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The Storied History of SEAL Team Six, the Secret Unit That Killed Bin Laden

The Storied History of SEAL Team Six, the Secret Unit That Killed Bin Laden



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Originally known as SEAL Team Six, the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DevGru) is one of several publicly disclosed units under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), an elite and highly classified group that coordinates counterterrorism and other security-related missions around the world. (Others include the Army’s fabled Delta Force and the Air Force’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron.) Based at Pope Army Air Field and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, JSOC was established in 1980 after American special forces failed to rescue American hostages at the Iranian Embassy during Operation Eagle Claw.

A JSOC unit responsible for counterterrorist operations in the maritime environment became operational the following year as SEAL Team Six, a name chosen to confuse Soviet intelligence since only three SEAL teams existed at the time. In 1987 it was dissolved and rebranded as the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group.

While DevGru’s organization, like the details of its operations, is shrouded in secrecy, it is believed that most of its members are handpicked from other SEAL teams and from the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal units. In addition to the grueling training program that all SEALs—the acronym refers to the settings in which they are deployed: sea, air and land—must complete, DevGru candidates receive advanced instruction in counterterrorism techniques before undergoing a rigorous selection process. According to the security news website GlobalSecurity.org, the unit now counts an estimated 200 operators as well as 300 specialists charged with testing and developing special equipment and weapons.

In October 2010, The Atlantic reported that defense officials had renamed DevGru once again, but the new moniker has not yet been made public.

While many of DevGru’s operations remain classified, some of its activities have been confirmed and publicized, including the unit’s most high-profile raid yet: the assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan that killed the elusive al-Qaeda leader.

WATCH: The full episode of Revealed: The Hunt for Bin Laden online now.

Operation Urgent Fury (1983)

SEAL Team Six participated in the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada, which quelled a communist takeover of the small Caribbean nation’s government in October 1983. Four of its members were lost at sea during an offshore helicopter drop. The unit was responsible for the rescue of the country’s governor general, Paul Scoon, who had been placed under house arrest and was facing execution, as well as the securing of a radio transmitter. Under heavy fire from Grenadian soldiers as they attempted to evacuate, the SEALs swam out to sea, where they waited for nearly six hours until the Navy located and retrieved them.

Operation Just Cause (1989)

Working with Delta Force and other elite units, DevGru members assisted in the capture of deposed dictator Manuel Noriega during the United States’ invasion of Panama in December 1989.

Operation Pokeweed (1990)

DevGru reportedly returned to Panama to take part in a secret operation intended to apprehend the Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The mission is believed to have failed due to poor intelligence.

Battle of Mogadishu (1993)

DevGru members participated in a multinational task force during Operation Gothic Serpent, the U.S.-led mission to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in the fall of October 1993. It culminated in the Battle of Mogadishu, which was later chronicled in the book “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War” and a subsequent film adaptation.

READ MORE: Navy SEALS: 10 Key Missions

Arrest of Bosnian War Criminals (1998)

In the aftermath of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, DevGru members were deployed to Bosnia to track down accused Bosnian war criminals and bring them to The Hague to stand trial. They apprehended a number of key suspects, including Radislav Krstić, the Bosnian general who was later indicted for his role in the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.

Attempt to Rescue Linda Norgrove (2010)

In October 2010, DevGru members spearheaded an assault on a Taliban compound in Afghanistan where Linda Norgrove, a kidnapped Scottish aid worker, was being held. Placed in the line of fire by her captors, Norgrove was fatally injured during a clash between U.S. forces and Taliban gunmen. A joint investigation by the United States and the United Kingdom later revealed that a grenade thrown by one of the SEALs had killed the 36-year-old woman. Several weeks later, newspapers reported that several DevGru members were disciplined for neglecting to inform officials about the circumstances of her accidental death.

Conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (2001-Present)

DevGru members have played a key role in the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, targeting numerous al-Qaeda and Taliban figures. They have often worked in close cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division, which carries out covert paramilitary operations.

Killing of Osama Bin Laden (2011)

The mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden eluded capture for nearly a decade until DevGru carried out its most high-profile mission to date. While details of the operation have yet to be confirmed by officials, it is believed that two dozen SEALs from the unit stormed the terrorist leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the early hours of May 2, 2011. According to reports, a firefight broke out, lasting 40 minutes and resulting in the death or capture of 22 people. Bin Laden was fatally shot and then buried at sea after a meticulous identification process. All of the SEALs survived the assault despite a helicopter malfunction that nearly compromised their mission.

