- US Navy
- Royal Navy
Posted by Peace Keeper
On October 13, 1983, the Grenadian Army, controlled by former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, overthrew the government of Grenada in a bloody coup d'état, creating a Communist regime. The severity of the violence, coupled with Coard's hard-line Marxism, caused deep concern among neighboring Caribbean nations, as well as in Washington, D.C. Adding to the US's concern was the presence of nearly 1,000 American medical students in Grenada.
The new leader of the Grenadian government, Maurice Bishop, aligned Grenada with Cubans, Soviets, and communist organizations. The Reagan administration reviled the leftist government for being too closely allied to Cuba and the Soviet Union. On October 25, Reagan decided to act and United States invaded the small island of Grenada.
SEAL Team Six's Assault Group Three was to conduct a static line drop with boats a few miles away from the Grenadian coast. One of two C-130 cargo planes transporting the SEALs to their drop point veered far off course. A rain squall accompanied by high winds broke out just before the SEALs conducted the drop. Four out of the eight SEALs that made the drop drowned and were never seen again. After the disastrous insertion, Assault Group Three was told to stand-by and began preparing for the next mission. The next mission was to go to the governor's mansion and secure Governor-General Paul Scoon, protect him and his family and move them out of the combat area. A second mission was to capture and secure Grenada's only radio station so that it couldn't be used by the local military to incite the population or coordinate military actions. There was almost no intelligence for either of these operations.
To reach the governor-general's mansion, the SEALs were flown in on Black Hawk helicopters that morning, and fast-roped to the ground while under fire. As they approached from the back of the mansion, the team found Scoon hiding. The SEALs then continued to clear the rest of the house and began to set up a perimeter to ensure security. Soon the mansion started to take fire from men armed with AK-47s and RPGs. As the incoming fire started to increase, Governor-General Scoon and his family were moved to a safer location in the house. After the incoming fire had decreased, three men wearing Cuban uniforms approached the mansion, all of them carrying AK-47s. The SEALs shouted for the three men to stop where they were. When the three men heard the yells, they raised their weapons. The SEALs opened fire on the Cubans and killed them almost instantly.
Soon afterward, two BTR-60PBs rolled up to the mansion's gates. One of the BTRs at the mansion's front gate opened fire. Just as the SEALs were about to fire a LAW anti-tank rocket, the BTR backed off and left with the other BTR. When the SEALs had inserted on to the compound, they left behind their long-range SATCOM radio on a helicopter. The only communications the team had were through MX-360 radios. The team used the radios to communicate with a SEAL command post on the island to call in air strikes. As the radios started to die, communications with the SEAL command post became weak. Once all the radios had finally died and the SEALs urgently needed air support, the SEALs used a regular house phone to call JSOC. JSOC was able to get an AC-130 Spectre gunship to hold station over the SEALs' position to provide air support.
When morning came, a group of Force Recon Marines arrived to extract the SEALs, Governor-General Scoon, and his family to a helicopter extraction point. As the team left the compound, they noticed splattered blood and discarded weapons all around. The helicopter finally arrived and extracted everyone to safety.
Assault Group Three and another squad from SEAL Team Six flew to the radio station on a Black Hawk helicopter. The helicopter took small-arms fire on the insertion. Once the team unloaded, it overran the radio station compound. The SEALs were told to hold the station until Governor Scoon and a broadcast team could be brought in. After the team took control of the compound, it was not able to make radio contact with the SEAL command post. The SEALs set up a perimeter while they continued to try to make radio contact. As this was happening, a BTR-60 rolled up to the compound and 20 Grenadian soldiers disguised as station workers piled out. The soldiers carried weapons even in disguise. The SEALs ordered the soldiers to drop the weapons. The soldiers opened fire but were shot down almost instantly. Afterward the SEALs continued laboring to make radio contact when another BTR and three trucks were spotted coming towards the station.
