Many thanks to our friends and colleagues at the National World War II Museum for making possible an unforgettable trip with memories for a lifetime. With the partnership of the WWII Travel and Education program, the Navy SEAL Museum co-hosted this trip to Normandy where our guests traveled the countryside and experienced history firsthand. Elevating this experience was traveling with 12 Frogmen of different eras who contributed their own experiences and insights. Special thanks to Ben Milligan as our guest speaker and historian expert.
Another trip will be offered in partnership with the WWII Museum to Palau in October of 2023. Watch for more information on that, coming soon!
Today’s Navy SEALs trace our lineage to the UDT (Underwater Demolition Unit) and NCDU (Naval Combat Demolition Unit) teams of World War II. Following the disaster at Tarawa in 1943, when amphibious vehicles stalled on a previously unknown reef, leading to the deaths of countless Marines, the Navy began looking into ways to detect and destroy such obstacles. Lt. Commander Draper Kauffman first came up with the idea for an elite group that would literally swim out to a reef or beach to reconnoiter or destroy any obstacle ahead of an invasion. Kauffman produced the nucleus of the training modern day SEALs go through, including “Hell Week” and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/s). The Frogmen of WWII went into battle with nothing more than Navy issued swim trunks, a facemask, a knife, a pistol, and a clipboard with a charcoal pencil.
During the lead up to the Normandy invasion, UDT and NCDU teams trained at Fort Pierce, Florida in amphibious landings before departing for Great Britain. On D-Day, NCDU teams, augmented with Army combat engineers, landed on Utah and Omaha beach. Wearing a full kit, including a 20-pound satchel of explosives, the Frogmen on Utah went to work blowing beach obstacles. The casualty rate among the teams was high due to the small amount of men in the units. On Omaha, the casualty rate was much higher. When the teams landed, they found infantrymen hiding behind the obstacles they needed to blow. Some of the obstacles even had teller mines attached to them. NCDU teams worked hard to not only blow the obstacles under fire, but also convince infantrymen to get away from the blast radius. By the end of the day, the teams suffered 91 casualties out of a force of 175 men, 52 percent of the force.
In August 2022, we are partnering with The National WWII Museum to bring you a unique and exclusive opportunity to dive into our history in Normandy during a tour of this historic region of France. Fellow SEAL Benjamin Milligan joins the tours to bring an added level of expertise that only he can offer, having done extensive research for his recently released book By Water Beneath the Walls. Also drawing on the historical expertise and wide-ranging archival collections of our museums, you will be taken back in history to walk (and swim!) in the footsteps of our predecessors, to honor those who served before us.
Benjamin H. Milligan
US Navy SEAL and Author
Grant Mann, USN (Ret)
US Navy SEAL Museum
He and wife Wendy have been married for 34 years and have a daughter, Savannah, and son, Breton. He presently serves as the Executive Director of the National Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida.
- Full-time logistical tour manager
- Expert local battlefield guides
- Roundtrip airport transfers (when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates)
- Five nights accommodations at the Manoir de Mathan boutique hotel and one night at the Sheraton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
- Private, first-class air conditioned motor coach transportation
- VIP access to sites not offered on other tours
- Entrance fees to all sites, museums, and historic attractions in itinerary
- Video oral-history presentations from the Museum collection
- Personal listening devices on all included touring
- Included gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and servers
- 6 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 1 Reception, 3 Dinners
- Coffee, water, soft drinks, beer, house wines included with lunches and dinners
- Welcome and Farewell receptions
- Informative map book including useful battlefield maps and archival images to be used throughout the journey
- Personalized luggage tags and name badge