READ MORE: How SEAL Team Six Took Out Osama bin Laden


FLASHBACK! When Joe Biden Revealed SEAL Team Six Killed Osama bin Laden

The Obama administration spiked the football in the assassination of Osama bin Laden for political expediency.

On May 3 2011, at an event in Washington, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did the unthinkable. He publicly revealed the identity of the special-operations unit responsible for bin Laden’s killing.

His reckless action put at risk the lives of every member of SEAL Team 6. The Taliban and other jihadists eager to avenge bin Laden now knew which unit to target. Stunned and shocked, SEAL members immediately realized they were going to be hunted by al Qaeda sympathizers.

The parents of Aaron Vaughn, a member of SEAL Team Six who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011, three months after Osama was killed, said that the entire team was put in danger because the Obama administration leaked the name of the unit that killed Osama bin Laden.

His mother said SEALs want to remain private. That was the practice.

Her son called her shortly before his death and warned her:

“Aaron called me and said, ‘Mom, you need to wipe your social media clean of any reference to me or any of my buddies. Just disconnect completely,’”

Karen Vaughn said her son warned her after Vice President Biden publicly identified the SEALs on May 3, 2011 — two days after the raid. “He [Aaron] actually said to me, ‘Mom, there’s chatter, and all of our lives could be in danger, including yours’ … then I realized all of those families, you know, you’re talking about a community of around three hundred families who were all of a sudden made targets by this administration.”

Her son was killed in the catastrophic crash of Extortion 17 on August 6, 2011. It was the worst loss of life in the history of the Navy SEALs but played down and mostly ignored by the administration and the media.

A number of the SEALs’ family members were left without answers. Rep. Chaffetz finally held a hearing but failed to secure answers. There was no evidence Biden’s comments were directly related to the crash. However, witnesses on the ground were never interviewed and the investigation was held long after the crash.

Many felt a target was put on the back of the SEALs.

The killing of Osama bin Laden had been hyped for political purposes and the crash of Extortion 17 so soon after the crash left people wondering if their deaths were a direct result of Biden’s leak.


Flashback! Biden’s Betrayal Of The SEAL Team That Killed Bin Laden

When he was the Vice President, he did the most STUPID, unthinkable thing for a man in his position. He revealed the names and the unit that killed Bin Laden”On May 3 2011, at a national event in Washington, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. did the unthinkable, he publicly revealed the identity of the special-operations unit responsible for bin Laden’s killing, just to show that he “is in the know.”

His reckless action put at risk the lives of every member of Seal Team 6. The Taliban and other jihadists eager to avenge bin Laden now knew which unit to target. Stunned and shocked, Seal Team Six members immediately realized they were going to be hunted by al Qaeda sympathizers.

Soon after Biden’s reckless idiotic speech, an American CH47 Chinook was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in the Tangi Valley, Maidan Wardak Province, Afghanistan, all 38 aboard were killed including most if not all of Seal Team Six, this incident became known as Extortion 17… After Biden had let the identification out, and before the Chinook was shot down, members of Seal Team 6 had called their families and told them to wipe out all connection to them, including social media, and disassociate themselves as far away from them as possible because they too would be in grave danger as the Taliban would attempt to find them in retaliation…and Biden, well he didn’t even drop a sweat over any of it, and the was just too stupid to realize what he had done.”

Since August 2011, the one question is particularly active within U.S. Special Operations community what really happened to Navy SEAL Team 6? So far, there were numerous theories what happened on that day, which is the worst battlefield calamity in U.S. Navy SEALs history.

On August 6, 2011, Taliban fighter shot down from the sky a Chinook helicopter with 38 persons on board, including 22 members of elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6. They were deployed to action in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan when a chopper (call sign Extortion 17) suddenly was shot down. 22 U.S. Navy SEALs, 9 U.S. military personnel and seven Afghan soldiers were killed on that day.

A year ago, before they were killed, members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 had attained international prominence for one particular reason: They were responsible for the Operation Neptune Spear which resulted with the death of world’s most wanted terrorist, Al-Qaida founder, Osama bin Laden. Since then, there are claims that American heroes were betrayed by their own government. According to online reports, only a few days after the bin Laden operation, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — in a pathetic attempt to spike the football and gloat — publicly revealed their central role in the raid.

