Mike Kueber's Blog

May 11, 2011

Why the SEALs?

If you are like me, you have wondered why the Navy SEALs were given the dangerous mission of killing Osama bin Laden in a mountainous desert in Pakistan.  Although the acronym “SEAL” means “sea, air, and land,” the operative word is “sea.”  America must surely have Special Forces whose training has not been diluted by all the sea training that SEALs receive.

Because the news reports have failed to address this issue, I asked my world’s resident Cliff Clavin.  (Cliff was the postman on “Cheer” who seemed to know everything, or at least he thought he did.)  He explained that the Army Rangers and Green Berets were like high school athletes, the Delta Forces were like college athletes, and SEALs were like professional athletes.

The first part of his explanation made sense because Delta Forces are recruited from the ranks of the Army Rangers and Special Forces (Green Berets), so that makes them the elite of the elite.  But the SEALs recruit their members from the ranks of sailors, whose reputation for fighting is not much better than airmen, so how can they possibly be better qualified than Delta Force?

I decided to conduct some internet research.  That research revealed that the United States Special Operations Command (USSOC), which was created in 1987 in response to Carter’s failed rescue mission in 1980 (Operation Eagle Claw), consists of more than 50,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.  Its major operational units are (1) the United States Army Special Operations Command, (2) the United States Naval Special Warfare Command, (3) the Air Force Special Operations Command, and (4) the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command – all of which report to a four-star officer.

Within the USSOC, there is a much smaller, secretive component called the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).  A major responsibility of the JSOC is to conduct clandestine, covert, highly classified missions through its Special Mission Units:

  • The Army’s Delta Forces; and
  • The Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group (called DEVGRU; formerly SEAL Team #6)

Thus, the DEVGRU personnel who killed Osama were, in fact, the elite of the elite; they were on level above SEALs. 

The question remains, however, why DEVGRU instead of Delta Forces.  A cynic might suggest some inter-service rivalry is at play because the commander of JSOC, William McRaven, is a SEAL and a vice admiral in the Navy (three stars).  According to news reports, however, McRaven has been so successful in achieving mission objectives as commander of JSOC that President Obama had already nominated him for the four-star USSOC command prior to the Osama mission.  Based on that track record of success, I think a charge of favoritism has less credibility.  But I would still be interested in hearing McRaven or Panetta tell us, “Why the SEALs instead of Delta Forces?”

41 Comments »

  1. By coincidence I just happened apon this site and thought I’d enlighten you on a few points. I am in the Navy and just recently finished BUDS and SQT. I am a SEAL. Obviously I’m biased towards the SEALs, but I like to think my maturity can get past that and hopefully my comments will reflect this.

    Why the SEALs instead of Green Berets? Simple, politics. Right now the head of SOCOM happens to be a SEAL and the SEALs have had a lot of embarassing upsets over the past few years. Plus, in general, the SEALs are publicity hounds. I had NBC cameras in my face while I was in BUDS and it was annoying as hell. The Navy takes every chance to brag about the SEALs and talk about how great we are. Trust me, it’s almost all hype. It’s all about money. Yes the training is hard, but not “that” hard. And yes, standards have been lowered to increase numbers. And as you say, the pool of people (navy sailors) being selected from aren’t that impressive to begin with. Any man in reasonable shape can make it through training. Most of the guys that show up for training, including many that make it through, are a complete joke mentally, which is more important if you ask me. A lot of clowns in my class made it through that I would not want on my team downrange.

    Historically SEALs have been considered a jack of all trades, master of none. Whereas SOF in other branches have been considered absolute experts in their fields. And yes, as you say, we are a maritime force, the “sea” in our acronym is the most important. To be perfectly frank we are lucky to be involved in land-based GWOT at all. This is not supposed to be our area of expertise, and frankly, it isn’t. But these days it’s about money and resources more than anything. NSW exists, so it has been tasked with land operations. There are only two rivers in all of Afghanistan, yet even SWCC special boat operators are over there helping to train the Afghan military. And we’re happy to get in on the fight. These days most SEALs that gave gone through BUDS after 9/11 frankly never spend any meaningful time in the water after they get out of BUDS and SQT. And our dive phases of training have been seriously shortened as well in recent years. For example a very famous evolution in the 2nd phase of BUD/S known as “hydra hell week” has been scrapped altogether. Because we aren’t being trained for UDT…

    Also, you should know that we aren’t the only combat divers. The Green Berets (and also Air Force PJs and some MARSOC Marines) go through the Army’s SF dive school. They are just as qualified to do UDT and water ops as SEALs. There are Green Berets with more combat diver experience than most SEALs. This is because of resources and chain of command. Army SF missions often involve water ops, so they need that capability themelves rather than relying on men outside their chain of command. Green Berets & Rangers have both been known to ride on submarines as well.

