Many people are interested in SEAL Team 6, and they want to know more about the training, the missions, and the day-to-day life of these special Navy personnel. However, it is difficult to gather a lot of information about SEAL Team 6, because their work is so secret. In fact, there are rumors that SEAL Team 6 is now under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and using a new name. However, this has not been confirmed, so followers can only speculate.
The fact is, most people are confident that SEAL Team 6 is still working on top-secret missions, because they have always been so successful. Many websites are devoted to studying the history of these legendary military personnel, and there is a lot of information about their origins and past work that is not as classified anymore.
Those that truly want to know more can read the memoirs of some former members of the group that talk about their experience on SEAL Team 6. One is called SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin. Wasdin talks about being the best sniper on SEAL Team 6, which made him one of the best snipers in the world. Another book, called Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors, was written by Don Mann and Ralph Pezzullo. Mann was a member of SEAL Team 6 for more than eight years.
The Discovery Channel has a documentary about SEAL Team 6, which features its founder, Richard (Dick) Marcinko. It gives a lot of inside information, showing how things are for the people who are living the life of a Navy SEAL Team 6 member. There are many resources for information on the way life was as a member of SEAL Team 6. We will have to wait to learn about the missions going on today.
SEAL Team 6 has always had a large enough budget to develop and use the very best equipment available. Some former members of the team have been willing to share what sort of gear the elite SEALs pack for their mission. First of all, they travel in Blackhawk helicopters, which serve a number of purposes. They carry the SEALs to the location of the mission, and they also transport large caliber guns and missiles. In addition, SEALs that stay in the chopper have an excellent view, so they can act as lookouts. Therefore, the Blackhawks are an important part of any mission, because SEALs can fire from them with very high accuracy.
Snipers have a number of very special rifles that have features geared directly towards different types of battlefields. That means that one sniper could have and use any one of eight or ten weapons, depending on the place he is using it. When SEAL Team goes into a building, they choose guns with short barrels to make it easier to move through hallways and doorways. The SEALs have access to ammunition that is very large, which means it has more power to make an impact on dense material, like a car’s engine block.
When SEAL Team 6 goes into a fight, they are always sending information back and forth with commanders. There are satellites in space to help communication, and the SEALs often wear cameras mounted on their helmets to send images to base. The benefit is that in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to figure out who is in the room. The individuals monitoring the video feed can provide instruction to be sure everything goes smoothly, threats are eliminated, and the right target is captured.
Finally, one of the most useful standard items of tactical gear is a collection of stun grenades. They don’t kill people. Instead, they let out an enormous amount of light and sound, which usually distracts and disorients the people in the room.
Each of the Navy SEAL Teams has unique insignia that shows they are part of the Navy SEALS, but also members of their specialized unit. SEAL stands for Sea, Air, and Land, because these specialists are expert in underwater demolition, land explosives, reconnaissance underwater or on beaches, and other special warfare tactics. The specific teams are further specialized within these areas of skill, so the type of mission determines which team will be called to handle it.
The Navy SEAL insignia is gold, showing an eagle, a trident, and a pistol intertwined. The eagle represents the United States symbol of freedom, and the skills that SEALs have in the air. The eagle’s wings are outstretched to demonstrate strength and courage. The trident is symbolic of the mythological god of the sea, Poseidon, and it stands for the expertise SEALs have in working both above and below water to accomplish their missions. The pistol represents land, as SEALs are carefully trained to handle intelligence gathering and highly sensitive missions anywhere in the world. It is shown fully cocked, which means that wearers are ready for battle at all times.
The insignia was designed in the 1960s, and it wasn’t long before each team incorporated the symbol into its own unique version. SEAL Team 6 chose a very basic style, with the eagle/trident/pistol image overlaid against the Roman numeral six (VI). Below this design, there is a banner that spells out SEAL TEAM SIX. This insignia is only worn by the very best of the best, as SEAL Team 6 is considered the most elite of the elite Navy SEALs. It takes a lot of training and hard work to be worthy of the honor.
Before there were Navy SEALs, the responsibilities of organizing beach landings, handling explosives, and slipping behind enemy lines through waterways were divided up between Navy Scouts & Raiders, Naval Combat Demolition Units, and Operational Swimmers of the Office of Strategic Services. All of these groups worked independently from each other with very little communication from World War II through the end of the conflict in Vietnam.
The three units were brought together into the Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, and Land) in the early 1980s, when the Navy decided that a dedicated counter-terrorism team was needed. The new team combined scouts, demolition experts, and underwater spies to work together on their mission.
Richard Marcinko, the Naval Officer who developed the new unit, originally called them Mobility 6 (MOB 6). Later, he renamed the group SEAL Team 6. Though there were only actually two specialized SEAL teams in existence, Marcinko added the 6 to mislead enemy forces into thinking there were many more SEAL teams.
According to Marcinko, SEAL Team 6’s annual budget was more than the allocation for all US Marines, allowing them to develop and use the best, most advanced technology available. These are the experts that pioneered equipment we take for granted today, such as diving masks, swimfins, Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (submersibles), and closed-circuit diving tools.
Navy SEALs have to undergo two years of the most brutal training imaginable to earn the title. The individuals who endure it can quit at any time by ringing a bell placed in a public location. Only about 31% make it all the way through. There are about 2,500 active SEALs, and the very best of this group are chosen for SEAL Team 6.
Though most people still recognize the name Navy SEAL, in 1987, it was actually reorganized and renamed to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. There have been some reports that there has since been another name change, though the new title is classified information.
SEAL Team 6 has been the subject of myths, legends, and media speculation since it started. This is partially due to the mystery and awe that surrounds this specially trained group, and partially because of the dramatic nature of the missions they are charged with. Though their operations are extremely secret, the results are big news.
The best known accomplishment of SEAL Team 6 – and the one that gained the most attention from the press – was the successful elimination of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 1st and 2nd of 2011. Using the title Operation Neptune Spear, the Team gained entry to the Pakistani compound where bin Laden was hiding and killed him in a mere 38 minutes. Several unofficial accounts have been written since the raid, including a graphic novel titled Code Word: Geronimo by a retired Marine Captain and the book Seal Target Geronimo by a former Navy SEAL.
SEAL Team 6 was also in the news in October 2010 due to a failed mission. They attempted the rescue of kidnapped Scottish aid worker Linda Norgrove. Norgrove was working in Afghanistan when the Taliban took her hostage. A mission to secure her release went dismally wrong when Norgrove was killed by a SEAL grenade.
SEAL Team 6 was recently in the media again because of the successful rescue of American aid worker Jessica Buchanan and Danish aid worker Poul Hagen Thisted. The two had been attempting to remove land mines near Galkayo, Somalia. On January 24, 2012, after three months in captivity, Navy SEALs parachuted into the area and walked the two miles to the enemy’s compound. They were able to reach the two in time, seeing them safely aboard a helicopter that took them to freedom. News reports celebrated this success as demonstration of the skill and training of U.S. forces.