For ordinary people, that was seen as praise for what they did, but for professionals, it meant that his revelations put a giant target on the backs of every Navy SEAL Team 6 member. A top secret unit for cover operations, whose mission is to operate in the murky shadows, was exposed as the group that eliminated al Qaeda’s chief mastermind. Mr. Biden’s reckless actions — followed by President Obama’s own words acknowledging the secret unit’s operation — jeopardized their safety. All kind of scum bags bent on revenge and began an intense manhunt. It’s the situation when situation changes and the hunters became hunted.

Upon hearing of Biden’s disclosure, Navy SEAL members were shocked. Many of them immediately contacted family members, warning them to eradicate all personal information from social-media sites. Aaron Vaughn, one of the SEALs eventually killed in the ambush, told his mother, Karen Vaughn, to delete every reference to SEAL Team 6 from her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“I never heard Aaron this concerned and worried in his entire life,” Mrs. Vaughn said in an interview. “He called me and said, ‘Mom, you and Dad have to take everything down. Biden has just put a huge target on everybody.’”

Tragically, it looks like Aaron Vaughn was right. He probably was aware that this could become a serious security threat to team members. The cheap political points were taken on their occasion, and a highly sensitive covert operation was compromised and at the end, it cost dozens on U.S. lives.

A radio commentator on WRKO AM-680 in Boston, Jeffrey T. Kuhner, wrote for Washington times about potentially bigger scandal than Benghazi, Libya, claiming that the administration — along with the top military brass — are desperately trying to cover up what took place on August 6, 2011 when Navy SEALs were on its way to that fateful raid.

Further, he wrote about the possibility that Taliban were waiting for the Chinook helicopter as it approached its landing site. That means that there was possibility that someone tipped off that the SEALs were coming the helicopter was attacked from three sides in a coordinated ambush. The U.S. military claimed that the helicopter was blown to pieces by a shoulder-fired missile, in which everyone on board was burned beyond recognition. Hence, senior military officials ordered the American bodies cremated without the prior approval of their family members.

Many open questions are still present that need to be answered:

Why was the Chinook’s black box never found?
Why was the Chinook not given aerial backup, which is standard military procedure when special forces are deployed?
Why were the seven Afghan soldiers who boarded the Chinook at the last minute different from those on the flight manifest?
Why were U.S. troops deployed into battle in a Chinook jalopy made in the 1960s and ordered not to fire back at Taliban snipers?

Many things were strange, from these open questions to the strict rules of engagement, but however, families still demanding answers what happened to their beloved ones. Brave warriors honorably served their country and they deserve to rest in peace. Justice demands it.

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Alex D is a conservative journalist, who covers all issues of importance for conservatives. He writes for Conservative US, Red State Nation, Defiant America, and Supreme Insider. He brings attention and insight from what happens in the White House to the streets of American towns, because it all has an impact on our future, and the country left for our children. Exposing the truth is his ultimate goal, mixed with wit where it’s appropriate, and feels that journalism shouldn’t be censored. Join him & let’s spread the good word!


SEAL Team Six established after disastrous 1980 raid

SEAL Team Six, which is actually called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, is one of a small handful of military detachments deployed to conduct the kind of kinetic counter-terrorism raid the unit pulled off in Pakistan over the weekend, resulting in the death of Osama bin Laden.

Based in Virginia, the unit was established in the wake of the Iran hostage rescue disaster in 198,0 and the unit now probably includes around 200 highly trained sailors. The first commander was Dick Marcinko, who later went to federal prison for charges defrauding the government over the price of contractor acquisitions.

The folks over at GlobalSecurity.org list some of the unit’s deployments prior to the mission over the weekend:

1983 – SEAL Team Six members were also responsible for the rescue and evacuation of Governor Sir Paul Scoon from Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury. Four SEALs were lost to drowning during helicopter insertion offshore. Other aspect of the operation included the securing of a radio transmitter which resulted in heavy contact with Grenadian forces.

1985 – Six deployed to the site of the Achille Lauro hijacking in anticipation of a possible assault on the vessel.

1989 – The unit took part in Operation Just Cause as part of Task Force White, which included SEAL Team Two. Their primary task, along with Delta Force, was the location and securing of Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.

