Entries in Navy SEAL Team 6 (7)


Obama to ABC News: Somalia Rescue Made Me Think of Own Daughters

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Obama on Thursday expressed sympathy with the father of the American hostage rescued by Navy SEALs Tuesday, saying the ordeal made him think of his own daughters.

“I cannot imagine what he went through – given Malia and Sasha – and for him to be able to stay strong and then for our incredible men and women in uniform to do what they do, it makes you proud about this country,” Obama told ABC’s Diane Sawyer.

The president said he had not spoken to Jessica Buchanan, who was held hostage for three months, but said it was important for him that she connected with her father.

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Obama on Thursday revealed new details of the Navy SEAL operation, which was going on as he was making his State of the Union speech.

“On this one, they were moving so fast that I actually had to give the order and the directions and then they were out,” he said. “It was not a situation where I could actually talk to the folks who were directing the operation, and it was still ongoing while were in the middle of the State of the Union speech.”

Watch World News tonight at 6:30 p.m. EST for Diane Sawyer’s interview with President Obama.

Before he made his speech, the president was seen telling Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta “good job” in reference to the Navy Seal operation.

“He does a good job generally, but we were very specifically referring to the operation in Somalia because at that time we knew that she had already been recovered along with the Danish hostage and they weren’t yet back to Djibouti — the American base — but we knew at that point that they were safe and that everybody had successfully achieved the mission,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Who Are the Members of Navy SEAL Team Six?

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The world will probably never find out which Navy SEALs rescued two aid workers in Somalia, or who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

As part of the elite force that takes on the world's most dangerous assignments and took down the world's most wanted terrorist, members of SEAL Team Six are never identified, according to standard procedure, and don't seek personal fame.

American Jessica Buchanan and Danish citizen Poul Hagen Thisted were rescued Tuesday night by a team of SEALs in a raid near Gadaado, Somalia. Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, had been held for three months after being captured by a band of Somalis in October.

So what do we know about the Navy SEALs whose operation involved parachuting into the area and engaging in a firefight with the Somali kidnappers? We know that it was an all-male rescue team, because all SEALs are men.

The average Navy SEAL is about 30 years old, with a bachelors and possibly a masters degree. He is most likely white and may have a wife and children, and is no doubt in perfect physical shape. Top-tier operators, as they're also known, are sometimes described as, without irony, warrior-athletes.

"They have gazelle legs, no waist and a huge upper body configuration and almost a mental block that says, 'I will not fail,'" said Richard Marcinko, the retired Navy SEAL commander who created the elite Team Six in 1980.

But he is also most likely hiding beneath a slightly disheveled exterior. Unlike other Navy SEALs, the members of SEAL Team Six most likely do not appear as clean cut. He probably uses "modified grooming standards" including a beard and longer hair designed to help him blend in when operating overseas.

Despite their nerves of steel and their real-life-action-movie day jobs, the men are nearly always unassuming. "If you've never met a Navy SEAL and you ran into one at a bar, you probably still wouldn't know he's a Navy SEAL," said former SEAL member Howard Wasdin.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rescued American Sold Her Belongings to Become Missionary

Danish Refugee Council(NEW YORK) -- Jessica Buchanan, the woman rescued from Somalia bandits by U.S. special forces, is so dedicated to helping others that she sold all of her belongings to become a missionary in Somalia.

Buchanan, 32, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Valley Forge University, a Christian college in Phoenixville, Pa., in 2007. She was a student teacher in Africa before graduating and her romance with the continent began.

Buchanan started as a student teacher at Nairobi's Rosslyn Academy in 2007 because of, "God's call on her life to teach overseas," according to her biography on the school's web site. She student taught first and sixth graders before being hired as a fourth grade teacher in 2008.

Buchanan left the school in 2009. She moved to Hargeisa, Somalia with her Danish husband, Erik Landemalm, who she met in Africa.  

Buchanan, 32, was kidnapped on Oct. 25, 2011, along with her Danish co-worker Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, in Galkayo, Somalia. The two worked together for the Danish Demining Group, a division of the Danish Regugee Council, Buchanan served as a regional education adviser, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Over the three months of her captivity, concern grew about Buchanan's deteriorating health, which was described as possibly "life-threatening" and a, "window of opportunity for mission success" presented itself, according to Pentagon spokesperson George Little.

The two were rescued Wednesday by the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6, the same covert group that successfully carried out the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Buchanan is doing, "as well as you would expect given what she has gone through," a military official told ABC News.

