Throughout the world, there are special units of military teams that are specifically trained under extreme conditions to put their bodies on the line to counter militancy and other potential threats.
These secret teams unlike a country’s Air Force, Army, or Navy operate in specifically suited missions, which are accustomed to their service, with their information never really disclosed by the respective government or military.
One of the world’s most elite teams in the United States Navy Seal Team 6, which is at the heart of the country’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). The team which stands as the prime counter-terrorist task force was involved in an operation just recently.
Last week, a 27-year-old American citizen was abducted from his farm in Massalata in southern Niger, West Africa by six assailants on motorbikes, who were armed with AK-47s.
Philipe Nathan Walton was working on his property when he was kidnapped and ransom was demanded from his father. While the armed group, which operates out of Nigeria, was not related to a terrorist group, there were chances of Walton being sold to terrorist groups in the region.
With the risk of losing Walton further from the border with Nigeria, possibly to an Islamist militant group aligned with either Al-Qaida or ISIS, the Seal Team 6 was called in for a rescue operation.
Soon after, the Seal Team 6 carried out the rescue operation on Saturday (October 31) morning, under which the special force team killed all but one of the captors before safely rescuing Walton.
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Jonathan Hoffman, speaking about the operation said – “U.S. forces conducted a hostage rescue operation during the early hours of 31 October in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men,”
This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation,” added Hoffman.
“We appreciate the support of our international partners in conducting this operation. The United States will continue to protect our people and our interests anywhere in the world.”
United States President Donald Trump, who has been busy contesting the US Presidential elections over the past week, also issued a token of appreciation for the special force regarding the operation.
“I want to thank the special forces. We had a tremendous event happen and really these are incredible people that do this,” said Trump, while speaking to reporters.
Abbreviated as DEVGRU (DEVelopment GroUp), the United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Teams are a key component of the Naval Special Warfare Command, has been the country’s special operations force since 1962.
The Seal teams are mainly tasked with carrying out operations to “capture or to eliminate high-level targets, hostage rescue operations and intelligence gathering behind enemy lines”.
They carry out their missions in diverse environments which may include the maritime, jungle, arctic, urban, mountainous, or even the desert.
An unnamed Seal Team 6 Commander speaks about what it takes to be in the Navy Seal Team Six.
“Prevailing through chaotic combat conditions requires an astounding level of cognitive dexterity and almost superhuman teamwork. SEALs have to be able to stop acting like individuals, and start operating as a single entity, almost on demand,”
More than any other skill, SEALs rely on a merger of consciousness—‘flipping the switch,’ that’s the real secret to being a SEAL.” said the commander.
Moreover, they are divided into color-coded line squadrons of Red Squadron (Assault), Blue Squadron (Assault), Gold Squadron (Assault), Silver Squadron (Assault), Black Squadron (Intelligence, Reconnaissance, & Surveillance), Gray Squadron (Mobility Teams, Transportation/Divers, QRF) and, Green Team (Selection/Training).
Defense writer, Peter Suciu, while writing for the National Interest speaks about the impressive combat history of the special teams.
“While for many years the activities of the SEALs was largely shrouded in obscurity, the U.S. Navy SEALs—along with their companion Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC)—have become a ubiquitous component in the on-going war against terrorism around the globe,”
The units have been in the spotlight following high profile operations including the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk ship Alabama, and the raid at Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was successfully killed.” said Suciu.