U.S. Representatives Brian Mast (FL-18) and Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) introduced bipartisan legislation that will recognize the Memorial, Memorial Garden, and K9 Memorial of the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Fla., as the official national memorials of Navy SEALs.
Rep. Mast commemorated the bill’s introduction at an event at the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum alongside Commander Grant Mann, USN (SEAL) Ret., and Master Chief Rick Kaiser, USN (SEAL) Ret., the Museum Executive Director and the Chief Operating Officer, respectively.
“Florida is proud to be the birthplace of the Navy SEALs and is honored that they are a part of our community’s history. I can think of no better location for the national memorial than Fort Pierce,” Rep. Mast said. “As we cope with the despair and chaos of the Afghanistan withdrawal, this recognition is an important message to all veterans and their families that their sacrifices were not made in vain, particularly those of our Navy SEAL teams. Honoring our veterans is the least that America can do for those who put their lives on the line for her.”
“Florida is home to an incredible museum honoring the world-renowned Navy SEALs,“ Rep. Murphy said. “I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill with Congressman Mast to designate the entire site as an official ‘national’ memorial, in order to pay tribute to the sacrifices this elite fighting force has made in defense of our nation. As the Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee that oversees special operations forces, I’m proud to have our legislation included in the annual defense authorization bill.”
The bill will grant the Memorial, Memorial Garden, and K9 Memorial of the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, located at 3300 North Highway A1A, North Hutchinson Island, in Fort Pierce, Fla., the official status as the national memorial, memorial garden, and K9 memorial, respectively. The legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Michael Waltz (FL-6), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Neal Dunn (FL-2), John Rutherford (FL-4), Bill Posey (FL-8), Matt Gaetz (FL-1), Greg Steube (FL-17), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26), and Maria Salazar (FL-27).
The bill’s language has also been adopted as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA FY2022). The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the NDAA during the week of September 20, 2021.
Since its 1985 founding, the Museum has served as a commemoration of the first training base for the military units that would become the Navy SEAL. As the United States entered World War II, Lt. Cmdr. Draper Kauffman assembled Naval Combat Demolition Units and Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) that were tasked with clearing the path for amphibious landings throughout Europe. Fort Pierce, Fla. was chosen as the training center for the “frogmen” because of its private beaches and year-round temperate climate. Following WWII, the frogmen ultimately evolved into what is now among the most elite fighting forces in the world: the Navy SEAL.
The SEALs have been involved in every major conflict since WWII, including the War on Terror and the War in Afghanistan. In one of their most prominent missions, SEALs were responsible for neutralizing Osama bin Laden.