    These days a lot of lines are blurred between the various services, especially in the SOF community. Each branch of SOF has the capabilities of the other to one extent or another. But their missions vary. FID and UW (unconventional warfare) is Army SF’s bread and butter. Nobody can touch them there. To even become a Green Beret you have to qualify in a second language. By comparison while in BUDS one of the commanding officers told me that in all the SEAL teams they only have 1-2 guys that can speak Arabic… that’s 9 years after 9/11. SEALs don’t do FID or UW. They don’t do much intel work. The Navy has a huge aparatus of personel that travels anywhere the SEALs go to support them, including Seabees, Intel, Cryptology, etc. Army SF on the other hand handles most of this themselves. They are jungle dwelers that mix with the locals. They are more independent. SEALs focus more on DA, quick in-and-out ops. Army SF sets up shop for a long time and makes unconventional war. However Army SF does DA too, especially these days because of the way these wars are going. There isn’t a lot of UW in GWOT. FID is training the foreign armies, which Army SF is at the forefront of. UW is making unconventional war (like the movie Patriot), which we arent doing… because we’re acting more like a police force. The most notable DA involving Army SF was capturing Sadaam Hussein. Army SF has also by-and-large been responsible for capturing most of the terrorists at GITMO and most of the ones killed. SEALs have had a fair chunk of these as well too though. An interesting comparison though, Green Berets have way more silver stars per capita than the SEALs to. This could also be a reflection of the differences in our missions.

    Ultimately I think the SEALs were given Bin Laden because their contributed role has been more DA historically, this is what they are seen as being good at. Plus it was just also politics. The Green Berets got Sadaam and did most of the work that stabilized (for the time being) Iraq. It was just time to give the SEALs some recognition I suppose. Also, how secret is a unit that everybody knows about? I’m just saying…

    Also, lastly, regarding DEVGRU vs Delta. Most of Delta’s personell come from Army SF, although some come from 75th Ranger as well. Most of DEVGRU comes from SEAL teams, but not all. Some have been known to get recruited from the Marines or other areas of the Navy. Both of these units recruit people to serve specific purposes. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were female members. Some of what they do involves intel work, which females can be good for. Nodoubt they have many noncombat personell that serve in various capacities. I’m just saying people have these groups all wrong. Anybody that wears the Trident is a Navy SEAL, there is no secret “super SEAL”. Likewise for the Green Berets. DEVGRU and Delta are basically like Task Forces. I’m sure there are plenty of other task forces that we’ve never heard of that truly are secret which recruit a select pool of people to carry out a specific mission.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 27, 2011 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

    • excellent … thank you. p.s. I was Army ( still am in a way ) during the Vietnam war and I served on an Army Riverboat in I Corps … there is much interchanging of roles it seems. Robert

      Comment by Robert — January 26, 2012 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

    • What BUD/S class did you graduate with, and of what year?

      Comment by Anonymous — June 1, 2013 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  2. Ok I have another slant on this issue. The Army and the Marines were the boots on the ground entering Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Army and Marines have taken the blunt end of the damages, wounded and dead.

    It was a slap in the face to assign the mission to the SEALS. How many SEAL units marched into Bagdad. Go to any VA Hospital in any city. The VETS being fitted with prosthetics are ex Army and Marine Corps soldiers.

    It was simply politics and sheer politics. It was a slap in the face of the ground stompers to send in the SEALS. I have no issue with SEALS. Seriously they did a fantastic job accomplishing the mission, but so could have an interdisciplinary inter-service group of Marines and Army Soldiers. As soldier trained at Fort Benning, Georgia in Ranger tactics As a tabbed Ranger, I can attest to the fact it did not have to be the SEALS.