1990 – They again operated in Panama as part of a secret operation code-named “Pokeweed” which had as its goal the apprehension of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. The mission was unsuccessful due to poor pre-assault intelligence. By some accounts, Six was deployed from the US aircraft carrier USS Forrestal offshore, although other sources dispute this claim [the ship’s summary history discloses no operations in Panamanian waters during 1990].

1991 – SEAL Team Six reportedly recovered Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide under cover of darkness following the coup which deposed him.

1991 – Six was also part of contingency planning for the shooting down Saddam Hussein’s personal helicopter with Stinger missiles, although this operation never got beyond the planning stage.

1996 – The unit reportedly deployed to Atlanta, Georgia as part of a large US counterterrorist contingency plan for the 1996 Summer Olympics. (NOTE: The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hostage Rescue Team [HRT] is responsible for domestic CT and was the primary response unit).


SEAL Team 6 by the Numbers

A Government Accountability Office report published earlier this month contains a fascinating and hitherto secret detail: the exact size of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6.

Operating since the late 1980s under the cover name Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Team 6 is a special mission unit that works for Joint Special Operations Command. JSOC performs some of the most secret and sensitive missions for the United States, including the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan (a mission for which Team 6 provided the ground force). As such, the military has always closely guarded details on how many personnel the unit has.

A Government Accountability Office report published earlier this month contains a fascinating and hitherto secret detail: the exact size of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6.

Operating since the late 1980s under the cover name Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Team 6 is a special mission unit that works for Joint Special Operations Command. JSOC performs some of the most secret and sensitive missions for the United States, including the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan (a mission for which Team 6 provided the ground force). As such, the military has always closely guarded details on how many personnel the unit has.

But pick up the new GAO report on special operations forces, and there’s the information on page 46: As of fiscal year 2014, Development Group had a total of 1,787 authorized positions, of which 1,342 are military and 445 are civilian.

A former senior Team 6 official reacted with surprise when told that the GAO had published the numbers. “I don’t know why they would do that,” he said, adding that he did not recall any previous instance in which the government published such detailed numbers.

Patricia O’Connor, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command, which has administrative control over Team 6, said she could not comment on the release of the information because she had not seen the GAO report. Ken McGraw, a spokesman for U.S Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., referred queries on the matter to the Pentagon, and in particular the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Michael Lumpkin, who is himself a retired SEAL officer. Lumpkin’s office provided the information in the GAO report, McGraw said. A spokeswoman for Lumpkin did not respond to a request for comment by late Monday afternoon.

The numbers appear to be accurate, said the former senior Team 6 official. However, the figure for military personnel should not be interpreted as meaning that Team 6 has more than 1,000 SEALs. In fact, the unit has only about 300 enlisted SEALs who have made it through Team 6’s arduous assessment and selection process, known as Green Team, the former senior Team 6 official said.

These SEALs, who are known as “operators” once they have graduated, are joined by about 50 to 60 SEAL officers who have been through Green Team, he added. The other Navy personnel support the operators’ missions.

Team 6’s Army equivalent is 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment — Delta, more commonly known as Delta Force. But that unit goes unmentioned in the GAO’s equivalent personnel breakdown of Army special operations forces.


Soldiers or spies: Dark, secret history shrouds SEAL Team 6

Dr. Dilip Joseph, who was rescued by a group of a Navy SEAL Team 6 operators in Afghanistan after being held hostage by Taliban militants, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Dec. 17, 2014. Joseph claims that one of his captors had been safely subdued before later being fatally shot by SEALs, whose activities have spurred recurring concerns about excessive killings and civilian deaths.

A grave for remains of Navy SEALs aboard a helicopter with the call sign Extortion 17, shot down in 2011 in Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., March 22, 2015. The downing claimed 15 Gold Squadron members and two bomb specialists -- the most devastating day in the history of Navy SEAL Team 6.

A screen grab of a video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense shows Navy SEAL Team 6 operators retreiving Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who had been injured, captured and held in a hospital, during the Iraq War in 2003.

A handout image provided by the Navy shows the lifeboat where Capt. Richard Phillips was held hostage in the Indian Ocean in 2009. He was rescued by SEAL Team 6.

They have plotted deadly missions from secret bases in the badlands of Somalia. In Afghanistan, they have engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that was not their own. On clandestine raids in the dead of the night, their weapons of choice have ranged from customized carbines to primeval tomahawks.

