intelligence and underwater operations.

“I would like to congratulate you all for a job well done in keeping the command afloat amid the pandemic with your hard work, initiative, innovativeness and staying focused on the mission with the zenith of standards.”

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