    What is the real, truthful answer. The dead and wounded soldiers deserve an answer. Mr. Commander-in-Chief, step forward and tell us please.

    Comment by Army Retired O6 Frank — June 1, 2011 @ 1:30 am | Reply

  3. As stated previously the SEALS want more publicity,and although we know the name DELTA force, you very rarely hear about anything they’re involved,they are the true secret warriors,it wasn’t until recently that the country even admitted to the existence of DELTA.While the SEALS have been giving alot of press and accolades(rightly so) DELTA was involved in the mission to kill bin laden but were barely mentioned in some press releases and not all in others,they don’t care about the publicity they just do their job and keep their mouthes shut.Remember you can apply for SEAL training and ofcourse you have to pass which is no small feat,but a soldier is selected for DELTA.

    Comment by drg — June 18, 2011 @ 6:22 am | Reply

    • I am a Green Beret we. Don’t give a rats ass about publicity we do the same thing…I’m a. soldier a couple of us were selected to go but its for a soldier that wants a family and settle down As as Green. Beret it is the same damn thing I stayed single for 7 years while I was in

      Comment by Green Beret Sniper — August 16, 2011 @ 1:33 am | Reply

  4. As far as I am concerned, if anyone can do it, then Delta shouldn’t waste their time. They are trained to execute and need to be given missions that no one else is capable of doing. They work in the shadows and don’t need bragging rights. Yes Detla, SF, Rangers, Marine SOC, Seals all could have handled the mission. I think Delta is best served dug in deep. In missions that require more than a 1 hour turn around. They don’t need publicity to command respect.

    Comment by kyle — July 19, 2011 @ 2:37 am | Reply

  5. I am a former Green Beret. “SNIPER” 3rd Group Special Forces.
    It was politics Andy’s Green Berets were accused for starting.g the f*%#ing war in the first place….we have very highly classified missions which are top secret ….no one know what we did just because people knew. Where. We were arrested full of shit…politics and the media and other soldiers from other branches or units didn’t know our locations only when we were seen in. In cities which is also classified. The Army is trained very well and us are highly trained…we were established in 1775 but we were at war before that for instance in France….the Army is the most professional. Disciplined structured military branch and soldiers out there..I had to get that off my chest…..my E-mail is. Samuelmediati1@AOL.com

    Comment by Green Beret Sniper — August 16, 2011 @ 1:04 am | Reply

    • I thought Green Beret’s could write better than that.

      Comment by Mark Stuber — July 25, 2013 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  6. We do not need publicity to maake us who we are or to have respect..do not like it anyways…I have been out for a couple of years and I am still the same. As when I was in….I do not brag because there is nothing. To. Brag about..I did brag about who I am o. Here I had to let. Ya’ll know how it really is and that I am proud of who I am weather ya’ll disagree or not. People ask me why I still wear my. Military tags I tell the. That they are. Honor they ask. Me what I did I tell them its. Highly classified and to be honest it doesn’t matter..what’s. Done is done what and who we Army Soldiers are is what we are but with Honor

    Comment by Green Beret Sniper — August 16, 2011 @ 1:19 am | Reply

  7. I meant I didn’t brag. BOUT WHO OR. What I am. On here. I seas typing fast and the keys got stuck…..o. my phone….excuse me

    Comment by Green Beret Sniper — August 16, 2011 @ 1:25 am | Reply

  8. Delta Force is considered a career advancement for DEVGRU operators = FACT.

    The Rangers, SF, the SEAL are all entry level SOF positions – which means you can sign a contract as a civilian to go in and attempt the training/selection pipeline without any time in service.

    General Wayne Downing testified before the House Armed Service Committee in regards to special operations forces and stated that the passing rate of a Special Forces soldier from phase 1 (SFAS) to the last phase (Robin Sage) is on average 23%. SEAL Training pipeline from BUD/s to getting their trident after SQT is almost the exact same (22-25%). The Ranger selection course which is the shortest is roughly 30-35%. My Ranger selection class (RIP) started with over 150 people and we ended with 42 at graduation.

