WWII Group That Was Predecessor to SEALs

| May 13, 2019

The BostonHerald.com writes about former Massachusetts Attorney General Frank Bellotti, who led a WW II group of men that were the predecessor to the modern day Navy SEALs.

“I joined in May 1942 when I was 19 years old,” Bellotti said. “We all had to be in great shape. I applied for the Scouts and Raiders and completed the physical training that included swimming two lengths of a swimming pool underwater in full uniform with my boots on.”

Bellotti was then sent to the Pacific theater to places like India and China where he commanded a small guerrilla unit that gathered intelligence and specialized in bombings and sabotage against the Japanese.

“But don’t make me out to be a hero,” he insists. “There were guys in Normandy and other places who did a lot more under terrifying conditions.”

Like most WWII vets, he believes that his greatest accomplishment was simply surviving the war. For him that meant coming home to Massachusetts where he launched a legendary career in politics and raised 12 children with his wife Maggi.

For years, he and other members of his unit conducted a roll call every three months to see who was still alive. The calls got shorter and the group got smaller until there were only two men left on the telephone, Bellotti and close friend Richard Lyon, the first Admiral of the Navy SEALs.

Lyon died two years ago, leaving Bellotti to carry on their legacy alone.

Bellotti is proud to serve as a bridge between the little known Scouts and Raiders and today’s Navy SEALs, whose high profile operations include the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. SEALs are also treated like superheroes on television and the big screen.

Read more about it at:  BostonHerald.com

Category: Navy, Politics

Comments (14)

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  1. Jay says:

    Good read. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    “But don’t make me out to be a hero……”

    Spoken like a true Hero Warrior. Don’t know how he did as a politician for the PDRof MA, but I’d vote for him on that paragraph alone.

    BZ Mr. Bellotti, we salute your Service to our Country. A lot of politicians would do well to emulate your actions.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      During my 50 years on this planet I’ve known WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam Vets and of them, the ones who did the most talked about their Service the least, and IMHO Mr. Frank Belotti is an example of that.

      • Daisy Cutter says:

        Exactly. Unfortunately, if you don’t stop the fakes they tend to speak to events and forge a historical account.

      • Commissioner Wretched says:

        I knew a fellow when I was a kid … his name was Homer Stinson, and he was a WWI veteran.
        He told me almost nothing about the war, admitting he didn’t like to talk about; he said he was just a messenger on the front, riding a bicycle between posts. I found out later that, while he never won any big medals, he was a lot more than a messenger.
        That’s what I call a hero, regardless. Same for Mr. Belotti. BZ to him.

      • rgr769 says:

        There was an E-6 I served with in the Viet of the Nam who was a LRRP team leader for over two of his for years of continuous service there. He never told “war stories.” I only learned about some of the stuff he did when I attended his induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 2007.

  3. Ned Eastwood says:

    I had an uncle that had came home on leave the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. He walked in heard the news and was on the next bus back out of town. He used to call the group that he was in Frogmen. Does anyone know about this group or every heard that term? I always wondered if it was an early era of the SEALS.

    • MustangCryppie says:

      Maybe your uncle was in this unit:


      Commanded by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

      They did some pretty studly stuff!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      The UDT guys were generally called frogmen up until the early 1960s. UDT is underwater demolition team. They did dive/salvage, cleared mines – stuff like that. That is still around, but never gets the attention that the SEALs get because MOVIES!!!

      • MustangCryppie says:

        Yeah, you’re right. His uncle was more than likely UDT.

        Interestingly enough, the Beach Jumpers are welcome to join the UDT-SEAL Association as associate members.

        Though never mentioned in histories of the unit, I’d be surprised if the Beach Jumpers didn’t have some type of SCUBA training/experience. But, I’ve been surprised before.

      • Joe Seabee says:

        There is UDT and NCDU’S that are almost the same. UDT did more if Pacific and NCDU’S covered the European theater. You don’t here much about them as they folded up after WW II and only had a couple UDT’s left. By the way the first nine UDT’S came from Seabees and NCDU’S had all Seabee CEC officers, a little unknown history that is missed also.

    • Joe Seabee says:


  4. Trapper Frank says:

    One hell of a man.

  5. sj says:

    The SEAL/UDT museum in Ft Pierce Fla https://www.navysealmuseum.org/ is worth a visit.