Did SEAL Team 6 Leave Behind Magpul PMAG, Garmin Foretrex 401?

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Just in case anyone still doubted the abilities of US Special Forces to strike anywhere anytime, SEAL Team Six and Delta Force raided two countries simultaneously with the aim of capturing high-value Al-Qaeda affiliated commanders. Delta Force entered Libya and successfully captured and extracted their target. According to the US media, Seal Team Six was unsuccessful. They encountered armed resistance and decided to withdraw rather than risk civilian casualties.

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Somali media are reporting that the SEALs left behind equipment. The equipment left behind includes a Magpul PMAG with ~20 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, a high capacity H&K MP7 magazine with ~40 rounds of ammunition, a Rheinmetall MK13 BTV-EL Flash Bang and a Garmin Foretrex 401 wrist-worm GPS device.

Since at least the Bin Laden raid we have known that SEAL Team Six favor HK416 rifles and H&K MP7 submachine guns. The MK13 grenade is used by the US Military and by many special forces around the world, so it is no surprise they are using it.

Now I don’t claim to even be an armchair-private, let alone an armchair-commando. But I do know electronics and GPS systems in particular, having worked for a manufacturer of high-performance concealed GPS tracking devices. I am very surprised that Seal Team Six would be using the Garmin Foretrex 401. It has a small antenna and would struggle to get a fast and accurate fix indoors. I suppose it is plausible they would be issuing these simply because they are cheap/disposable ($180 on Amazon), are simple to use and last for 17 hours on standard alkaline AA batteries.

While the equipment is “correct”, I cannot help thinking this all looks suspicious. There are four possible scenarios that would result in an ultra-elite special forces team leaving this kind of equipment behind …

  1. They were genuinely overwhelmed or ambushed by Somali militia and the equipment was left behind in a hurried withdrawal. Unlikely.
  2. A team member carelessly left some of his equipment behind. Surely not.
  3. The photos are a hoax or made-up propaganda. Possible.
  4. The equipment was purposely planted. Likely.

Scenario one is unlikely and is denied by the Pentagon. After the Battle of Mogadishu, I find it hard to believe that any US Special Forces would be careless enough to leave more trophies behind for the already emboldened Somali militia/terrorist groups. Scenario three is possible. Those photos could have been sitting on the computer of an Al-Qaeda media operative for years while they waited for a special forces defeat before leaking them to the media. Scenario four is the most likely in my opinion.

The GPS device appears to be loaded full of named waypoints. The intelligence gained from knowing the precise movements of SEALs during a raid would be invaluable to Al-Qaeda.

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My theory, for what it is worth, is that the SEALs had a secret primary mission. The Al-Shabaab commander may have been a diversion. They left behind evidence, including GPS waypoints, to support and reinforce the deception in the minds of the Somali terrorists.

What do you think really happened?

Thanks to Matt for the tip.

UPDATE: We asked Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL and editor of SOFREP.com, what he thought was the most likely explanation. He said unfortunately the gear looks to have been legitimately abandoned by the SEALs. I would take his professional opinion over my own Tom Clancy-inspired amateur opinion any day!


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • tim.m

    wouldnt surprise me if they have a way of tracking the GPS. especially if they know the exact gps. maybe they knew their target wasnt there so they went in created a disturbance, left some gear, and exfilled. now they have the gps, feds monitor its movements and bam they know several hideouts…. but im just an armchair-expert so dont take my word for it

    • Callum King-Underwood

      its an off the shelf model which you could go and buy on amazon right now if you wish. GPS cannot be tracked like that, instead the GPS would need its own radio transmitter of some sort in order to report its GPS position back to base, looking at that unit, unlikely unless it used cell networks which I think the US government would not like to do and cannot be relied upon for service at any time anyway.

  • τρελό πυρόλυσης

    I’m not sure why it matters. If you knew the budget they worked with or had ever been to a SOCOM tac show you would know. SMDH Stop with the SEAL worship they are just guys doing a job. They decided not to risk women and children get over it. And bringing up Operation Gothic Serpent (the correct name by the way) is idiotic at best.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I am not hero worshipping. But I am impressed.

      I was not referring to Operation Gothic Serpent. I was referring to a specific battle. You might not be aware but American equipment left behind after that battle has been turned into a tourist attraction. They charge people money to look at it. Which to me is distasteful.

