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Learning about Frogmen and SEALs

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – Thousands of visitors to the Treasure Coast are expected to attend the 25th annual Muster Day ceremonies next Friday through Sunday at the National Navy UDT and SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce. Of course, you don't need a special occasion to go there. It's open every day but Mondays. The UDT-SEAL Museum was founded 25 years ago at the site of the first training ground for the famed Underwater Demolition Teams, known as "Frogmen." The initial class arrived in July 1943 to join the amphibious forces already training there. The Frogmen went on to blow up shoreline obstacles and clear away mines for allied landings in Normandy and elsewhere. Later the UDTs evolved into the Sea, Air and Land teams or SEALs. At the museum, you can see Navy vessels, submersibles, a helicopter and two space vehicles. A popular exhibit is the 28-foot lifeboat on which a cargo ship's captain was held hostage by Somali pirates in April 2009 until Navy SEALs rescued him. The UDT-SEAL Museum is off Highway A-1-A on North Hutchinson Island north of the Fort Pierce Inlet. When you go, walk on the beach. Frogmen don't train there anymore, but if you squint and use your imagination, you can spot them off shore getting picked up by high-speed Navy boats. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.