    DEVGRU selection consists of a bunch of SEALs from the teams asking to be “considered”. This is followed by getting a consensus within DEVGRU if the SEAL is “squared away”. What this means is that the name and photo of the SEAL is put up for all in DEVGRU to see. And the individual operators give him a check or an X if they approve his candidacy. If he is approved by majority he undertakes a 6 month operator training course (VERY VERY similar to Delta’s). So in reality there is no selection course. Roughly 50% of SEAL candidates who vet for DEVGRU are accepted.

    Lets skip to Delta. They hold selection twice a year. Roughly 150 candidates per selection course (a month long). The majority of them are Rangers and Special Forces, but also a mixed bag of regular Army troops, and small handfuls of Marines, Airmen, and even DEVGRU operators.

    These candidates are battle hardened special operations veterans with multiple deployments and over 6-8 years of service. Out of these 150 bad asses – only 3-4% are selected. Do the math. Many many DEVGRU operators fail to finish the selection course because there is very little in the SEAL and DEVGRU training regime that prepares them for the hardship of the constant ruck marching/land navigation required. I know some of the standards that goes on in Delta selection – and I can’t fathom that I would EVER be on a level to survive more then 3 days in the course. And I consider myself a great rucker.

    The fact of the matter is Delta is a much smaller unit then DEVGRU that is considered a career advancement by some within DEVGRU. Why they weren’t chosen to kill Osama bin Laden? Simple: Delta was the first on the ground in Afghanistan in 2001. DEVGRU came in 2002 during Operation Anaconda. As Delta began filtering out of Afghanistan to prep for the war in Iraq. DEVGRU was the unit assigned to stay behind and take over JSOC operations there. So while Delta was out kicking ass in Iraq, DEVGRU had to stay behind that whole time. And let me tell you – Afghanistan from 2003 to about 2007 was nothing short of being deployed to Bosnia/Kosovo. So all that time DEVGRU has been looking for intel for bin Laden while Delta was worried about everything else. When intel finally came – DEVGRU was the obvious choice for a number of reasons: McRaven, JSOC Commander, is a former DEVGRU commander, as is Eric Olson (SOCOM Commander). And Delta did not have the manpower back in Bragg to give up in order to train for the operation. Delta has 3 undermanned squadrons, while DEVGRU has 4 full up squadrons as well as one hybrid squadron.

    Hope this all helps

    Comment by secretsquirrelstuff — November 23, 2011 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

    • This guy is a moron, and has no idea what he’s talking about. You have to be in the army to join delta. You can’t be a seal or airman or marine. Devgru and delta are the same they are both tier 1 operators, top of the food chain in funding and importance of missions. They even perform missions together as part of jsoc. Know the FACTS before you start spewing garbage over the Internet.

      Comment by Truth teller — November 9, 2012 @ 3:13 am | Reply

      • Enlisted men can transfer services at the end of their enlistment. Also, I am sure exceptions can be made if you join Delta force. Also, how do you know? I do agree that he’s not the brightest for other reasons than you started. A low pass rate does not nessisarly mean high quaility. It could just mean a poor selection process. It’s absurd to use passing rate as your main critea in the judgement of a unit.

        Comment by Mark Stuber — July 25, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    • I can say you’re 100% wrong.

      Comment by behind the fence — December 29, 2013 @ 9:03 am | Reply

    • What batt were you in and what time frame?

      Comment by Ira Moseley — March 3, 2014 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  9. Would it have been possible for DEVGRU to undertake this mission without the U.S. Army’s stealth aircrafs to transport these SEALS? Why don’t the SEALS get their own transport vehicles instead to always hitching a ride with the Army. I think they have enough missions of their own on water. Remember Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down). I remember when this incident happened in the early 90s, the SEALS took credit of the body of dead soldiers being dragged in the streets of Mogadishu. Not until the movie came out that we found out the truth. My take on all of this is that let us not muddy anymore our situation when fighting wars, and battles. Let navy stay navy and let army stay army. As far as playing politics in our military, it has no room for it. Not Presidents and Admirals that will conduct missions for publicity and for the survival of a branch of service. In the midst of our economic situation, maybe we need to rethink seriously in eliminating redundancy in our military. It is very costly. We deffinitely need to bolster the number of our army soldiers that are fighting our ground wars like the Airborne Infantry soldiers, Special Forces, Rangers, and Delta Force.