Around the world, they have run spying stations disguised as commercial boats, posed as civilian employees of front companies and operated undercover at embassies as male-female pairs, tracking those the United States wants to kill or capture.

Those operations are part of the hidden history of the Navy&rsquos SEAL Team 6, one of the nation&rsquos most mythologized, most secretive and least scrutinized military organizations. Once a small group reserved for specialized but rare missions, the unit best known for killing Osama bin Laden has been transformed by more than a decade of combat into a global manhunting machine.

That role reflects America&rsquos new way of war, in which conflict is distinguished not by battlefield wins and losses, but by the relentless killing of suspected militants.

Almost everything about SEAL Team 6, a classified Special Operations unit, is shrouded in secrecy &ndash the Pentagon does not even publicly acknowledge that name &ndash though some of its exploits have emerged in largely admiring accounts in recent years. But an examination of Team 6&rsquos evolution, drawn from dozens of interviews with current and former team members, other military officials and reviews of government documents, reveals a far more complex, provocative tale.

While fighting grinding wars of attrition in Afghanistan and Iraq, Team 6 performed missions elsewhere that blurred the traditional lines between soldier and spy. The team&rsquos sniper unit was remade to carry out clandestine intelligence operations, and the SEALs joined CIA operatives in an initiative called the Omega Program, which offered greater latitude in hunting adversaries.

Team 6 has successfully carried out thousands of dangerous raids that military leaders credit with weakening militant networks, but its activities have also spurred recurring concerns about excessive killing and civilian deaths.

Afghan villagers and a British commander accused SEALs of indiscriminately killing men in one hamlet in 2009, team members joined CIA and Afghan paramilitary forces in a raid that left a group of youths dead and inflamed tensions between Afghan and NATO officials. Even a U.S. hostage freed in a dramatic rescue has questioned why the SEALs killed all his captors.

When suspicions have been raised about misconduct, outside oversight has been limited. Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees SEAL Team 6 missions, conducted inquiries into more than a half-dozen episodes, but seldom referred them to Navy investigators. &ldquoJSOC investigates JSOC, and that&rsquos part of the problem,&rdquo said one former senior military officer experienced in special operations, who like many others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity because Team 6&rsquos activities are classified.

Even the military&rsquos civilian overseers do not regularly examine the unit&rsquos operations. &ldquoThis is an area where Congress notoriously doesn&rsquot want to know too much,&rdquo said Harold Koh, the State Department&rsquos former top legal adviser, who provided guidance to the Obama administration on clandestine war.

Waves of money have sluiced through SEAL Team 6 since 2001, allowing it to significantly expand its ranks &ndash reaching roughly 300 assault troops, called operators, and 1,500 support personnel &ndash to meet new demands. But some team members question whether the relentless pace of operations has eroded the unit&rsquos elite culture and worn down Team 6 on combat missions of little importance. The group was sent to Afghanistan to hunt al-Qaida leaders, but instead spent years conducting close-in battle against mid- to low-level Taliban and other enemy fighters. Team 6 members, one former operator said, served as &ldquoutility infielders with guns.&rdquo

The cost was high: More members of the unit have died over the past 14 years than in all its previous history. Repeated assaults, parachute jumps, rugged climbs and blasts from explosives have left many battered, physically and mentally.

&ldquoWar is not this pretty thing that the United States has come to believe it to be,&rdquo said Britt Slabinski, a retired senior enlisted member of Team 6 and veteran of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. &ldquoIt&rsquos emotional, one human being killing another human being for extended periods of time. It&rsquos going to bring out the worst in you. It&rsquos also going to bring out the best in you.&rdquo

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., a member of the SEALs during the Vietnam War, cautioned that Team 6 and other Special Operations forces had been overused. &ldquoThey have become sort of a 1-800 number anytime somebody wants something done,&rdquo he said. But relying on them so much, he added, is inevitable whenever U.S. leaders are faced with &ldquoone of those situations where the choice you have is between a horrible choice and a bad choice, one of those cases where you have no option.&rdquo

While declining to comment specifically on SEAL Team 6, the U.S. Special Operations Command said that since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks its forces &ldquohave been involved in tens of thousands of missions and operations in multiple geographic theaters, and consistently uphold the highest standards required of the U.S. armed forces.&rdquo

During a chaotic battle in March 2002 on the Takur Ghar mountaintop close to the Pakistan border, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, an assault specialist in SEAL Team 6, fell from a helicopter onto terrain held by al-Qaida forces.

