In response to the recent allegations made by three Navy SEAL whistleblowers to CBS News and information provided to SOFREP by our own sources, many readers chimed in to opine that the US military had been issuing amphetamines to boost the performance of soldiers in combat.  We had never found any reputable sources who could confirm that Special Operations Forces had been issued such drugs, so it sounded like grist for the rumor mill.  However, we do attempt to verify.  Yesterday, a former member of the 75th Ranger Regiment came forward to detail a SEAL Team Six mission that he was called upon to support.

Recall that SEAL Team Six is oriented towards counter-terrorism operations and comes from a maritime background.  This isn’t a ding against the unit, just a reality that they were not necessarily designed for light infantry operations in landlocked Afghanistan.  Because of this, there are times when SEAL Team Six calls upon other units to help support their missions.  In particular demand are Ranger machine gunners who can help lay down suppressive fire and bring some extra heat to the firefight.  The Ranger SOFREP spoke to was a Mk46 gunner and was called on during a 2004 deployment to support the Navy’s JSOC element.

SEAL Team Six operators stand in front of a typical low-vis vehicle used to conduct direct action raids. (Picture courtesy of Rob O’Neill)

Four Rangers in total were detached to Six, two rolling out to recon the objective in low visibility vehicles while the other two went out in assault trucks.  Halfway to the objective, the ground assault force pulled over to the side of the road.  The mission was getting scrapped in favor of a new high priority target.  The SEALs taped a map of the new objective area to the window of their vehicle and plotted out actions on the objective.  Afterwards, back inside the vehicle one of the SEAL Team Six operators nonchalantly asked, “Doc give you any speed, yet?”

The Ranger was a bit confused by the question but replied that he hadn’t been given anything.  The SEAL handed him a pill.  The Ranger took it and reported that, “30 minutes later I was 100% focused and didn’t fall asleep until after the hit the next night.”  Being given the anti-narcolepsy pill did not come across to the Ranger as being some illicit or wrong, but rather just as normal as when the Ranger medics issue Ambien to their platoon prior to a long flight.