The Birth of SEAL Team Six

The Birth of SEAL Team Six

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After more than 3,000 Marines were killed in the Battle of Tarawa (November 1943), it became clear that the U.S. military was in need of better pre-invasion intelligence. Enter the Naval Combat Demolition Units and Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs), the forerunners of today’s SEALs. After World War II, however, these special operations forces largely disbanded. But beginning in 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War the Navy called on the UDT “frogmen” again, and quickly expanded their operation.

In 1962, as conflict in Vietnam began ramping up, President John F. Kennedy established the first two Navy SEAL teams out of the existing UDTs. The SEAL acronym comes from Sea, Air and Land, the three environments where the Navy’s special operations forces are trained to operate. At the height of the conflict in Vietnam, eight SEAL platoons were deployed there on a rotating and continuous basis, and close to 50 SEALs were killed in Vietnam from 1965 to 1972.

In late 1980, after the humiliating failure of Operation Eagle Claw, the aborted mission to rescue 53 American hostages seized at the American embassy in Tehran, the Navy asked Commander Richard Marcinko to build a SEAL unit that could respond quickly and fiercely to terrorist crises. Marcinko was a seasoned veteran, having enlisted in the Navy in 1958. He served two tours in Vietnam, where he commanded a much-feared SEAL platoon, and earned the Silver Star, four Bronze Stars with combat “V” (denoting heroism), two Navy Commendation Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. He was reportedly given six months to get the new counterterrorism operation up and running, or the entire project would be scrapped.

Though only two SEAL teams existed at that time, Marcinko called the new group SEAL Team Six, supposedly because he hoped Soviet analysts would overestimate the size of the U.S. force. Two assault groups, named after the Navy colors of blue and gold, formed the core of the group. The Blue Squadron, with the Jolly Roger pirate flag as its insignia, soon earned a reputation for recklessness, while the Gold Squadron identified more with knights or crusaders. Marcinko left after several years (he formed another anti-terrorist unit, Red Cell, in 1984, but in 1990 was convicted of military contract fraud and served 15 months in prison) and in the early 1990s the Navy reportedly stepped in to revamp Team Six’s leadership and operations, turning it into the professional and effective—yet still boundary-pushing—force it is today.

Officially, SEAL Team Six doesn’t even exist. As Dick Couch and William Doyle write in their 2014 book “Navy SEALS: Their Untold Story,” the U.S. Department of Defense almost never publicly acknowledges the existence of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DevGru, the cover name for Team Six. Its official mission is developing new equipment and tactics for the general Navy SEAL organization, which also includes nine unclassified teams. Unofficially, however, SEAL Team Six carries out some of the military’s riskiest missions, the ones considered too dangerous for conventional troops.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Team Six and the rest of the Navy SEALs have found themselves playing a more active role than ever, ranging from the remote, mountainous regions of Afghanistan to war-torn cities such as Baghdad. The SEALs, including Team Six, carry out clandestine, high-impact operations that would be impossible for larger, conventional forces. They also perform on-the-ground reconnaissance and intelligence gathering before planned attacks by those larger forces. Though traditionally SEALs were associated most with (at least partially) water-based missions, they are equally likely to carry out missions on land and in the air.

Three successful operations in recent years pulled the SEALS, and Team Six in particular, out of the shadows and squarely into the global spotlight. In April 2009, Somali pirates captured Captain Richard Phillips of the merchant ship MV Maersk Alabama and held him hostage inside a small, enclosed lifeboat. The American destroyer USS Bainbridge was towing the boat to calmer waters in the Indian Ocean when ransom negotiations stalled, and the three SEAL Team Six snipers on the warship shot and killed the three pirates holding Phillips. Details of the rescue made international news, and formed the basis for a major Hollywood film, “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks. In January 2012, Team Six operators skydived into Somalia to save two hostages, American aid worker Jessica Buchanan and her Danish colleague Poul Thisted.

By far the highest-profile Team Six operation—and the most famous special ops raid in history—was Operation Neptune Spear, which ended in the killing of Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. The culmination of a 10-year manhunt directed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the raid on bin Laden’s compound was carried out by 23 or 24 SEALs (according to varying accounts), accompanied by a Pashto translator and a combat dog. It took less than 40 minutes.

As the role and importance of SEAL Team Six has expanded greatly since 9/11, so has the danger. As the New York Times reported in 2015: “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.”

Today, the top-secret headquarters of SEAL Team Six are located at the Dam Neck Annex of the Oceana Naval Air Station, just south of Virginia Beach. Elite operators from regular SEAL teams are chosen to join Team Six in a competitive process known as “Green Team.” Two more assault groups, Red Squadron and Silver Squadron, have joined the Blue and Gold, for a total of some 300 operators in all. Members of the Grey Squadron, known as the vikings, are trained specifically to drive the high-speed boats and other vehicles used by Team Six, while the Black Squadron, which began as Team Six’s sniper unit, has taken the lead in gathering intelligence since the 9/11 attacks. Women—who are excluded from the rest of Team Six—can serve in the Black Squadron, which is estimated to have some 100 members stationed throughout the world.

Beyond Neptune Spear: The Secret History of SEAL Team Six (Part 6)

At this point the classified existence of SEAL Team Six and its status as an apex counterterrorist force rank among the worst kept secrets in the history of secrets.

The unit first attracted widespread attention in 1993 with the release of Richard Marcinko’s book, Rogue Warrior, which detailed its origin. However, DEVGRU essentially remained hidden in plain sight for the next two decades until its role in Operation Neptune Spear was divulged and a spotlight of unheard-of intensity shone down on its activities.

The United States Navy has long recognized the power of public relations and controlling the message. From Top Gun to Act of Valor, the Navy has consistently managed to effectively showcase its more glamorous missions. Prospective recruits have been given reason to believe that joining the Navy is not only honorable but frankly cooler than signing on the dotted line for the Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps. i

And as such, the Navy was clever in simultaneously concealing and advertising SEAL Team Six’s triumphs. Even with the recent media blitz concerning the unit, there remains a great deal of confusion among the public at large in discerning ST6 from the non-JSOC, “white” SEAL teams. And prior to May 2, 2011, 99.9%+ of the general population had no idea that SEAL Team Six was appreciably different than, for example, SEAL Team Two or SEAL Team Ten.

For years, television documentaries and stories leaked to the press boasted of the remarkable accomplishments of generically-branded “U.S. Navy SEALs.” Doing so proved a recruiting boon but also successfully sidestepped crediting the operations to a classified unit. ii

That was a tactic the Army could not easily replicate, for example, to boost Ranger recruitment with tales of Delta Force exploits.

Read Next: Beyond Neptune Spear: The Secret History of SEAL Team 6 (Part 2)

As a result, the Navy has either won or lost the battle in the press — depending on one’s viewpoint DEVGRU and Delta have racked up a similarly expansive catalog of achievements since 9/11, but one unit far outstrips the other in terms of press clippings.