Enemy fighters killed him before U.S. troops were able to get there, mutilating his body in the snow.

It was SEAL Team 6&rsquos first major battle in Afghanistan, and he was the first member to die. The manner in which he was killed sent shudders through the tight-knit community. America&rsquos new war would be up close and ugly. At times, the troops carried out the grisliest of tasks: cutting off fingers or small patches of scalp for DNA analysis from militants they had just killed.

After the March 2002 campaign, most of Osama bin Laden&rsquos fighters fled into Pakistan, and Team 6 would rarely fight another sustained, pitched battle against the terrorist network in Afghanistan. The enemy they had been sent to take on had largely disappeared.

At the time, the team was prohibited from hunting Taliban fighters and also blocked from chasing any al-Qaida operatives into Pakistan, out of concern about alienating the Pakistani government. Mostly confined to the Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, the SEALs were frustrated. The CIA, though, was under no similar restrictions, and Team 6 members eventually began working with the spy agency and operated under its broader combat authorities, according to former military and intelligence officials.

The missions, part of the Omega Program, allowed the SEALs to conduct &ldquodeniable operations&rdquo against the Taliban and other militants in Pakistan. Omega was modeled after the Vietnam-era Phoenix Program, when CIA officers and Special Operations troops conducted interrogations and assassinations to try to dismantle the Viet Cong&rsquos guerrilla networks in South Vietnam.

But an extensive campaign of lethal operations in Pakistan was considered too risky, the officials said, so the Omega Program primarily focused on using Afghan Pashtuns to run spying missions into the Pakistani tribal areas, as well as working with CIA-trained Afghan militias during night raids in Afghanistan. A CIA spokesman declined to comment for this article.

The escalating conflict in Iraq was drawing most of the Pentagon&rsquos attention and required a steady buildup of troops, including deployments by SEAL Team 6 members. With the relatively small U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan, Taliban forces began to regroup. Alarmed, Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was leading Joint Special Operations Command, in 2006 ordered the SEALs and other troops to take on a more expansive task in Afghanistan: Beat back the Taliban.

That order led to years of nightly raids or fights by Team 6, which was designated the lead Special Operations force during some of the most violent years in what became America&rsquos longest war. A secret unit that was created to carry out the nation&rsquos riskiest operations would instead be engaged in dangerous but increasingly routine combat.

A former Team 6 member, an officer, was more dismissive of some of the operations. &ldquoBy 2010, guys were going after street thugs,&rdquo he said. &ldquoThe most highly trained force in the world, chasing after street thugs.&rdquo

SEAL Team 6&rsquos fenced-off headquarters at the Dam Neck Annex of the Oceana Naval Air Station, just south of Virginia Beach, Va., houses a secretive military within the military. Far removed from the public eye, the base is home not just to the team&rsquos 300 enlisted operators (they disdain the term &ldquocommandos&rdquo), their officers and commanders, but also to its pilots, Seabee builders, bomb disposal technicians, engineers, medical crews and an intelligence unit equipped with sophisticated surveillance and global tracking technology.

The Navy SEALs &ndash the acronym stands for Sea, Air, Land forces &ndash evolved from the frogmen of World War II. Team 6 arose decades later, born out of the failed 1980 mission to rescue 53 U.S. hostages seized in the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Poor planning and bad weather forced commanders to abort the mission, and eight servicemen died when two aircraft collided over the Iranian desert.

The Navy then asked Cmdr. Richard Marcinko, a hard-charging Vietnam veteran, to build a SEAL unit that could respond quickly to terrorist crises. The name itself was an attempt at Cold War disinformation: Only two SEAL teams existed at the time, but Marcinko called the unit SEAL Team 6 hoping that Soviet analysts would overestimate the size of the force.

He flouted rules and fostered a maverick image for the unit. (Years after leaving the command, he was convicted of military contract fraud.) In his autobiography, &ldquoRogue Warrior,&rdquo Marcinko describes drinking together as important to SEAL Team 6&rsquos solidarity his recruiting interviews often amounted to boozy chats in a bar.

Inside Team 6, there were initially two assault groups, called Blue and Gold, after the Navy colors. Blue used the Jolly Roger pirate flag as its insignia and early on earned the nickname &ldquothe Bad Boys in Blue,&rdquo for racking up drunken driving arrests, abusing narcotics and crashing rental cars on training exercises with near impunity.