    Comment by Eric Obispo — November 28, 2011 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

    • I understand where you are coming from – especially since the SEALs and DEVGRU are doing VERY little in terms of maritime warfare.

      Fact of the matter is – the SEALs are a unit very similar to the Rangers (around the same # as the SEALs) with more training in fields they probably will never get to implement. There are 2500 SEALs currently in the Navy who are locked and loaded and trained well in direct action operations. Not utilizing them would be a mistake. So there are SEALs toughing it out in landlocked Afghanistan because they can.

      Maritime operations are a rarity – but we still need a force capable of doing it.

      Delta Force operators do NOT attend Combat Diver School as part of their Operator pipeline (although Military Free Fall course is). There are plenty of Delta shooters who have been to Scuba, but you get to a point where you can burden a soldier with too much responsibilities. So Delta does not have a maritime mandate. If you can get a unit that is somewhat similar to Delta but can perform operations underwater, then why not create them = DEVGRU.

      I don’t think we should ever get rid of the SEALs or DEVGRU, personally.

      Comment by secretsquirrelstuff — November 29, 2011 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  10. Mike, your friend is an idiot, and you should stop asking him about things he knows nothing about.

    Comment by Tim — December 27, 2011 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • Tim, which friend are you referring to?

      Comment by Mike Kueber — December 27, 2011 @ 6:07 pm | Reply

      • I believe he is talking about your Cliff Claven resource. To state that SFOD-D(elta) is like a college athlete where DEVGRU is like a pro athlete is way off the mark. Delta, DEVGRU and SAS are all Tier 1 operators and the very elite of the elite. If you want some real info on the difference between Delta and DEVGRU go to SOFREP’s website which has an article outlining exactly these differences. The article is written by a former Navy SEAL.

        There has been over the last ten years an expansion of all Special Operations capabilities due to mission demands and cross training between all the various groups but there are still some differences. While all ‘Green Beret’ (SFOD-Alpha) and Delta were at one point in their careers infantry men, no Navy SEAL ever was or will be. SEALs are direct action forces. This experience affords the Army Special Operations groups to fall back on their original background and experience as infantry men if the need arises. SEALs recently have acquired knowledge and training in this area as well but they will never be true infantry men.

        Again a lot of cross training has taken place but each group retains some uniqueness or proficiency that is superior to the others.

        As for why DEVGRU got the call to get Bin Laden over Delta is a mystery but politics is often cited as the reason. Admiral McRaven’s bias towards his SEALs is only natural. If the guy on top of the whole JSOC heap were ex-Army, it could easily have been Delta.

        The killing of Bin Laden was, by 2011, a mere token act. They did not crush Al Qaeda. Bin Laden was an isolated factor who had become legend and myth more than acting leader by the time DEVGRU killed him. It is reported that he himself felt frustrated with Al Qaeda and his lack of control and that smaller factions were claiming Al Qaeda without his knowledge or blessing. The man was a narcissist of the highest order.

        Comment by luckydube — November 18, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

      • LOL,

        Tier 1 has to do with funding priority for US DoD. SAS is not Tier 1 for the sole reason of not being American.

        SOFREP’s Brandon Webb is not an honest person.

        Comment by behind the fence — December 29, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  11. There is a very clear answer to this question…

    1. The CIA (SOG of SAD) drew up the mission plans.
    2. The scope of the mission they planned was to extract OBL and bring him aboard a Naval ship (dead or alive).
    3. They wanted ONE TEAM to handle the mission from start to finish. SEALS were the logical choice.

    Conclusions…

    A. It wasn’t a political decision; it was an operational decision.
    B. Obamma cannot possibly make these decisions as some assert; he just takes the recommendation on his desk and signs it.
    C. If the missions plans had involved taking OBL to a prison on the mainland, and then securing that prison, DELTA would have been a logical choice. However, the CIA wanted OBL on board a Naval vessel (and if alive, SEALS would have secured him in an onboard prison as the final step in that mission).

