National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum
|Location||3300 North A1A|
North Hutchinson Island
Fort Pierce, Florida
|Director||Rick Kaiser, USN SEAL (Ret)|
The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, also known as the Navy SEAL Museum, is located in St. Lucie County, just outside Fort Pierce, Florida. It houses exhibits to inform and educate on the role of Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) teams. The museum also preserves the history of the SEALs (the original Navy frogmen first trained outside of Fort Pierce).
The idea of the museum originated in the home of Albert Stankie, where he and other former UDT Frogmen gathered personal artifacts and experiences from their service in World War II. They worked to procure the defunct Ft. Pierce Treasure Museum building and site. The Navy Seal Museum sits on public land owned by the state of Florida. <https://www.paslc.org/RECard/#/propCard/8633> This evolved into a dedicated facility, which opened in 1985, and was recognized as a National Museum by an act of Congress signed into law February 7, 2008.
The focal point of the Museum is the UDT-SEAL Memorial, the only memorial in the world dedicated exclusively to the United States Navy SEALs and their predecessors. The Memorial consists of a 500-pound, 9-foot-tall, bronze sculpture of a modern Navy SEAL. The names of all Underwater Demolition Team members—the "Frogmen" of World War II and modern Navy SEALs—who have died in the service of the country are carved into black, granite panels on the walls surrounding the sculpture and its reflecting pool.
Other notable exhibits
The museum collection includes a number of rare artifacts dating from the founding of the SEALs, from the days of Scouts & Raiders, through the Underwater Demolition Teams, to recent present-day activities of US Navy SEALs:
- Original World War II–era obstacles used for demolition training prior to the Normandy landings ("D-Day").
- LCPL "the Shark Tooth Boat" used by the UDT in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II and during the Korean War.
- Patrol Boat River (PBR), used during the Vietnam era. These boats had a shallow draft and jet drive making them ideal for insertion and extraction in the rivers and canals of the region.
- Apollo space craft—the actual training devices used by the UDT "frogmen" recovery Teams during the Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury space missions.
- The museum features several boats including the Mark V Special Operations Craft (SOC) which is an 82-foot and 52-plus ton boat operated by Special Boat Teams and was used as a medium range insertion and extraction platform for Navy SEALs. It saw service for coastal patrol and reconnaissance.
- SEAL Delivery Vehicles or SDVs, specifically the MK XII MOD 0, the MARK IX (9), and the MARK VII (7) MOD 0, which are mini-subs that flood inside (the operators wear compressed air tanks). These SDVs are used to clandestinely enter enemy harbors.
- Various SEAL vehicles from operations in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
- The Alabama Maersk lifeboat aboard which Somali pirates held Captain Richard Phillips hostage.
- A wall honoring Medal of Honor recipients, with the citations for each one.
- Rare artifacts, equipment and weapons from the founding years during World War II through current engagements in Afghanistan.
Annual UDT-SEAL muster ceremony
Each Veteran's Day weekend, the Museum holds a three-day tribute to UDT and SEAL veterans, that includes demonstrations and exhibitions.
On August 2, 2020, a video surfaced showing a live service dog demonstration conducted in front of a crowd of civilians and uniformed military personnel at the museum in 2019. The demonstration included four dogs attacking a museum staff member wearing the jersey of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick over his protective equipment. Kaepernick had become a divisive figure after kneeling during the national anthem before games in 2016; a protest against police brutality towards people of color in the United States.
In response to the footage, the Commander of US Navy Special Warfare Command Rear Admiral Collin Green released a statement saying “Each and every one of us serves to protect our fellow Americans - ALL Americans. Even the perception that our commitment to serving the men and women of this nation is applied unevenly is destructive,” and that “We will revisit our relationship with the Museum when I am convinced that they have made the necessary changes to ensure this type of behavior does not happen again.”
- MuseumsUSA. "Navy UDT-SEAL Museum Fort Pierce, Florida", MuseumsUSA website, 2007. Retrieved on October 25, 2007.
- Sarah Dase (February 7, 2008). "Ft. Pierce Museum Now the Official National Museum of Navy SEALs and Their Predecessors". NavySEALs.com (a private web community of SEA Air-Land athletes and Navy SEAL supporters). Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-11. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Joe Crankshaw (May 28, 2010). "Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce unveils 9-foot-tall sculpture". TC Palm. Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group. Retrieved 2011-01-11. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "The Navy SEAL Memorial Wall. National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum". National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum. Retrieved Aug 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Onsite Exhibits". National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum. Retrieved Aug 5, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "https://twitter.com/billycorben/status/1289961836264095744". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-08-05. External link in
- Press, James LaPorta, The Associated (2020-08-04). "Navy SEALs cut ties with museum over Colin Kaepernick video". Navy Times. Retrieved 2020-08-05.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum.|