Navy considers local spots for SEALs training

Recently released plans to expand Navy training sites include several locations on the Olympic Peninsula, including Sequim Bay State Park and Discovery Bay.

Recently released plans to expand Navy training sites include several locations on the Olympic Peninsula, including Sequim Bay State Park and Discovery Bay.

In one of two documents, Naval Special Warfare Group 3 out of California appears to seek an environmental assessment and real estate agreements in the Sequim area and dozens of other sites to conduct sea, air and land training.

However, Navy officials would not confirm the dates of the documents, released by news site “Truthout” in the article “Navy Uses US Citizens as Pawns in Domestic War Games.”

One document lists the local sites and 66 others as possible training grounds but the second document, which appears to be a newer version, does not list Sequim or Discovery Bay. It lists 28 possible sites with the closest in Jefferson County — Fort Flagler, Mystery Bay, Port Townsend Marina, Indian Island, Port Ludlow Marina, Coon Bay and Mats Mats Bay.

Truthout author Dahr Jamail, citing the second document, said training cycles were set to begin in select locations from now to mid-February and mid-February to mid-April.

However, US Navy officials said the process is in its early stages and no decisions have been made.

“An environmental assessment process for the proposed Naval Special Warfare training within Western Washington and the Puget Sound has begun and is in the very early stages of development,” Lt. Com. Mark Walton of Naval Special Warfare Command’s Public Affairs Office said.

“The Navy is currently reviewing potential environmental, cultural and historic impacts of the type and frequency of training that is being requested.”

Later stages, he said, would include engaging the public.

Walton said he wouldn’t speculate on a timeline for the National Environmental Policy Act process or training.

Virginia Painter, communications director for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, said they have not heard of any requests from the Navy to use Sequim Bay State Park.

However, right of entry permits were issued in 2015, she said, to use five state parks including Fort Flagler State Park, Mystery Bay State Park, Blake Island State Park, Scenic Beach State Park and Ilahee State Park.

“They’ll be landing a small boat, remove the boat and take off,” Painter said.

She said there are no other pending permits from the Navy.

Kinnan Murray, area manager for Sequim Bay State Park, which sits on 90 acres and hosts 60 campsites, said if any activity were to occur (after permitting), they would be notified from their headquarters in Olympia prior to a training session.

Walton said the “Naval Special Warfare has trained in the Pacific Northwest many years.”

“We have a longstanding relationship with local officials and coordinate routinely with military and civil authorities to gain approval,” he said.

Training ground

In the first document titled “Proposed NSW Training Within the Pacific Northwest,” Sequim Bay State Park could be used for one of three training exercises.

The first would be inserting and extracting a Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle, SDV, a submersible underwater vehicle. The second, called Over the Beach, involves training with a small submersible craft or boat that trainees would exit, swim to shore, cross the beach and hide in vegetation.

The third training, special reconnaissance, involves similar training to Over the Beach which can take place strictly from land or both land and water, where the trainee would swim to shore, conduct operations, patrol and swim back to the watercraft.

In Discovery Bay, training activities only are listed for SDV insertion and extraction.

Both sites would allow training for 12-18 hours at a time at night for six-eight times a year.

The naval documents state training is non-invasive in nature with no live firearms, digging or cutting vegetation with the goal not to be detected.

If using boats, there also would be a 500-1,000 meter buffer between the Navy and other watercraft, and if they train on land, there would be up to 10 Navy personnel for safety oversight, documents state.

Peninsula residents and the Navy have come into conflict since at least 2014 over impact of Growler aircraft training over the Olympic Peninsula.

To view the mentioned documents, see


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