    Comment by sgman — May 7, 2012 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  12. great thread

    Comment by Tony Robson — May 8, 2012 @ 6:14 pm | Reply

    • Put simply, they’re all badasses in their respective fields… Green Berets, SEALs, Delta Force…They’re trained well and thuroughly and they all put their lives on the line for our nation. Commendable, in and of itself. Personally, I don’t care who killed OBL because– ding dong the witch is dead!
      Good on the SEALs.

      Comment by Joan — June 18, 2012 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  13. You guys don’t get it…DELTA WAS ON THE UBL MISSION (my god, there are so many uneducated people)…. This is a F-A-C-T. When any JSOC SMU forms a Task Force, or when some type of joint Task Unit with Dam Neck is formed etc, they are almost always together for an EXTREMELY special DA (like the UBL raid),

    ***You can bet almost to the point of a freakin’ guarantee, my friend, that DevGru was NOT alone***

    . On the two MH-47s behind the stealth 60’s, there were not only a few stacks of assaulters from Delta, but probably a JTAC or two, a couple TF Orange/”Activity” SIGINT operators (who doubled as translators AND knob turners as thats their job), hence the media saying that there was “some type of interpreter/s” on the mission… and then probably a few more DevGru as a potential QRF.Point is, they were ALL shooters, all there, and all to back up the main DevGru element. Even the ISA’s SIGINT operators were shooters if they were needed. In fact, they have great shooters as they are usually former SF and/or Delta etc.

    Delta, were most likely, also deployed as airborne sniper overwatch (as usual w/ these types of joint DAs). I know everyone says in their books (Target: Geronimo, Warrior Elite, oh and that one Chuck Ffarrer ST6/UBL raid book) that it was ONLY DevGru, but it is *hardly* ever ONLY those guys. They, like the other SMUs, all work TOGETHER, train TOGETHER, and go out TOGETHER.

    Whoever said the reason was because Delta had OIF1/2 and DevGru was A-stan IS AN IDIOT AND A LIAR WHO HAS NO EXPERIENCE IN THE MILITARY. Or, as usual, they probably just heard it at a bar from some bent squiddy who got glorified gate guard duty or PSD detail their whole cycle. Who cares…point is, I know from VERY reliable “in the know” types that if you ask anyone from Dam Neck, they’ll tell you (even if they don’t know someone on that mission) that Delta was 99% chance of being present on the Chinooks and also probably it was a Delta sniper on one of the 60’s who smoked that one AK shootin’ brother of the courier or whoever. They take a LOT of pride in their airborne gunnery skills w/ a long gun.

    Comment by TangoUniform — July 25, 2012 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

    • Brother.. calling me an idiot might be a mistake.

      I served with 3rd Ranger Battalion and was assigned to TF 6-26 and TF 145 both in Iraq. No military experience? You must be a SMU plank owner in that case. Yes most of the time the TF’s have a mixture of all JSOC SMUs… but DEV has always had a tiny presence in Iraq when I was there. I participated on the Arcadia objectives in 2006 in Baqubah (a complicated special operation to kill or capture Zarqawi). I tell you what.. JSOC brought in 2 Delta assault troops, 2 Ranger platoons, 1 SAS assault force, and one SF CIF team to do the hits. There was not one component of DEV there with us = FACT.

      Be careful who you chastise.

      Comment by IYD — July 26, 2012 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  14. P.S
    There is also a few *actual* leaked after-actions (not from the Red Squadron members of 6 themselves but from someone from SOAR or something, IIRC) that found their way onto the net a LOOOOONG time ago (like literally something like a few days or a week after the raid) and were cut-pasted-and-copied by a ton of internet SEAL geeks who thought they DID HAVE the actual shooters’ report excerpts (which that is ALL that leaked, btw…was just a couple excerpts as i recall).

    —————> But again the debate is NOT being conducted here by anyone from either DevGru or the unit so….We take this all with a grain of salt. Me being just a boring, former 11B w/ 25ID as a ground pounder is not “cool” or “special” and I’ve rarely worked with anyone “special” myself either! In fact, I’ve been on a half dozen small little wuss humps with a very, very tiny NSW element of like less than five or six WC Teams guys (ST3) and an EOD operator. No Dam Neck guys, no other SOF etc lol…..That was the only time I was even in the presence of any SOF except for nowadays (long after i’m out). And the reason I’m getting this info from ex-Tier 1 types is that I’m writing a book about ex-SMUs who now work privately in a San Diego PMC (as SIGINT/HUMINT experts and even as shooters) VS. the giant Juarez-based.joint Mex/Venezuelan paramilitary elements trained by the ACTUAL freakin’ IRGC—- i.e Iranian advisors from Al Quds who are the Quds’ equivalent version of SAD/SOG in terms of their FID work w/ Mexican cartels and especially working w/ Chavez’s SOF from south Venezuela etc. The ebook comes out in late Sept and will be a series…all based on true events.