It has also been argued that the overall culture of the SEAL community is less resistant of such attention, further contributing to the imbalance. iii

Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the lid has been blown off the unit’s cover, and a keen fascination on the part of the public has only perpetuated continued media attention.

Among a community that prides itself on its secrecy and operational security (OPSEC), the resultant acclaim has been widely considered a dangerous precedent, although exactly how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the additional coverage turns out to be remains to be seen.

On the bright side, additional exposure of special operation forces — and SEAL Team Six in particular — not only drives recruitment but may also serve as a deterrent as potential kidnappers and the like are made aware of America’s SMU’s extraordinary capabilities.

It can also be argued that the American public has a right to be informed — at least in broader terms — regarding the actions of its military, especially those that rank among the most important events of modern times. And there’s the collective boost to national pride that can be provided by acknowledging victories such as bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. iv

However, it is feared that the increased attention and awareness may be putting these supposedly clandestine troops and their families at greater risk — both on deployment and at home. v

And some missions are so sensitive that their very outing could have serious national security implications.

Read Next: Beyond Neptune Spear: The (Open) Secret History of SEAL Team Six (Part 1)

There is also the constant fear that an informed enemy may prove a harder target and potential ambusher if aided by increased knowledge of a unit’s TTPs (techniques, tactics, and procedures).

In some ways, there is no going back complete secrecy in a world of exponentially expanding social media connections and a 24/7 news cycle is an impossibility. This goes back to the idea of ‘controlling the message,’ but again, it’s debatable whether truth or deception represents the preferred means of guiding it.

Despite its overnight celebrity status, SEAL Team Six remains poorly understood. A Google search will show that there exists a sizable population of individuals who believe SEAL Team Six is/was one small group of men — essentially a single troop.

Many of these people also believe that the entirety of SEAL Team Six — the team that got bin Laden in Abbottabad — was wiped out in the Extortion 17 crash (even though the incidents involved different squadrons). vi On the positive side, jihadists were discouraged from seeking revenge on a group they believed to no longer exist. Less appealing are the crackpot conspiracy theorists vii fueled by that belief who virtually shout that ST6 was executed by its own nation’s government as some sort of cover-up related to the “actual” fate of bin Laden. viii

USSOCOM commander Adm. William McRaven — himself an author who was initially inspired to pursue a career in special operations by the John Wayne feature film The Green Berets — accepts the inevitable and has advocated at least some degree of increased transparency by special operations forces. ix

However, even McRaven has been pushed far beyond his more generous limits by some of the more egregious examples, most notably No Easy Day, the recently released account of Operation Neptune Spear written by the pseudonymous ‘Mark Owen,’ an ex-Red Squadron DEVGRU operator who participated in the mission.

In response, McRaven issued a tersely written memo reminding the community of their nondisclosure agreements. He threatened that, in the case of violations, USSOCOM “will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate.” x

It’s a tricky situation that is unlikely to be answered definitively one way or the other anytime soon. But either way, there is no end to ST6-mania in sight. DEVGRU-centric films are in the works by Hollywood heavyweights such as Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty, which tells the story of the hunt for bin Laden) and Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips, which concerns the merchant marine’s rescue from Somali pirates). Even Steven Spielberg was rumored to have been interested, at least initially, in pursuing the movie rights to No Easy Day.

Additionally, a network television drama about the unit is in development, xi and books by and about SEALs — ST6 or otherwise — are in no short supply. xii

It remains to be seen if the runaway success of No Easy Day opens the floodgates for further memoirs from post-9/11 JSOC SMU operators. But even if it doesn’t, investigative journalists such as Mark Bowden and Sean Naylor are busily preparing new titles that promise to shed even more light on the units’ activities.

Even the realm of video games has not escaped the OPSEC question completely. xiii The Medal of Honor series boasts a number of authentic details previously unseen in the medium, xiv which is due in large part to the active consultation of a sizable collection of former DEVGRU and Delta Force operators. xv

It’s also a situation that is likely to become even uglier as it has emerged a bitterly-debated partisan political issue. xvi

Taking the Show on the Road

Red Squadron’s foray into Pakistan to eliminate bin Laden and the rescue operations that took aim at Somali pirates were not isolated incidents so much as a glimpse of what has taken place in the shadows away from the more visible war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now fully living up to the worldwide mandate upon which it was founded, SEAL Team Six will likely increasingly operate on a global scale going forward. Attention has long since shifted away from Iraq, and the Afghanistan campaign has recently been reorganized in a couple of important respects: Afghan commando kandaks have taken on more and more responsibility for conducting raids in their home country, xvii and the efforts of Tier 1 units have been stymied xviii by heightened operational restrictions. xix

In order to increase its reach, JSOC has invested heavily in the development of an offensively-minded counterpart to the civilian National Counterterrorism Center. Massively-networked cloud computing allows JSOC to rapidly process and exploit new intelligence, and in turn, strike at terrorists through the use of armed drones or targeted special operations raids anywhere on the planet with little advance notice. xx

Depending on the needs of the nation and the specifics of its most highly-sensitive activities, DEVGRU operates interchangeably under Title 10, which applies to military force, and, when “on loan” to the CIA, under Title 50, which governs covert intelligence activities. xxi

The shackles have been loosened dramatically if not stripped altogether since 9/11. The AQN ExOrd (al-Qaeda Network Execute Order), first signed by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2004, set the conditions for DEVGRU and Delta Force to undertake action against al-Qaeda in some 15-20 different nations. xxii

That authorization has since been expanded upon, including through a secret directive signed by Gen. David Petraeus in 2010 with the explicit goal to “penetrate, disrupt, defeat, or destroy” terrorist networks throughout the Middle East. xxiii

While increasing in frequency, this is not an especially new development. Prior to the bin Laden raid, DEVGRU had reportedly “surreptitiously entered (Pakistan) on ten to twelve previous occasions.” xxiv

In September 2008, SEAL Team Six conducted a cross-border operation in the village of Angoor Ada in South Waziristan, much to the consternation of the Pakistani government.

The pre-dawn heliborne raid, which targeted the Haqqani network, saw one chopper watch down from overhead as two others unloaded a ST6 strike force at the target location. The operators reportedly proceeded to kill between one and two dozen individuals while detaining others in what U.S. officials subsequently deemed a “successful operation.”

Meanwhile, in something of a precursor to the Operation Neptune Spear fallout, Pakistan termed the assault “a gross violation of Pakistan’s territory.” xxv

As a result of Pakistan’s protests, cross-border raids were halted for a time following the Angoor Ada operation. xxvi Earlier in the GWOT, during a period from 2002 to early 2003, ST6 had operated inside the tribal areas of Pakistan with the host nation’s consent. xxvii

In 2009, 160th SOAR and DEVGRU operators successfully erased the threat presented by Kenyan Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of the three leading al-Qaeda figures active in Somalia.

