SEAL Team Six
Naval Special Warfare Development Group, otherwise known as 'DEVGRU' or 'SEAL Team 6', is a Counter Terrorism unit administered by US Naval Special Warfare Command. An elite within an elite, the unit is made up of SEALs selected from existing SEAL Teams. DEVGRU is considered a 'Tier One' special mission unit on a par with the Army's Delta Force. SEAL Team Six is under operational command of JSOC.
SEAL Team Six - Organization
DEVGRU / ST6 is organized into 4 line squadrons codenamed Red Squadron, Blue Squadron, Gold Squadron and Silver Squadron. There is also a Black Squadron (Reconnaissance and Surveillance squadron) which appears to have a role similar to the army's Intelligence Support Activity. Each line squadron contains around 50 operators and each squadron is divided into 3 troops. Troops will typically be divided into teams of assaulters and snipers. Some sources indicate that DEVGRU includes a Gray Squadron, which is a specialist boat squadron dedicated to maritime operations.
SEAL Team Six - History
SEAL Team Six's origin can be traced back to the aftermath of Operation Eagle Claw, the aborted 1980 attempt by US SOF to rescue American hostages from Iran. With the need for dedicated hostage rescue units stronger than ever, SEAL Team 6 was put together and commanded by Richard Marcinko, with the unit coming online in 1981. SEAL Team 6's remit included Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) and ship-boarding operations.
SEAL Team 6 was eventually disbanded and, in 1987, its role, minus non-CT ship boarding which was handed off the newly formed SEAL team 8, was given to the newly formed Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDEVGRU or DEVGRU). Although ostensibly a new organization, DEVGRU was manned by many SEAL Team 6 operators and carried on with the same ethos and standard operating procedures. Although no longer its official name, the 'SEAL Team Six' moniker has stuck to the unit, especially with regards to its portrayal in the media.
SEAL Team Six - Roles
The primary missions of SEAL Team Six are:
- Counter Terrorism
SEAL Team Six specializes in Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) - e.g. hostage rescue and elimination of terrorists on ships, oil platforms etc - but is also capable of broader CT tasks. Since 2001 SEAL Team Six has been focused on operations in and around Afghanistan. The unit is also able to carry out pre-emptive CT operations.
- Close Protection
DEVGRU sometimes provide security for VIPs. For instance DEVGRU provided Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai with close protection in the early days of his Presidency.
- Special Reconnaissance
DEVGRU operators, especially those trained as snipers, are experts at reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence gathering operations
SEAL Team Six - Video
SEAL Team Six - Operations
- 1993 - Somailia - Operation Gothic Serpent
A small number of SEAL Team Six operators are among US SOF deployed to Somalia as Task Force Ranger. SEAL Team Six snipers provided cover for Delta / Ranger operations on a number of occassions. They also worked with CIA operatives, running agents and carrying out SIGINT operations from a safe house in downtown Mogadishu. (1) A number of SEALs fought in the 'Battle Of Mogadishu', otherwise known as the 'Black Hawk Down' mission, including fighting from vehicles used to extract prisoners from the Olympic Hotel.
- Mid-late 90s - Former Yugoslavia
Working under the auspices of NATO, SEAL Team Six arrested several suspected Serbian war criminals.
- 2001 - Present - Afghanistan - Operation Enduring Freedom
SEAL Team Six deployed to Afghanistan as part of a JSOC Joint Task Force (Task Force 11) with the remit of hunting down key Al Qaeda and Taliban figures.
SEAL Team Six operators from TF-11 were assigned to the Advanced Force Operations (AFO) Task Force that deployed into the Shahikot region to prepare the way for a large scale US airborne assault. One small recon team of DEVGRU operators took out a DSHK 12.7mm heavy machine gun emplacement that would have posed a major threat to the planned helicopter landings.
Prolonged clashes between US and Al Qaeda forces occurred during the eventual assault, code named Operation Anaconda. During the fighting, DEVGRU operators attempted a nighttime helicopter insert atop the peak of Taku Ghar. Unfortunately, enemy fighters were dug in on the mountain and the MH-47 carrying the SEALs took heavy fire. As the MH-47 tried to evade the incoming fire, a SEAL, Petty Officer First Class Neil C. Roberts, fell from the rear ramp. The 160th SOAR pilot managed to land the stricken helicopter further down the mountain. Further unsuccessful attempts to take the position and rescue Roberts were made, with more casualties taken. The initial SEAL unit was airlifted up the mountain by a reserve chopper and were this time able to get close to their target, although the resulting battle claimed the life of a USAF CCT. A force of Rangers later inserted in another MH-47, at the cost of another disabled helicopter and the lives of several soldiers and airmen. Sadly, Roberts also died on the mountain. Roberts is believed to have single-handedly fought off dozens of enemy before being killed. The landing zone would later become known as Roberts Ridge in memory of the fallen SEAL.
- 2003 - Present - Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom
During the invasion of Iraq, SEALs from SEAL Team Six were part of a joint tast force sent to rescue PFC Jessica Lynch who had been captured and held at an Iraqi hospital.
Post invasion, SEAL Team Six is believed to have contributed operators to a Combined Joint Task Force, often referred to as Task Force 88, tasked first with dismantling Saddam's Baathist regime and later the insurgency / Al-Qaeda. As in Afghanistan, DEVGRU has been targeting key nodes in the terrorist's network.
- 2009 - The Rescue Of Captain Richard Phillips
DEVGRU ended the hostage crisis abaord a lifeboat from a hijacked merchant vessel in the Gulf Aden in April 2009. DEVGRU snipers, firing from the fan tail of nearby US warship USS Bainbridge killed the hostage takers. An assault team on a RHIB then boarded the lifeboat and secured Phillips.
- 2011 - Pakistan - Osama Bin Laden Killed
On May 1st, 2011, SEAL Team Six raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden.
more info : SEAL Team Six kill Bin Laden
- 2012 - Somalia - Hostage Rescue
On January 25th, 2012, SEAL Team Six rescued 2 kidnapped aid workers being held in Somalia.
more info : SEAL Team Six Hostage Rescue Op
SEAL Team Six - Weapons
DEVGRU can draw on a range of specialised weapons...
more info: SEAL Team Six weapons