Buchanan is currently at U.S. Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

According to officials, she is expected to be reunited with her family in the next day or two, however the location of the reunion remained unclear.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are Navy SEALs More At Risk Following Bin Laden's Death?

MILpictures by Tom Weber(WASHINGTON) -- They are revered as the smartest, bravest and most elite in the American military and yet, there is concern for their safety.

The U.S. government believes there are publications offering money to find out the identities of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden.

During a town hall meeting at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates admitted bin Laden's death has intensified the threat of extreme retaliation against them.

"When I met with the team last Thursday, they expressed a concern about that, and particularly with respect to their families," Gates said.

The Department of Defense is looking into ways to "pump up security" for the commandoes. For years, bin Laden was the world's most wanted man, and some fear his death has shifted the crosshairs directly onto Team 6.

In Virginia Beach, where the Seals are based, there's a dangerous new pastime called "SEAL spotting," in which journalists and fans try to pick out members of the elite team.

Don Mann, a former member of SEAL Team 6, said he has been approached by at least 25 reporters asking him to identify one of the SEALs involved.

"A lot of reporters are trying to get interviews. They are trying to get the story, and I wish they would stop," he said. "We are only doing harm to the SEAL community."

Some in the military and intelligence communities are calling it an unprecedented breach of confidentiality to even identify them specifically as Team 6. After all, they were a part of, at least in name, a "top secret operation."

The defense secretary himself said he was surprised about the amount of information that's been disclosed.

"Frankly, a week ago in the situation room we all agreed we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden, and that all fell apart on Monday -- the next day," Gates said.

Government officials are discussing plans to make sure the SEALs and their families are safe, and are also considering legal action to stop any publication that might identify any of the SEALs involved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to SEALs Who Killed Osama bin Laden: 'Job Well Done'

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.) -- President Obama on Friday privately thanked the Navy SEALs who cornered and killed Osama bin Laden, congratulating them for a "job well done."

The president met the elite Team 6 squad on the same day that bin Laden's terror network, al Qaeda, admitted that its leader was dead. Al Qaeda vowed that it would try to make America pay for his death.

Obama met privately with the SEALs and members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the helicopter pilots known as "Night Stalkers," who flew the mission in Pakistan. One battalion of Night Stalkers is headquartered at Fort Campbell, home to the Army's most-deployed contingency forces.

Obama recognized the full assault force with the Presidential Unit Citation, the highest honor that can be given to a unit. Obama said they represented "the finest small fighting force in the history of the world."

Obama and Vice President Biden received a briefing on the operation that included maps, photos and a scale model of the compound. One briefer confirmed that a dog was part of the assault team. When Biden asked its breed, the briefer joked that if officials wanted to meet the dog, "I recommend you bring treats."

Following the private meeting, Obama spoke to approximately 2,200 troops at Ft. Campbell, Ky., who have recently returned from Afghanistan. The Navy SEAL dog was also in attendance.

The statement by al Qaeda was released on the Internet and should end any doubts that the terror mastermind is dead, despite President Obama's refusal to release gruesome photos showing bin Laden's body with a bullet hole in his head.

Al Qaeda said bin Laden's blood "will not be wasted" and Americans' "happiness will turn to sadness." The group pledged to continue attacking America and its allies.

The statement, dated May 3 and signed by "the general leadership" of al Qaeda, also incited Pakistanis to violence, telling them to rise up in revolt against their leaders.

Al Qaeda's statement opens the path for a new leader of the terrorist group to be named. Bin Laden's deputy and the group's possible new leader is Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


SEALs Brought Highly-Trained Dog with Them into Bin Laden Compound

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Lawlor/Released(WASHINGTON) -- They may look like your normal house dog, but these military dogs are highly trained, invaluable assets in the war on terror.  They are capable of detecting explosives, finding enemies and chasing down anyone who tries to escape.

SEAL Team Six, the elite military operatives who killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday night, were accompanied by one such canine companion.

"The capability they [the dogs] bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine," said Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  "By all measures of performance, their yield outperforms any asset we have in our industry.  Our Army would be remiss if we failed to invest more in this incredibly valuable resource."

The dogs are a fighting force on four legs that are able to parachute into action, rappel into combat and swim into a skirmish.  They are outfitted with protective body armor and a powerful bite.  According to the U.S. Air Force, the bite from a German shepherd, one of the breeds used by the military, has a force of between 400 and 700 pounds.

While its bite may be impressive, it is a military dog's exceptional ability to detect bombs that makes it indispensable to soldiers.