      • AnoSynum

        How on earth is that distasteful? Thousands of people pay good dollars every day to go see the trophies of past American victories in Museums.

        Do the Germans cry foul because pretty much every American/Western Museum has World-Wars-Era German gear, ranging from dead men’s helmets to destroyed tanks?

        • Steve (TFB Editor)

          I admit you make a good point. I guess ones emotions are based on whose side you are on and the empathy you feel for those who are dead. I think there is also a difference between celebrating a victory, documenting history and celebrating the death of your opponents.

          • dansquad

            What´s a victory if not the defeat of your opponents? That´s what they are celebrating showing these items. Think about Bin Laden´s AK and the photos of his bloody carpet… To most Somalian people, US soldiers are the bad guys, as Bin Laden was to US people. Put emotions apart and think in “Somalian mode”

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            I can’t really think in Somalian mode. There’s no khat in the US to chew get high and run around like a 90 pound maniac.

          • AnoSynum

            Plenty of Crack and Crystal Meth though…

            Can’t say I’d recommend it, however.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            No kidding:-)

          • dansquad

            Maybe watching MTV is an analogous way of getting khat high, if not worst ;-)

      • James O Donnell

        If you’ve ever used an issed GPS you would take a cheap civilian off-the-shelf one over it any day.

  • Michael

    What seems really strange to me is that the magazines that had been left were full or nearly full. I would think ammunition would be precious in a hostile country.

    • Bill J

      Ammo is life. But many scenarios account for it. Your 416 has a double feed you drop the mag clear the malfunction and go for a new mag. Of course you’d retain it in a perfect world, but shit happens.

      The MP7 mag is just a strap wasn’t secured or dropped while reloading.

      • Michael

        Good points. Makes sense

  • Jay

    conspiracy theory much?

    thats an emag not a pmag so the whole ‘hk416′ thing holds up…

    the garmin foretrex 401 is heavily used because of its size, cost, ability to acquire signal fast, waterproof. Several companies makes wrist cases, replacement straps (as the stock one is meh.. possibly it snagged and got torn off hell.. thats happened to me with mine). Even Troy industries makes a stock w/ ‘socket’ for it to mount right in.

    Equipment is expendable, lives of civilians and soldiers… not so much.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      More like Clancy theory ;)

    • Anonymoose

      Pretty sure EMAGs were completely banned from use by US forces, and the Gen3 PMAGs can fit in an HK416 (the new HK416A5 can take older PMAGs too iirc). I’m not sure whether this mag that was “left by SEALs” is an EMAG or a PMAG, but like CHWS, it could actually be the EXACT SAME equipment left by the French operators who went in earlier this year and suffered some casualties, and the Somali militia just took pictures of that French equipment and said it was American.

      • Travis

        What reason is there to ban EMAGs? They’re just PMAGs without the ribbing, aren’t they? The photos of what’s-his-name’s kit in “No Easy Day”, if one considers it a credible source, showed an EMAG in his 416.

        • Anonymoose

          iirc, it’s because most AR-15 platforms’ magwells are slightly larger than a regular STANAG magwell. The Gen 1 and 2 Pmags are designed specifically for the AR15, while the Emags and Gen 3 Pmags are designed to fit in STANAG magwells. If you put an Emag in an AR15, though, it will be kind of a loose fit.

  • Bill J

    For what its worth the Foretrex is the GPS used by most of the Special Operations Units.

    They are cheap, and reliable.
    That strap sucks ass, on the wrist. I almost lost mine once like that. Most guys have gone to mounting them high on the plate carriers like next to the admin pouch. Or actually mounting them on their guns. Several companies now make specific Foretrex mounts for the MP7 and M4 style stocks.

  • Dave_FM

    There are a myriad of reasons why gear gets dropped. A pouch gets snagged/ripped etc etc. Don’t really see the advantage of leaving the magazines purposely behind (especially since they don’t implicate anyone other than coalition forces) but the GPS on the other hand…

  • flyingburgers

    Have you ever used a DAGR? It’s big and bulky. UI is laggy and screen is mediocre. Buttons are hard to press and hard to reach with one thumb. And due to it’s anti-jam/anti-spoof system, takes forever to get a lock, and absolutely does not work indoors.

