SEAL Team Six

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For the multinational police force see Special Team Six.
Naval Special Warfare Development Group
Naval Special Warfare Development Group.jpg
Active November 1980 – Present
Country  United States of America
Branch  United States Navy
Type Special operations force
Role Special operations
Size Classified
Part of United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command
JSOC emblem.jpg Joint Special Operations Command
US NSWC insignia.jpg United States Naval Special Warfare Command
Garrison/HQ Dam Neck Annex
NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.
Nickname DEVGRU, SEAL Team Six
Engagements

United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
Operation Urgent Fury
TWA Flight 847 Hijacking
Achille Lauro Hijacking

DEVGRU
Operation Just Cause
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Gothic Serpent
Battle of Mogadishu
Manhunt for Serbian War Criminals
Joint Task Force Liberia
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Anaconda
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Maersk Alabama hijacking
Operation Neptune Spear

Operation Octave Fusion

The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), or DEVGRU, is a U.S. Navy component of Joint Special Operations Command. It is often referred to as SEAL Team Six, the name of its predecessor which was officially disbanded in 1987.[1][2] DEVGRU is administratively supported by Naval Special Warfare Command and operationally commanded by the Joint Special Operations Command. Most information concerning DEVGRU is classified and details of its activities are not usually commented on by either the White House or the Department of Defense.[3] In 2010 it was reported DEVGRU's designation was changed by the Defense Department.[4] Despite the official name changes, "SEAL Team Six" remains the unit's widely recognized moniker. It is sometimes referred to in the U.S. media as a Special Mission Unit.[5]

DEVGRU and its Army counterpart, Delta Force, are the United States military's primary counter-terrorism units. Although DEVGRU was created as a maritime counter-terrorism unit, it has become a multi-functional special operations unit with several roles that include high-risk personnel/hostage extractions and other specialized missions.

The Central Intelligence Agency's highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) often works with—and recruits—operators from DEVGRU.[6] The combination of these units led to the most significant special operations success in the Global War On Terror.[7]

History[edit]

Administrative[edit]

Richard Marcinko, founder of SEAL Team Six

The origins of DEVGRU are in SEAL Team Six, a unit created in the aftermath of Operation Eagle Claw.[8][9][10] During the Iran hostage crisis in 1979, Richard Marcinko was one of two U.S. Navy representatives for a Joint Chiefs of Staff task force known as the TAT (Terrorist Action Team). The purpose of the TAT was to develop a plan to free the American hostages held in Iran. In the wake of the disaster at the Desert One base in Iran, the Navy saw the need for a full-time counter-terrorist unit, and tasked Marcinko with its design and development.

SEAL Team Six Patch

Marcinko was the first commanding officer of this new unit, which was first called MOB 6 (Mobility 6) and Sixth Platoon. Eventually the unit was dubbed SEAL Team Six. At the time there were two SEAL teams. Marcinko named the unit SEAL Team Six in order to confuse Soviet intelligence as to the number of actual SEAL teams in existence.[10][11][12] The unit's plankowners were hand-picked by Marcinko from throughout the UDT/SEAL community. SEAL Team Six became the U.S. Navy's premier counter-terrorist unit. It has been compared to the U.S. Army's Delta Force.[3][9] Marcinko held the command of SEAL Team Six for three years, from 1980 to 1983, instead of the typical two-year command in the Navy at the time.[10] SEAL Team Six was formally created in October 1980, and an intense, progressive work-up training program made the unit mission-ready just six months later.[12] SEAL Team Six started with 75 shooters. According to Dick Marcinko, the annual training allowance for the command was larger than that of the entire U.S. Marine Corps. The unit has virtually unlimited resources at its disposal.[13]

In 1987 SEAL Team Six was dissolved. A new unit named the "Naval Special Warfare Development Group" was formed, essentially as SEAL Team Six's successor.[14][15][16] Reasons for the disbanding are varied,[10] but the name SEAL Team Six is often used in reference to DEVGRU.

Operational[edit]

Recruitment, selection and training[edit]

NSWDG recruiting support personnel,[17] 2007.

