With the death of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) at the hands of some secret squirrel frogmen in Pakistan, there came a nationwide interest in who killed OBL. The phrase “Navy SEALs” was quickly released to the public, whether via the White House or the Department of Defense.

But it was those “subject matter experts,” including Sean Naylor, Jeremy Scahill, to name a few, who made sure to correct the media that it was actually the SEALs of JSOC, aka {redacted}, or simply SEAL Team Six. (On CNN I even heard the mention of “Task Force Blue.” Amazing…)

As the days after settled down, the Internet/blogging community kept asking the same two questions. The first question came from those not in the know, which was simply: “Who is SEAL Team Six?” and the second question was asked by those who were in the know, as well as the entire U.S. Army Special Operations Command:

“WTF – the SEALs? Not Delta? That’s BS!”

To be honest, I was one of those asking the second question. The OBL operation and the choice of the unit lead to the topic: What is the difference between Delta and Seal Team Six? One hundred percent of civilians and ninety-nine percent of the military will tell you that there is no difference, that they are identical. But those who served in the JSOC task forces overseas will all tell you that this is just not so.

Culture Differences

You can tell a lot about a unit by its foundations or its core. Almost all of the SEAL Team Six shooters came from the SEAL teams, while Delta is comprised of personnel from the Ranger Regiment, Special Forces, the conventional Army, and from members of other military branches (there have even been SEAL Team Six members who have vetted for Delta over the years).

For Delta, the majority come from the 75th and Special Forces – two very distinct units with completely different missions and cultures. On the one side, you have members who grew up in a unit whose sole purpose in life was to skull-stomp terrorists with the utmost violence. On the other, you have a unit whose expertise in foreign internal defense and unconventional warfare makes them masters in the art of training, advising, and force multiplying (the way future wars will be fought). Combine these two elements into one, and you have an incredibly versatile unit in your arsenal.

This alone is a major difference between these two units.