In Operation Celestial Balance, a group of AH-6 and MH-6 Little Birds set off for the coast of Somalia from a U.S. Navy vessel in the Indian Ocean. xxviii The Night Stalkers intercepted the two-vehicle convoy of Nabhan — one of four co-conspirators wanted in connection with the 󈧆 Mombosa attacks — where the group had stopped to eat breakfast, near the al-Shabaab-controlled town of Barawe. xxix

The helicopters fired on the terrorists in one pass and then circled back so that ST6 operators could dismount from the outboard benches of an MH-6 to confirm the kill and retrieve the remains of Nabhan and three others. xxx

The attack was reportedly the sixth in a “series of U.S. assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives in (Somalia)” that took place in a timeframe of less than three years. xxxi A number of those kills came when JSOC operators repeatedly crossed into Somalia from Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, to hunt senior AQ figures. xxxii

In 2011, JSOC captured Somali Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a coordinator between al-Shabaab and AQAP, and detained him aboard a Navy vessel for months before he was indicted on terrorism charges. xxxiii

Combined CIA/JSOC hunter-killer teams also proved lethal in Yemen, eliminating numerous al-Qaeda the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leaders. xxxiv

Reports also indicate that JSOC’s SMUs have been active in such nations as Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Madagascar, Bolivia, Ecuador, Georgia, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, and the Ukraine. xxxv

Meanwhile, attention continues to shift to the Americas xxxvi as concerns build regarding the growing links connecting global criminal and terrorist organizations. xxxvii Most recently, (controversial) reports have surfaced claiming that the Pentagon has put Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, the head of the ruthless and enormously powerful Sinaloa Cartel, in the sights of SEAL Team Six. xxxviii

Operating as a global hit team has required an unprecedented intermeshing of the capabilities of JSOC and the CIA, formerly bitter rivals that engaged in regular turf wars as JSOC found its footing. xxxix

However, today the cooperation is so great and so routine that the lines have been blurred almost completely. xl DEVGRU has become a de facto operational asset of the CIA to the degree that it is has been called “the CIA’s Praetorian Guard” in reference to the select force of warriors who were charged with the defense of Roman emperors. xli

All of this almost certainly represents just a scant percentage of the vast operational history that has been SEAL Team Six’s post-9/11 reality. Even the little that is known makes clear that a random month or even week of modern-day DEVGRU operations would have literally defined any number of highly-regarded CT units prior to September 11, 2001 (and even into today in many examples).

However, frequently a single mission is held up as a unit’s signature, sometimes even decades after the fact. For the British SAS that signature is the Iranian Embassy siege and for the Israeli Sayeret Matkal it is Entebbe.

Likewise, SEAL Team Six’s reputation has been forever cemented by their decisive role in Operation Neptune Spear, and it’s unlikely any SOF unit will boast a more obvious hallmark in the foreseeable future.

However, it’s better thought of as not just a single victory — and quite frankly, a relatively easy one for ST6 — but rather the culmination of thousands upon thousands of operations that helped shape the unit into a force for which the job of neutralizing Osama bin Laden was a tactically routine assignment.

And Operation Neptune Spear doesn’t come close to representing an ending to this story either. While the death of bin Laden may serve as a natural bookend to the attacks of 9/11, the operators inside the Abbottabad compound continued to work in a diligent manner even after the killing was done, collecting troves of intelligence materials that fueled a raft of follow-up operations. xlii

ST6 is the once-rogue organization that grew into a collection of lethally proficient professionals. While retaining its outlaw roots, that rough edge is now wielded expertly through an effective combination of leadership, discipline, talent, and dedication.

The unit is no longer simply a cog in a dusty contingency plan that rehearses the act of saving lives and eliminating terrorist threats more often than it actually performs those duties. Rather, it now stands on the vanguard of American foreign policy in a dangerous time — an instrument of choice called upon to protect the nation’s interests and its people’s freedoms on a daily basis.

Stepping up beyond any reasonable expectation when finally unleashed, DEVGRU has made the post-9/11 world its own.

SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines

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’s SEAL Team 6, one of the nation’s 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’s 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 — the Pentagon does not even publicly acknowledge that name — though some of its exploits have emerged in largely admiring accounts in recent years. But an examination of Team 6’s 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.

‘Six’: History Boss On Why the Military Drama Was Canceled After 2 Seasons

History was first to market with its Navy SEAL drama series Six, which was a breakout hit when it debuted in early 2017, quickly earning a second-season renewal.

At the time of Six‘s Season 2 renewal in March 2017, military dramas was already a hot trend, with three broadcast drama pilots in the genre ordered. Beating the odds, all three, CBS’ SEAL Team, NBC’s Brave and the CW’s Valor, made it to series, which all premiered in fall 2017. While Brave and Valor did not get back back orders and only lasted one season, SEAL Team, starring David Boreanaz, has been reasonably successful, airing a full-season 22 episode freshman run and getting renewed for Season 2.

“We are incredibly proud of Six,” History EVP Programming Eli Lehrer told Deadline at TCA today. “I think what we found is, between the end of Season 1 and the launch of Season 2, the marketplace became incredibly crowded with similar, one may say derivative, shows. When we came back for Season 2, it made it challenging for our series to reestablish itself. We saw a decline in the ratings as a result.”

Related Story

'Six' Musical Sets September Broadway Return For A Long-Delayed Opening Night

Because of all the competition, History delayed the Season 2 debut of Six until after the end of the broadcast season in late May. Still, ratings have dropped in Season 2, running 50% below the Season 1 averages in Live+same day, leading to History’s decision last month to cancel the series.

The cancellation is not a reflection of Six‘s quality, Lehrer was quick to point out. “We were very happy with the show creatively if I anything I think Season 2 was ever better than Season 1,” he said. “But I think in such a crowded marketplace, it is harder to get people&rsquos attention as they had spent a season watching SEAL Team on CBS, Valor and The Brave. As a result, our show felt less unique in the marketplace.”

From A+E Studios, Six followed Navy SEAL Team Six led by Joe &lsquoBear&rsquo Graves (Barry Sloane) in a mission to destroy the terrorist network responsible for the shooting of their former team leader Richard &ldquoRip&rdquo Taggart (Walton Goggins). The Season 2 — and now series — finale airs next Wednesday.

History&rsquos scripted series portfolio includes flagship Vikings, Knightfall, which I hear is gearing up for a second season, and the upcoming Robert Zemeckis-produced UFO series Blue Book.

Selection and Training

It’s hard to become a SEAL, even harder to make it to the DEVGRU. The dropout rate is 80% going thru BUD/s. Then once the operators are to Green Team, 50% of those SEALs fail selection. If you pass, your picture is put up on a board, and the team either approves of you or rejects you. I think it has to be unanimous to approve, or you’re rejected. The SEAL community is rather small, so a good chance everyone knows you or has heard of you.

The operators who are willing to try to join SEAL Team 6 (DEVGRU) must first spend 5 years in one of the regular SEAL teams then, they can apply. First, they are going through a PT test. It consists of three days of physical and psychological testing, including a Physical Screening Test (PST). Candidates must exceed the minimum requirements and perform at their highest level possible.

