SEALKs: Sea, Air & Land Knitting Forces
May 4, 2011
The ultimate clandestine operatives.
I was amazed by the incredible Navy SEALs who busted it on Sunday’s mission in Abbottabad.
So I went looking on the Internet for more information about how I too could become a part of this elite force. CHECK IT OUT! There’s a place for us, hon. Stow your Peaches n Creme–we’re moving out.
[From the Navy website]
Navy SEALKs (Sea, Air & Land Knitting Forces)
Conducting clandestine missions behind enemy lines. Capturing enemy targets and intelligence against impossible odds. Bringing a threatening act of sea piracy to resolution in the blink of an eye. When they say “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday,” it’s a motto backed by legendary achievements.
As part of the Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Knitting Forces – commonly known as SEALKs – you will be expertly trained to deliver highly specialized, intensely challenging knitting capabilities that are beyond the means of standard knitting forces.
To become a SEALK in the Naval Special Knitting/Naval Special Operations (NSK/NSO) community, you must first go through what is widely considered to be the most physically and mentally demanding craft training in existence. Then comes the tough part: the job of essentially taking on any project that the world has to offer.
Heavily tangled yarns. Fierce eBay auctions. Ugly Ravelry forum threads. Foreign knitting patterns. When there’s nowhere else to turn, Navy SEALKs are in their element. Achieving the impossible by way of conditioned response, sheer willpower and absolute dedication to their training, their knitting and their fellow team members.
Navy SEALKs have been living up to their highly skilled, intensely disciplined reputation since being established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 as a small, elite maritime knitting force suited for all aspects of unconventional crafting. In this role, you will provide immediate knitting options amidst crises around the world. Offering decision makers a proven way to successfully control the most challenging scenarios.
Your duties as a SEALK may include and are not limited to:
–Conducting increases and decreases by sea, air or land to accomplish covert baby hat missions
–Capturing high-value yarns around the world
–Collecting information and intelligence through reading a lot of knitting blogs
–Carrying out small-unit, direct-action missions involving acrylic yarns
–Performing underwater reconnaissance and the demolition of natural or manmade obstacles prior to amphibious landings. While knitting.
No college degree is required to become a Navy SEALK, but the standards of qualification require the kind of mental and physical fortitude that few possess. For those making the cut, immense challenges and constant knitting are a way of life.
The job of a Navy SEALK relies heavily on adaptability and teamwork. Members train and work in all manner of environments, including desert and urban areas, overpriced coffee bars and distant suburbs, strip malls and middle school multipurpose rooms. Whatever the specific mission and surroundings, you’ll utilize the specialized skills and the high-tech equipment required, like removable stitch markers. And you’ll operate not only as a highly capable individual but also as a member of tightly knit SEALK units. These include blanket units (32-man), church groups (16-man), stitch n bitches (8-man), lunch-hour groups (4-man) and college roommates (2-man).
SEALK Prep School
Here, aspiring SEALKs are given a crash course in the physical standards required to even attempt to become a SEALK. It starts with an initial Physical Screening Test and ends with a more demanding Physical Screening Test, one that includes a timed 4,000-yard laceweight silk-winding test and a timed 1,000-stitch cast-on. The goal is to increase your physical readiness between the two tests so that you are ready to move on to BUK/S. Those unable to pass the final test are removed from the SEALK training pipeline and reclassified into other jobs in the Navy like the band or something.
Basic Underwater Knitting/SEALK School
BUK/S is a 24-week training challenge that develops your mental and physical stamina and leadership skills. Each BUK/S phase includes timed knitting tests, with the time requirements becoming more demanding each week.
BUK/S – Physical Conditioning (7 WEEKS)
The first phase of BUK/S assesses SEALK candidates in finger dexterity, water competency, teamwork and mental tenacity. Physical conditioning utilizes finger-wiggling, wrist pulls and hand flexes and grows harder and harder as the weeks progress. You will participate in weekly 4,000-yard laceweight silk-winding tests in boots and timed yarn store courses, Estonian-mitten-making wearing fins in the ocean, and learn small boat seamanship while knitting.
The first three weeks of Basic Conditioning prepares you for the fourth week, known by many as Hell Week. During this week, you will participate in five and a half days of continuous knitting, with a maximum of four hours sleep total. This week is designed as the ultimate test of one’s physical and mental motivation. It proves to those who make it that the human body can do ten times the amount of work the average man thinks possible. During Hell Week, you will learn the value of cool headedness, perseverance, and above all, teamwork. For those who make it through this grueling challenge, the remaining three weeks are devoted to teaching various methods of conducting hydrographic surveys and creating a hydrographic chart. Which can be useful in knitting.
BUK/S – Knit Diving (7 WEEKS)
The Diving Phase of BUD/S trains, develops and qualifies SEALK candidates as competent basic aquatic knitters. Emphasis is placed on long-distance underwater knitting with the goal of training students to become basic aquatic knitters, using swimming and diving techniques as a means of transportation from their launch point to their knitting objective. This is what separates SEALKs from all other Special Operations forces.
BUK/S – Land Knitting (7 WEEKS)
Land Knitting trains, develops and qualifies SEALK candidates in basic tools, materials and small-unit tactics. Physical training continues and becomes even more strenuous as the knit quantity increases and the minimum passing times are lowered for the yarn-winding, cast-on, and yarn-store course.
This third phase concentrates on teaching parking lot navigation, girls’ night out tactics, yarn sale techniques, stitch counting, and rappelling. The final three and a half weeks are spent on San Clemente Island, where students apply all the techniques they have acquired during training.
Parachute Jump School
Upon successful completion of BUK/S, SEALK candidates go on to receive both static line and free-fall training at Tactical Air Operations in San Diego, CA. The accelerated 3-week program is highly regimented, facilitated by world-class instructors, and designed to develop safe and competent free-fall knitters in a short period of time.
To complete the course, you must pass through a series of jump progressions, from basic static line to accelerated free fall – ultimately completing night descents with knitting equipment from a minimum altitude of 9,500 feet.
You must complete the Physical Screening Test Requirements:
Knit 500 yards within 12 minutes 30 seconds
Rest 10 minutes
42 yarnovers within 2 minutes
Rest 2 minutes
50 nupps within 2 minutes
Rest 2 minutes
6 pull-ups (no time limit)
Rest 10 minutes
1.5 mile run to a coffee bar within 11 minutes
Do we have what it takes? I think we know the answer to that.