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Who Are The Navy SEALs And What Is Team Six?

The training and operations of the Navy SEALS are top secret.
The training and operations of the Navy SEALS are top secret.
By Charles Recknagel
U.S. President Barack Obama's meeting with some of the commandos who raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan and killed the Al-Qaeda leader has shone a rare public spotlight on one of America's most secret special operations forces.

Obama will reportedly greet members of Team Six on May 6 in private at Fort Campbell, a U.S. Army base in Kentucky, where he will also speak with soldiers recently returned from duty in Afghanistan.

Team Six is the most elite unit of America's Naval Special Warfare Development Group. That larger group is more familiarly known as the SEALs, an acronym that stands for SEa, Air, and Land – the three theaters of the commandos' operations.

The presidential thanks will cap a week during which members of the SEALs' Team Six have become national heroes, even though most people know very little about the force itself. Former members of the SEALs have appeared on U.S. television talk shows and sales of books written by former SEALs before the bin Laden mission have soared.

The insignia of the Navy SEALs
But even as the former commandos speak, they reveal only a minimum of details about what kind of missions the SEALs undertake, and how.

That is, and will likely remain, top secret.

As a SEAL spokesman, Captain Duncan Smith, told ABC News this week: "A lot of those missions, a majority of those missions, are ones that the public will never know about…and that's a good thing."

What is known about the SEALs and their most elite unit is only what emerges after a front-page raid like that in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 and a handful of other high-profile operations over the past decades.

Among the previous visible operations of Team Six are the rescue of the governor of Grenada in the 1983 U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island to reverse a communist coup, and the liberation of the captain of an American ship, the "Maersk Alabama," from Somali pirates in 2009.

The elite squad also helped hunt down war criminals in the Balkans and was widely reported by U.S. media as leading the 2010 operation to free British aid worker Linda Norgrove from Afghan insurgents. Norgrove died in that attempt.

Created In 1980

Team Six was created in 1980 in the wake of the failed U.S. effort to rescue American diplomats held hostage in Iran. That effort, under then U.S. President Jimmy Carter, also intended to use helicopter-borne commandos in a covert operation but had to be aborted due to equipment failure in the rescue helicopters.

The first commander of Team Six, Richard Marcinko, says no expenses were spared in forming the elite unit.

"With 75 shooters when I started, the training allowance for SEAL Team Six for training ammunition was more than the whole Marine Corps," he told Reuters.

Marcinko, who has recounted his experiences in a book titled "Rogue Warrior," says the name Team Six was chosen as a ruse to fool the then Soviet Union into believing there were more elite commando squads than actually existed at the time.

The SEALs attempted to destroy their damaged helicopter before leaving bin Laden's compound but only partially succeeded.

He also has told the press that this week's Abbottabad mission was a perfect example of the team operating flawlessly.

"When the bird (helicopter) goes down, a back-up bird came in. The pilots that were there destroyed the bird, while the SEALs were getting Osama bin Laden," he says. "There was no hiccups, there was no pause to refresh. We know what we're doing. That's why we're here. That's the difference. Now, what does it do to us? Well, I'm a proud papa today."

Five Years Of Training

According to varying media estimates, the number of Team Six members is around 200 to 300. They are selected from among the most capable of the larger SEAL force, which numbers some 2,300.

The SEAL force itself is composed of commandos who have trained for about five years before earning the right to go on missions. Among their skills are parachuting from high altitudes, submarine operations, and underwater demolition.

Most of those who volunteer for the SEAL force fail at some time during the grueling training process. Captain Kenneth Klothe, a SEAL and director of the irregular warfare course at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., told the French news agency AFP that psychological stress even more than physical duress is the deciding factor.

"A lot of the guys mentally can't stand it," he says. Only about one-third of recruits reportedly finish the training process.

As many former members told American media this week, the commandos do not only carry out missions as needed, they perform training simulations every day in between. The challenge is to constantly be at peak performance in what, in fact, is a lifestyle as much as a profession.

Delta Force Competition

The Navy's SEALS are not the only famous U.S. special force; another is the U.S. Army's Delta Force. The distinction between them, theoretically, is that the SEALs carry out marine operations, while Delta Force does land operations.

But the use of the SEALs' Team Six for the Osama bin Laden mission shows the line between America's so-called "Tier One" units can be blurred.

Much speculation has surrounded the question of why Team Six was chosen for Abbottabad, rather than Delta Force. In Washington, one line of thinking is that it may simply be due to inter-service rivalry. The current top U.S. military commander is Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, himself a Navy man.

Whatever the reasons Team Six was chosen for the mission, its success in removing Bin Laden has made it a household word. All this week, Americans have celebrated the team's success and they are likely to continue doing so for a long time to come.
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Juan Carlos Herdz. Wilson from: México, D.F.
May 07, 2011 02:51
I support the celebations with all Americans and citizens of the world, conscious of the value for liberty and peace.

by: Natalie Rosen from: Framingham
May 07, 2011 03:10
The BEST of the BEST...thank you Navy Seals. You stand between life and death for all of us! You make us proud!

by: Michael P. Richards from: Los Angeles, Ca.
May 07, 2011 03:37
I am so proud be to be a Naval Reserve Vet, 1967-1971, B89-06-80, and as I plan to retire from UCLA Healthcare Faculty administration, 10/1/11, I am looking for opportunities to serve the Navy for the Navy Seals in administration.