    Anyways, these reliable sources are ALL former SOF of some kind, whether it’s guys I knew from my 11B days who later joined the Rangers and/or an SF ODA, or sometimes it’s just old family friends from the local (i live in San DIego) Teams community etc.

    ——->>>>>>>> And these guys….again, these amazing and HONEST and reliable guys are telling me that not only did the UBL Raid’s Dam Neck guys from Red Sqdn were N-O-T by themselves,
    INSTEAD, AND THIS IS FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL, THEY WERE ACTUALLY FOLLOWED CLOSELY BEHIND IN THOSE CHINOOKS BY OTHER SMU ELEMENTS FROM DELTA AND ALSO A *SMALL* CONTINGENT OF TASK FORCE ORANGE/ISA/”THE ACTIVITY”/SECURITY COORDINATION DET/WHATEVER THEY ARE ASSIGNED AS CALLSIGNS ON EACH NEW SIGINT OPERATION..AND THEIR OPERATORS ARE THE BEST SIGINT/HUMINT OPERATORS—AND THE BEST SHOOTERS—IN THE WORLD…… PERIOD….That’s all I wanna guarantee here, and I just wanted to put this whole thing to bed once and for all…

    …again I am very, very sorry for the looooooong as hell post before this one and including this one, but it needed to be done so y’all knew exactly how wrong some of you were (about SOF in general, especially SMU like DevGru/Delta) yet how right others of you were (whom i am presuming are former ODAs or Teams yourselves from the looks of it) about the TTPs etc of the Teams and all the Dam Neck squadrons…I just needed to make that correction…

    …the correction that people still just so desperately hoping that ST6 were the only shooters out that night in those stealth 60s, but in reality, as i said, they were far from alone and far from worthy (imho) of getting ALL the credit for UBL’s demise. I think ISA actually should get a lot (because it actually was NOT the SAD/SOG guys trackin’ him that found him, although they WERE on-site in the adjacent home doing surveillance, but instead %70-80 of the credit (again, imho) goes to ISA or known as Task Force Orange, who guaranteed were tracking him AND did the same thing they always do….The same thing they did with Saddam (yeah, it wasn’t the 4th ID…read Killer Elite by Michael Smith i think) and Pablo Escobar. These guys catch the BIG FISH, every time they are ASKED ‘n’ TASKED! lol…big time.

    Comment by TangoUniform — July 26, 2012 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  15. I’ve read this post and most of the comments and what I have to say is that if you are not a member of devgru or delta dont make assumptions. If you ppl would know anything its that its was devgru n not jus regular seals that completed the mission. Devgru n delta both answer to the same ppl….N they both work exclusively with the CIA. With that said how do any of you know that it wasnt both devgru n delta who completed the mission.

    Comment by anonymous — August 18, 2012 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  16. note also that DEVGRU is especially chosen for such ‘sensitive’ missions – like doing an operation in a ‘friendly’ country without permission from that country. Remember this was conducted without Pakistan’s approval; in fact they specifically told the US they could not enter their country on the ground to get UBL. Yes Marines (i was a marine machinegunner, 8th MARREG and work as a civ for the Navy now) and Army Rangers, etc. could have competently done the missin also, but we wouldn’t be chosen for that sort of operation with such huge political ramifications. I think Delta does the same sensitive stuff but the person who said politics plays a major role knows his stuff – high profile success translates directly into funding. I just want to know why Joe Biden wasn’t at least reprimanded for blabbing about a team that doesn’t exist (see http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2714990/posts) – i would have lost my clearance and either let go or reassigned.

