The only publicly known operator who served both DEVGRU and DELTA FORCE

MSG Kevin Holland (Photo: XY)

The only publicly known operator who both served in DEVGRU (SEAL Team 6) and Delta Force (1st SFOD-D) was Kevin Holland. Long-story-short, yes; it is possible for an individual to serve in MULTIPLE Special Mission Units (i.e. RRC, TFO, 24th STS, NSWDG, and 1st SFOD-D), however, it is VERY unlikely.

MSG Kevin Holland is a former member of BOTH the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six) and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force). He was originally 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 his high school, he signed up on the delayed entry program to join the US Navy.

Holland started his career off in the SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred …www.nytimes.com › 2015/06/07 › world › asia › the-secret-history-of…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 at graduation there were 8 students left. The entire class was assigned to SEAL Team 8. After that, Holland drove to Fort Benning, Georgia to US Army Airborne School. He was the youngest in the class of 300. Upon graduation, he reported to SEAL Team 8, located in Little Creek, Virginia.

The U.S. 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 completion of 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 honor graduate and received the top shooter award.

MSG Kevin Holland, former DEVGRU and Delta Force operator
MSG Kevin Holland, former DEVGRU and Delta Force operator (Photo: XY)

In 1992, Holland went for screening to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. 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 Dev Group. In 1995, Holland left the Navy.

Private sector and then Delta Force

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

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

He completed the 8 month Special Forces Qualification Course (Q Course) in 2005 and earned my Special Forces Tab and Green Beret.

He 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 the members of his team.

After successful completion of A&S/OTC, MSG. Holland served as an assaulter with 1st SFOD-D for roughly 10 years; retiring in 2013.  Most men who make it to an SMU will stick with said-SMU for the majority 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 that 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.

The other one ran deeper into the palm grove. Team landed and eliminated the wounded individual that was still shooting at them, and pursued the other. Holland was directed to the insurgents’ location and 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 of ammunition 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 raised up 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. Insurgent was shot in the foot and that’s why he fell nearly on top of Holland and hobbled out of the gate where he was captured.

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

MSG Holland spent the whole time at rehabilitation until his retirement from active military service in 2013. The doctors told him they do not have a lot of data on his wound because not a lot of people survive being shot through the chest where he was shot 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 included seven Bronze Stars with two awarded for valor in combat along with two Purple Hearts.

The Army Ranger who became a bank robber

Luke Elliot Sommer
Luke Elliot Sommer (Photo: XY)

Luke Elliott Sommer is a former United States Army Ranger who became publicly known as a bank robber. He was born on June 26, 1986, in Peachland, British Columbia, Canada.

Early life and military career

Luke Sommer joined the Army on June 26, 2003, and was assigned to a basic training class at Sand Hill, Fort Benning Georgia on November 4, 2003, graduating on January 27, 2004. After completing OSUT (One Station Unit Training) attended and completed Airborne School on Fort Benning prior to attending the Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) in the green fence at Ranger Training Detachment. After completing RIP Sommer was sent to Fort Lewis Washington to the 1st Platoon (Madslashers), Charlie Company, 2nd battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Sommer was at the unit for less than three weeks before he left his girlfriend and newborn son and was shipped to Baghdad, Iraq, where he remained until September 2004. During his time in Iraq, he was part of the Task Force 6-26.

Sommer and Olinger in Iraq 2004
Sommer and Olinger in Iraq, 2004

After returning from Iraq, Sommer conducted Ranger convalescent skill training which includes hotwiring vehicles, operating heavy machines and basic EMT courses. After spending six months in the United States, Sommer was again deployed with 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, overseas, this time to Bagram, Afghanistan.

After Sommer returned from Afghanistan in September 2005, he was sent to the United States Army Ranger School. Sommer spent nearly seven months completing the highly prestigious military leadership school, and although he had to restart the school twice, Sommer managed to complete the school on April 7, 2006.

After attending Ranger School, court documents assert that Sommer began recruiting and training several members of his unit and two civilians for what was called a robbery with “military-style precision and planning.” After the robbery, Sommer was arrested and detained in the North Fraser Pretrial Centre where other prisoners such as Rakesh Saxena and Robert William Pickton were also held. Sommer was released on bail in September 2006 and was then placed under house arrest.

The heist

On August 7, 2006, four men brandishing weapons robbed the Bank of America branch in South Tacoma of $54,011. While two robbers with automatic rifles covered the bank’s entrances, the other two, with handguns, moved swiftly to confront the tellers. The gang’s leader wielded a 9-mm Glock 19 with a red laser sight, which he pointed threateningly at the employees. While one of the door guards called out the elapsed time, Luke Elliott Sommer, the gang leader, vaulted over the teller counter and barged behind the bandit barrier into the cages, shouting threats and commands. He ordered the tellers to give him only stacks of banded $20, $50 and $100 bills and not to include any bait money, with prerecorded serial numbers, or dye packs. His assistant collected the money from the teller stations and took $20,000 from a money cart inside the vault. At the two-minute mark, the timekeeper shouted: “Let’s go!” The gang exited the bank with $54,011 stuffed into duffel bags, ran down a side street into an alley, but the getaway car was not there.

