Scouts and Raiders

Before there were Navy SEALs or Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) or Naval Combat Demolition Units (NCDU), there were Scouts and Raiders. Formed as a joint Army-Navy beach recon unit eight months after Pearl Harbor, the first S & R boat crews underwent intense training at Amphibious Training Base (ATB) Little Creek in Virginia before deploying to North Africa where they earned eight Navy Crosses. This was just the first of many war-time missions for the versatile Scouts and Raiders.

In January 1943 the Scouts and Raiders School moved to Fort Pierce, Florida. Until December of 1943 when the school became all-Navy, the instructor cadre and the trainees were both Army and Navy men. The training course included running, swimming, obstacle course, log PT, hand-to-hand combat, and classes in Signaling, Radio, Gunnery, etc. According to John "Barry" Dwyer in his comprehensive book SCOUTS AND RAIDERS, "When LT Draper Kauffman was sent to Ft. Pierce in July 1943 to form the first NCDUs, he adopted and condensed the S & R PT course in what his men called "Hell Week", which evolved into the physically and pyschologically demanding ordeal known as BUD/S, Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Training, which must be survived by anyone wishing to become a Navy SEAL."


Matt Kaye, S & R

ATB Ft. Pierce, 1944 Matt Komorowski (Kaye) second from left



The first ten volunteers for S & R were big, athletic men from the Navy's Physical Training Program headed up by Commander Gene Tunney. Among them was Phil H. Bucklew who would earn two Navy Crosses and go on to become the recognized 'father of U S Naval Special Warfare'. Another S & R veteran, Richard Lyon, would become Rear Admiral and the first designated Special Warfare Officer to attain flag rank. Today Admiral Lyon is mayor of Oceanside, California.

After North Africa, the Scouts and Raiders participated in landings in Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, the Adriatic, Normandy, and Southern France. They also served in the Pacific on a variety of assignments, as Beachmasters, UDTs, and even helped train Nationalist Chinese guerrillas for operations against Japanese forces.


Ray King, S & R

l-to-r, John T. Buchanan, Tom Berkowitz, Silver Star recipient Ray B. King


By the time World War Two ended in September 1945, over 1200 men trained and operated as Scouts and Raiders. After the war they were disbanded with some of the men joining UDT. SEAL Team TWO veteran Rudy Boesch, who went on to become the longest-serving enlisted man in the Navy at over 45 years, and the longest serving SEAL, retiring as a Master Chief Boatswain's Mate, began his career as a member of Amphibious Roger #5, the last Scouts and Raiders training class.

The men who were Scouts and Raiders were well educated (Class 8 was made up of 52 Ensigns!), exceptionally athletic, adventuresome trailblazers. Some gave their lives to the war effort; others have succumbed to life's natural conclusion. There are many former Scouts and Raiders who are alive and well and stay in touch with one another regularly, thanks to the efforts of their teammate, N. Joe Lee, Jr., Class 7 graduate. Joe produces a newsletter and maintains a current directory.


Joe Lee, S & R

l-to-r, front row-Allen McGuire, John Wise, Ed Merrill, Paul Taylor, back row-Robert Baker and Joe Lee


For the "definitive" book about the Scouts and Raiders, read John B. Dwyer's, SCOUTS AND RAIDERS , published by Praeger.

To find your S & R teammates or join their organization, contact:

Jim E. Barnes at



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