Navy SEALs during the BUD/s (Photo: XY)

Next phase, the candidate is interviewed by a panel of Team 6 members. If the candidate is chosen, he is sent to the Green Team for a six- to eight-month Operators Training Course. It is an evaluation team where candidates do many physical things, CQB, spending a lot of time at “Kill House,” and more.

The training course attrition rate is high, usually around 50 percent during one selection course, out of the original 20 candidates, 12 completed the course. Those who do not pass the selection phase are returned to their previous assignments and can try again in the future. The others are assigned to the one DEVGRU squadron.

An interesting fact is that the Central Intelligence Agency’s highly secretive Special Activities Center (SAC) and, more specifically, its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) often works with and recruits from Seal Team 6 (DEVGRU).

SEAL Team 6, the CIA and the Secret History of U.S. Atrocities in Afghanistan

That commander, then-Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, responded by unleashing the Naval Special Warfare Development Group — popularly known as SEAL Team 6 — on a variety of missions in which the unit wouldn’t have typically been involved, according to an investigative report published by the New York Times on Saturday. Some of those operations resulted in civilians being killed, several former SEALs said in interviews, according to the report.

“No figures are publicly available that break out the number of raids that Team 6 carried out in Afghanistan or their toll,” the Times reported. “Military officials say that no shots were fired on most raids. But between 2006 and 2008, Team 6 operators said, there were intense periods in which for weeks at a time their unit logged 10 to 15 kills on many nights, and sometimes up to 25.”

The report, long-rumored in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence world, details the evolving use for the elite force that is one of America’s most revered but least understood. It also notes the lack of oversight team members receive. Among the details reported:

SEALs and the CIA’s Omega Program SEAL Team 6 members joined with the CIA in something known as the Omega Program, which hunted down Taliban fighters with fewer restrictions than other military units, the Times reported. Together, they performed “deniable operations” in Pakistan using a model with similarities to the Phoenix Program, a Vietnam-era effort in which Special Operations troops performed interrogations and assassinations, the newspaper reported.

The existence of Omega teams has been reported previously. In September 2011, The Washington Post’s Greg Miller and Julie Tate reported that “omega” units comprising CIA personnel and troops with JSOC were using co-mingled bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen. The story noted that on at least five occasions, they had ventured into Pakistan.

Those employed in Afghanistan were “mostly designed against specific high-value targets with the intent of looking across the border” into Pakistan, a former senior U.S. military official said in an interview at the time about the “omega” teams. They wore civilian clothes and traveled in Toyota Hilux trucks, rather than military vehicles, the officials added. That story did not report that SEAL Team 6 specifically was involved.

Little outside oversight

The Times reported that there are numerous instances in which SEAL Team 6 members have been accused of killing civilians during raids, spawning investigations by JSOC. A “half-dozen” former members of the unit told the Times they were aware of civilian deaths that the team had caused.

“Do I think bad things went on?” one former officer told the newspaper, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified operations. “Do I think there was more killing than should have been done? Sure.”

That same person added that there was a “natural inclination” to kill what were perceived as threats but that he doubted SEALs intentionally killed people who didn’t deserve it.

One example raised was a 2008 operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand province in which a Taliban official identified as Objective Pantera was to be taken out. Numerous allegations were made that civilians in the village involved were killed, prompting a SEAL Team 6 commander, Navy Capt. Scott Moore, to ask for a JSOC investigation, the Times reported.

JSOC cleared the SEALs involved of any wrongdoing in the Pantera operation, the Times reported, citing two unnamed team members. But SEALs were sometimes sent home from deployments when concerns about questionable killings were raised, the story added.

Tomahawks used in combat

Some SEAL Team 6 members used specialized tomahawk axes in raids, and at least one SEAL killed an insurgent with one, the Times reported.

The newspaper quoted one former team member, Dom Raso, who said the tomahawks were used for breaching doors, in hand-to-hand combat and for other roles.

According to the Times, one former senior enlisted SEAL said: “It’s a dirty business. What’s the difference between shooting them as I was told and pulling out a knife and stabbing them or hatcheting them?”

At times, the SEALs cut off fingers or patches of scalp from dead militants so that DNA analysis could be performed, the story adds. It does not specify which weapons were used to do so.

Jason Hayes Edit

Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (E-9) A Jason M. Hayes a.k.a. Bravo 1/1B, leader of a Navy SEAL team (Bravo Team), portrayed by David Boreanaz. In the series pilot, Jason is referred to as a Senior Chief Petty Officer, but in "Collapse", he calls himself an "E-9" Master Chief.

As revealed in "God of War", in 2007, Jason was serving as Bravo 3/3B under Team Leader Eddie Guzman (Bailey Chase).

In the pilot, Jason is still dealing with the loss of one of his best friends and teammates, Nate Massey, who was killed the previous December he has also separated from his wife, Alana, in the intervening months, with whom he has two children, Emma (then age 15/16) and Michael "Mikey" (then age 11). [1] Although he and Alana attempt to reconcile, she ultimately asks him for a divorce just before his deployment to Jalalabad, Afghanistan in early 2018. Later that year, Alana dies following a car accident in season 2's "The Worst of Conditions". Jason takes a leave of absence from the Teams and even considers resigning in order to ensure that his children at least have one parent left (it was mentioned that Jason and Alana had frequently made plans should he be killed in action, but never even considered that she might be the parent who died first), but Emma convinces him to stay on Bravo Team.

During Season 3, Jason mentions that he enlisted in the Navy and completed BUD/s in June 2001, just a few months before 9/11, and has spent his entire career fighting in the War on Terror. It's also revealed that he has twelve deployments in Afghanistan.

In the aftermath of "Forever War", Jason decides to transfer off Bravo Team as of "The New Normal", he is assigned as the N3 Operations Chief for DEVGRU while waiting for his enlistment to be up. Jason later changes his mind during "All In" and returns to Bravo Team at the start of "A Cover For Action."

Clay Spenser Edit

Special Warfare Operator Second Class (E-5) Clay Spenser a.k.a. Bravo 6/6B, a second-generation Navy SEAL. He's portrayed by Max Thieriot.

During the first part of season 1, he's a member of Green Team training for Tier One status, and his readiness for combat is questioned. [1] His attitude changes after he loses his friend and fellow trainee Brian Armstrong during a parachuting training accident in the episode "Borderlines". He becomes a member of Bravo Team at the end of "The Exchange".

In season 2, he briefly served as the team's second-in-command following Senior Chief Ray Perry's assignment to Green Team he again serves as Bravo-2 during Ray's temporary promotion while Jason is on medical leave. After being injured in "Paradise Lost", Clay returns home to the United States to recover, during which time he makes it his mission to ensure that a fellow Navy SEAL, now retired and suffering from traumatic brain injury, could receive a Purple Heart. In "The Strength of the Wolf", Master Chief Hayes and Senior Chief Perry speculate that in 10 years, Clay will be leading Bravo Team.

