Why Does Hollywood Love Navy SEALs?

The fact that the last three mainstream movies on GWOT / GCO featured Army EOD (The Hurt Locker) and the Navy SEALS isn’t in and of itself particularly significant – both groups have been very active in the war, and have performed heroically in the face of terrifying mission sets. When I heard that the other two substantial Hollywood productions set to come out this year are also about the Navy SEALS – one story about the MAERSK sealiner featuring Tom Hanks, and another with Mark Wahlberg called “Lone Surviver” about a SEAL team that had a really bad day in Afghanistan – I got curious.
Why is Hollywood in love with Navy SEALs? Why, from all the screenplays about war, and warfare (full disclosure, I and two writing partners finished a script about an Army infantry unit, a script that has gathered some interest but not sold), has Hollywood focused on the SEALs specifically? What is it about their story that can raise the funds necessary to bring a movie from the idea stages into production, that can secure the assets required to deliver their story into the public realm?

Quite simply, America loves stories where people are permitted to engage in violent acts. The one thematic point that the five movies (“Hurt Locker,” “Act of Valor,” “Zero-Dark-Thirty,” “Captain Phillips,” and “Lone Surviver”) have in common is that they follow rational actors through stories in which human action and decisions are comprehensible, and have measurable results on their surroundings. They take a proposition – a human who has been trained to do a task better than anyone else is then given a difficult example of that task, and does it or fails to do it – and examine it in the context of war. The stories therefore end up exploring the technical aspect of war, and violence, without asking whether or not that violence can be justified. Seen from a certain perspective, the movies  embrace an idea that violence can be justified for its own sake – which means, by the logic of these movies, that violence is justifiable. The movies are actually dedicated to this proposition, which should be incredibly interesting to anyone looking at movie trends, and especially those who, like myself, grew up understanding war as a place where decisions and actions had no meaning outside of their immediate surroundings.

I’ve been to combat, which doesn’t seem particularly relevant, but it’s important for me to qualify my position lest I ruffle too many feathers. I’m not saying that I dislike or resent Navy SEALs – they’ve done some astounding operations and brought down evil guys who needed to be taken out of civilized society. Hollywood could shut down filmmaking on every other genre and still not get to all the deserving stories of courage and gallantry within the SEAL community. It’s a function of the defensive and insecure mindset in the pro-military community that I should even have to defend myself before offering a critique of narrative composition in contemporary war films, but – hey. There you are.

Back to the topic at hand. People who’ve been to combat – myself included – will tell you that violence can be justified, under certain circumstances – that when one is being fired on by enemies, it’s necessary to defend oneself. Within a firefight, there’s a shining, clean, logical imperative to respond to violence with violence. My point is – in GWOT / GCO, which comprises a series of conflicts across a wide spectrum of cultures and poses terribly interesting dilemma to our democracy and how to formulate foreign policy , why have we zoomed into the most specific part of that fight? Why are we exploring something that seems so cut and dry and *uninteresting* on a certain level? For someone in the Special Operations community, or a soldier deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, obviously there’s no point in questioning the validity or utility of violence, especially during fights. But these movies are being selected, systematically. I totally get why Hollywood is in love with that particular moment when diplomacy breaks down – makes for great screen – but why is it picking this particular way to examine it – over and over again? Are we surprised that our most elite units are deployed to violent situations and must then use violence to resolve them? I’d be more surprised if there were a cowardly SEAL team that never did anything right, or a weird pacifist unit that managed to stop the violence in an area using meditation or who-knows-what. That’d be incredible.

This represents an important departure from the evolution of past cinematic representations of violence within film. The first great war movie – “All’s Quiet on the Western Front,” which follows a group of German youth on their march into doom from 1914-1918 – was an anti-war film, where the childlike exuberance in war was tempered by its grim and impossibly depressing conclusion. American representations of war in World War II tended to be more valedictory, but still made efforts to characterize the suffering and struggle of warfare as necessary because of Hitler and the Nazis – the violence was connected to something, and was regrettable. In Vietnam, and post-Vietnam, film tended to embrace a notion that war was evil at worst and nonsensical at best, and that the violence in war was therefore abhorrent – in keeping with the sentiments of the directors who came of age during Vietnam. The violence was essential to the characters’ development largely in the same way that rape or some savage crime might inform a character’s development in a drama – not as the reason for the character’s existence in the first place.

