i forgot about the other 2
Naval Special Warfare Development Group
and Red Cell
Above photo courtesy of (and property of) LOTI Group
(The following article is ©1998-2000 Special Operations.Com. Do not reprint without permission.)
The Naval Special Warfare Development Group (formerly known as MOB 6, SEAL Team SIX, and MARESFAC) based at Dam Neck, Virginia, is responsible for
U.S. counterterrorist operations in the maritime environment. Its origin can be traced to the aftermath of the failed 1980 attempted to rescue
American hostages at the Iranian Embassy (Operation Eagle Claw). Prior to this, the SEALs had already begun CT training, including all 12 platoons in
SEAL Team One on the West Coast. On the East Coast, however, elements of the SEAL Team Two had taken the issue one step farther. They formed a
dedicated two-platoon group known as "MOB Six" (short for Mobility Six) in anticipation of a maritime scenario requiring a CT response and had begun
training (including the development of advanced tactics such as "fast roping") to that end. Yet, as was the case with the US Army's initial CT unit
- Blue Light - and Delta Force, only one group was needed and could be recognized as official. With the formal creation of SEAL Team Six (a name
selected primarily to confuse Soviet intelligence as to the number of SEAL Teams in operation) in October1980, MOB Six was demobilized. A large number
of members, however, including the former MOB Six commander, were asked to join the fledgling group. With prior experience from these operators,
aggressive leadership, and an accelerated training program, SEAL Team Six was declared mission-ready just six months later.
Training for Six was conducted throughout the United States and abroad, both on military and civilian facilities on an extremely accelerated schedule.
Exchange programs and joint trainings were expanded with the more experienced international teams such as Germany's GSG-9, Great Britain's Special
Boat Squadrons (SBS), and France's combat divers. In all cases, emphasis was placed on realism in training, in accordance with the "Train as you
Fight, Fight as you Train" philosophy popular amongst most of the world's leading special operations and CT units. Six participated in a number of
operations, both overt and covert, throughout the 1980's (see list at the end of this section) before being revamped and renamed. The reasons for
this transformation are vague, however the primary factor cited has been the need for the unit to evolved out of a poor reputation of the group within
the Navy. A great deal of controversy was generated due to charges of misappropriation of funds and equipment by team members, as well as the
conviction of unit founder Cdr. Richard Marcinko on charges of conspiracy, conflict of interest, making false claims against the government, and
bribery. He was sentenced to nearly two years in a Federal penitentiary in addition to being forced to pay a $10,000 fine. Despite this turn of
events, Marcinko is still revered in some SEAL circles as an almost mythical figure. This status was attained, in no small part, to a best
selling-book series which centers around fictional maritime special operations and counterterrorism.
Note: The following text is an excerpt from an upcoming book from Special Operations.Com and IACSP on Red Cell. No release date yet.
This article is Copyright 2000 by Special Operations.Com.
Red Cell - Team Member Profiles
In early 1984, U.S. Navy Cdr. Richard Marcinko, former commander of the Navy's elite counterterrorist unit SEAL Team SIX, was summoned to the office
of Vice Admiral James A. "Ace" Lyons, Jr., then-Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. During the course of the meeting, Admiral Lyons conveyed to the
commander his concerns over the vulnerability of U.S. military bases to terrorist attack. Marcinko was then directed to draft a proposal for a new
unit, specifically tasked with testing the security of U.S. Navy bases.
This would not be the only mission of this new team. In fact, testing of Naval; security was primarily a cover for the unit's primary function -
covert counterterrorist missions conducted around the world. In this way, a portion of the unit would deploy overtly to a given Naval base to carry
out its security mandate, while a small element would covertly infiltrate a foreign nation to carry out whatever counterterrorist activity was
required. This "activity" as to be very much in line with the practice of aggressive neutralization of known terrorists carried out on a regular
basis by nations such as Israel and Great Britain.
In order to provide the maximum educational benefit for both the installation commander (as well as to verify Red Cell's claims of penetration -
which were sometimes disputed by base commanders), it was decided that a video crew using low-light equipment would have to be incorporated into the
planning and execution of each mission. This was no easy feat, as the video crew itself would also have to be able to penetrate the base in order to
remain close enough to Red Cell to video its actions. To remedy this problem, three former SEAL Team SIX operators were hired to film every
operation. This had a dual benefit in that not only were these men able to secretly enter the installation without giving away the location of the
team, but having been trained in exactly the same techniques as the Red Cell members (some of whom they had already worked with in SEAL Team SIX)
they could anticipate the moves of the team, and thus be in a position to provide superior video surveillance of the events as they unfolded.
In a short time, Marcinko chose the name "Red Cell" for this new unit (formally designated OP-06D) and set about selecting personnel. According to
his non-fiction book Rogue Warrior: "There were fourteen plank owners in the unit, three officers and eleven enlisted men - one platoon, two boat
crews, seven pairs of swim buddies. It was a classic SEAL design." (RW, p. 293) Thirteen of the fourteen SEALs were from Marcinko's former command,
SEAL Team SIX. The only non-SEAL accepted into the unit was Steve Hartman, a former member of the USMC's Force Reconnaissance teams.
Red Cell team members were expected to maintain their SEAL qualifications in diving, parachuting, and demolition. Beyond this, however, they were
given great latitude in virtually all regards. Marcinko's command style with regard to physical training conformed to that of numerous other elite
special operations units around the world, such as the British SAS. There was no required, formalized fitness program. Instead, members were
expected to train individually and expected to maintain a high level of physical fitness.