Perhaps you’ve heard of Richard Marcinko. No? Perhaps you’ve heard of Seal Team Six.
Richard Marcinko served on Seal Team Two and was charged with creating another Seal Team. He named it Seal Team Six. Six? What about Three, Four, and Five?
Exactly! That’s what he wanted the Russians to ponder. During the Cold War, this extremely simple, but equally clever, name kept the Russians in fear as they chased the wild goose of the nonexistent Seal Teams.
This was but the first taste of the brilliance that characterized Richard Marcinko’s leadership. He was an “out of box” thinker known for his wit. He is most noted for hatching “Operation Red Cell”. How does the military come up with these intriguing names for their operations?
In the case of “Operation Red Cell”, the name was inspired by war games. The “opposing” force was called the “Red Team”. The inspiration for the name becomes evident when we look at the purpose of “Operation Red Cell”.
Marcinko was concerned that military security was vulnerable. So, he went out to prove it! He tasked Seal Team Six with penetrating some of out most secure military assets – human hackers of a sort you might say. Members of Seal Team Six were able to board nuclear submarines without authorization. Worse, once inside, they were able to obtain launch codes for nuclear weapons. He was even able to position an unauthorized pickup truck beneath the belly of Air Force One!
While Operation Red Cell was a success, it was not met with accolades. Some very high profile commanders were embarrassed to say the least. Rather than humbly admit their security was lax – they instead went on a witch hunt – Marcinko was the witch they hunted. Marcinko faced numerous trumped up charges for matters unrelated to Operation Red Cell. He was exonerated of all but one. He was fined $10,000 and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.
No good deed goes unpunished.
Each Memorial Day, we honor those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country – and they deserve that honor. But there are others who have made living sacrifices in service to our country. Richard Marcinko was one such warrior. We are fortunate that he’s on our side!
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