The last war movies of this type (pacifist / anti-war) were “Jarhead” and “The Thin Red Line,” which represented Operation Desert Storm and the Guadalcanal Campaign, respectively. In one, violence was a thing that had been abstracted – the only thing one was left with was charred bodies and bombed-out convoys – war had become air power, grunts were the people who picked up the dead bodies. In the other – in my opinion, the greatest war film ever made – war is an unmitigated catastrophe that isolates and kills its participants, regardless of nationality, at random. It’s difficult to recall a character as fundamentally unheroic as the RTO played by Adrien Brody in “The Thin Red Line” – he doesn’t have a single line of dialogue – one can’t help but imagine that viewers felt uncomfortable placing themselves in his shoes. Terrence Malick also seems to think that war is inevitable, which I hope is untrue, and an intimate part of nature, which is essentially savage and uncaring. Many of the most popular films about Vietnam – “Platoon,” “Deerhunter,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Predator,” and “Full Metal Jacket” (among others) are equally nihilistic, and involve the mental and/or physical destruction of most or all of its protagonists – violence destroys or irrevocably changes the people who participate in it. This trend, again, ended around 2000 for some reason.

The idea that war could be inevitable is a slightly different statement than the one contemporary filmmakers knowingly or subconsciously embrace (although they probably wouldn’t dispute it), which is that war and the violence it begets is enviable. This notion – that war is a fun game, and that the American participants therein are the unquestioned heroes in the story – is expressed nowhere so perfectly as in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’s film “Saving Private Ryan.” This WWII-era throwback discards all of the intellectual progress Hollywood had made since films like “The Longest Day” and exposes its audience to an understandably hackneyed story in which the Germans are the bad guys, and the Americans are the good guys just trying to make a decent day’s work out of a shitty mission gone to hell. The audience storms the beaches in Normandy, gets a taste of Nazi brutality in a French village, and watches as the Americans try to do the right thing by all and sundry, but are basically forced to treat the Nazis like savages – because we’re the good guys, and our violence is justified.

Most people who haven’t been to war (and many who have) probably feel that that’s basically the way it was in WWII. It wasn’t – and “Saving Private Ryan” fails to capture the horror of the war that our grandparents endured because according to Spielberg and Hanks and Matt Damon, the story of the Greatest Generation is an opportunity to finally feel okay again after Vietnam about just letting loose and congratulating ourselves on having taken part in state-sanctioned violence. In the process, it becomes really fun to participate in the killing and destruction – with a righteous, God-fearing sniper, and sticky bombs, and a likable commander who can’t stop shaking. “Blackhawk Down” and “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” continue the tradition of war as a great, anticipated adventure full of orchestral scores and meaningful violence for the people there, and give up on the political motivations or foreign policy decisions as hopelessly detached and almost irrelevant. These movies, this impulse, a sort of happy relief to remember that we can take part in war and treat violence casually again, is the immediate predecessor of popular culture’s contemporary fascination with special operations – and specifically the SEALs.

Why Hollywood specifically favors Navy special operations is likely an accident of geography – Los Angeles is close to many Naval and Marine bases, and writers and producers have better and more persistent access to those stories therefore. The only significant Army base in California is Fort Irwin, a training facility in the desert, closer to Las Vegas than Los Angeles. The fascination, though, could easily be exported to any small group of technical specialists – warfare as just, and an easily digested struggle between four or eight or twelve people. You know everyone’s name, in these stories – they’re all friends. There’s enough time in two or three hours to develop meaningful connections with the characters. Their struggle is understandable – the whys behind it are as irrelevant as the unknowable circumstances surrounding an earthquake.

The U.S. audience, it turns out, has no appetite for movies in which many of the actors are nameless faces, or have no dialogue. It’s much better to have a few bulked-up heros – supermen with great gadgets, who are going after people everyone knows to be evil – easier, more profitable. The movies with SEALs fit the bill quite well, are convenient for Hollywood, and we can expect to see more of them before we see fewer. Not because that’s indicative of the typical experience in GWOT / GCO, but because it perfectly encapsulates how Americans like to view themselves, and like to understand what the experience is for their soldiers, rather than the truth, which is that it was a bunch of sort of confused people duking it out with each other on largely equal terms, groping around in the mountains in the dark trying not to get killed.

