The last week’s exercise near Dam Neck, Virginia, gathered elite units of the U.S. Special Operations Forces. In rare publicly shown exercise, the Night Stalkers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR) were seen hauling around Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCCs), along with their boats and other gear, during a huge training exercise.
In recent years, it was rare to see the Night Stalker’s heavily modified Little Birds, Chinooks, and Black Hawks operating together in one public place, especially in broad daylight. The exercise scenario also included a mass airdrop of supplies and assault boats from C-17s over the water. The photo that caught all attention was an MH-47 Chinook sling loading a stealthy Combat Craft Assault (CCA) boat while one of its crew, most likely an SWCC, fast ropes down into it in mid-air.
The exercise was held in Dam Neck, home to the Seal Team Six (Seal Team 6), officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). It is also less than 20 miles southeast of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, home to many other seals and Naval Special Warfare units. Aviation photographer Raven Harris captured the photo set. According to the available information, the photo set shows DEVGRU operators alongside Night Stalkers and SWCC chauffeurs.
Overall, the images offer an awesome and rare view into this elite ‘tier one’ special operations world. The largely bearded and tattooed SEAL operators are seen hanging off MH-6 Little Birds and MH-60 Black Hawks fully kitted out with custom M4-style rifles that appear to be fitted with Simunition FX kits, which converts them to be able to fire paintball-like ammunition for direct force-on-force training. One thing that is uniquely constant is the Jolly Roger ‘pirate’ patch warn by the SEALs. This type of iconography is prevalent in the special operations community, and especially the SEAL teams, the Drive reported.
More photos available here.