    • UntacDuke

      Still better than a PLGR. :D

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      No I have not. I would LOVE to get my hands on one. And I would never be allowed within a mile of one ;)

      I am surprised to hear they do not work indoors. Getting GPS to work indoors is tricky, but doable (at least single story building). The latest GPS receiver components and active antennas work pretty well. I keep up with them as part of professional interest. You can imagine how hard it is to track an object, such as a car, when the receiver must be hidden where nobody can find it.

      • flyingburgers

        There’s a civilian version called the Polaris Guide, you can call up Rockwell Collins and for a few thousand bucks, they’ll sell you the exact same thing in black and without the P/Y GPS hardware.

        I’m not a GPS expert but my understanding is that in order to meet the anti-jam requirements, the receiver has to very tightly track the GPS signal. They can’t use the high sensitivity techniques commercial receivers use because they are susceptible to interference and sometimes come up with wrong locations by themselves.

        I’ll give them credit, its a very nice basically survey-grade unit. Its just because it does everything and had to be mil-hardened, usability for basic handheld nav lost out.

        • Steve (TFB Editor)

          Its the extra satellites and the encrypted high precision signal I would love to have. You can get really positioning positioning from modern civilian receivers, but you either need it to be in a fixed location (useful for detecting building movements like after an earthquake) or multiple receivers spaced apart (can be done).

          Anti-jam is not something I have ever investigated or needed to investigate.

  • Alex

    Can anyone tell what the 5.56 rounds are? 70 grain TSX brown tips?

    • neoconfection

      Those are NATO rounds with fragmenting tips. The JTF2 (Canada’s special operations forces) occasionally shoot at my range and I find these rounds on the ground.

  • mike

    Maybe Russian Spetsnaz Left Them There Before SEAL TEAM 6 Got There? LOL, Really this article is pure speculation. Nothing just happens.

    • Blake

      Nah, they would use 5.45mm and GLONASS :-)

  • Yarm

    I don’t see how losing a GPS with waypoints is any kind of intelligence coup. It would have shown waypoints in the vicinity, not the location of Sooper Secret Army Bases.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Pattern of movement to the objective as well as showing a landing zone air or sea. Exfile point as well

      • salmarion

        I don’t see these criticial beyond 10 or 20 minutes. In the time enemy get GPS, retreive waypoints and analyze data these SEALs are in some virginia beach bar drinking mojitos.

        • mikewest007

          Virginia? Weird. I thought they prefer Miami. ;)

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          I’m talking about a method of analyzing standard movement on ops not just this one.

  • Mike

    Is this an eBay auction?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      No it’s a serious question not a joke.

  • http://www.zombie-guide.com/ Frank Diepmaat

    So they lost something, shit happens.. Or maybe they did plant it, we’ll probably never know…

  • Martin M

    Well, they’ve improved since the raid on OBL, where they left behind an entire (albiet in pieces) stealth helicopter. I’d call that progress.

  • patrickiv

    That flashbang is spent. Why is is it weird that they would leave it behind?

  • Cristian

    What’s with you ah-mericans,always denying the fact that maybe your special ops aren’t invincible?
    To be sincere,thinking of all the crazy people in US,i would add a 4th scenario:
    -illuminati all over the place,ambushed the soldiers with dinosaur-clone like soldiers !

    • http://www.zombie-guide.com/ Frank Diepmaat

      Valid point, they’re people and people lose things. I think they just actually lost the stuff and now we’re making a big deal out of it..

      We once forgot our FN MAG during an exercise… We got attacked while the support squads were changing shifts and they both thought the others would take the MAG with them.

      So after regrouping we counted material to find out we left it there… End of exercise and 2 guys ran back to get it..

      Just saying, if it’s possible to lose guns, choppers and other items.. Then this is just scrap… :P

    • Cristian

      Wait,wait,after careful consideration,i do believe in a possible 5th scenario: the GPS unit proved to be the Achilles foot for one of the bosses in the area,and …voila ! mission acomplished !

      Joke aside-that’s all the opressors showed? not spent cases,and all other that gets after a fire fight? Not even the typical dead american soldier that invaded the brave country that just defended itself?
      And why a good mag,not an empty one? i remember once,i was pursued by an angry dog,i throwed away my school bag to..hmmm,divert his attention (!) but i strongly doubt that is the case here

      • Callum King-Underwood

        lol, throw a full mag at someone to divert their attention xD

        Although, if a gun jammed and you pelted your spare mags at someone hard enough I wonder if you could knock them out cold in such a way that should only normally appear in hollywood… Or you could use your sidearm :P

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      I don’t recall anyone saying they were invincible. Since 9-11 we’ve lost hundreds of special forces from all branches.
      I would never disrespect any countries special operations soldiers. Ours are damn good though.