My question is: what do these movies tell us about ourselves as Americans? If our deepest needs receive ministry from the notion that we can reach our greatest human potential from beating or killing someone who’s wronged us, somehow, then can we really complain about living in a litigious society, or gun violence, or this modern Forever War we’re living inside? Hollywood is going to produce entertainment that sells. After twelve years overseas, it seems what the audience wants is – more. I suspect our foreign policy will accommodate that desire or need.

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Adrian Bonenberger

Adrian Bonenberger is an author, essayist, journalist and provocateur. He published his war memoirs, Afghan Post, through The Head and The Hand Press. He believes that logic based on indisputable facts is a good intellectual’s shield, and humor based on an emotional understanding of those facts is the good intellectual’s sword. He has had many adventures over the course of his time on earth, and enjoyed most of them. Past lives include Ernst Junger, “Sir” Philip Sidney, and that guy at the round table Arthur’s Knights were always telling to shut up

  1. Thanks to my roommate and former Navy EOD officer John Ismay for correcting my first version of this post, wherein I claimed that Hurt Locker was about Navy EOD. It was about Army EOD. I corrected it in the text but wanted to acknowledge that I didn’t do sufficient research upfront. Appreciate the catch.

  2. Great post. It’s would be worth exploring how other countries treat films about the military.
    One example that I definitely recommend you check out is No man’s land, a Bosnian film from 2001 about three Bosnian and Serb soldiers trapped in a trench

    1. I’ve always thought other countries’ military experiences were fascinating – when I lived in Japan there was a whole genre of war films from China and Korea about WWII that I’d never even known existed. Ditto Russia. I’ll check that one out, sounds like a good one.

  3. A Russian film about about their Afghan war named “The 9th Company” gives an interesting take on some of the ideas you mentioned.

  4. I enjoyed the essay. After reading it, I’m more convinced than ever that American war films contort more aesthetically respectable portrayals of violence in subtle but dangerous ways. George Orwell argued that WWI literature – including All Quiet – remains readable and will be read in the future because it deals with “the record of something completely meaningless, a nightmare happening in a void,” even though Orwell believed this “not actually the truth about the war.” Obviously, very few people will take Lone Survivor seriously as art, but these SEAL movies you speak of tend to do something very similar: they write within this “nightmare void,” the same void more or less evident in Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket because nightmares entertain the imagination and make Hollywood money; yet these new movies, unlike their Vietnam predecessors, refuse to bow down to the void. They are not written from, to return to Orwell’s assessment of quality WW I literature, “a passive, negative angle.” Instead, the characters within this void fight back, finding a cathartic release in piles of nameless corpses. If the character dies, this is sad, but at the very least he killed a lot of people before he did. It is as if our Oedipus goes on a killing spree throughout Thebes when he finds out about his crimes. So, it seems, we as Americans manage to walk away from the movies convinced the modern world is uniformly nightmarish but we will at least kill as many people as possible before we go out. In my opinion, there could be no worse conclusion. This said, would you argue for a return to the post-Vietnam artistic nihilism, “the groping around in the dark,” which sounds to me a lot like post-WWI “nightmare happening in a void,” or do you want us to go after a broader truth, a more politically engaged art, when it comes to war films? And if the latter – and if Orwell is correct – do you sacrifice artistic merit (not to mention a lasting audience) in your eagerness to place the war in context? I myself might look at The Thin Red Line as a way out of this impasse, but I’d like to hear what you think.

    1. Well – so, you raise great points, and I guess I’ve already answered the question in my essay’s title – Hollywood loves SEALs because that type of story resonates with Americans right now, and sells. Hollywood has never taken it upon itself to make educational films – I think Thin Red Line was made accidentally – the fact that a certain director with a certain aesthetic got enough money in the wake of Saving Private Ryan to put out a big-budget WWII film can only have been a terrific, thankful accident.
      Isn’t it incredible that in The Thin Red Line, all the violence is apologetic, and wasteful? The action doesn’t lead anywhere – up some hill, with no water, everything’s equivocal and trapped in some kind of cycle – an inevitable sacrifice – no wonder it was rejected by audiences. Who wants to be reminded that life is full of death, of suffering and random pain. How did that movie get made. Thank God, for war movies like The Thin Red Line. The only point where it gets a little dangerous – and every good movie requires a bit of danger, it’s part of the medium – is where, pinned down by fire with the HQ element halfway up the hill, the momentum stalled, some nameless grunt says: “well, men, one place is as good as another,” and they start moving forward again, into the meat grinder.