During the events of Season 3 – particularly after meeting Ambassador Marsden – Clay begins to wonder how he can "point the spear, not just be the tip" (i.e. have some say in what missions the SEALs, especially Bravo, are deployed). In "Rules of Engagement", CAPT Lindell volunteers to nominate Clay for STA-21, one of the Navy's officer-commissioning programs after spending a few weeks thinking about it (and although the nomination doesn't go over well with Jason or especially Sonny), Clay decides to explore the option of possibly becoming an officer. However, after coming forward in "Forever War" admitting to writing a letter to Ambassador Marsden's husband that was given to the media after the State Department declared Marsden a rogue diplomat in order to cover up Ray's participation of the act, CAPT Lindell immediately revoked his STA-21 nomination and assigned him to a desk job in the Logistics Division - and in "The New Normal", Clay is told that he will be able to operate again in the near future, but it won't be with Bravo Team. Clay's suspension from Bravo was suspended after Jason volunteers himself and Clay to join Bravo's rescue efforts to save Ray from enemy captivity. Shortly after the rescue mission, Clay's suspension from Bravo was removed on a permanent basis. He and Stella start dating again and they get married at the end of the fourth season.

Clay has four deployments in Afghanistan, two with Team 3 and two with DEVGRU Bravo Team.

Amanda Ellis Edit

Officer Amanda Ellis [1] is Bravo Team's CIA liaison. She's portrayed by Jessica Paré.

Due to her actions of giving up the location of a CIA asset in "My Life For Yours," in season 3 Mandy is demoted from her rank of officer and is now serving as an interrogator for the CIA. [2] She rejoined Bravo around the time of their mission to Venezuela and after the conclusion of their deployment to Afghanistan in "Forever War", Mandy resigned from the CIA due to burnout.

Raymond "Ray" Perry Edit

Chief Warrant Officer 2 (W-2) (promoted from Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (E-8)) Raymond "Ray" Perry a.k.a. Bravo 2/2B is Jason's most trusted friend and the longest tenured member of the team. [1] He's portrayed by Neil Brown Jr.

As revealed in "God of War", in 2007, Ray was the newest member of Bravo Team, serving as Bravo 6/6B under Team Leader Eddie Guzman (Bailey Chase).

During season 1, Ray lied about a shoulder injury due to the fear of losing the extra pay that came with deployment, which his family needed. When Jason learned about it during season 1's finale, Ray was reassigned to Green Team while he recovered. During season 2 premiere, set six months later, Jason rebuffed his attempts to return to Bravo, saying Ray had lost his trust. However, when Jason took a leave of absence in second season's episode "The Worst of Conditions", he requested Ray to return to Bravo.

During Season 3, Ray learns that he has been selected for promotion to Master Chief, but after some consideration (including for financial reasons as well as to remain with Bravo Team), Ray decides to put in for a warrant officer commission. Unknown to the rest of the team, Ray secretly wrote a letter defending Ambassador Marsden, only for Clay to take the blame on his own volition. In "Forever War", following their deployment to Afghanistan, Ray was notified that he would be spending the next two months in Newport, Rhode Island at Chief Warrant Officer School, and in "The New Normal", he returns to Bravo Team with his new rank.

Ray is married to Naima and they have a daughter, Jameelah, and a son, Raymond Jr. The family experiences financial difficulties during season 1 and 2.

Sonny Quinn Edit

Special Warfare Operator First Class (E-6) Percival "Sonny" Quinn a.k.a. Bravo 3/3B, a loyal but sometimes volatile SEAL from Texas who is at his best in firefights and prefers them over a leadership position. [1] He's portrayed by A. J. Buckley.

Since season 2, Sonny is involved in a secret relationship with Lisa Davis, which goes against the fraternization rules, until she breaks up with him in season 3's episode "The Strength of the Wolf".

In "Rules of Engagment", Sonny gets into a scuffle with a patron in a Washington, D.C. bar who was falsely claiming to be a Navy SEAL. In "Last Known Location", CAPT Lindell, who had heard about the altercation through channels, temporarily reassigned Sonny to Laughlin Air Force Base for six weeks of advanced armory school, during which time he reconnected with his estranged father and his old high school best friend, Hannah Oliver (Rachel Boston). After completing his "punishment", Sonny returned to Bravo Team in Jalalabad in "No Choice in Duty".

Lisa Davis Edit

Lieutenant Junior Grade (formerly Logistics Specialist First Class) Lisa Davis, assigned to Bravo Team. [1] Earlier in her career, she was a Yeoman. In Season 2, after eight years in the Navy, she is accepted into Officer Candidate School and received her commission upon graduation in "Rock Bottom". As of "Welcome to the Refuge", ENS Davis serves as a DEVGRU Intelligence Officer assigned primarily to Bravo Team, after accepting LCDR Blackburn's offer. In "The New Normal", ENS Davis is notified by CAPT Lindell that she's in line for a promotion. In "Rearview Mirror", Davis is seen wearing the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. She's portrayed by Toni Trucks.

Her past is explained in season 2's episode "Rock Bottom". When she was 11 years-old, Lisa's house burned. She tried to save her two sisters, Ronnie and Michelle, but couldn't reach the latter and had to take the decision to save Ronnie only. Her mother blamed her for Michelle's death because she wasn't about to blame herself. Ronnie still resents her for it and they're estranged as a result.

In season 1, Lisa dated former SEAL Danny Cooper, until he fell back into his drug addiction. During season 2, she started a relationship with Sonny Quinn, which was against the fraternization rules. She broke things off with him in season 3's episode "The Strength of the Wolf”.

Eric Blackburn Edit

Commander Eric Blackburn is Bravo Team's commanding officer (recurring season 1 main season 2–4 [3] ). He's portrayed by Judd Lormand.

In Season 4, LCDR Blackburn is promoted to Commander and named the new Executive Officer of DEVGRU, leaving Bravo Team.

A Enlisted SEALs have Special Warfare Operator specific ratings. See US Navy SEAL ratings.

Bravo Team Edit

Trent Sawyer Edit

Trent Sawyer a.k.a. Bravo 4/4B is a Special Warfare Operator First Class (E-6) and member of Bravo Team who serves as the Lead Corpsman. He's portrayed by Tyler Grey. Grey is a former Army Sergeant First Class, having served in Iraq as a member of 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, then in Afghanistan and Iraq again as a member of A Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. It was there he was hit with an IED, leaving him with the right arm that is seen in the show whenever he wears short sleeves.

Brock Reynolds Edit

Brock Reynolds a.k.a. Bravo 5/5B is a Special Warfare Operator First Class (E-6), a member of Bravo Team and handler of the team's canine, Cerberus. He's portrayed by Justin Melnick. Melnick was a police officer in Daleville, Indiana and originally hired purely as the show's canine handler but was told he "looked like a SEAL" and appeared in the pilot episode as an extra, which became a co-starring role. [4]

Cerberus Edit

Cerberus is Bravo Team's canine, portrayed by Dita the Hair Missile. Dita is a 7-year-old, female KNPV-line Belgian Malinois and is a cousin of the dog who played Bear on Person of Interest. [5]

After the conclusion of their deployment to Afghanistan in "Forever War" (during which Cerberus was injured), Brock and the team decided it was time for him to retire. As of "The New Normal", Cerberus is living with Jason as his personal dog.