"They've spent millions of dollars trying to come up with the best bomb detection technology," said Rebecca Frankel, deputy managing editor of, who writes War Dog of the Week for the site.  "After all that money and all that time devoted to it, they've come to the conclusion that in fact a dog and a handler best any technology on the ground today."

The Taliban has also noticed the value of the dogs.

"It's unfortunate, but the Taliban has wisened to the fact that these dogs are so successful at uncovering IEDs and so they are actually a target," Frankel told ABC News.  "If they have them [the dogs] out on a lead or let them go in front of the unit often times I do think they attract sniper fire earlier."

Last year, at a cost of more than $20,000 per unit, the SEALs bought four tactical vests for their dogs, according to The New York Times.  The vests are reported to have infrared and night-vision cameras that allow handlers to use a monitor from up to 1,000 yards away to see what the dog sees.  The handler is also able to communicate with the dog through a speaker on the vest.

Frankel says there are upwards of 3,000 dogs deployed and that using dogs in war is nothing new.

"Dogs have been fighting with U.S. soldiers for centuries...unofficially in the Civil War and then officially inducted into the U.S. Army in 1942 for World War II." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The Navy SEAL Team 6 Weapons that Brought Down Bin Laden

MILpictures by Tom Weber(NEW YORK) -- As Navy SEAL Team 6 closed in on its prey -- Osama bin Laden -- it likely entered the battle armed with the best weapons and technology available to soldiers anywhere in the world, a military expert and former Navy SEAL fighter told ABC News.

Although tactical details of Sunday's mission remain unconfirmed, ABC News spoke with a former Navy SEAL sniper to learn what equipment and tech toys SEAL teams usually use to take down a target.

"The organizations we're talking about have the resources to get any weapon systems they think are necessary to do the job, and they will bring [anything] they think will give them the greatest advantage in that moment," Richard "Mac" Machowicz, a former Navy SEAL sniper and the host of Spike TV's Deadliest Warrior, told ABC News. "If they get it, and they like it, they'll use it."

The Blackhawk helicopters that carried them to the scene not only hold missiles and large-caliber guns but provide a lookout platform.

"SEALs have developed the ability to send very accurate fire from helicopters," Machowicz said.

Those snipers would have available highly customized rifles tailored to that particular battlefield, he said. Machowicz told ABC News that when he was a sniper, he essentially had eight different sniper rifles tailored to different scenarios.

The SEAL's ground weapons were likely highly specialized too. "The mission dictates the target, the target dictates the weapons and the weapons dictate how they're used," Machowicz said. In the bin Laden scenario, the SEALs would have likely used short-barrel weapons -- such as a shortened M4 or AR-15 assault rifle -- that allow them to easily maneuver in and out of doors, hallways and vehicles.

Machowicz speculates those guns used a large bullet type. "There are new weapons systems that fire the .45 caliber [round] that allows you to deliver a lot more kinetic energy, and you don't need to worry about overpenetration on the target."

In the sky, in-atmosphere satellites (such as predator drones) and space-based satellites convey information to the troops on the ground. Helmet-mounted cameras, which were reportedly worn during the mission to capture bin Laden, also transmitted information to commanders back at base and to the situation room in Washington. This helps the soldiers on the ground to quickly identify their targets, pick up every threat and take them down fast.

The lookout platform from the Blackhawks is extremely important, as the ground soldiers were most likely not using night-vision goggles. "All of the rehearsals for this were most likely done at night so target identification would be natural," said Machowicz. "You don't want to just have night vision on the guys' faces, because the changing light conditions could change how you are able to use that....You don't want guys messing with their night vision when they're supposed to be taking out targets."

Suppressers, which are built into most modern-day weapons, would have also likely been made available to SEAL Team 6. Contrary to popular perception, they not only provide a stealth advantage but also help the team communicate once the bullets start flying. Anyone who has been on a gun range can tell you, gunshots are loud.

That means the fancy radios used to get everyone in place until the mission starts get replaced with low-tech out loud shouting once the firing begins and stealth is no longer an option.

One of the other useful tools in a SEAL's kit is the flash bang, or stun grenade. This device works similar to a regular grenade but is nonlethal, while still producing a disorienting amount of sound and light. Volume, noise and power allow you to dominate a room.

"SEALs want to physically and mentally dominate that space from the moment they enter," says Machowicz. "Now what happens, when you're startled, anything that guy does to you just seems so much faster."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio