The First US Navy SEAL

It’s said that the greatest heroes hail from
humble origins, and when World War II exploded into the history books, surely nobody would
have predicted that a dentist would become one of the world’s most elite soldiers, but
it’s true. Today we’re taking a look at the orthodontist
who became the first US Navy SEAL. US SEALs are world renowned as some of the
best special forces operators in history. Fielding the most advanced, and often highly
classified, equipment anywhere in the world, SEALs are routinely sent to do impossible
missions in impossible places. Trained to operate in the sea, air, and land-
hence the name, SEAL- SEALS are deadly warriors who can reach any target anywhere it chooses
to hide. From counterterrorism to direct action missions,
SEALs are flexible enough to be sent on a hostage rescue mission one day, and to blow
up an enemy dam the next. To meet the stringent requirements of the
Navy’s SEAL training program you must not only be physically tough, but mentally tough
as well, with an iron will and an attitude that doesn’t know the meaning of the word
quit. Yet these legendary warriors can trace their
lineage down to a single man widely recognized as the first unofficial American SEAL. Navy Lt. j.g. Jack Taylor’s service in World War II preceded
the official formation of the US Navy SEALs by almost twenty years, and yet he is the
first US commando to have been trained, and to have actually operated, on the sea, air
and land. As an orthodontist in Hollywood, California,
Lt. Taylor answered his nation’s call to arms after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor. A trained boater, Taylor assumed that he would
become an instructor teaching boat handling skills to US and Allied soldiers, but during
his initial training he certified on the Lambertsen Amphibious Respiratory Unit, a predecessor
to modern SCUBA gear. Having qualified on the water lung as it was
also known, and with top marks for intelligence and physical fitness, the Office of Strategic
Services was quick to recruit him. Established in June 1942, the Office of Strategic
Services was America’s response to the asymmetrical warfare units of Germany, Japan, and Britain. Seeing a need for a different kind of war,
a much ‘dirtier’ type of warfare that would take place behind enemy lines, the United
States formed the OSS and gave it a degree of autonomy from the rest of the military. Famously recruiting American playboys, socialites
and business elite, the OSS sought out operators who were not just physically fit and could
take orders, but who knew their way through social situations and could blend in behind
enemy lines. For the majority of the war the rest of the
US military would deride the OSS as a bunch of playboys fooling around at war, but the
reality is that OSS operators faced incredible danger and were directly responsible for many
of America’s greatest successes during the war. OSS operators were trained in intelligence
gathering, demolitions, sabotage, and even in recruiting and organizing resistance movements. They had to be able to swim through choppy
seas, parachute behind enemy lines, and evade enemy patrols through the wilderness. They brought with them a bag of dirty tricks
which could be used to sabotage enemy railway lines, the engines of motor vehicles, or even
poison and assassinate high priority individuals. As was famously said of them, OSS operators
were experts in ungentlemanly warfare. Upon being recruited to the OSS, Taylor was
assigned to the first Underwater Swimmer Group, but was soon redirected to become the Chief
of the Office of Strategic Service Maritime Unit. The MU as it was known was responsible for
infiltrating agents and supply resistance groups by sea, conducting maritime sabotage,
and developing specialized maritime surface and subsurface equipment and devices. Its operators could be ferrying secret agents
past enemy patrols into hostile territory one day, and be swimming under the hull of
a battleship and attaching an underwater limpet mine to the bottom of the mighty ship the
next. Often these small teams of expert divers,
boaters, and swimmers could do more damage than several destroyers together could. From September 1943 to March 1944, Taylor
found himself operating in the Mediterranean. Here Germany had been forced to send forces
to aid its ally Italy after the Italians suffered defeat after defeat to Britain’s African forces. With the allies holding key bases in the Mediterranean,
the Axis powers waged a brutal campaign against what they feared would become an allied toehold
which could lead to an invasion. To support the war, Taylor and his men helped
deliver spies to their targets along the Greek and Balkan coasts, as well as weapons, explosives,
and other supplies to partisan forces behind enemy lines. As the Germans devastated allied supply convoys,
Taylor and his men became critical in quickly delivering critical supplies to allied forces,
his small, agile boat proving difficult to spot from the air. For three months though, Taylor left the sea
behind to personally lead a team of commandos behind enemy lines in Central Albania. There Taylor and his men carefully scouted
out and reported on the location of enemy fortifications, supply dumps, and artillery
positions. He would also shadow major troop movements
and relay their plans via radio. Aware that a team of enemy spies was in the
area, the Germans hunted for Taylor and his men time and again, yet on three separate
times Taylor and his men narrowly avoided the German ambushes. For his daring feats behind enemy lines, Taylor
would be nominated for the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, but being a sailor was instead
awarded the Navy Cross instead. After D-Day and the successful landings at
Normandy, the allies began a push towards Germany itself. In Italy, Allied forces fought a brutal campaign
north, pushing back the Germans inch by inch. The whole way allied forces were helped by
partisan groups who had often been fighting the Germans for years behind enemy lines,
yet as the allies prepared to break out of Italy, military planners realized that they
had no contact with partisan groups in Austria. In order to break Germany’s grip on Europe,
the allies would need the help of these freedom fighters, but making contact would be an extremely
dangerous undertaking- and exactly the type of mission the men of the OSS were perfect
for. Personally picked to lead a four-man team
into Austria, Taylor was tasked with making contact with Austrian partisans and gathering
intelligence on German troops and fortifications. Parachuting into Austria would fulfill Taylor’s
Air requirement of a sea, air, land commando, and he became the first US soldier to conduct
commando missions in all three domains. However the mission ran into trouble almost
from the get-go, with the pilots unable to drop the team’s radios and other major equipment
after the men had jumped. Accompanied by three Austrian corporals liberated
from a POW camp, one of them became extremely ill in the first few following the jump, and
Taylor was injured on the jump. Nonetheless the team gathered what equipment
they could and began their mission to collect intelligence and make contact with friendly
Austrian partisan forces. The team would photograph many German defensive
positions, and made contact with and ascertained the loyalty of various anti-German groups. As the mission neared its end, they formed
a network of supporters who could be counted on to aid the Allies when the major push into
Europe began. Yet without a radio to communicate their critical
information, the team was forced to attempt to slip through German lines and into Italy
to rejoin allied forces. On the night before their escape attempt,
Taylor and his men were ambushed at their safe house and captured by German forces. Delivered to the Gestapo, the Germans slapped
and kicked Taylor around, trying to force him to admit that he was a civilian and not
a US officer, which would have exempted him from Geneva convention protections. Taylor steadfastly refused to make the false
confession, and eventually he was transferred to a holding cell and taken to a new interrogation. There his interpreter would end up being an
undercover allied agent who was so visibly shaken at recognizing Taylor, that in a later
report Taylor would say that he was afraid the agent would blow his cover. The German commander asked about Taylor’s
mission and then asked why the Americans were bombing them when they had never once launched
an attack against the US. Taylor quickly pointed out the fact that the only reason the Germans
hadn’t bombed the US was because they were thankfully out of range. Then the commander asked him how long he thought
the war would last, and Taylor said six months- to which the commander agreed. However when he asked him who would win and
Taylor said the allies, the commander laughed. In less than a year the Germans would surrender. After four months of interrogations, Taylor
was eventually transferred to the infamous extermination camp of Mauthausen. After the guards there discovered that Taylor
was an American officer, he initially received humane treatment, even being offered cigarettes
and brandy, yet when he refused to cooperate with his interrogators he was stripped of
his legal status as a captured POW and instead labeled a political prisoner. This was a violation of the Geneva Convention,
but allowed the Germans to dispose of him as they wished. His uniform was taken away and he was forced
to dress in civilian clothing. He was beaten several times and witnessed
numerous executions of other prisoners. During his stay at Mauthausen Taylor was twice
scheduled for execution, but the first time a friendly worker in the camp’s political
office spotted his execution order in a stack of orders for other prisoners. The worker snuck Taylor’s order away and secretly
burned it. The German camp officers however eventually
realized that Taylor was still alive when he very much shouldn’t have been, and scheduled
a second execution. Before the date arrived though, the German
guards fled the camp as the American 11th Armored Division approached and liberated
it. Just a few hours after liberation, Taylor
was being filmed by an American film crew who was documenting the various prisoner and
extermination camps. He gave the film makers a detailed account
of daily life for the prisoners, as well as the inhumane and cruel actions of the guards. At the Nuremberg trials after the war, Taylor
would testify as a key witness against the German war criminals, ensuring their sentencing
for crimes against humanity. Lieutenant Taylor preceded the official establishment
of the US Navy SEALs by almost twenty years, and yet his courage and actions behind enemy
lines set the standard for what would be expected of future SEALS. While he may never have officially been one,
each new American SEAL can trace back their warfighting heritage to the man who was the
first American commando to operate from the sea, air, and land. Think you have what it took to be a World
War II commando? Let us know in the comments. And if you liked this video, make sure you
watch our other video The Insanely Crazy Story of a Tiny Soldier, and don’t forget to Like,
share, and subscribe for more great content!

100 thoughts on “The First US Navy SEAL


  2. He can fix your teeth or make you get you teeth fixed…. He can knock your teeth out and put em back in

  3. Special Forces are Green Berets. How is this channel called The Infographics Show yet they call the SEALs โ€œSpecial Forces Operatorsโ€

  4. .
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    I full heartedly wish that you will be very very successful in your life ๐Ÿ˜„ there will be some struggle in your life ๐Ÿคจbut you will overcome all the things ๐Ÿ˜„ because you are born to win and you will rise and shine ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜„

    Note ! You are the best person ever born on this planet

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  5. And here I thought The only wild card In history of WWII was that Medic in Americaโ€™s army in 1939… I think that was the date?

  6. Yo!!!! Who knew a professional orthodontist can both clean up teeth and knock out enemies teeth all in one? Thatโ€™s badass.

  7. Make a video on the special forces of Pakistan : SSG which has hunted and killed many taliban and al quaida leaders and members !!!!!!!!!

  8. If all the dead allied soldiers could see the state of their countries today they would have thrown their weapons and fought with the Germans

  9. Why are u putting ads on ur videos?? Ur content ain't worth having ads u only avg 210k on ur videos and u have 5 mill in subs that should tell ur content is trash

  10. I don't think it's accurate that you have an African-American working with Taylor, as tye military was still segregated. But if I'm wrong than I'm wrong.

  11. Make some more international vids like about Asia, Europe, Russia, Oceania not just America or occasionally Japan or China

  12. Not to be nitpicky, but this video is not 100% correct. A handful of people in the video are portrayed as having beards, goatees, and soul patches. That is inaccurate.

  13. Anyone who thinks that civilians and military personnel should be treated differently should be shot.

    They both deserve the same, high level respect. Daily phone calls, rations to gain mass, free education, free healthcare, and more.

  14. He was a UDT (Under Water Demolition-Frogman) and they were the predecessors to which the Seals evolved in the late '50s.

  15. This video is false. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป. Roy Beihm the UDT(underwater demolitions team) officer was the "First SEAL" commissioned by JFK in 1962 to help set up the first SEAL teams. Lt Cdr Beihm was noted for going in & passing the rigorous UDT course twice! The 2nd time, he was 42 years old. Lt Cdr Beihm wrote his book First SEAL in the 1990s. CDR Richard Marcinko, the SEAL officer & founder of the secret SEAL team 6(later called called DevGru or Development Group) said Roy Beihm was a pioneer of SpecWar & was a leader in the SEAL program.

  16. One of their trainings is to identify a person with just looking and ask you if they are correct. They do this training in malls.

  17. Believe me if you ever meet one they will tell you at least 25 times they are SEALS within 5 mins.

  18. Youโ€™re obsessed with the navy huh? In WWII Navy SEALs werenโ€™t all that theyโ€™ve been hyped up since mid 2000s. Letโ€™s talk about green berets!!

  19. You should do a video on Peter Ortiz. Probably the most interesting man in the world. He was an American who joined the French Foreign Legion to fight the Nazis. He then went back to the US and joined the Marines where he got sent to Europe again as a Marine and OSS officer. He's one of the few Marines to fight Europe during WWII.

  20. There's no first navy seal only first group of navy seals was seal team 1 on vietnam and us navy seals forefather the original and first ones is the US navy UDT frogman from WW2

  21. This just shows the type of people that fought ww2 all walks of life fought like they where born to do so

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