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Where Were You When You Heard About Seal Team 6?

Updated on August 30, 2017

Seal Team 6

Have you heard the story of a special operations team that can zip across the planet on notice by the President, to take out a single target? They're trained to handle any weapon imaginable, including hand-to-hand combat, and can execute from sea, air and land with laser precision.

The team was instrumental in taking out the leader of the most hostile terrorist group in the world using state of the art silenced rifles, demolitions, advanced tactics on the targets fortified stronghold, linguistics, medical training, and they flew into the compound on stealth helicopters designed and built at the illustrious Area 51.

On top of it all, one of the choppers crashed, and the not only was the mission a success, but not a single member of the team was killed or injured. What channel is this amazing TV show on, you'd say?


Photo Credit: Flikr Creative Commons Photo by carlos r guerra

Death of Osama bin Laden

Like most Americans, on May 2, 2011, I sat in front of my television, and listened as President Obama explained that Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda, had been killed. I felt relief, I suppose, but to be honest, I can't really put my finger on my feelings, because the time between 9/11 until then seemed so far in between that I couldn't get too over-joyed, really.

However, what I do remember, is driving to work in the days following, and hearing about a special missions group that flew in on stealth choppers, with some of the most advanced weaponry, and the most elite training of any military unit ever. Now, I'm not going to lie, I was a twelve-year-old boy once who group up on G.I. Joe, Batman, Rambo, James Bond and ninjas, so hearing that there actually were men out there training in special underground bunkers, in secret, with all kinds of gadgets and armor had me almost giggling with excitement.

Knowledge of the team had surfaced a day after the raid at an awards banquet, when Vice President Joe Biden was speaking at the podium, and he commended the work done by Admiral James Stavridis and his Seals. This was immediately attributed to Seal Team 6.

After hearing about these guys, I felt enamored with the idea that there actually were these super soldiers out there, looking out for us. So, I researched them veraciously.

The Speeches

President Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden

Joe Biden exposes the Seal Team.

Take the Poll

How did you feel at the news of Osama bin Laden's death?

See results

Operation Neptune Spear - Books and movies on the Death of Osama bin Laden

No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden
No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden

This book accounts the career and missions leading up to the killing of Osama bin Laden of member of Seal Team 6, who was there on the third floor to witness the Al-Qaeda leader's last breath.

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + UltraViolet Digital Copy)

A fantastic movie that highlights the CIA's 10-year interrogation and intelligence process leading up to the raid on bin Laden's compound.

SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper

This is an account of a Seal Team 6 trainer. He was a veteran of the elite team, and trained many of the men on the operation to maneuver and shoot.

Seal BUDS Training
Seal BUDS Training

Background of Seal Team 6 (DEVGRU)

Seal Team 6 was created in 1980, in lew of the Iran Hostage disaster. Richard Marcinko was tasked with putting together a dedicated maritime terrorist action team. The original Seal Team 6 was disbanded in 1987, and replaced by DEVGRU.

DEVGRU, along with the Army's Delta Force, is one of the country's specialized anti-terrorist forces, and more recently, they are the ones called on for such missions. They are capable of handling any terrain and any circumstances. They are masters of movement, weapons, linguistics, learning and they have access to the most advanced equipment necessary.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Lwp Lommunikacio

DEVGRU specializes in Close Quarter Combat, which pits small forces versus enemies in less than 30-meter ranges, with either hand-to-hand weapons or small fire-arms. They train with live fire, and it's said, during training, they fire more rounds of ammunition per year than the entire U.S. Marine corps.

They also specialize in helicopter drops, high-altitude parachuting, can handle any weapon found on the battle field, and many are knowledgeable enough that learning to defuse a nuclear weapon over night is not out of the question.

If all of that wasn't enough, all prospective Seals must pass an intense training regiment called BUD/S, which stands for Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL. This means Seals must not just be capable of waging war in the air and on land, but on and under water, as well. During this test their tasked with becoming proficient at combat diving.

One of the most intense portions of the combat diving test is a 20-minutes fist fight with an instructor at the bottom of a 20-foot pool, in which the candidate has nothing but a rebreather, but the instructor never allows the candidate to get a full breath of air. Imagine being 20-feet under water, blind, pummeled for 20-straight minutes, all the while never being able to get more than an ounce of air into your lungs. Can you imagine that? Ya, me neither.

Navy Seal Training For Mental and Physical Toughness

Chinook Helicopter Disaster

Just over three months after the leader of Al-Qaeda had been killed, on August 6, 2011, a Chinook Helicopter carrying 38-soldiers was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. A total of 15 of those soldiers were members of DEVGRU. They weren't the same members involved in the bin Laden raid, but they were members of the same team. It was the largest single loss ever suffered by the Seals.

Shortly after the incident occurred, a member of the Taliban took to the internet to claim responsibility. The claim reported, specifically, that they had taken out members of Seal Team 6.

Chinook Helicopter Investigation

Since the Chinook helicopter disaster, the family members of the lost servicemen have raised red flags with the military and the government, saying that someone needs to explain certain facts about what may have happened. Many things about the incident appear out of place.

