Navy removes gendered terms from official SEAL ethos

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The US Department of the Navy seal hangs on the wall February 24, 2009, at the Pentagon in Washingto,DC. - PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

The U.S. Navy SEALs and the Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) have replaced gendered terms such as “man” and “brotherhood” in their ethos and creed statements for a more inclusive gender representation.

According to American Military News, Naval Special Warfare spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Stroup confirmed the news, saying that the changes in language have been made to comply with changes in law, opening the potential for women to join the elite military units.

“Naval Special Warfare continues to deliberately develop a culture of tactical and ethical excellence that reflects the nation we represent, and that draws upon the talents of the all-volunteer force who meet the standards of qualification as a SEAL or SWCC,” Stroup said.

Among the changes, masculine terms such as “brotherhood” and “man” have been replaced with gender-neutral words.

In the opening paragraph of the SEAL ethos, for example, the sentence “A common man with uncommon desire to succeed,” has been replaced for “Common citizens with uncommon desire to succeed.”

Among the other changes, the sentence “I am that man” now reads “I am that warrior;” the phrase “sets me apart from other men” has been changed to “sets me apart from others;” the expression “Brave men” was changed to “Brave SEALs.”

In the SWCC creed, the word “brotherhood” has been replaced with “group of maritime warriors,” and instead of “brothers,” the creed uses the gender-neutral pronoun “them.”

“The previous versions of the SEAL Ethos and SWCC Creed were written prior to the law allowing women to serve as operators in Naval Special Warfare,” Stroup said.

“The changes do not in any way reflect lowering standards of entry, rather they ensure that all those who meet the requirements to train to become a SEAL or SWCC are represented in the ethos or creed they live out. This improves the posture of the NSW force by ensuring we draw from the greatest pool of talent available,” he added.


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