The trucks carried a dozen soldiers each. The SEALs quickly conducted a defensive maneuver as the soldiers flanked the building. The BTR covered the front entrance with its 14.5 mm KPV heavy machine gun. The incoming fire on the SEALs position was becoming devastatingly heavy and the SEALs were running out of ammunition. The SEAL team knew that their only option was to change their original plan of holding the radio station and instead destroy the radio transmitter, and head to the water following their pre-planned escape route out behind the station across a broad meadow that led to a path that cut between cliffs and a beach. The meadow was terribly exposed to Grenadian fire. The team leapfrogged across the exposed ground and took heavy fire. The team finally reached the end of the field, cut through a chain-link fence and ran into dense brush. The SEALs quickly followed the path to the beach. One SEAL had been wounded in the arm. The Grenadians were still in pursuit, so the SEALs waded into the water and began swimming parallel to the shore until they found cliff ledges to conceal themselves. The SEALs remained hidden until long after the Grenadians had given up the search. Once the SEALs were convinced that the Grenadians had given up, the team jumped back into the water and swam out to sea. The SEALs were in the water close to six hours before a rescue plane spotted them and vectored a Navy ship to pick them up.
During Operation Restore Hope and Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia, DEVGRU was a part of Task Force Ranger. TF Ranger was made up of operators from Delta Force, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 160th SOAR, the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, and unknown number of SEALs from DEVGRU. Eric T. Olson, John Gay, Howard Wasdin, Homer Nearpass, and Richard Kaiser were the five SEALs that fought in the Battle of the Black Sea during the last mission of Operation Gothic Serpent to capture the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
The NSWDG operated alongside other members of NATO's Implementation Force, such as its Army counterpart Delta Force and the British SAS. These units were tasked by The Hague with finding and apprehending persons indicted for war crimes (PIFWC) and returning them to The Hague to stand trial. Some of DEVGRU's PIFWC operations included apprehending Goran Jelisić, Simo Zaric, Milan Simic and Miroslav Tadic.
In Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), U.S. Special Operations forces have led the fighting. During the crucial Battle of Takur Ghar part of Operation Anaconda small teams of DEVGRU Tier One operators assigned to an Advanced Force Operations task force were tasked with establishing observation positions (OPs) on the high ground above the proposed landing zones of U.S. conventional forces. It was one of the most violent battles of Operation Anaconda. Late at night on March 2, 2002 a MH-47 Chinook helicopter piloted by the 160th SOAR was carrying a team of Navy SEALs from DEVGRU. The original plan was that the SEALs would be inserted at a point 1300 meters east of the peak, but circumstances led the SEALs to choose the summit of Takur Ghar itself as the insertion point. As the helicopter was nearing its landing zone both the pilots and the men in the back observed fresh tracks in the snow, goatskins, and other signs of recent human activity. Immediately, the pilots and team discussed a mission abort, but it was too late. An RPG struck the side of the aircraft, wounding one crewman, while machine gun bullets ripped through the fuselage, cutting hydraulic and oil lines. Fluid spewed about the ramp area of the helicopter. The pilot struggled to get the helicopter off the landing zone and away from the enemy fire. Neil C. Roberts, a SEAL operator, was poised to exit the ramp when the aircraft was hit and he slipped on the oil as the helicopter took off. He was thrown from the helicopter dropping about 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3.0 m) to the snowy ground below. Roberts immediately engaged Al-Qaeda forces with the weapons he carried including his M249 light machine gun, SIG Sauer 9mm pistol and grenades. He survived at least 30 minutes before he was shot and killed at close range.
On May 1-2, 2011, DEVGRU was involved in its most famous operation to date, the operation, codename Neptune's Spear, that killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in the affluent suburb of Abbottabad, Pakistan. In the 38-minute mission, there were no injuries or casualties to the team. The team practiced the mission "on both American coasts" as well as in a segregated section of Camp Alpha at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in early April 2011, using a one-acre replica of bin Laden's compound. Modified MH-60 helicopters from the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment carried Navy SEALs and were supported by other personnel with 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. A May 1 memo from CIA Director Leon Panetta thanked the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, whose mapping and pattern recognition software was likely used to determine that Bin Laden lived in the compound with "high probability". Members of these agencies were paired with JSOC units in forward-deployed fusion cells to "exploit and analyze" battlefield data instantly using biometrics, facial recognition systems, voice print databases, and predictive models of insurgent behavior based on surveillance and computer-based pattern analysis. The raid force killed Bin Laden, his adult son, an unknown woman, and two couriers.