The members of DEVGRU, along with several other military personal, were flying in to intercept Taliban forces, in a dangerous location. The only chopper made available to them was a 1967 Chinook helicopter. These are the same guys, who just a few months earlier were given the keys to the most advanced helicopters in existence. Now, the only thing they could get their hands one was a machine built during the Vietnam War.

Also, after the crash, the black box was reported missing, due to a flash flood, and the bodies were immediately cremated, without asking permission from the parents, because, as the military stated, the rocket-propelled grenade had burned all of the bodies to an unrecognizable crisp. The military's claim is, there was nothing else they could do.

The final piece out of place includes the fact that there were seven Afghan soldiers on board the helicopter. The soldiers named to be on board, were not the actual ones that boarded the Chinook, however, which begs the question, who actually boarded the chopper?

Some more resources on the investigation

House panel probing chopper crash that killed SEAL Team 6 members

KUHNER: Who betrayed Navy SEAL Team 6?

Unanswered questions plague SEAL Team 6 losses

Take the Poll

What strikes you as most odd about the incident?

See results

Navy Seals - Find out more from the guys who've been there

Rogue Warrior
Rogue Warrior

These are the amazing accounts of Richard Marcinko, the creator, and first commanding officer of Seal Team 6.

Lone Survivor (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD with UltraViolet)
Lone Survivor (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD with UltraViolet)

Stars Mark Wahlberg as elite Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, the only survivor of Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan.

Seal of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN
Seal of Honor: Operation Red Wings and the Life of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN

Lt. Murphy was the commander of a Seal Team in Afghanistan, who battled fearlessly against all odds. Even after Murphy was mortally wounded, he continued to command his team.


There's been a lot of talk about whether or not the Seals were set up to take the fall, and that our government had handed them over to the Taliban as some kind of revenge gesture in an attempt to settle the debt of killing bin Laden. It's all a bit sketchy. But the most important detail in all of this is, as interesting as it was to hear about Seal Team 6, a force so secret they weren't even supposed to exist, why would Vice President Biden announce them to the world, as being responsible for executing the raid on bin Laden in the first place?

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Photo by kPluto

Initially, I was excited to learn as much as I could about Seal Team 6, but there's a reason why these types of things are kept secret. It's not the movies, and it's certainly not romantic--it's real life and death. I am grateful to the men and women who serve this country, and I'm glad they're doing their jobs to keep me and my family safe. But I don't need to know the special forces teams. All I need to know is they're out there somewhere doing their jobs, and to them, whoever they are, I'd like to say, thank you.

What do you think?

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    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @IanTease: Ian, great points. Intelligence can be a dangerous thing. It can make for great fiction, but in real life it's a bit different. Great comment!

    • IanTease profile image


      4 years ago

      Great lens, really interesting. I think that with some covert operations the details will never be made public, whilst I'd like to know more i accept that we can't be told anything that may compromise any soldiers

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @SavioC: Absolutely, great point. Thanks for stopping by.

    • SavioC profile image


      5 years ago

      I will second oldnavyguy12 as with covert operations we will never know the truth of exactly what really happened. You have really put out an excellent lens, many people might have forgotten about the team. Well done.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @anonymous: I think you hit it on the nose. Thanks a lot.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I think, that in all covert operations and/or military ops, the truth will one day be known. Right now, there are too many people in our government with low to no qualifications, eager to take credit, so the secret "leaked." The country owes each one of these operators, be they men or women, a debt that they cannot pay but one which each volunteer....carries with pride. Semper Fi

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @artbyrodriguez: Definitely, it was a flighty comment made unnecessarily. Thanks for stopping by.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 

      5 years ago from Albany New York

      Your last paragraph is the perfect ending. In my opinion, the deaths in the helicopter was deliberate and would have been avoided if this information was not out there. Shame on Biden.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @mcstacy: I appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @KarleneTrudell: Absolutely. I was under the same impression at the time this was going on, but after doing some research for this article, I noticed the news articles seemed to change as the days went on, including the number of men killed and several other key issues. So, I kind of assumed the military wasn't willing to reveal much info until the families began pressing, and even then, they offered info sparingly.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Great article.

      I am a New Zealander so don't know alt about this other than the news of the death of Osama bin Laden.

      Is always sad to hear about the death of people who volunteered for their country and never returned.

    • mcstacy profile image


      5 years ago

      Very good information. Thanks for sharing.

    • KarleneTrudell profile image

      Karlene Trudell 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Interesting lens. I learned a few things about this that I didn't hear on the news when all of this happened.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      5 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @SusanDeppner: Wow, Susan, thanks for sharing all that. I'm happy to hear your family's back together.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I absolutely agree with your last paragraph and I think that says it all - it really is real live and death. I'm the wife of a veteran and a mom of two who volunteered to serve their country in Iraq and around the world. We are fortunate that our sons came home. My heart breaks for those whose sons and husbands and daughters and wives didn't make it, but it swells with pride to know they volunteered, trained, and gave up so much to serve our country.


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