After Osama bin Laden was killed in a covert nighttime raid in Pakistan three years ago today, public attention quickly focused on the men (and the dog) at the sharp end of the spear: the members of SEAL Team 6 who did the deed. The mission has been dramatized in the film Zero Dark Thirty and recounted in countless articles, and it has spurred debate about torture as well as the fraught U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
The Special Forces operatives who carried out the mission have been lauded in the years since, but as Tony Dokoupil points out in this article from the May 16, 2011, issue of Newsweek, the SEALs’ record hasn’t always been so stellar. Historically, the Navy has struggled to recruit people to a program that’s had its share of failures.
Dokoupil’s article brings interesting facts to light: that a typical SEAL is more likely to be a lacrosse or water polo player than a football player, that most senior team members are typically older than you might think, and that they’ve even admitted, in 1987, to misdemeanors like forging travel receipts.
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Newsweek Rewind: Inside Seal Team 6)