The Navy SEAL Team Six is an elite, counter-terrorism unit of the United States Navy SEALs. Its origin can be traced to the aftermath of Operation Eagle Claw, the failed 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages at the US Embassy in Iran, during the Carter Administration. During the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, Richard Marcinko was one of two Navy representatives for a Joint Chiefs of Staff task force known as the TAT (Terrorist Action Team). The purpose of the TAT was to develop a plan to free the American hostages held in Iran, which culminated in Operation Eagle Claw. In the wake of the operation’s disaster at Desert One, the U.S. Navy saw the need for a full-time dedicated Counter-Terrorist Team and tasked Marcinko with its design and development.
SEAL Team Six was formed in October 1980 from Navy SEALs members as an intense, progressive work-up training program made the unit mission-ready six months later. Prior to this, the existing SEAL teams had already begun counter-terrorism training, including 12 platoons in SEAL Team One on the West Coast. On the West Coast, elements of the SEAL Team One had taken the issue one step further. They formed a dedicated two-platoon group known as "MOB Six" (Mobility Six) in anticipation of a maritime scenario requiring a counter-terrorism response and had begun training to that end. The SEAL Team Six training is intense. Their members fire more rounds of ammunition than the entire U.S. Marine Corps. The emphasis is on shooting skills, range firing, close-quarters battle (CBQ), and stress shooting in a variety of conditions. Today, a good majority of Navy SEALs strive to be accepted into Team 6. Many of them see it as the next step in their combat and service to their country. However, they can not simply apply to be a member of Team 6. Instead they have to be recruited according to their records, skills, and combat experience. This recruitment usually comes after one or more years of service in which Navy SEALs are evaluated.
On May 1, 2011, SEAL Team Six was involved in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in the affluent suburb of Abbottabad, Pakistan. In the 40-minute mission, there were no injuries or casualties for the team. 22 people were either captured or killed, including bin Laden’s brother and son. The team practiced the mission in a segregated section of Camp Alpha at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in early April, 2011, using a one-acre replica of bin Laden’s compound. Modified MH-60 helicopters carried Navy SEALs, tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers from Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan. It has been speculated that these helicopters may have spoofed transponder codes and been painted to resemble Pakistan Air Force equipment by other JSOC units, the Technical Application Programs Office and the Aviation Technology Evaluation Group. The raid involved close collaboration with the CIA.
SEAL Team Six in Action (Video)