  • noob

    hmm. I’m looking at the tape on the flashbang

    http://www.forensic.sc.mahidol.ac.th/proceeding/52_weawgarn.pdf‎

    http://www.thapra.lib.su.ac.th/objects/thesis/fulltext/snamcn/Natthalak_Pakdeenarong/Fulltext.pdf

    bomb squads can get the DNA from electrical tape on a routine basis. if you’re in the mood to leave a GPS behind by accident, how much of a slim chance is left that you meticulously avoided DNA contamination on the tape you used to hold the safety lever on your grenades?

    that DNA profile could be quite valuable to the right buyers.

  • JT

    Now they got some high tech to rob a ship. Still going to have to use their rusty AKs

  • noob

    are there any more photos Steve? I’m interested in seeing the headstamps on the brass.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      No there aren’t any additional pictures. These came from a news outlet over there.

  • CWHS

    If your theory is correct, it’s looks like those were belone to the french commandos which failure in Somalia early this year, same Black color Magpul EMAG, same MP7 Mag

    • federico

      My thoughts exactly. Propaganda Fail

  • Swede

    In my military training, which is very modest compared to the Seals, it was standard procedure to unload and secure a wounded soldiers weapon before attaching it to his body/stretcher for extraction.

    Maybe two of the guys got hurt?

  • GentPc

    I don’t know about equipment being planted but, from everything I understand, The SEALs disengaged when civilians began to enter the combat zone and, rather increase the chance of collateral damage, withdrew before any civilian deaths, An

  • AJ

    Today I learned: Even special forces likes the cool window thingys on their mags.

  • Hedd Wyn John

    if the SEALs were encountering heavy resistance and had to make a quick withdrawal I’m not surprised gear got left behind. when you’ve got bullets flying past you I can imagine all sorts being left behind. no need for complex theories. the fact they had no casualties is the main thing.

  • Sniper

    There is no shame in accepting that equipment was left behind, after all, what is more important, life or equipment??? (next time blow it up instead of leaving it there)

  • anton

    Sometimes a grenade is just a grenade.

  • dansquad

    I´ll wait to the “Deadliest Warrior” episode of this, but I´d have never expected that the Skinny Somali Warrior would defeat the “Ultimate Elite” SEAL soldier.

    So they retreated to “avoid civil casualties? Come on… As people say, excuses are like asses… I´ve seen “Black Hawk Down”, but it seems some don´t.
    They just failed, it´s that simple. ST6 members are not the X-men, they are human.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      They most likely had two choices: call in air support from a carrier and wipe most of the area out and complete the mission of taking out or capturing the target person.

      Second: back out and wait for another day rather than call in airstrikes and smoke the target and a bunch of civilians.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Good call, Phil.

        The second option you mentioned may have influenced the decision-making matrix. There was probably an acute awareness at the highest levels of the political fallout that would result from large-scale civilian casualties per the Mogadishu raids in the 1990’s.

        From that standpoint, we ( the United States ) currently have a somewhat ambivalent standing, perception-wise, in many Third World countries as far as our political and military intentions are concerned. There may therefore be a go / no-go tipping point at which it is judged that achieving the end goal is no longer worth the strategic penalty. This could also be tied to another, operationally-related tipping point — the one at which it is deemed that it is not worth risking the lives of our SF operatives and other personnel.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Exactly. We would actually be doing the SEALs and other Special Forces operatives a grave disfavor by subscribing to the idiotic and conceited concept, unfortunately perpetuated by most of the media, the cinematic genre, the political arena and the human propensity to create urban legends, that just because someone is from an elite SF unit that he / she is somehow semi-invincible and is some sort of super-human.