The driver had panicked and started driving, alone, back to the base. He quickly realized he was driving the wrong way and after making a U-turn, spotted his friends. Figuring he must have been driving down the street to turn around, the four ran to the car and made their getaway.

According to the bank surveillance camera, the robbery, executed with military precision, took place in just two minutes and 21 seconds.

Sommer's weaponry found after he was arrested
Sommer’s Arsenal (Photo: Wiki)

The gang was tracked down because they failed to remove the front license plate from their getaway vehicle. A bystander noted the number and passed it to the police. Within three days of the robbery, FBI agents arrested Alex Blum at his parents’ home in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Blum confessed to driving the getaway car and named the other members of the gang, including Luke Elliott Sommer.

Aftermath

On December 15, 2008, Sommer was sentenced to 24 years in prison and 5 years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Commit Armed Bank Robbery, Armed Bank Robbery, Brandishing a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, and Possession of an Unregistered Destructive Device (Hand Grenade).

Sommer received significant media attention in 2006 after revealing his robbery role in an interview with Seattle Weekly. He was interviewed by a variety of television, radio and print outlets, including but not limited to National Public Radio (US), The National Post (Canada),[9] Rolling Stone Magazine (US), the Seattle Times and the New York Times. This attention stemmed from his Ranger background, his assertion that the AK-47 assault rifles used in the robbery were smuggled back from Iraq.

Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime

After pouring hot sauce into his eyes to keep himself awake no longer worked, Army Pfc. Alex Blum began snorting chewing tobacco. When that failed, he cut his earlobe with a knife.

Still, after being pushed to strenuous physical activity for over 30 hours, he could barely keep his eyes open.

The months he spent training to be an Army Ranger tormented him physically and psychologically and left him changed as a person. They may even have turned him into a bank robber.

That’s the claim of a new book “Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime” (Doubleday), written by Alex’s cousin Ben Blum — who describes how a good kid with a dream to serve his country made a rapid descent into criminality.

The most secretive unit in United States

A member of the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron observes a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. (Photo: DoD)

There are some solid answers on a question about the most secretive unit and some not so solid answers. In order not to drone on, sounding like a broken record – NO. Seal Team 6 aka DEVGRU is not the most secretive. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that CAG (Delta Force, etc) is the most secretive in general. Due to plenty of interviews from former members, movies, literature, and all that good stuff.

According to public thoughts, the most secretive unit is by far and away from the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta – “Delta Force,” “The Unit,” “D-Boys.” Nowadays operating under the US Army Combat Applications Group. CAG has the most security on it, much more than any other unit in the entirety of USSOCOM, except maybe the ISA/Grey Fox.

DEVGRU and CAG/Delta Force

Despite there are a lot of former members talking about the unit, their training and similar, it is still far more secretive than DEVGRU. And it is always far more interesting to the public because of some things.

As an example, CAG has no official uniform. The Pentagon actually forbids it. Delta operators do not get labeled such in the Army ID and do not wear distinguishing identification in their Army ID photos. They are usually listed as Rangers or Special Forces, sometimes their original units, though this last one is probably rarer unless it’s from the 82nd.

Delta Force / CAG operator on its motorbike
Delta Force Operator (Photo: Illustration)

Nobody really knows how OTC- the Operator Training Course – (also why CAG personnel are technically the only “operators” in SOCOM) is conducted, except (former) CAG operators themselves, in contrast to DEVGRU. Seriously, everyone knows Green Team, Red Squadron, Gold Squadron, even Black Squadron at this point. It’s not a secret at all.

They (used to?) tell people they were telephone operators. Seriously. Colonel Beckwith had his original Delta guys feed people- even their families- this line. (Didn’t go so great when one fed that line to Colonel Beckwith’s daughter at a bar, but that’s another [tragic] story.)

CIA ISA

CIA’s barely confirmed the existence of their Special Activities Division (SAD). CIA is already the most discreet organization in the US. Because of that, their Special Forces would get equipment not usually provided to regular soldiers and have access to unrestricted areas. SAD is also made up of retired DEVGRU and Delta Force Operators. They are trained to conduct missions such as:

  • sabotage
  • personnel and material retrieval
  • kidnapping
  • bomb damage assessment
  • hostage rescue
  • counter-terrorism

And that is mostly what is available about them. No HQ, no commander, no publicly known former operatives, not any confirmed mission they took part in it and so on.

Conclusion

Secrecy is one of the best currencies in war, so it’s sometimes best for commanders to keep their best assets hidden from the enemy and the public. While the military has admitted that most of the units on this list existed at some point, a lot of their missions were classified for decades before being disclosed to the public.

