Richard Marcinko, the first SEAL Team Six commander, has died.
According to his son and the National Navy SEAL Museum, Richard Marcinko, a renowned military figure known for directing SEAL Team Six when the clandestine special operations team was in its infancy, died Saturday. He was 81 years old when he died.
“We lost a hero, who’s also known as The Rogue Warrior, the former Navy SEAL captain AND the architect of SEAL Team Six, my father, Richard Marcinko, last night, Christmas evening,” Matt Marcinko said in a tweet on Sunday.
“His legacy will go on in perpetuity. The guy was a real legend who passed away “Added he.
Richard Marcinko, a Vietnam War combat veteran, was the first commanding officer of SEAL Team Six, the elite force founded in 1980 and subsequently responsible for the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
According to a social media post from the Navy SEAL Museum, Marcinko conceived and assembled SEAL Team Six following a botched hostage rescue effort in Iran during the Carter administration.
Marcinko became an author, public speaker, and consultant after retiring from the Navy in 1989, according to The New York Times. He was, however, a divisive character, having been convicted of military contract fraud, according to the New York Times.
According to the New York Times, many in today’s military consider him as a renegade operator. In a statement released on Sunday, the SEAL Museum, which is not affiliated with the US military, praised him as a “top counterterrorism operation.”
He headed SEAL Team Six from August 1980 to July 1983, according to the museum, which dubbed him “Demo Dick.”
“The Navy only had two SEAL Teams at the time. According to the museum, Marcinko “hand-selected the Team’s members from across the existing SEAL Teams and Underwater Demolition Teams in order to fool other nations, particularly the Soviet Union, into believing that the United States had at least three other SEAL Teams that they were unaware of.