I am also a Patient Liaison in UCLA Emergency Medicine.

by: Konstantin from: Los angeles
May 07, 2011 06:34
I am consearned about one line in the article above. Is
It that public will never know about most of its missions?
What sort of missions he is talking about - steal beans?
Steal paintings from Vatican? Assassinate Obama critics?
Even British have a law of disclosing, after 5 years, secrets.

That's bad - next to Cheyny's proud boast of good of torture.

In Response

by: Joe Roelant from: Phoenix AZ
May 07, 2011 14:50
@ Konstantin,You know, there are just somethings that are better left untold, think about that. Osama bin Laden is gone, should you know every little detail about that? Be proud and thankful that there are men and women who volunteer to put themself's in front of evil for our freedom. By the way, freedom does come at a cost, and those who volunteer to protect freedom very well know that. Problem with liberals, that just becase they don't like or agree with everything they want to change it or eliminate it all together.

Outstanding mission Seal Team IV, God Bless our true american warriors in the armed forces of America, all over the globe.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 07, 2011 17:14
Don't try be too patriotic American on my expence,
And even dare to mentor me and lie about my remark.
I didn't say about every little detail and you probably read
My posts, stealing from me "Laden is gone" , smart quak?

I only said about the missions themselves general direction
That public must eventually know, at least in up to 3 - 5 years
After it happened, exactly because smarts of your persuasion
Would turn it into lying Prussian and Levies advancing carrier,
Taking over the World, usurping all my writings and inventions.

"Be proud and thankful... ...for our freedom" Your freedom to lie?
On 9/11, when I saw the second plane crashing into the Tower,
It cross my mind that it would be WW3, probable contingencies,
And by power of my will I made them minimize last 2 damages.

Guys like you and your leaders were running scared, same day.
Then I went on Internet and gave encouragement and direction,
You all started repeate it with your names attached to it all way,
But even before that, a Russian lady in a store got my intention
And snitched to USA spies and bosses as Russian-Jew help!

Now I am a Iberal? Are you "God Bless... ...american warriors...
All over the Globe?" Are you trying to make America believe hors
That made Russian movie "The 13-th Warrior" - to join the party
Of Normano-Germano-Levitic imperial resurectors and "vors"?
To help Russian monarchist-spy Sikorsky's helicopters glory?

To turn all World into Empire of jumping from noizy platforms
Russian Cossacks cut-throats at America and whole Europe?
So that Russo-Germano-Levitic pact as since 1947-56 formed
Repopulate and plagio-Treblinka the best for Russian "Zh.pa"?


In Response

by: Pmac from: Oklahoma City
May 20, 2011 02:10
I feel very sad right now. I think it is awesome that we have some remarkable men that make our world safer and all anyone can think about is the missions that you think we need to know? WRONG!!!! They have done some remarkable good if you look at the bio. We do not need to know who they are or what their missions were ( history says enough good about their intensions). I am worried about them keeping their anomynity!!! How much good can they do if everyone knows who they are???? Do people really think? Bless their hearts and may God protect them from the blissfully stupid.

by: tdjjd from: slsucl
May 07, 2011 18:33
It's best we don't know what they are doing. For their sake, and for ours...
In Response

by: Ali Akbar from: Classified
May 08, 2011 01:47
Konstantin:
What are you babbling about. You're incoherent and seem to have paranoid thoughts. Try Yoga for relaxation. The sheep dogs are on guard so you can sleep safely at night.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 08, 2011 16:44
I am coherent and relaxed all my life, in a way coherent is also you.
Still provoking something, like KGB or FBI Russian makaques fleu?
I am not a sheep, dog, or voolf like you - just a lion with human heart
Being betrayed by race of plagiaristic macaques, I learning writing art.

Standard provoking manner of part Neanderthal macaques - "opposit".
In the East they mock strait people as enemy from the capitalist West.
In the West same people mocked by them as commys from the East.
If neither accepted by victims, they mocked as "sheep" or "kosmopolit".
If I feel insulted, "Akbaring" (for occasion) macaque insult as a snitch.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 09, 2011 18:06
Are you talking to me - "Mick" from "Beach"Team?
I am not free, by pact of Russian and USA plagiarists,
I have no place to leave too anywhere - but fight be free,
I was there and here - the same provocateur's twists.

Just like your team of the "classified" and quite mean,
Probably a blend of Prussia-Russia and Levites team,
Justify total secrecy plagiarize and suck "Jesus blood",
Call us "paranoid" for resisting "secret" suck us, hood!

As USA idiots and "wigs" trying commit "secret" crimes,
Never desclose, even in 5 years what they already done
And keep plagiarise, for Russians, Prussians and Brits,
Including their USA cousins, Levites, Masons and Kings.