      I certainly don’t think we should go back to the Vietnam-topic movies in order to move forward, although one must consider them. I think we lost the line after Jarhead and The Thin Red Line – the contemporary war movies are being made by people and for audiences that are in the process of rejecting Vietnam, and embracing a world in which America is the only unfettered rational actor. How else is that supposed to happen, if not through the violence we’ve staked our foreign policy to (up until very recently, and let us all pray that Assad is removed through diplomacy, and Iran is convinced to let go of its nuclear program peaceably, and the pro-violence hawks no longer have sufficient ammunition to bedevil us with their idiotic and wrong-headed agenda).

      I actually think the screenplay I and my two co-writers crafted got a bit of that feel. I think it’s a good war movie, and a great anti-war movie, and a decent action film, and it would require another accident of fate like a truly visionary artist to bring to the screen. Who knows, maybe it’ll happen.

  5. Maybe there has always been two opposing forces in the movie industry which represent artistic films and popular films. Artistic films need a director with a vision of what he wants to create or the message he wants to send with his work of art; popular films need a studio that wants to make money first of all, which means the film will primarily be for pure popular entertainment. Sometimes the two converge, but they are often at odds. Sometimes the main subject of both types of movies happens to be war. I think there have always been popular war films intended only for entertainment, so I think what you are lamenting is that artistic war films have not kept pace with popular ones in recent years. I think this trend only applies to American films from my experience, and I think that it will prove to be only a temporary lull as critical and artistic directors begin to deal more with the War on Terror and its franchises.The Thin Red Line was being made before Saving Private Ryan, and was released in the same year; both competed for the same Oscars which TTRL should have clearly won, in my opinion. The issue for that film is not that it was made accidentally in the post-Private Ryan world, but that it was the first film in 20 years for a highly respected director who is a visionary, a philosopher, and totally uninterested in the Hollywood model of movies (he went so far as to totally cut from the film several big name actors). That is why the movie is so powerful and his representation of war is so unvarnished and unheroic. I also think it is interesting that that film disputes or ignores the dominant accepted revisionist history that WWII was the “good war”, as opposed the “bad war” in Vietnam, reminding us instead that all wars were bad ones.
    Another visionary and philosopher was Stanley Kubrick, who gave us a trio of all-time-great anti-war movies: Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and Full Metal Jacket.
    Mike, I think you are right about “the void”; an artistic war film that wants to tell the truth will make us feel the weight or danger of this void, either with pathos or moral revulsion (Paths of Glory, The Thin Red Line, Apocalypse Now) or some form of irony or humor (Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket). The popular war films will just want to make us feel good about ourselves and weaken our critical capacity (Saving Private Ryan) or increase the body count, thanks to either a singular Schwarzenegger-type savior-hero or the now-ubiquitous Navy Seals.

    1. Although I loved all three of the Kubrick movies you referenced, David, I have similar issues with him and his body of anti-war work to the issues I have with Tarantino. I know that they’re satirizing different elements of war films – they’re not talking about the same things – but, well, I strongly suspect that the things that most people remember about Inglorious Basterds aren’t the deft moments of humor, but the psychotic ultra-violence. Paths of Glory, for all of Kirk Douglass’s charisma and the power of the story (drawing a distinction between WWI and WWII stories is very possible, difficult, and I won’t do it here), also includes that moment of sublime human beauty at the end, and concludes with a rousing, patriotic drum-march as Douglass’s character strides off to lead his Regiment back to war. FMJ and Strangelove – well, you tell me, do all the people who love those movies focus on the intended message, or the ultra-violence, the promise of war and (as Mike mentioned) adventure?
      I’m not saying I don’t love those films. And I certainly don’t dispute the difference in focus between films designed primarily for mass appeal versus those with, as you put it, a “vision,” which can by definition only be created effectively in a medium like cinema by a director with a very strong and unified idea of what needs to be done to evoke a certain emotion or response. I suppose what I’m really curious about is our American sociological or anthropological composition – what *we* love about these movies, collectively.