In the early stages of creating SEAL Team Six, Marcinko was given six months to get ST6 up and running or the whole project would come to an end. This meant that there was a timing issue and Marcinko had little time to create a proper selection course, similar to that of Delta Force, and as a result hand-picked the first plankowners of the unit after assessing their Navy records and interviewing each man. It has been said that Marcinko regretted not having enough time to set up a proper selection process and course. All applicants came from the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) and East and West Coast SEAL teams. Marcinko's criteria for recruiting applicants was combat experience so he would know they could perform under fire; language skills were vital, as the unit would have a worldwide mandate to communicate with the local population if needed; union skills, to be able to blend in as civilians during an operation; and finally SEAL skills. Members of SEAL Team Six were selected in part because of the different specialist skills of each man.

Candidates are interviewed by a review board to deem whether the candidate is suitable to undertake the selection phase.[18] Those who pass the stringent recruitment and selection process will be selected to attend a six- to eight-month Operators Training Course. Candidates will screen with the unit's training wing known as "Green Team". The training course attrition rate is high; during one selection course, out of the original 20 candidates, 12 completed the course.[19] All candidates are watched closely by DEVGRU instructors and evaluated on whether they are suitable to join the individual squadrons. Howard E. Wasdin, a former member of SEAL Team Six said in a recent interview that 16 applied for SEAL Team Six selection course and two were accepted.[20] Those who do not pass the selection phase are returned to their previous assignments and are able to try again in the future.[21]

Like all Special Operations Forces units that have an extremely intensive and high-risk training schedule, there can be serious injuries and deaths. SEAL Team Six/DEVGRU has lost several operators during training, including parachute accidents and close-quarters battle training accidents. It is presumed that the unit's assessment process for potential new recruits is different from what a SEAL operator experienced in his previous career, and much of the training tests the candidate's mental capacity rather than his physical condition, as he will have already completed Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL or the Navy EOD training pipeline.

Candidates are put through a variety of advanced training courses led by civilian or military instructors. These can include free-climbing, advanced unarmed combat techniques, defensive and offensive driving, advanced diving, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training. All candidates must perform at the top level during selection, and the unit instructors evaluate the candidate during the training process. Selected candidates are assigned to one of the Tactical Development and Evaluation Squadrons; the others are returned to their previous units. Unlike the other regular SEAL Teams, SEAL Team Six operators were able to go to almost any of the best schools anywhere and train in whatever they wanted depending on the unit's requirements.

Weapons[edit]

DEVGRU operators provide close protection for Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
A SEAL with M60 GPMG.
SEAL with an M4A1 fitted with ELCAN SpecterDR and Tango Down VFG.
A SEAL with Mk 17 rifle, also fitted with SpecterDR and AN/PEQ-15 ATPIAL.
A SEAL with a non-railed P226 Mk 25 pistol.

DEVGRU members are granted significant freedom to tailor their weapons to their preferences. As such, barrel lengths, rifle furniture, optics and other accessories can vary between individual rifles. It is also not abnormal for one DEVGRU member to have duplicates of one type of rifle, each configured for a different mission role.

The following is also a general list. DEVGRU has a large number of weapons in its armories, some of which are not officially adopted by the US military in any significant numbers.

Assault/Battle Rifles:

Submachine Guns:

  • Heckler & Koch MP7A1 — a personal defense weapon (PDW) known to be used by DEVGRU operators when missions require a very compact and potent weapon.
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 — only MP5N (Navy) variants are used, with the Navy models being developed specifically for the SEALs by H&K. Has been phased out in favor of lighter, more powerful weapons.

Sidearms:

  • SIG Sauer P226 — chosen over the M9 by the SEALs as their sidearm. Navy models are made of all stainless steel as opposed to normal SIG pistols which have alloy frames. Navy models have been produced both with and without rails, and with both stamped and milled slides. Currently designated the Mk. 25 by the US Navy.
  • SIG Sauer P239 — sub-compact pistol, used as a concealed-carry weapon on undercover missions.
  • Heckler & Koch Mk 23 Mod 0 — a pistol developed by Heckler & Koch in response to a request for an "offensive" handgun, the weapon was determined to be too heavy and awkward to be useful to the SEALs, despite its exceptional accuracy. Retained in armories, but rarely fielded if at all.
  • Heckler & Koch HK45CT — being procured as a replacement for the Mk. 23 Mod 0 as of 2010, appropriately designated Mk. 24 Mod 0. The Mk. 24 Mod. 0 is to be issued with a suppressor like the Mk. 23.