    Comment by anon — September 9, 2012 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  17. There in fact were 12 operators on the ground. Of course, the SEALs are publicity whores, and they take the credit. Out of those 12 only 7 were DEVGRU and the rest (hmmm) were DELTA/SOAR. Most people think this was a black and white operation meaning either the SEALs and only the SEALs were involved or visa versa. There is a grey spot in that spectrum.

    Comment by GreenBeret Operator — September 17, 2012 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

    • I think its pretty evident now especially with the release of Mark Owens book that there was no Delta, no Rangers on the objective. Two 60s full of 24 hand picked members of Red Squadron along with 1 interpreter were on the objective. The rest of Red squadron was filled up in 2 chinooks a few miles away acting as a QRF.

      This debate is over.

      Comment by IYD — September 18, 2012 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

  18. Ever since ST6 lit up UBL in mid-2011, you hear the question if DF really tells other people or troops that they are Navy SEALs to preserve their actual identity. Well rumor has I am a Navy SEAL. Just because I don’t surf, sky shark you in a HALO jump, or beat you up and steal your girlfriend, as long as my cover isn’t blown, I’m the best looking SEAL putting A box shots on crows.

    Comment by NCO — October 23, 2012 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

    • Of course, you can take that with a grain of salt. What do I know, I’m just a mall cop with exceptional CQC Skills.

      Comment by NCO — October 23, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

      • Just 1 or 2 of you guys really do not know what you are talking about. I am a 2nd luey in the airforce. Jsoc is a component of socom. They control our tier 1 units which are delta, devgru, 24th special tactics and Isa. Now socom controls our tier 2 assets such as army rangers, green beret, pj’s, seals and marsoc. Delta selects the best from the army which is rangers and sf. Devgru selects the best seals and 24th sts chooses the best combat controller and pjs and weathermen. Its that simple. There are man delta operators who have completed scuba school in key west florida. And the obl mission was only devgru, there was no delta. I do feel it was because mccraven is a seal but let’s remember that delta was apart of getting sudam.

        Comment by joe — December 17, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

      • The former SEALs/DEVGRU SEALs, Marines, and PJ/CCT’s in CAG would disagree with you.

        Comment by behind the fence — December 29, 2013 @ 9:08 am

    • I like this guy… lol

      Comment by Rich T — March 11, 2017 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

  19. For former Tier 2/ Tier 1 operators… You all certantly talk to much… Some information is best to not know, and agian not to talk about…

    Comment by ...... — February 14, 2014 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  20. What a load of crap. Every SEAL who tries to screen for Dam Neck comes from a SEAL team, prior to that interview. In the post 9/11 world, that means guys screening for Dam Neck were experienced operators, with multiple deployments, and THEN wanted to try out for the JSOC team. Why Dam Neck over Delta? Simple. The Navy provides a better, more agile, more adaptable force for a chosen mission.
    JSOC has it’s politics, but it comes down to picking the best tool for the job. If the “mighty” D-Boys are not chosen for the big mish, it’s because the shot-callers don’t want them for some reason. They will pick who they want, when they want them. And before anybody tells me to go take a flying Fu#* at myself, I was at that command, as a SEAL, from 1994 to 2007. Trust me, I know how it works. Delta isn’t nearly as sexy as everybody thinks they are. hard men for sure, and determined, but not head and shoulders above everybody else in SOF. NSW shouldn’t be the media whores they are now. NSW never used to be this way, and it’s sad they all seem to be into the books and other BS now. Glad I retired

    Comment by phil Lewis — July 10, 2015 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

    • So you were on the Big Red Boat w/ me. I’d write your capabilities at about uh 88 out of 100. But you guys do bring your own comedy show; I loved it when the PJ jumped over the table and broke his ankle “after” the mission was over. Lol

      Comment by Rich T — March 11, 2017 @ 7:53 pm | Reply

  21. Mike you know very little of what you speak. You need to do more research before you type. People in the community have to bite their tongue when people like you make idiotic comments like high school college and professional. For example can you name the one special operations unit that has been continuously in battle since 9/11 and has seen more combat action and had more kills than any other unit? Also do you even know the makeup of DEVGRU or who was asked to help form MARSOC in the beginning? There’s a reason why they’re called quiet professionals and “we” laugh at people like you.

    Comment by Rich T — March 11, 2017 @ 7:39 pm | Reply


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