The founding commander of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6, Richard “Dick” Marcinko, died Saturday at his home in Virginia. He was 81.
Mr. Marcinko is believed to have suffered a heart attack, according to his son, Matthew, as first reported by The New York Times.
“Last night, Christmas evening, we lost a hero, who’s also known as The Rogue Warrior, the retired Navy SEAL commander AND the creator of SEAL Team Six, my father, Richard Marcinko,” Mr. Marcinko’s son, wrote on Twitter Sunday.
“His legacy will live forever,” he wrote. “The man has died a true legend.”
Mr. Marcinko served two tours in Vietnam in the late 1960s and earned the Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Silver Star.
During his first deployment In 1967, he led his unit in an assault on llo llo Han, which became the most successful SEAL operation in the Mekong Delta, according to the Navy SEAL Museum.
He later led his unit in assisting U.S. Army Special Forces during the Tet Offensive.
After Vietnam, Mr. Marcinko served as the Navy’s attache to Cambodia and commanded SEAL Team 2 from 1974 to 1976.
He later served on the Pentagon’s Terrorist Action Team, which was tasked with developing a plan to free American hostages during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
After Operation Eagle Claw, the failed mission in April 1980 to rescue the U.S. embassy staff held hostages in Iran, Mr. Marcinko was tapped to design a full-time counter-terrorism unit. The Navy recognized such a unit was necessary to respond to events similar to the hostage crisis.
Mr. Marcinko was selected by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas B. Hayward to command what became SEAL Team 6 upon its creation later in 1980. Mr. Marcinko led the unit until 1983.
Since its creation, SEAL Team 6 has remained shrouded in lore as one of the most secretive and elite units in the U.S. military. The unit remains in existence today.
In 2011, SEAL Team 6 was responsible for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda who was responsible for the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Mr. Marcinko retired from the Navy in 1989 and went on to author several books, including The New York Times bestseller “Rogue Warrior” in 1992.
He also headed private security consulting firm Red Cell International, hosted the conservative talk radio show “America on Watch with Dick Marcinko” and consulted on several movies and television shows.
“Dick Marcinko played a very unique part in SEAL history, leaving a legacy like no other,” the Navy SEAL Museum said in a statement Sunday. “’Demo Dick’ is considered the United States’ premier counterterrorism operator.”
• Joseph Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Click to Read More and View Comments
Click to Hide
Please read our comment policy before commenting.