As USA idiots and "wigs", lobbies, aparatchics and pigs
Develop in USA "metodology of secrecy" and "New Tech"
To create World Tirrany of Russia-Prussia-Britain quaks
Of "Fritz-Ga-Ga-Ga", Sikorsky noizy Cossaks and shakes,
Pinning Ben Ladin on the plagiarized to steal for the buck.

Justice was done too late and probably it was just a deal,
"Gesheft" for elections, whether he's still alife or demized.
In any case, what has it do with us that swines plagiarize?
An order of Russia, like Fisher case, provoke him and kill?
Kidnapp, plagio-torture-silence, so Ivans be not critisized?
In Response

by: Pointingouttheobvious from: Georgia
May 14, 2011 00:39
Konstantin is speaking in broken English, makes several references to Russia, and claims he is from the place where most Russians would say they are from if they want to seem "werry American man, yeah yeah. you come to ecstasy party yeah! LA where I from yeah!" But I digress!

Seal team 6 is America and, frankly, they would probably assassinate Konstantin if they had a chance. Damn I got off topic again. So it is with the internet. (Also of note is the myriad of hackers from Russia establishing a botnet to take down American businesses...very interesting.)
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
May 20, 2011 19:40
"PointingoutSameHatThatAllTownWeare" is not necessary obvious.
You are wearing a hat that I corrected for many years, saving the World
from set in the motion expansion of new Russian Empire, devision
of Europe with Austria and Germany, devision of Asia with British
and using USA power provoke "neskladuha" of World's events,
including invasions from Hungary and Afghanistan through
Chechnia and Georgia by expanding Russia.

Read: WorldFreedomAndTruth.info.

My English is more advanced than yours - but it is little time
to repeat myself every time - so I push envelope of English
to shorten versus. If you like misstake me for Russia KGB
provocateurs that I fight here in almost every post - Why?

It simce your English is as lying as Russia neskladuha
- but more organized - as reform on Russian grammar
By Georgian - but poisonous - as Medichi of Lavrusha.
How frankly is a lie of Medichi, knowing USA organized
Even in assassinations by order of governments, while
defending Russia's crimes against humanity, innuending
with calling DECLARED BY PUTIN and unleashed by Russia
DOWN OF WORLD ECONOMY AND TRUTH, TOLD BY VICTIMS
OF RUSSIA - MIRIAD OF HACKERS? VERY INTERESTING, YOU SAY?

OFFER ASSASSINATE ME FOR YOUR RUSSIA, RASHKA, BY TEAM 6?
IS YOUR RUSSIA FIND MY DEFENCE OF FREEDOM AGAINST YOUR
RUSSIA'S EXPANSION MORE DAMAGEING THAN MY JUST CRITICS
OF BOTH SIDES (IF IT IS CALLED FOR) RASHKA'S MEDICHI?

By the way my last two post were refering to the "tdjjd" and the
"Akbar" that subvert-instigate toward secret tyrrany in USA that
Russia likes so much, accuse in it the USA, as you doing here.

Russsia instigates USA look bad, unlike did Stalin, Balanchini
and Kartveli, than Russia instigates the World hate USA, than
Russia organizes Economy and Truth collaps, than Russians
invade, genocidize and repopulate countries by the Rashkas,
while in the West they silence people that capable find truth,
like Fisher, killed by controlled by Russia USA spies...

In Response

by: Terry Oliver from: Bigfork Montana
May 08, 2011 05:19
These are Americas finest Boyz
In Response

by: Mick from: Daytona Beach
May 08, 2011 23:50
My Team does the work, that keeps you FREE !! Don,t like it......LEAVE !! Justice was Done !!!!

by: Anonymous
May 08, 2011 05:37
Keep up the good work and thanks for doing the US proud.

by: vskante from: hyderabad,india
May 08, 2011 11:11
i salute u Navy Seals for your gallan and bravet effort

by: Soldier58 from: florida
May 08, 2011 21:17
Thanks Seal Team 6. As a Navy and Army Vet...Thanks to you guys and all the military for doing their jobs and we enjoying our freedoms.
Thanks
Soldier58

by: Ronald from: Canada - soon
May 13, 2011 16:13
The real issue is Pakistan's nuclear weapons. As soon as the Taliban grow up, they'll snatch them. ISI is a failed intelligence bureaucracy in a failed state. The longer the US waits to snatch the weapons, the tougher it gets. Of course, I'd prefer the bad guys all just caught a cold, but international conventions prevent us from exploring that option.

Sorry, I know how it is easy to talk tough when the guys getting hurt are US Navy Seals and their dear families. But my guess is, if you polled them, Seals would agree that wiping out access by these filthy bastards to nuclear weapons is every bit as urgent as was their dealing with bin Laden.

We wait, we lose.

May the sun be always at your back.


by: Someone
May 17, 2011 18:32
Officially there is no team six...
I respect soldiers all over the world, for risking their lifes.
You guys can be proud of yourselves!

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