      It’s also important to note here, specifically with regards to the idea that ending with a moment of human sublimity in Paths of Glory is dangerous or ill-conceived, that this is not because moments of beauty or love or heroism don’t actually exist in war – merely that their representation as such to an audience can only ever occur out of context, save to those few audiencemembers who have been to and through combat.

      Good point that TRL and Saving Private Ryan came out in the same year, and I wasn’t aware that TRL had been begun earlier, though it makes sense. I guess the two movies occupy such different spaces in my mind that I tend to place them in different times. I didn’t bother mentioning Band of Brothers because, to me, it feels a lot like it exists along the Saving Private Ryan side of the spectrum.

      Bouncing around a lot because I haven’t had coffee yet this morning, and am distracted by a looming deadline – anyone who writes good satire will have to write a film that is at least 50% Saving Private Ryan, which is always very risky.

      I think the litmus test for a good anti-war film should be this – if a motivated infantryman watches the movie, and says something like “that was badass” or it’s cultural/social equivalent when he walks out of the theater, it wasn’t a good anti-war film. If he’s confused, but doesn’t walk out before the end of the film, it was a great anti-war film. And here – nobody’s debating this – is the genius of The Thin Red Line.

      1. In my opinion, Inglorious Basterds was entertaining because of the humor, and the anticipation of violence not the “ultra-violence” itself. The dialogue and character development is why I enjoyed that movie. Tarantino movies are always ultra violent, so for me they could’ve done all the murdering off screen and I still would’ve enjoyed it. I also enjoyed Thin Red Line, but I don’t really understand your problem with SPR. Obviously, those are 2 different types of war movies, but to me it seems like you’re saying SPR was along the lines of a John Wayne movie. I think it was better than that. Thanks for serving the country I’m not even sure anyone will read this I’m a little late to the discussion.

        1. Inglorious Basterds deserves an essay of its own, and it’s possible that I or someone else on the site has written that essay already. Terrific movie that bears repeated watching. My problem with SPR, as I alluded to earlier, is not the violence, but the way that violence is used. Whereas in Inglorious Basterds violence is the explicit mechanism for revenge, and one is openly encouraged to relate to that violent vengeance while also being permitted to laugh at its absurd abundance, in SPR you have the violence without any self-awareness. It’s melodrama. I don’t like melodrama in my personal life, and as an adult, I don’t like it in my movies, either.

          Here’s what would have made SPR an amazing movie. After they let the Nazi go, they get lost. Wandering in the French woods, they encounter various other people who are lost. Finally, on the verge of giving up on their quest, they discover a lone soldier, sitting in a glen. It’s Ryan! But he is unresponsive. When they go to shake him, they discover that he’s been killed. “Welp,” Tom Hanks says, “let’s head back to the OP. Got another mission from higher, no doubt.” And roll credits.

  6. I loved reading this and would love to sit around with not only the author (ha!) but the commenters. The tone and content were remarkable. While an interesting take, for me, it left out a couple of important bits of the puzzle. For instance, he notes that things changed in 2000, but he didn’t discuss the impact of 2001 on the American psyche. 9-11 was not only the first attack on the US since 1945 and the first direct attack on the US mainland in centuries, but the first battle of “WWIII” fought in real time in living color on TV throughout the world, and the US lost spectacularly.
    GWOT is also the first WW where the enemy is not a county or group of countries. In WW1 and WW2, we were (at least in Europe) largely rescue forces with a clear enemy and lots of allies. Now we are viewed as terrorists ourselves by a large percentage of the world and often have to go it alone. It’s a new game, one in which we are not only partly to blame but, unable to use warfare tactics we know best, we are scrambling to learn new ones. Other wars were almost all force with a bit of stealth. The GWOT is almost all stealth with relatively few large force solutions. Every American that follows this stuff closely, and especially soldiers, know that the GWOT is being fought largely in secret, by stealth, and the best of the stealth forces are the Seals and Delta Force. With the Seals being the heroes of both the “sure shot” that rescued the merchant ship taken hostage and the Obama kill, their future in Hollywood is secure for years, or at least until Hollywood starts making riveting movies about cyber wars.