      In reality, this is definitely not so at all. SEALs, Delta Force, Green Berets, GSG-9, SAS, SBS, Rangers, Spetznaz, Commandos, et. al., are subject to vulnerabilities and casualties like anyone else. The additional training and preparation an SF operative undergoes provides him / her with an additional, but nevertheless slim, margin of advantage over a conventionally-oriented opponent. This is in keeping with the Law of Diminishing Returns as applied to any occupation or skill set, i.e., the higher the level of one’s skills and abilities, the greater the effort that one must put in just to eke out a disproportionately small additional margin of superiority. The whole idea is to work as hard as humanly possible — and then some — to achieve that margin and, assuming that everything else is equal, to maintain that margin sufficiently to engender success. This is a harsh fact of reality, and no-one is more constantly and acutely aware of this than the SF operatives themselves. They are hard-headed pragmatists who know and understand that things can go irretrievably wrong very quickly, often at the slightest provocation, and frankly it is an insult to their intelligence, diligence, courage and integrity that they should be put on a pedestal of someone else’s making. Worse still, this expectation has, more than once, resulted in unnecessary failures and casualties that need not have occurred in the first place.

      Add to all this the demands of logistical support and organizational planning, and these latter two factors often become absolutely vital to success or failure, as the case may be. What can also become a neutralizing factor on the battlefield — in spite of all the careful planning, organizational integration, training and personal preparedness — would be the presence of unexpected factors such as greater numbers of enemy troops than anticipated, a sudden change of venue for the targeted subject, a seemingly minor error in timing, a change in the weather over the target area, etc., etc., etc. There is ample proof of this within the publicly-available operations histories of various SF units, eg., the SAS and LRDG, who were ( and the SAS still is, the LRDG having been disbanded towards the end of World War Two ) among the very best. It is nearly always surprising to most observers how thin the margins of advantage were, regardless of circumstances. The same still applies to modern SF operations of any nationality, even taking into account the inclusion of modern technological advances.

      Incidentally, I have said this before, and I’ll say it again — NEVER, EVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ENEMY, AND NEVER GIVE IN TO THE TEMPTATION TO HOLD HIM IN CONTEMPT ; UNDERSTAND AND RESPECT YOUR ENEMY. He might be a “Skinny”, a “Technical”, a “Slope”, a “Nip”, a “Kraut” or any one of the vast array of stupid and ignorant epithets that people have tended to hang on others over the centuries, he might not look like much ( appearances are nearly always incredibly deceptive ), and it might seem as if he is jerry-rigging his equipment, but it will never change the fact that he is not necessarily inferior to you, irrespective of whatever perceived advantages you might have. Name-calling is a product of an immature and often propaganda-driven outlook, and doesn’t change reality on the ground. The exceptions would be the contexts in which the same nicknames were used as common nomenclature by soldiers to describe their opponents, but this was / is different as it nearly always reflected a real if grudging respect for those opponents. A far cry from the culturally and ethnically-biased biases, driven by political propaganda, that seem to be encouraged by the so-called leadership of all sides.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Well said sir! Have you ever been over to the SOFREP website. It was started by Brandon Webb a retired SEAL and author of a couple of books.
        It’s a meeting place for soldiers, Seals, Rangers,police etc. Interesting conversations.
        http://www.sofrep.com

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          Yes, I do subscribe to the SOFREP web site, having done so recently after you had recommended taking a look at it in a previous conversation. It’s a great source of informed opinion and analytical articles — thanks very much!

    • 00Bk

      Is that show even still around? I thought it went under after their, “Green Beret,” host was exposed as a fraud by the SF community.

  • Clint Notestine

    so delta is still better than the seals

    • Christian

      always.

    • Jeremy Star

      Haven’t read much about the SEALS teams, but from what I have read about Delta if they don’t want you to know it was an American team they will use foreign equipment. The SEALS would probably do the same, so I’m guessing they don’t care who knows it was the US. (Especially since the DoD was announcing it in the news…)

  • BD6

    Nothing weird about any of this. Uh, people lose things and drop things when they are running around in the dark.

  • CaptainSlaughterboard

    Glad to see MP7 still in action.
    But I always doubt about flashbangs…are they really effective?
    Very loud sound will be effective at any environment, but even big flash could be blocked by little obstacles such like tables I think…
    I’ve watched some SWAT drill video, and they used some “cage & stick” to deploy flashbang in mid-air.
    That method will be effective, otherwise just tossing flashbang is less reliable method imho.

  • Zius Patagus

    The press is reporting that the team withdrew because of the presence of civilians, particularly kids and they were under fire. The team allegedly killed one guy, perhaps a guard. Perhaps they were then discovered and beat a hasty withdraw. Maybe they had a casualty (which has been denied) and opted to save the man but not the equipment. Maybe things just went south and they needed to bail out fast. Stuff happens and they are not invincible.

