Virginia Tech producing more Navy SEAL candidates than any school

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Students at Virginia Tech are being recruited to join the Navy SEALs, and with more young men and women being invited than any other school in the country.

The Navy SEALs holds two phases of training for Naval ROTC students across the country.

The first is a Summer selection try out, in which only 53 students are invited.

Virginia Tech’s Naval ROTC Commanding Officer Michael Fisher said, “We're sending six students and that number comes from a total of 76 ROTC units across the nation.”

The second phase is where the Navy SEALs picks the students it wants to join as officers.

Usually 20 students nationwide are invited. This year, it's only 18, and four of them are Hokies.

In the past two years, no ROTC program in the country has had more students selected for SEAL training than Virginia Tech.

Fisher said in response to Virginia Tech having so many being considered, “I'm extraordinarily proud of my midshipmen and it really inspires me to see how hard these students are working and preparing to enter such an extraordinarily difficult field.:

It helps quite a bit that one of the leading men in the Corps of Cadets, who is training the students, is a retired Navy SEAL himself.

After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1989, Peter Phillips was a Navy SEAL through 2014. Now, he helps prepare students who dream of doing the same.

Phillips, the Corps of Cadets 1st Battalion Deputy Commandant, explained, “I was able to establish, sort of, mentorship programs with the midshipmen that wanted to be SEALs with active duty SEALs so they could talk to active duty SEALs around the country about what it takes to be a SEAL.”

He also tries to get students to push themselves farther than they think they can go, in preparation of both phases, which he knows very well.

He explained, “It’s conditioning them and changing the way they think about how they look at events, to let them know that their body is strong enough to do it, if their mind will let them do it.”

He went on to say about what they’d be facing, “There's a week of very intense physical training that culminates in about a 36 hour event where they test them, mentally and physically.”

Only about 50% of students in each phase successfully completes the training.

Virginia Tech should know who finished phase one in November. Phase two, those who become SEALs, will face 21 weeks of basic SEAL training followed by 26 weeks of qualification training, so it will be six months to a year when that decision will be made.

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