Young officers sometimes were run out of Team 6 for trying to clean up what they perceived as a culture of recklessness. Adm. William H. McRaven, who rose to head the Special Operations Command and oversaw the bin Laden raid, was pushed out of Team 6 and assigned to another SEAL team during the Marcinko era after complaining of difficulties in keeping his troops in line.

Ryan Zinke, a former Team 6 officer and now a Republican congressman from Montana, recalled an episode after a team training mission aboard a cruise liner in preparation for potential hostage rescues at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Zinke escorted an admiral to a bar in the ship&rsquos lower level. &ldquoWhen we opened the door, it reminded me of &lsquoPirates of the Caribbean,&rsquo&rdquo Zinke said, recalling that the admiral was appalled by the operators&rsquo long hair, beards and earrings. &ldquoMy Navy?&rdquo the admiral asked him. &ldquoThese guys are in my Navy?&rdquo

That was the beginning of what Zinke referred to as &ldquothe great bloodletting,&rdquo when the Navy purged Team 6&rsquos leadership to professionalize the force. Current and former Team 6 operators said the culture is different today. Members now tend to be better educated, more athletic, older and more mature &ndash though some are still known for pushing limits.

Team 6&rsquos role in the 2011 bin Laden raid spawned a cottage industry of books and documentaries. Members of Team 6 are expected to honor a code of silence about their missions, and many current and former members fume that two of their own spoke out about their role in the al-Qaida leader&rsquos death. Matt Bissonnette, author of two best-sellers about his tenure at SEAL Team 6, and Robert O&rsquoNeill, who said in a television special that he had killed bin Laden, are under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service over accusations that they revealed classified information.


Operation Neptune Spear

After a 24-hour delay due to cloudy conditions, President Barack Obama gave the order. It was clearance to proceed with the mission on May 1, 2011, with one goal, to kill or capture notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden. The raid ensued using 20-25 special-made Black Hawk helicopters carrying US Navy SEALs Team Six – DEVGRU members, 79 operators, and one dog in total. The backup plan had multiple helicopters – including two Black Hawks and two Chinooks and a number of search-and-rescue helicopters.

Osama bin Laden was Operation Neptune Spear’s primary target codenamed GERONIMO (Photo: XY)

On May 1, 2011, the US Navy SEALs DEVGRU team made a world’s headlines. After they landed in the backyard of the compound, Navy SEALs used explosives to breach the walls of the compound and proceeded to attack its structures. Despite receiving open fire, they were able to neutralize the guards and then proceeded in clearing buildings throughout the compound. Bin Laden’s couriers on the first floor were killed and additional personnel and women and children encountered on the second and third floors were captured and secured in place with zip ties. Once the raid was over, they were moved outside.

Operation Neptune Spear: Daring DEVGRU raid on Bin Laden’s secret complex (Photo: XY)

The team located and confronted Osama bin Laden on the third floor. The Offical statement claims that Bin Laden resisted and posed a threat for a US Navy SEALs Team Six and they had no choice but to kill him. As a result, the US Navy SEAL Team 6 mission – Operation Neptune Spear – ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.


Over 200 attacks on humans are reported every year.

However, the last the death by a cassowary was in 1926 when 16-year-old Phillip McClean got an injury to the throat after running from a cassowary and then he fell to the ground.

The cause of this attack was self-defense.

Most cassowaries will not attack unless they are provoked and feel threatened.

They have been known to attack when expecting to be given food.

Most of the time however, it is simply when humans attempt to get too close and the bird feels threatened and therefore feels it needs to use self-defense.

Many humans who work with cassowaries or protecting them believe the birds to be very peaceful animals who just want their own space and to be respected.

Cassowaries have also been known to attack dogs unprovoked.

They have even broken down a few doors and windows by pecking them with their beak.


The Valuable Origin Of The $1 Bill

There is the old saying “money doesn’t grow on trees” and we all know that, but where does money actually come from?

There are many famous currencies around the world from the Euro to the British pound, but the most recognizable currency around the world would be the dollar.

So where does the dollar bill come from and how long has it been around? Here we’re going to look at the origin story of this bill.


Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan Reportedly Kills Members of SEAL Team 6

Aug. 6: Virginia Beach residents Tom Hall, left, and Mark Janik, center, watch as news about the Navy Seal Team Six helicopter accident is displayed on a television at a bar in Virginia Beach , Va. The headquarters for the Navy Seal Team Six is located in Virgina Beach. (AP)

July 26: Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a gathering with high ranking Afghan military officials at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP2011)

President Barack Obama said Saturday that the deaths of Americans in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan are a reminder of the "extraordinary" price the U.S. military is paying in the decade-long Afghan war.

Insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans, most of them belonging to the same elite unit as the Navy SEALs who killed former Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden, U.S. officials said Saturday. It was the deadliest single loss for American forces in the decade-old war against the Taliban.

One current and one former U.S. official said that the dead included 25 Navy SEALs from SEAL Team Six, the unit that carried out the raid in Pakistan in May that killed bin Laden. They were being flown by a crew of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because families are still being notified.

A total number of 38 people died in the crash, killing 7 Afghans and one interpreter.

"We don't believe that any of the special operators who were killed were involved in the bin Laden operation," a senior U.S. military official told Fox News.

President Barack Obama mourned the deaths of the American troops, saying in a statement that the crash serves as a reminder of the "extraordinary sacrifices" being made by the U.S. military and its families. He said he also mourned "the Afghans who died alongside our troops."

The death toll would surpass the worst single day loss of life for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 -- the June 28, 2005 downing of a military helicopter in eastern Kunar province. In that incident, 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops were killed when their craft was shot down while on a mission to rescue four SEALs under attack by the Taliban. Three of the SEALs being rescued were also killed and the fourth wounded. It was the highest one-day death toll for the Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II.

The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the scene. A senior U.S. administration official in Washington said the craft was apparently shot down by insurgents. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the crash is still being investigated.

NATO confirmed the overnight crash took place and that there "was enemy activity in the area." But it said it was still investigating the cause and conducting a recovery operation at the site. It did not release details or casualty figures.

"We are in the process of accessing the facts," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman.

With its steep mountain ranges, providing shelter for militants armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, eastern Afghanistan is hazardous terrain for military aircraft. Large, slow-moving air transport carriers like the CH-47 Chinook are particularly vulnerable, often forced to ease their way through sheer valleys where insurgents can achieve more level lines of fire from mountainsides.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday gave the first public word of the new crash, saying in a statement that "a NATO helicopter crashed last night in Wardak province" and that 31 American special operations troops were killed. He expressed his condolences to President Barack Obama.

The helicopter was a twin-rotor Chinook, said an official at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he was receiving his information from an Afghan officer in Kabul.

The volatile region of Wardak borders the province of Kabul where the Afghan capital is located and is known for its strong Taliban presence.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that Taliban fighters downed the helicopter during a "heavy raid" in Sayd Abad. He said NATO attacked a house in Sayd Abad where insurgent fighters were gathering Friday night. During the battle, the fighters shot down the helicopter, killing 31 Americans and seven Afghans, he said, adding that eight insurgents were killed in the fight.

There have been at least 17 coalition and Afghan aircraft crashes in Afghanistan this year.

Most of the crashes were attributed to pilot errors, weather conditions or mechanical failures. However, the coalition has confirmed that at least one CH-47F Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade on July 25. Two coalition crew members were injured in that attack.

Meanwhile, in the southern Helmand province, an Afghan government official said Saturday that NATO troops attacked a house and inadvertently killed eight members of a family, including women and children.

NATO said that Taliban fighters fired rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire at coalition troops during a patrol Friday in the Nad Ali district.

"Coalition forces responded with small arms fire and as the incident continued, an air strike was employed against the insurgent position," said Brockhoff. He added that NATO sent a delegation to meet with local leaders and investigate the incident.

Nad Ali district police chief Shadi Khan said civilians died in the bombardment but that it was unknown how many insurgents were killed.

Helmand, a Taliban stronghold, is the deadliest province in Afghanistan for international troops.

NATO has come under harsh criticism in the past for accidentally killing civilians during operations against suspected insurgents. However, civilian death tallies by the United Nations show the insurgency is responsible for most war casualties involving noncombatants.

In south Afghanistan, NATO said two coalition service member were killed, one on Friday and another on Saturday. The international alliance did not release further details.

With the casualties from the helicopter crash, the deaths bring to 365 the number of coalition troops killed this year in Afghanistan and 42 this month.


Watch the video: Navy SEALs Their Untold Story PBS Documentary (August 2022).