  • Gristle McThornbody

    WE DUN GOOFED

  • Gyoz

    To remove a wrist GPS, leaving some equipment on the floor to carry him there should be somebody to be medicated and transported. I really think the al Shabaab militants version could be true:

    1 – Objective was taking the al Shabaab leader live without collateral damages (Family)
    2 – Reaction bigger than expected
    3 – A Seal member injured to be medicated.
    4 – Seal team retreating as objective is impossible to achieve and al Shabaab reinforcements arriving on the scene

    Not even the Seal team is invincible when enemy is alerted and well armed and there no more surprise effect. Pentagon PR was different for obvious reasons.

    • Gyoz

      Also… al Shabaab is not just a terrorist group as others, this is a full guerrilla army that has been fighting for a long time without interruption. It is easy to understand why they are capable to react quickly to an assault.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      PR from DC is always messed up

  • Maxcoseti

    I’m sorry put I had to do ir xD :

  • Blaine

    To me, if I look at the MP7 ammo very closely, it looks like it is all HP ammo. While it may not be of significance, it surprises me, since our military generally does not condone the use of true HP ammo.

    • CrunkleRoss

      Our SpecOps teams have been using hollow point ammo for quite some time when on anti-terrorist operations. Not conventional war so the Hague rules don’t apply.

      • Blaine

        That makes sense. While I would have expected it from overseas CIA or FBI ops, I didn’t consider that the Hague rules didn’t apply to military ops against terrorist groups.

  • Digger

    Maybe left as a means to track whomever picked it up.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Interesting idea

  • Blake

    Al Shabab will probably have something they can use that 5.56 in, but MP7s aren’t exactly available in your local failed state’s arms market baazaar…

  • WTFO

    Not really much of a question about why that GPS: I think a lot of guys wear them as third line gear (or is it first? the stuff you have on you at all times). http://www.americanspecialops.com/photos/special-forces/special-forces-photo-2.php
    As mentioned in other comments, it appears the normal strap sucks so it’s easy to see it coming off literally ‘in the heat of battle’. As far as the waypoints in it: could easily be landmarks/towns in the vicinity, then you are not giving any intel away, but you have ref points for navigation.

  • Big_Juju

    Dang! I was wondering where I left that GPS!

  • J

    Why does the grenade pin have tape on it?

  • Chuang Shyue Chou

    I think people in Somalia would find it hard to acquire a HK MP7 magazine.

    • http://www.zombie-guide.com/ Frank Diepmaat

      How would it be difficult for a country, known for war, to acquire a HK MP7?

  • John Bonar

    ummm if it was seals wouldn’t they be using mini daggr’s or daggr’s (mini daggr is so much better than daggr)?Just saying.

  • Tanner

    I hate to be the critical one but the Navy SEALs are not always the Tactical Gods that the Civilian world makes them out to be. I never dealt with them myself during my time in the Army Infantry and two deployments to Iraq, but I have a Marine buddy who did several missions with different SEAL teams (except for DEVGRU) and he had a very low opinion of them in general. He told me about one mission where his patrol section carried a SEAL team out to a Baghdad neighborhood so they could set up overwatch on an MSR (Main Supply Route) from within a house. Something that we did for our own Company Snipers quite often. It was a night patrol and the Marines took care to dismount their HMMWVs in a dark alley so any potential enemy observers would have a harder time counting all the dismounts and thereby hopefully not noticing that the SEALs didn’t mount back up in the vehicles with the Marines when the security halt ended. The Marines mounted up and just as they were ready to go they saw the entire SEAL team (about 4-5 guys) huddled under the nearest streetlight looking at their map because their couldn’t find their target house, and not providing any security of their own. I won’t fault them for getting the target house mixed up. It could be pretty confusing to sort out which is which from the not at all current Military Maps we had or even from the Google Earth Imagery that we all ended up using eventually, but huddling together under the only light source in a combat zone at night is major No-Go, as a single grenade or RPG could take them all out.

    Eventually the SEALs got it figured out and the Marines rolled out to continue their patrol. Then, later as the Marines were heading back to base they got a call that one of the SEALs had fallen off a wall and seriously injured his back and they needed to return to police them up. They did so and they rushed the SEALs to the nearest Hospital then the Marines, extremely tired from completing their own 6 hour patrol as well as responding to the SEALs distress call at the end of that patrol headed home. AS they got back to the base they heard over the radio that the SEALs had forgotten to grab their Sniper rifle and a Radio that was loaded with the entire Task Force radio codes. So again the tired Infantry Marines had to race out to the Target house and try to find the missing items. Of course those items were long gone and the entire Task Force had to change their radio codes immediately.

