Marcinko originally served during the Vietnam War as a member of Second Platoon’s SEAL Team 2. He led his men on what became known as the most successful SEAL operation in the Mekong Delta in the assault on Ilo Ilo Han. Marcinko was so effective at this time the North Vietnamese Army placed a bounty on his head that was never collected.
He would complete a second tour in Vietnam and an assignment as the Naval Attache to Cambodia before being assuming command of SEAL Team 2 in 1976. During the Iran hostage crisis Marcinko was one of the Navy’s representatives for a Joint Chiefs of Staff task force known as the Terrorist Action Team.
After the failure of Operation Eagle Claw it was decided a full time unit dedicated to counterterrorism be created. Marcinko was in charge of its design and development and the result was SEAL Team 6. Marcinko is credited with giving the team its inflated number in order to fool other nations into believing there were at least 3 more SEAL Teams they were unaware of.
Marcinko is remembered as one of the premier counterterrorism operators in all the service.