Richard 'Dick' Marcinko dead at 81: First commanding officer of US Navy SEAL Team 6 dies as son pays tribute to 'hero'

THE first commanding officer of US Navy SEAL Team 6 died on Christmas at age 81.

Richard “Dick” Marcinko’s death was confirmed by his son, Matt on Sunday.

“Last night, Christmas evening, we lost a hero, who’s also known as The Rogue Warrior, the retired Navy SEAL commander AND creator of SEAL Team Six, my father, Richard Marcinko,” he wrote on Twitter.

“His legacy will live forever. The man has died a true legend. Rest In Peace Dad. I love you forever”

The Navy SEAL Museum also made a statement on Marcinko’s passing.

“Dick Marcinko played a very unique part in SEAL history, leaving a legacy like no other,” read the statement on Facebook.

“’Demo Dick’ is considered the United States’ premier counterterrorism operator. We send our deepest sympathies to his family, teammates, and friends.”

Born on November 21, 1940, in Lansford, Pennsylvania, Marcinko enlisted in the US Navy in 1958 and worked his way up to the rank of commander.

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He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a master’s in political science.

Marcinko was the first commanding officer of SEAL Team 6 and RED CELL, both of which he helped to found. 

He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967 in 2nd Platoon, SEAL Team 2 and he participated in the assault on Ilo Ilo Hon on May 18, 1967. The Navy called this the most successful SEAL operation during the Vietnam War.

He was deployed a second time to Vietnam and participated in the Tet Offensive. 

Marcinko’s effective leadership had put his life in danger when the North Vietnamese placed a bounty on his head. He would earn four Bronze Stars, the Silver Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

In 1979, Marcinko was tapped to design and lead an elite counterterrorism team, later becoming SEAL Team 6. The name was created to fool the Soviet Union, and others, into thinking the US had more SEAL teams than it actually did.

He commanded SEAL Team 6 from August 1980 to July 1983.

Marcinko wrote several books, including Rouge Warrier, his 1993 New York Times bestselling autobiography.

“The SEALs who knew Dick Marcinko will remember him as imaginative and bold, a warrior at heart,” Eric Olson, a retired Navy SEAL Admiral told the Navy Times. 

“He was a spirited rogue for sure, but we are better off for his unconventional service.”

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