For the units that are still operating, America still only gets glimpses into their activities. But to conclude this article, a DEVGRU is most definitely NOT the most classified unit in the US Armed Forces and the United States overall. Neither it is the Delta Force, CAG, The Unit or whatever you want to call it.

From my perspective, currently, the most secretive unit is CIAs SAD, of course, from the list of the units ever mentioned. I cannot speak about units or some task forces that are not never disclosed to the public and that their existence is never confirmed.

Further, even the secret service has “special operators”. There are special groups within special groups. And none of them are public knowledge. Seal Team 6 was a completely black book when formed. For decades no one admitted the group’s existence. Decades. And that was decades ago. So one can only imagine what our Military and or Government have now.

The Hawaii-born warrior who trains IDF Special Forces

Shayetet 13: People of Silence (Photo: IDF)

Nadav Tzadok Yair was born in Hawaii and trained in Kapu Kuialua since he was nine years old, now he teaches IDF Special Forces how to win glory in battle.

Born and raised in Hawaii

Nadav Tzadok Yair is a small Hawaiian man with a fascinating life story, the Jerusalem Post reported on Friday. Born on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, he had been trained in the local martial art of Kapu Kuialua – double shot – since the age of nine. This tribal version of warfare, which shaped centuries of local wars between the various groups on the islands, shaped his life and destiny.

In his quiet home in Kfar Tapuach, he shared his unique journey into the Jewish faith and in training IDF Special Forces – among them, Blue and White politician Gabi Ashkenazi, who told reporters that Yair, “is an expert in jungle warfare, night operations, sneak attacks and survival.”

“The IDF owns him a lot for what he taught us,” he added.

Yair used to be a staunch advocate for Hawaiian independence from the US – like Bympy Kanahele and the late Internet sensation, singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – and was bitter over how peaceful dialog with US authorities became the mainstream choice for native people around him.

Early life and military background

Trained in warfare, he claimed to have killed 18 people before meeting an Israeli couple who was visiting the islands. They told him about Israel and he followed the sun there, embraced the Jewish faith, changed his name and became the father of six children, five boys and one girl – all of whom have Hawaiian names along with their Hebrew ones.

One of them agreed to speak on television and demonstrated how his brother once shot him in the back during play with a blowgun. “We were all trained in these ways,” he told the filming crew, “naturally I can’t share everything.”

Yair enlisted into the IDF at age 31 and quickly became a Special Forces trainer. He still teaches troops today – for free. “My sons get angry at me,” he says, “but I believe that what goes around comes around.”

Since he divorced his wife a decade ago, he lives alone in Kfar Tapuach. He showed the filming crew how he once used an ax to scare off an Arab man who came to his land asking for water.

“This is how life is,” he told the shocked filming crew, ”if I don’t come at him with the ax today, the next day I’ll wake up with his ax close to my neck.”

His home was built without legal permits and, so far, it seems that his years of service to the country’s shadow warriors have bought him the good graces of the various authorities involved.

Kapu Kuialua was taught to the warrior class in the pre-contact society on the islands of Hawaii, using a combination of wrestling techniques, stone, and wooden clubs, and wooden knives embedded with shark teeth to tear the flesh of the enemy when the knife is pulled out.

Warriors sought to gain mana, a concept which means both life force and status. To defeat the enemy in battle would increase one’s mana; to lose in battle, should one live to tell about it, would result in loss of mana and often a new life as a slave.

Shorter skirts, tighter uniforms for Canadian female soldiers

CSOR - Canada's Special Operations Regiment 2
CSOR - Canada's Special Operations Regiment

A lack of female soldiers in the ranks of the Canadian Armed Forces has inspired new recruiting ideas that include adding shorter, tighter skirts, more stylish shoes, and cringe-worthy social media campaigns featuring slogans like, “My bling are my medals.” What to expect in the nearest future?

Dry heaving yet?

If not, maybe a video concept featuring a woman tossing a grenade, accompanied by the slogan, “Of course I throw like a girl but I never miss,” will do the trick.

This. This is what three years of work yielded. A “Tiger Team” whose sole three-year mission it was to pinpoint where the military could do a better job of enticing women to enlist came up with referring to medals as “bling.”

A “Tiger Team” formed specifically to look at the issue of female recruitment pointed out that for almost 30 years the Canadian military has advertised itself as an employer of equal opportunity, with all occupations open for both women and men.

Today, women make up just 16 percent of the Canadian armed services, a number of Canadian military officials hope to grow to 25 percent by 2026, according to study documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

“Yet systemic barriers remain in place,” the Tiger Team wrote, “making the military a less than desirable choice for the majority of young Canadian women.”

Substantive causes for the dearth of women in the ranks — the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual harassment, as well as the lack of available technical jobs — were mentioned as such barriers, yet these legitimate reasons still played second fiddle to a heavy emphasis on fashion and video production.

But, The Canadian Armed Forces, or CAF, has set a goal of having women fill 25 percent of the ranks by 2026. Women currently make up 15.9 percent. It doesn’t look impossible but remains to be seen.