    So, my thought is that Americans are more taken with violence now b/c it is a) what humans do – we are a very violent animal; b) it is what the US is considered the best at by most other countries; and c) we are more scared, less confident of ourselves, our motives and of victory than at anytime in history or at least modern history.

    And if I remember correctly, Luke has said that Seals, more than any other special ops force, like to write books and talk about themselves. He doesn’t say it is bad, but he says it is unique among the special forces. Thus they are a natural for screen writers and television interviewers.

    I am surprised he didn’t mention any of this. But what he did discuss was very interesting and thought provoking. Please let me know of any other stuff he writes. Loving this warm fall weekend.

    On Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM, Michael Lukas wrote:
    Kathy, Because your a movie enthusiast I thought I would send this to you. This is from my friends son who is a writer and a war vet.

    1. Mr. Lukas – welcome to the dialogue. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      One of the things I find interesting about the phenomenon of the “violence for violence’s sake” narrative in art, be that cinema or literature, is that it really seems to have started before GWOT / GCO kicked off. I didn’t want to bring 9-11 into it, because I feel that our reaction to the event was in part dictated by a cultural appetite for justified reaction / vengeance that predated the tragedy.

      This is not to in any way diminish the tragedy – over three thousand people lost their lives for the worst reason possible, extremism and politics. We had no control over how that crime transpired. Our response, however – well, maybe we didn’t have control over that, either, I guess is what I’m interrogating a bit. We want to be the wronged party, and that requires a certain type of storyline given that there is no current country or alliance of countries in the world today that could effectively oppose the United States in a war. The desire for war movies remains.

      I think you make good points about how prior war movies, especially from the WWI/WWII generation (but to a certain extent Vietnam as well) are responding to very different inputs from recent films. I’m still not sure what to make of it all.

    2. GWOT being fought in stealth? What are you talking about? There were over 100,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war was not being fought in stealth at all, 95%(or more) of the fighting was being done by army infantry and marine infantry (and other branches forced to conduct infantry operations) to control Iraqi and afghan towns and villages and create a working local national government/police force/army. Spec ops is largely just doing raids on HVTs, which is perhaps the easiest part of the war.

    3. GWOT being fought in stealth? What are you talking about? There were over 100,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war was not being fought in stealth at all, 95%(or more) of the fighting was being done by army infantry and marine infantry (and other branches forced to conduct infantry operations) to control Iraqi and afghan towns and villages and create a working local national government/police force/army. Spec ops is largely just doing raids on HVTs, which is perhaps the easiest part of the war. Spec ops gets a lot of attention because they’re highly trained, have “special” in their name and because 99% of Americans (including 90% of the air force and navy don’t know anything about war is like or what’s going on in Iraq or Afghanistan band have never left the fob

  7. Speaking of Seals, I saw “Captain Phillips” tonight. It was very good; really intense from the beginning. You could feel the fear of the American crew. I give it an 8.5 out of 10. (For reference, “Goodfellas” is a “10” for me…my favorite movie.)

    1. Goodfellas is a great morality tale of greed, betrayal, and how the center can’t hold. I’m not suggesting that movies or art can’t or shouldn’t provoke a satisfying emotional response – just that it’s interesting when a particular emotional response, the desire for justified vengeance, starts taking over in certain contexts. And how that characterization surrounds the SEALs in these movies.
      I finished reading a long piece called “Snowfall” in the New York Times – won a Pulitzer recently – that kept me on the edge of my seat for the better part of two hours while I read and clicked around in the multi-media portion. Perfectly rendered the horror and cruelty of nature, without positing a “why” (the author does seem to support the idea that the skiers could have been more careful – that’s what some of the survivors certainly say) or establishing a didactic framework. I came away from the piece with a pervasive sense of impending doom, and a reinvigorated confidence in the value of prudence and caution.

  8. I was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC for quite some time, and will tell you that there is a Tier 1 Army SPECOP / CT unit there that is every bit the equal of its Navy cousin ST-6 (DEVGRU). Both are under the JSOC umbrella, but the HUGE difference is that ST-6s missions, and other seal teams in general, have increasingly found their way into the public eye. To the contrary, 1st SFOD-Ds (aka “Delta” or “CAG”) contemporary missions rarely make the light the day. Black Ops should be just that — black, invisible, stealthy and out of the glare of publicity.

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