The Special Warfare insignia — or Trident, as it is known among its wearers — is the only outward sign that an individual is a Navy SEAL. Authorized by the Department of the Navy in 1970 for wear on the service dress uniform, the Trident is a gold metal pin for dress wear and an embroidered patch for wear on desert and woodland camouflage uniforms. The insignia is normally worn on the left breast of the uniform above any service ribbons or other decorations.
The symbolism of the insignia represents the three mediums in which the SEALs operate as well as their branch of service. The central part of the insignia is an anchor, which identifies the SEALs as the Special Operations component of the US Navy. Behind and above the anchor is an eagle — with its wings spread outward — representing the air medium as well as the strength and courage of the SEALs. The eagle's right talon is holding a trident, representing the sea and symbolic of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea who used a trident as his scepter. In front of the trident, the eagle's left talon is holding a cocked flintlock pistol. The pistol represents the land on which the SEALs operate and the fact that it is cocked indicates the SEALs' constant state of readiness. Only when an individual has successfully completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, as well as six months of probation and training with a team, is he authorized to wear the Trident, indicating his place in the Special Warfare Community.
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