SEAL Team Six Founder On Female SEALs: ‘Somewhere Between No And Hell No’

Oleg Zabielin

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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U.S. Navy Lt.Cmdr. (ret.) Richard Marcinko, founder of the illustrious SEAL Team Six, stated in a recent interview that he believes integrating women into the SEALs would be a mistake, and the Navy should instead create a new program for women.

Marcinko’s comments came during a podcast interview published Sunday on, a news site that specializes in special operations, run by military veterans. Among the many topics Marcinko and host Doug Laux touched on was the military’s recent decision to incorporate women into combat roles, including the SEALs.

“Do I think we need to have a woman SEAL?” said Marcinko rhetorically. “Somewhere between no and hell no.”

Despite his reservations, Marcinko acknowledged that regardless of what standards are put in place, having a woman SEAL has been “mandated” by leaders at the top. Marcinko believes the decision is the result of an overall issue involving the military being “overrun by political correctness.”

If anyone knows what it takes to be a SEAL, its Marcinko. With over 30 years spent in the Navy, Marcinko himself spent time as a SEAL, and was deployed to Vietnam, embedded with the Cambodian military in its fight against the Khmer Rouge and commanding Seal Team Two.

After a stint in the Pentagon, which involved handling the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980, Marcinko became convinced that there was a need for a special operations unit dedicated to counter-terrorism. The Navy would task Marcinko with the creation of SEAL Team Six, now known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (or DEVGRU), the world’s most elite counter-terrorism unit.

Marcinko’s next assignment saw him heading up a unit known as Red Cell, which was tasked with probing the security networks within the U.S. He and his team reportedly breached everything from the nation’s top nuclear facilities to highly-secured military bases. Marcinko’s biography page claims he was once even able to infiltrate Air Force One, an embarrassment he believes eventually led to his conviction of misusing money while in command of Red Cell.

Instead of trying to go back and change how the SEAL teams operate, Marcinko believes it would be more reasonable to develop a wholly new unit for women. Contrary to popular belief, women have been utilized in special operations units in the past, albeit in a support role.

Marcinko’s opposition to the Pentagon’s integration move is simple: “We’re inviting problems that are not necessary.”

“And that’s [going to] erode operational capability of all the forces, not just special ops forces,” said Marcinko.

A poll conducted by RAND Institute last year found that 85 percent of special operators were opposed to integrating women into their units.

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