Adam Seaver Edit

Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Seaver is the trainer of the Green Team SEALs. He is portrayed by Michael Irby.

In season 2 episode 3, "The Worst of Conditions", Adam takes over as Team Leader of Bravo Team during Master Chief Jason Hayes' leave of absence. He is killed in the line of duty in "Say Again Your Last", the fifth episode of season 2.

Summer Kairos Edit

Summer Kairos, portrayed by Ruffin Prentiss, is a Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician assigned to Bravo Team during season 2. [6]

Scott Carter Edit

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Scott "Full Metal" Carter is former team leader in Alpha, who joins Bravo Team after Clay is injured in an explosion in season 2's episode 17, "Paradise Lost". Since mid-season 2, Carter is serving as support personnel in Bravo Team. Metal dies in the final episode of the fourth season. He is portrayed by Scott Foxx, who also serves as one of the show's military advisors. Foxx is a nine-tour SEAL veteran in real life. He retired at the rank of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator with two Bronze Stars with Valor device, a Navy Cross and a Purple Heart. [ citation needed ]

Victor Lopez Edit

Victor "Vic" Lopez is a Special Warfare Operator First Class, portrayed by Lucca De Oliveira. In season 3, he is the newest member of Bravo Team (Bravo 7/7B) until he is removed from Bravo Team and the SEAL community during the events of "Fog of War" for lying about the accidental killing of a hostage the team was rescuing.

Michael Chen Edit

Special Warfare Operator Michael "Thirty Mike" Chen a.k.a. Charlie 2/2C, portrayed by Tim Chiou. Chen is a member Charlie Team who is provisionally replacing Sonny in Bravo Team during the first half of deployment in Afghanistan. It is also revealed that he was previously a member of Bravo Team, prior to Jason becoming team leader, serving alongside Jason and Ray when they were Bravo 3/3B and Bravo 6/6B, respectively. As of "The New Normal", Thirty Mike is the interim Bravo 1/Team Leader until Command can assign a permanent replacement for Master Chief Hayes.

Family and friends Edit

Stella Baxter Edit

Stella Baxter is a grad student who becomes Clay's girlfriend in season 1. She is portrayed by Alona Tal.

They break up in season 2 episode 6, "Hold What You Got", when she could no longer deal with the stress of dating a SEAL. She is then reintroduced in season 2 episode 21, "My Life for Yours". They break up again but get back together in season 4, and get married in the season finale. [7]

Alana Hayes Edit

Alana Hayes (seasons 1–2) is Jason's estranged wife, portrayed by Michaela McManus. She dies following a car accident in the second-season episode "The Worst of Conditions", leaving Jason and their children devastated.

Emma Hayes Edit

Emma Hayes, Jason and Alana's daughter, portrayed by Kerri Medders.

At the end of season 2, she graduates from high school and moves to New York where she's enrolled in college at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Michael "Mikey" Hayes Edit

Michael Hayes is Jason and Alana's son, portrayed by Ammon Jacob Ford. Starting in season 2, he begins to attend boarding school.

Linda Hayes Edit

Linda is Jason's mother, who comes to help him after Alana dies in season 2. She's portrayed by Wendy Phillips.

Naima Perry Edit

Naima Perry is Ray's Kurdish wife and mother of his children, Jameelah and Raymond Jr. Naima, a nurse, is the one who takes care of the family's finances. She's portrayed by Parisa Fakhri.

Ash Spenser Edit

Ash Spenser is Clay's father and a retired Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator who wrote a tell-it-all book. He's portrayed by C. Thomas Howell.

He was a SEAL for 15 years and a member of the Tier One SEAL unit formerly known as SEAL Team Six, where he served alongside future Green Team Master Chief Adam Seaver. He currently own a firearms training company and a security consulting company, and appears often in the media as a tactics and security expert.

In season 1, he has a rocky relationship with his son, mainly for having written his book, which made him a traitor in the eyes of other SEALs.

In the later part of Season 2 and early part of Season 3, Clay convinces Ash to use his notoriety to champion the cause of awarding Purple Hearts to veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injuries.

Memoir offers inside view of SEAL Team Six

“Through my Leupold 10-power scope, I saw a militiaman 500 yards away firing through an open window at the helos. I made a mental note to keep my heart rate down and centered the cross hairs on him as my muscle memory took over — stock firmly into the shoulder, cheek positioned behind the scope, eye focused on the center of the cross hairs rather than the enemy, and steady trigger squeezing. I felt the gratifying recoil of my rifle. The round hit him in the side of the chest, entering his left and exiting his right. He convulsed and buckled, falling backward into the building — permanently. I quickly got back into my scope and scanned. Game on now.

“Another militiaman carrying an AK-47 came out a fire escape door on the side of a building 300 yards away from me and aimed his rifle at the Delta operators assaulting the garage. From his position, I’m sure he thought he was safe from the assaulters, and he probably was. He was not safe from me — 300 yards wasn’t even a challenge. I shot him through his left side, and the round exited his right. He slumped down onto the fire escape landing, never knowing what hit him. His AK-47 lay silent next to him. Someone tried to reach out and retrieve the weapon — one round from my (rifle) put a stop to that. Each time I made a shot, I immediately forgot about that target and scanned for another.

“Chaos erupted inside and outside of the garage. People ran everywhere. Little Birds and Black Hawks filled the skies with deafening rotor blasts. I was in my own little world, though. Nothing existed outside my scope and my mission. Let the (Delta Force) guys handle their business in the garage. My business was reaching out and touching the enemy.”

People are hungry for information about SEAL Team Six, the elite, secretive Navy counterterrorism unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last weekend. Howard E. Wasdin finds himself the right man at the right time.

He’s the co-author of a new book about the team, a memoir from his time in the 1990s as a sniper with the unit. Written well before the raid on bin Laden’s compound, and originally scheduled for publication May 24, “SEAL Team Six” is now due out Tuesday.

It offers a rare glimpse into the thinking, training and tactics of the special forces at a time when their shadowy work is playing an increasingly crucial role in the war on terror.

Like all SEALs, Wasdin, 49, did his inaugural six-month training in Coronado. He writes about being so disoriented during the notoriously grueling, sleep-deprived “Hell Week” that he mistook a chow hall tray table for a buck deer and went after it with a knife.

“In the dark recesses of my mind, I sometimes flash back to Coronado,” he laughed during a brief phone interview with the Union-Tribune, part of a media whirlwind — some 50 newspaper, radio, TV and Internet interviews in four days — triggered by the bin Laden mission.

Wasdin was on SEAL Team Two initially. There are about 3,000 SEALs in all, with odd-numbered teams based in Coronado and even-numbered ones in Virginia Beach. Team Six, so secretive that government officials don’t acknowledge its existence, reportedly has about 300 members.