Shotguns:

Machine Guns:

Designated Marksman/Sniper/Anti-Materiel Rifles:

Grenade Launchers:

  • M203 — a single-shot 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher.
  • M320 — a single-shot 40mm underbarrel or stand alone grenade launcher.
  • M79 — used by DEVGRU for special applications, sometimes cut down to have a very short barrel and no shoulder stock; then called the "Pirate Gun".
  • Mk 13 Mod 0 — used mounted on the FN SCAR-H rifles.

Rocket Launchers:

Structure[edit]

DEVGRU is divided into color-coded line squadrons, which are commanded by Commanders:

  • Gold Squadron (Assault Team)
  • Blue Squadron (Assault Team)
  • Silver Squadron (Assault Team)
  • Red Squadron (Assault Team)
  • Black Squadron (Reconnaissance & Surveillance Team)
  • Gray Squadron (Divers)

Each assault squadron is divided into three groups (commanded by lieutenant commanders) and groups are divided into smaller teams.[22] Each line squadron has a specific nickname. Examples being Gold-Knights, Red-Indians, Black-Pirates.[23]

Commanding officers[edit]

Command of DEVGRU is a Captain's billet. Ranks listed are the most recent if the officer is still on active duty.

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

Secretary of the Navy, Dr. Donald C. Winter is briefed on the Sentry HP UAV at Dam Neck, 2007.

When SEAL Team Six was first created it was devoted exclusively to counter-terrorism with a worldwide maritime responsibility; its objectives typically included targets such as ships, oil rigs, naval bases, coastal embassies, and other civilian or military bases that were accessible from the sea or inland waterways.

On certain operations small teams from SEAL Team Six were tasked with covertly infiltrating international high risk areas in order to carry out reconnaissance or security assessments of U.S. military facilities and embassies; and to give advice on improvements in order to prevent casualties in an event of a terrorist attack.[citation needed]

Although the unit was created as a maritime counter-terrorism unit, it has become a multi-functional special operations unit with multiple roles that include high-risk personnel/hostage extractions. Such operations include the successful rescue of Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted, the attempted rescue of Linda Norgrove, the successful rescue of American doctor Dilip Joseph[33] and in 1991 the successful recovery of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family during a coup that deposed him.

After SEAL Team Six was disbanded and renamed, the official mission of the currently operating Naval Special Warfare Development Group is to test, evaluate, and develop technology and maritime, ground, and airborne tactics applicable to Naval Special Warfare forces such as Navy SEALs; however, it is presumed this is a small part of the group's work assignment and more of a cover.

DEVGRU's full mission is classified but is thought to include pre-emptive, pro-active counter-terrorist operations, counter-proliferation (efforts to prevent the spread of both conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction), as well as the elimination or recovery of high-value targets (HVTs) from unfriendly nations.[34][35] DEVGRU is one of a handful of U.S. Special Mission Units authorized to use pre-emptive actions against terrorists and their facilities.[36]

DEVGRU and the Army's Delta Force train and deploy together on counter-terrorist missions usually as part of a joint special operations task force (JSOTF).[3][12][37][38]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Spec ops raids into Pakistan halted". Navy Times. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Special ops ‘surge’ sparks debate". Army Times. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Emerson, Steven (13 November 1988). "Stymied Warriors". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Marc Ambinder (12 October 2010). "Delta Force Gets a Name Change". The Atlantic. 
  5. ^ "In high demand, Air Force commandos must find new ways to cope with stress of duty". Gaffney Ledger. Retrieved 2013-05-04. 
  6. ^ Waller, Douglas (3 February 2003). "The CIA's Secret Army". TIME (Time Inc). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1004145-1,00.html
  7. ^ "Osama bin Laden killed in CIA operation". The Washington Post. May 8, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  8. ^ Fallows, James (13 December 1981). "Iran from five American viewpoints". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ a b Halloran, Richard (26 November 1986). "U.S. moving to expand unconventional forces". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d Marcinko, Richard (1992). Rogue Warrior. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-79593-7. 
  11. ^ a b Pfarrer, Chuck (2011). SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama Bin Laden. Macmillan. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-4299-6025-0. 
  12. ^ a b c Gerth, Jeff; Philip Taubman (8 June 1984). "U.S. military creates secret units for use in sensitive tasks abroad". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Wasdin, Howard (9 May 2011). "'SEAL Team Six' And Other Elite Squads Expanding". NPR. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  14. ^ von Rosenbach, Alexander (4 May 2011). "Devgru: Bin Laden's ultimate nemesis". Defence Security Report. Janes. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU)". Global Security. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Ambiner, Marc (10 October 2012). "Delta Force Gets a Name Change". The Atlantic. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Abhan, Courtney Messman (30 July 2010). "Special Warfare Development Group seeks Sailors". Naval Station Everett Public Affairs. Northwest Navigator. p. 3. Retrieved 14 September 2012. "NSWDG is located in Virginia Beach, and is a type two sea duty cno priority one major command. The command is an elite counter terrorism unit that conducts research, and develops, tests, and evaluates current and emerging technology. This technology is related to special operations tactics and joint warfare to improve Special Forces war fighting capabilities. ... While at NSWDG, support personnel could have opportunities to earn many special qualifications, their expeditionary warfare specialist (EXW) pin, and Combat Service Support and Combat Support Naval Education Codes (NEC). Special qualifications include parachuting and fast roping, among many others. NSWDG support personnel receive special duty pay, and have some of the highest promotion rates in the Navy." 
  18. ^ Anderson Cooper (3 May 2011). "'This is their type of op,' ex-SEAL says". CNN. 
  19. ^ Pfarrer, Chuck. Warrior Soul: The Memoir of a Navy Seal. New York: Random House. pp. 325–326. ISBN 0-89141-863-6. "In one year, the operators of SEAL Six fire more bullets than entire USMC." 
  20. ^ "The iron will of Seal Team 6 – CBS News Video". Cbsnews.com. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  21. ^ "LCV Cities Tour: Interview with Howard Wasdin "Seal Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy Seal Sniper" – Global-Report.org TV". Global-report.org. 22 June 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  22. ^ Owen, Mark (2012). No Easy Day. Dutton Adult. p. 37. ISBN 9780525953722. 
  23. ^ Combs, Cindy C; Slann, Martin W. (2008). Encyclopedia of terrorism. Infobase Publishing. p. 289. ISBN 978-0-8160-6277-5. 
  24. ^ a b Mann, Don (2011). Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America's Elite Warriors. Little, Brown and Company. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-316-20431-6. 
  25. ^ Arostegui, Martin C. (1997). "Get Noriega". Twilight Warriors: Inside the World's Special Forces. Macmillan. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-312-30471-3. 
  26. ^ Marquis, Susan Lynn (1997). Unconventional warfare: rebuilding U.S. special operations forces. Brookings Institution Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-8157-5476-3. 
  27. ^ Committee on Risk-Based Approaches for Securing the DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex, National Research Council (2011). Understanding and Managing Risk in Security Systems for the DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex. National Academies Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-309-20884-0. 
  28. ^ Butler, Frank K.; John H. Hagmann, David T. Richards (2009). Tactical Management of Urban Warfare Casualties in Special Operations. Parabellum Concepts. p. 6. 
  29. ^ a b Naylor, Sean (2006). Not a good day to die: the untold story of Operation Anaconda. Penguin. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-425-20787-1. 
  30. ^ "Rear Admiral Edward G. Winters, III". United States Navy. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  31. ^ Associated Press (15 September 2008). "2 SEALs killed in Afghanistan fighting". Navy Times. Retrieved 5/2/2012. ""The deaths of SOCS Marcum and SOC Freiwald are tremendous losses for Naval Special Warfare and the United States," Capt. Scott Moore, commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Development Group, said in a statement." 
  32. ^ "Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey". United States Navy. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2912. 
  33. ^ Qadir Sediqi,"U.S. Navy SEAL killed in operation to rescue American doctor in Afghanistan" CNN 10 December 2012
  34. ^ Shanker, Thom; Risen, James (12 August 2002). "Rumsfeld weighs new covert acts by military units". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  35. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". LT Michael P. Murphy USN. United States Navy. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  36. ^ U.S. Special Ops: America's elite forces in the 21st century, Fred J. Pushies, MBI Publishing Company, 2003.
  37. ^ Couch, Dick (2005). The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-81046-4. 
  38. ^ Bowden, Mark (2001). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Signet. ISBN 0-451-20393-3. 

References[edit]

  • Marcinko, Richard (1993). Rogue Warrior. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-79593-7. 
  • Gormly, Robert A. (1999). Combat Swimmer: Memoirs of a Navy SEAL. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 0-451-19302-4. 
  • MacPherson, Malcolm (2006). Roberts Ridge: A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan. New York: Bantam Dell. ISBN 0-553-58680-7. 
  • Shipler, David K.; Halloran, Richard (26 November 1985). "Terror: Americans as targets". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 

External links[edit]