Kevin Holland served both in Seal Team 6 and Delta Force

MSG Kevin Holland (Photo: XY)

MSG Kevin Holland is the only publicly known operator who served in DEVGRU (SEAL Team 6) and Delta Force (1st SFOD-D). Long story short, yes, an individual can serve in MULTIPLE Special Mission Units (i.e., RRC, TFO, 24th STS, NSWDG, and 1st SFOD-D). However, it isn’t peculiar. MSG Kevin Holland is a former BOTH member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six) and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force). He was initially a DEVGRU operator who turned Army and passed SFQC (Special Forces Qualification Course) and made his way to serve in the elite counter-terrorism unit, Delta Force.

Early life

Kevin Holland grew up in the foothills of North Carolina. He played football and baseball in high school, and shortly after high school, he signed up for the delayed entry program to join the U.S. Navy. Holland started his career in 1988. After that, he completed boot camp and Navy Photographer School and volunteered for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. He arrived in Coronado, CA, in November 1988.

His BUD/S class started with 80 people, and in July of 1989, 8 students left at graduation. The entire class was assigned to SEAL Team 8. After that, Holland drove to Fort Benning, Georgia, to the U.S. Army Airborne School. He was the youngest in the class of 300. Upon graduation, he reported to SEAL Team 8, Little Creek, Virginia.

SEAL Team 8 and DEVGRU

In 1990, he was deployed to Northern Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Holland was tasked with deep reconnaissance and sniper missions. Upon completing the deployment, he was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and was sent to Sniper School. He completed  Naval Special Warfare Sniper School at Atterbury, Indiana, as an honor graduate and received the top shooter award.

Kevin Holland finished his BUD/s training in November 1988
Kevin Holland finished his BUD/s training in November 1988 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

In 1992, Kevin Holland went for screening by the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU, Seal Team 6). This organization recruits the top 1% of all SEALS in the Navy. In the summer of 1992, he left SEAL Team 8 and checked in to DEVGRU. Only three years later, Kevin Holland left the Navy.

Private sector and then Delta Force

From 1995 to 2001, he worked with his dad in the private sector, and then 9/11 happened, and all that changed. Holland immediately called his old command and spoke with some people about returning to help. He had a friend with the U.S. Army Special Operations in Somalia in 1993. He told him that the organization was already in the Middle East, and he would try out for that unit if he were him. He contacted them and went and tried out.

He attended the selection with 116 other candidates, and one month later, 16 of them remained. Holland was assigned to Fort Bragg and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2002.

MSG Kevin Holland, former DEVGRU and Delta Force operator
MSG Kevin Holland, former DEVGRU and Delta Force operator (Photo: X.Y.)

He completed the 8-month Special Forces Qualification Course (Q Course) in 2005 and earned his Special Forces Tab and Green Beret. Kevin Holland deployed 20 times to the Middle East, conducting over 2000 combat missions. He was wounded with shrapnel in 2004 when an IED exploded behind his vehicle, killing one of his team members.

After completing A&S/OTC, MSG, Kevin Holland served as an assaulter with 1st SFOD-D for roughly ten years, retiring in 2013. Most men who make it to an SMU will stick with said SMU for most of their careers. In March 2011, Holland was shot during the mission.

Wounded in combat

In March 2011, he was unlucky. During the mission, they were watching a patrol of foreign fighters. All were well-armed and on a mission. They took a house from a villager, and that’s when they were launched. Holland’s team mission was to eliminate two individuals who had walked out into a palm grove behind the house. As they came in on helicopters, the individuals started shooting at them, so they returned fire with a grenade launcher, wounding one of them.

Kevin Holland become member of Delta Force in 2002
A Delta Force operator with a CAR-15 is seen in the foreground of this picture (Photo: DoD/Staff Sergeant Dean W. Wagner)

The other one ran deeper into the palm grove. The team landed, eliminated the wounded individual still shooting at them, and pursued the other. Holland was directed to the insurgents’ location. When he rounded the corner of the villagers’ house, the insurgent opened fire with a belt-fed PKM machine gun from 20 yards, hitting him in the chest just above his armor plate+, immediately paralyzing his left arm. Another round glanced off the weapon magazines on his chest, and another shot his radio in half, which was on his side.

Holland dove into an irrigation ditch as the individual kept firing his 200-round belt at him, hitting the pack he was wearing multiple times. He then started firing at Holland’s team, and when he realized he wasn’t being shot at anymore, he rose above the water, laying his weapon on its side on the mound of dirt in front of the ditch, and started shooting at the insurgent’s muzzle blast. Insurgent then came running at Holland as he was shooting at him. The insurgent was shot in the foot, so he fell nearly on top of Holland and hobbled out of the gate where he was captured.

After about 10 minutes, Kevin Holland got out of that ditch, found his team, patched up, walked out to the helicopter, and flew to the nearest base.

MSG Kevin Holland spent the whole time in rehabilitation until he retired from active military service in 2013. The doctors told him they did not have a lot of data on his wound because not many people survive being shot through the chest, so they don’t know a whole lot about how long it will take the nerves to come back if they come back. Among over 30 awards are seven Bronze Stars, two for valor in combat, and two for Purple Hearts.

23 comments
  1. His life almost reads like a film script. I doubt the nation will ever see the likes of Kevin Holland again.

  2. I had the opportunity to be with Kevin Holland for 3 days this past week. The most amazing individual I have ever had the honor to meet. Kevin is a man of God and it is obvious, his faith and love for people are the motivating factors in this man’s life. There are many operators serving our great country, they deserve our respect and prayers. Kevin Holland has risen to the top of this great team of warriors, I am honored and proud to call him friend, but more importantly, a brother in Christ.

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