In the end, it took a few great men to take down Osama bin Laden.
So just how great are the guys who make up the unit credited for killing public enemy No. 1 in a firefight in Pakistan on Sunday? Meet the Virginia-based SEAL Team 6, who are expected to return to the United States soon without fanfare, then await their next mission.
“Their job is to kill terrorists,” Jim Hanson, former Weapons Sergeant with the Army’s 1st Special Forces Group, tells PEOPLE. “They are the most deadly shooters we have. These are the people we call on when we need to use hard, deadly force.”
Here, the few details that are known about this special force:
• Rule No. 1 of Team 6: You don’t talk about Team 6
There’s no roster listing who’s in the group, no photos coming out of the men who conducted the historic raid. When Business Insider contacted a former SEAL digging for more info, the response was opaque: “You know I’d love to help you, man, but I can’t say a word about Team 6. There is no Team 6.”
• Rule No. 2: Guts, but no glory
Team 6 is preparing to return to the United States for debriefing and a – very quiet – celebration, Special Operations sources tell PEOPLE.
“You won’t see fireworks inside the gates at Dam Neck [Naval station in Virginia],” where the operatives are based, an active duty SEAL says. “But think, final movement of the “1812 Overture” and you’ll have the mood.”
After that, no doubt it will be back to work doing what they do – which in the past has also included hunting down major al-Qaeda and Taliban figures and operating in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, The Washington Post reports.
• Rule No. 3: Everyone need not apply
There’s no career day for this type of gig. Those who are selected face standards so intense that even training can be highly dangerous, a source tells PEOPLE.
• Rule No. 4: Don’t mess with Team 6
The attack on Bin Laden’s lair lasted only 40 minutes on-scene, a Pentagon source tells PEOPLE. These crack special ops forces overcame 18-foot, barbed-wire-topped walls and other defenses, dropping in via UH-60 helicopters.
“Bin Laden was killed quickly, just as planned,” the source said. “Then it was a matter of getting out – if they could. Each man went in prepared to take his final breath inside that compound.”
Reporting by SUSAN KEATING