After a tour in Desert Storm, Wasdin joined Team Six. He fought in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, where his right leg was nearly blown off by bullets from an enemy AK-47. Unable because of his injuries to do the work for which he was trained, he retired from the Navy in 1995. He is now a chiropractor in Georgia.

If he’s learned much through the SEAL grapevine about what happened in Abbottabad last weekend, he didn’t share it in the interview. Once a SEAL, always a SEAL.

Question: Will we ever learn the name of the guy who shot bin Laden?

Answer: If you do, it will probably be 15 or 20 years from now when he writes his memoir, assuming the information is declassified, and depending on where we are in the war on terror. He might write it under an alias. It will certainly be when he’s retired. Nobody would want to risk compromising themselves or their team members, certainly not while they’re still in uniform.

Q: What kind of reaction is he getting in the SEAL community?

A: For one thing, he’ll never have to buy another beer again, not as long as he’s around other SEALs. We are a community that likes to rib each other, that’s the way we’re built, so I’m sure he’s getting some of that, too. You know, “Hey, your shot was off by 2 millimeters.” Stuff like that.

Q: Is it hard in our celebrity-obsessed culture not to be able to take public credit for something like that?

A: Nobody does it for the glory. I didn’t do it for the glory, and I didn’t write this book for the glory. Nobody says they want to join the SEALs so they can get a Silver Star. Because that’s all it is — a piece of metal. I had mine in a shoe box somewhere until my wife took it out and put it in my (chiropractic) clinic. Look, Lindsay Lohan is always going to be more popular. That’s just the way the world is.

Q: What’s the most misunderstood thing about Navy SEALs?

A: People think they’re brainwashed, windup assassins. They’re not. The SEALs are the elite, and SEAL Team Six is the elite of the elite, but they’re human beings. I was doing an interview with CNN earlier this week, on a balcony overlooking Ground Zero in New York, and it was very emotional for me. I did not realize it would have that kind of effect on me. I had a lump in my throat. I don’t think I would have had a lump in my throat if I was an inhuman, coldblooded killer.

Q: Who does this kind of work?

A: They’re just the good-old boys next door. One common bond is they really love their country. They have the mental toughness to endure the training and the drive to become one of the best warriors in the world.

Q: What makes SEAL Team Six different?

A: What I noticed was a dramatic increase in close-quarters combat, which is what the bin Laden mission was. You train for it day in and day out, in all kinds of weather, with all kinds of contingencies.

Q: Why did you write this book?

A: Believe it or not, it’s an overcoming adversity book. Hey, you can have a messed-up childhood and overcome it, still serve your country. You can find out you are no longer an asset to your government (because of his injuries), you’re a liability, and you can get over that, too, and still make something of your life.

I started writing it 16 years ago and had to wait for the CIA to declassify everything. The fact that it’s coming out now is just coincidence. It has nothing to do with the bin Laden mission. I kind of feel bad about that. Those guys did all the work and I’m the one talking. My hat’s off to them.

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How to prepare for the ‘Murph’ fitness challenge

Posted On April 29, 2020 15:49:27

The Memorial Day Murph, a workout created in honor of Michael Murphy, a Navy SEAL awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Redwings in Afghanistan 2005 requires an intermediate to advanced level of fitness to complete.

The challenge is popular with many tactical athletes, CrossFit, and other exercise groups and can be found at The Murph Challenge.

Here is a way to help prepare for the high repetitions of pullups (100), pushups (200), and squats (300). Over the next several weeks, progress throughout the pyramid below a few days a week and see if you score better each week, by moving up the pyramid. See below:


You should warm up well with this workout, in fact, the warmup/run pyramid works well to not only prepare you for higher rep sets but will help you slowly accumulate repetitions for the grand 100,200,300 grand totals.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Derek Seifert, 633rd Air Base Wing photojournalist, performs a pull-up during a Memorial Day Murph and Pararescue Workout event

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell)

Pushups / Squat Pyramid: Run 100m, 1 pushup/squats, Run 100m – 2 pushup/squats run 100m – 3/3…up to 10/10. This warmup will yield 55 squats and 55 pushups to add to the Murph Workout (100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats) below:

This Half Pyramid has you starting at 1 and building up to level 10 in ten sets.

PT HALF Pyramid 1-10 (*1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)

  • pullups x 1 (55 reps)
  • Pushups x 2 (110 reps) (*2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20)
  • Squats x 3 (165 reps) (*3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30)
  • Run 400m

For clarity, the sets of the PT Pyramid breaks down like this:

  • Set 1: Pullup 1, Pushups 2, Squats 3, run 400m
  • Set 2: Pull-ups 2, Pushups 4, Squats 6, run 400m
  • Set 3: Pull-ups 3, Pushups 6, Squats 9, run 400m…Keep going up the pyramid until you fail, then resort in reverse order after failing at two exercises.

Reverse PT Pyramid with Pull-ups and Squats with cardio of choice each set to recover from each set

  • Pull-ups x 1 – total for day equals 100 pull-ups
  • Squats x 3 – total for day equals 300 squats

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Martin, 633rd Security Forces Squadron police services NCO in charge, performs a push-up during a Memorial Day Murph and Pararescue Workout event.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell)

For more information on the PT Pyramid, see the full article, The PT Pyramid is what I call a Foundation Workout. It helps the user build a solid foundation of calisthenics and increases volume so you will improve your previous limits. Once you get to level 10 and back down to 1 again you will have done 100 pullups, 200 pushups, and 300 squats. You do this each set by doubling each pull-up set for pushups, and tripling each pull-up set for squats.

You have 35 pushups to complete the FULL Murph 100,200,300 rep challenge and at the same time, work on your goal pace running intervals for future timed run events.

U.S. service members and their families participate in a 1-mile run during the Memorial Day Murph and Pararecue Workout event.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell)

YES, this is 10 sets of 1/4 mile runs at goal mile pace for timed runs. Arrange as needed (use a treadmill or track if pull-up bar nearby)

Finish the workout with a Mini Mobility Cooldown that has some form of non-impact/walking, stretching, and foam rolling of muscles that will be sore – thighs, hamstrings, chest, upper back/lats, and arms.

Repeat 2 times

Good luck with preparing for this journey and a worthy reminder of our fallen heroes.

This article originally appeared on Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

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UPDATE: Fact check (September 2020)

Biden did not leak the names of SEAL Team 6 members after Osama bin Laden’s death

According to the various fact-checkers, the claim that Joe Biden leaked the information about Navy SEAL Team 6 members who were killed in the Extortion 17 tragedy is false. Indeed, he is not responsible or involved in any of those claims.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Spec Ops Magazine.


I would seriously question the USA Today as an unbiased fact-checker. Also I would consider getting more than one “Fact-Checker’s” opinion on this before acquiescing to a checkers reliability.