    I have a ton of respect and awe for the SEALs. They are amazing warriors and put their lives on the line repeatedly for our Nation, just like I did, but a bit more high speed then I was, so when I say this please don’t think that I am just jealous of the SEALs or something because I was just a Grunt Infantryman. As I see it, and my Marine friend feels the same way, the SEALs just don’t get the same basic sense of personal equipment accountability that is literally beaten into Army and Marine Corps Infantryman from Day 1 of Basic Training and Boot Camp. Since the Navy doesn’t have its own Infantry school the majority of SEAL volunteers come from the same basic training and advanced schools whose main focus is to teach a bunch of men and women how to make a giant warship function, not survive out in a hostile environment with only what you can carry and your few Team and Squadmates.

    BUD/S Candidates go through an extremely intense and demanding physical fitness course that is primarily designed to mold them into physical and psychological shape to survive mentally and physically in the worst possible conditions and weed out the ones who can’t hack it. As I understand it it isn’t until much much later in their training that they actually begin working with weapons on a serious scale and learning Infantry tactics. Personally I see this as a serious flaw in the SEALs incredibly well designed training system. Army and Marine Corps Privates learn to be scared to death of having their rifle more than an arms length away. I had a soldier in my Team once who accidentally left his Rifle in the Barber Shop at Camp Beurhing in Kuwait the day after we arrived in Kuwait from Germany at the start of our deployment. We were still getting used to having our rifles on us 24/7 again and when he stood up from the barbers chair he simply forgot to grab it as he went to pay. He came out to meet the rest of us and quickly realized his mistake and ran back in there as if he had just realized that he had accidentally left a baby in the same room as a rabid pit bull. Fortunately, no one else had taken it since there were several rifles in there for all the people getting haircuts. As Team Leader I knew that I had to deal with him for this but I didn’t want to counsel him or anything like that since I saw his reaction and knew he felt horrible about it so I just took him out behind the PX there and told him that he was going to smoke himself and I was just going to tell him the exercise to do. So for about 15-20 minutes I just said “push-ups”, “Flutter Kicks”, “Iron Mikes” etc until I felt he had had enough and he did it all like he was trying to turn back time. I’m pretty sure that he would have gladly gone until he puked if I would have let him but I felt the lesson was learned and for the rest of that deployment that Soldier never misplaced anything.

    SEALs are really only marginally Infantry. They are the most Hollywood of all the SOFs, and by far have the most books written by Ex-SEALs about how great they are. Don’t get me wrong I love reading them, so I’m not complaining or knocking them for it, but it tends to cancel out the idea of the Quiet Professional that they tout so often when you compare it to the ratio of books that come out of the Delta Force, Ranger, or Marine Force Recon/MARSOC communities.

    Also pretty much every SEAL book I have read spends at least the first 1/3 of the book talking all about how tough BUD/s training is. Which I agree, it is definitely something that they should all be proud of for even attempting. I have a friend who tried out for it and ended up ringing the bell and he is still one of my personal heroes simply because he tried. What I mean to say about it is that it shows how essentially fundamental and formative that initial BUD/S training is for the SEALs but it completely lacks weapon and equipment accountability which all gets tacked on nearly a year later with a bunch of other really intense training and learning. Whereas in the Infantry our fundamental formative lessons are personal accountability of yourself, your buddies, and your rifle and other equipment from day 1. Just rewatch Full Metal Jacket to get a good idea of what it is like. “Without me my Rifle is useless. Without my Rifle I am useless.”

  • Specialist

    The Garmin 401 is used extensively in theatre by regular and SF units. Standard issue because they work very well and do get fixes indoors. Plus, set one up and you can wireless synchronise waypoints and routes with other team members- a massive time saver and reduces risk of errors. A fantastic simple to use robust GPS unit.

  • RVN SF VET

    It is my recollection that discarded medical gear (bandages) was left behind. I think that the gear was lost when they were trying to assist and extract a wounded SEAL. That’s a genuine possibility the article ignores. Normally, SOF does not discuss casualties unless the event itself is revealed. For example, when the CH-47 was shot down by an RPG in Afghanistan.