Besides that….fact checker libtards….any mention of Seal Team, let alone 6 absolutely should not have been done by ANYONE….especially the VP of the USA. Biden is absolutely responsible for the lives lost that day. He has a big mouth and dementia, hence his totally off the wall out bursts even in present day. He needs to be held accountable to these men and their families! EVERY.STINKIN.ONE.

Read the transcript of the speech in question, and you’ll see that Biden credited “Navy SEALs,” not a particular unit and certainly not any individual operators. If you don’t like USA Today, try Politifact, Reuters, and Snopes, all of which have covered this false claim:

You’d have to question what the USA was doing in Afghanistan to begin with.

Perhaps these grunts got their just desserts in the end. As for shooting Bin Laden, hilarious. That ghost has been dead for years, but the gullible yankees will believe anything.

Several Gold Squadron guys have debunked the theories that the crash was an inside job. Just an RPG

Yes, and the theories about the betrayal of the Seal Team 6 has been proven to be wrong by various sources and fact-checked by multiple independent sources.

This article is a load of nonsense. The Taliban had no idea who was on the helicopter. This helo was the IRF for a Ranger operation that had commenced about an hour earlier, and there were limited areas in that valley where a Chinook could land, so it was a no-brainer to station a few fighters at each. As the helo slowed to land, they fired a volley of RPGs at it. One hit the rear rotor assembly. The Chinook crashed into a creek bed. (And yes there was a flood in that creek bed that washed away a lot of debris.) The bodies WERE burned beyond recognition. The bird burned all night. I know this because I was with the Task Force sitting in the JOC at Camp Alpha when it happened. I watched it all unfold from the ISR feed, and I later saw the gun camera footage from the AWT helos (Apaches) that were orbiting the HLZ in support. It was a lucky shot, nothing more. Tragic, but in war the enemy gets a vote.

This is by far the most ludicrous example of “fact-based”journalism, reporting, or anything remotely resembling news.

I always assume authors on these sites are conservative and that’s fine. I’ve read other summaries of SOF & SF units here and they managed to remain politically neutral if not also slightly generic. I’m a liberal California democrat who likes & respects firearms, appreciates the immediately brutal but highly nuanced DNA engineered & bred into the rifles needed by our military servicemen and women even when they’re so often withheld in lieu of something cheaper, less reliable, antiquated, impersonal, distressed, and rendered even more deadly for American soldiers through the dependable process of bureaucratic bastardization (ie from ArmaLite to M16). I’m not a Hawk, but if Congress insists we allocate billions USD to military R&D, I’d rather it go towards replacing every M16A2-4, M4A1, & Beretta M9 trickling into the USMC with the HK416/7, Sig553, and FN handgun rather than 19 pointless fighter jets that will rarely do more than explode in training exercises. Or we could have designed the original digital camouflage pattern rather than stealing CADPAT to finally replace Tiger Stripe with the equally ineffective UCP/ACU. Is the UGL320 now universal or will most rifleman still carry the UGL203? At least we can still rely on the HUMVEE to direct IED blasts upwards & away fro—wait no, I was thinking of The UK’s new vehicle fleet.

We know how much the last administration respected POWs, veterans, Lucky Swift Boat Captains without bone spurs, amputees, the psychologically traumatized, & especially Senator McCain, so it stands to reason that the Fiscal conservatism of Reps like Darrel Issa probably benefited the VA. That makes the most sense since there’s been no direct evidence linking those massive tax cuts to funding cuts in government programs or profit increases for the family members of Blackwater CEO, Eric Prince—like sister and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Who wouldn’t agree that the facts are all right there between the lines?

As for SEAL-gate, it IS unbelievable that both men overwhelmingly elected to office would announce to the entire world that 1 of just 10 Navy Seal Teams—only one of which is the most internationally recognized American Tier 1 SF unit since Reagan told the USSR about them in the 80s—was responsible for dispatching the most wanted terrorist & mass murderer in world history. As soon as Obama announced it, we all knew immediately that he’d milk that to try winning another election. It’s like…let it go right? It’s not like he stood on rubble and yelled through a megaphone in front of the American Flag while saying he was “America’s President” right? What kind of President of the United States plug his own accomplishment for such obvious personal gain?! It’s almost as heinous a scandal as if one of the DEVGRU operators wrote a book falsely claiming to have fired the heroic kill shot from the floor while ducking bullets from an AK-74. Or if the producers of a blockbuster movie about the raid had learned highly classified information from top CIA Officials who wouldn’t stop openly congratulating themselves and ST6’s specific breaching tactics during an open CIA event.

And if we’re getting down to “brass tacks,” you’re saying that President Biden is the reason why an ancient chinook—neither variant of which has a “BLACK BOX”—was brought down specifically because SEALs were suddenly targets?! So normal Americans or 75th Rangers or MARSOC or 24th STS would’ve been fine? Or did the Taliban only want SEALs? And did they just want DEVGRU or did they want the tier-2 SEALs also?

Or maybe when the Taliban fired a single RPG into a chinook in 2005 during Op Red Wings because 4 operators from ST5/10 seemingly got ambushed after zip-tying some goat herders after Lutrell lost his rifle before emptying any of his 11 magazines because….they realized how easy it is to track tier 2 SEALs using helicopters that were audible from the Pashtun village below. The Taliban learned everything they needed from that: attack American soldiers, chinook comes FULL of SEALs without any gunships to rescue them over unmanageable terrain, gigantic door opens, boom.

It’s horribly tragic for the families and I’m not trying to mock their loss. They were killed by the same formidable enemy as always…months after actual tier-1 DEVGRU SEALs killed Bin Laden in Pakistan before getting exfil by a chinook (pattern?) because they crashed their classified tech black Hawk.

Tier 2 SEALs had been spending years training Afghan SF that had ties to the Taliban (because literally everyone did)…I bet Afghan forces with Taliban moles or spies or even scouts learned how predictable SOCOM & JSOC operations could be in that region. So in November 2011, Military forces need emergency backup in terribly inhospitable conditions and do exactly what they’d done for years…send a chinook even more full with SF operators to where the Taliban are waiting….hover…open your huge bay door for the slowest possible helocasting exercise at the lowest altitude in the largest helicopter without supporting gunships….the Taliban could’ve used a grenade in a slingshot and had nearly the same result.

Most bodies would’ve been burned beyond what a family could endure. Maybe a few weren’t burned as badly…but that’s an awkward funeral (“sorry you just get the urn, but it’s their lucky day!! You get your son’s whole body!!”) No. They were brothers that died together. They’ll be buried together.

The tragedy isn’t my mockery of a horrible situation. It’s not even the mistakes command might have made that maybe could’ve prevented this outcome. The tragedy is you using a 10yr old massacre to spread the mind-blowingly stupid and pretty evil conspiracy theory that their current commander in chief, former vice commander in chief, and father to a deceased combat veteran…that he sold out two dozen of America’s elitest warriors to the Taliban because why? Because Obama rhymes with Osama? I have nothing good to say about Trump, but even I wouldn’t accuse him of such a ludicrous accusation.

How does this conversation go down with the ladies? Fucking pathetic. Go play your Arma MilSim.