Richard Marcinko: Tributes Paid to Navy SEAL Team Six Founding Commander

Tributes have been paid to Richard Marcinko, the first commanding officer of Navy SEAL Team Six, following his death at 81.

His son, Matt Marcinko, confirmed that he had died on Christmas Day.

"Last night, Christmas evening, we lost a hero, who's also known as The Rogue Warrior, the retired Navy SEAL commander AND the creator of SEAL Team Six, my father, Richard Marcinko," Matt Marcinko wrote on Twitter.

"His legacy will live forever. The man has died a true legend. Rest In Peace Dad. I love you forever."

The NAVY Seal Museum also posted a tribute to Richard Marcinko on its Facebook page.

"Dick Marcinko played a very unique part in SEAL history, leaving a legacy like no other," the post said. "'Demo Dick' is considered the United States' premier counterterrorism operator. We send our deepest sympathies to his family, teammates, and friends."

Richard Marcinko led SEAL Team Two in what is seen as the Navy's most successful SEAL operation during the Vietnam War: the May 1967 assault on Ilo Ilo Hon.

He returned to Vietnam a second time with SEAL Team Two in 1968, and his platoon assisted U.S. Army Special Forces during the Tet Offensive.

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Richard Marcinko was later one of two Navy representatives on a task force working to develop a plan to free American hostages during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.

It was after this the Navy saw the need for a dedicated counterterrorist team and tasked Richard Marcinko with designing and developing it.

Although the Navy at the time only had two SEAL teams, Marcinko named the unit "SEAL Team Six" in order "to fool other nations, notably the Soviet Union, into believing that the United States had at least three other SEAL Teams that they were unaware of," the museum's post added. Richard Marcinko led SEAL Team Six for three years, from August 1980 until July 1983.

Former Navy SEALs were among those who took to social media to pay tribute to Richard Marcinko.

"Rest easy to Richard 'Dick' Marcinko," former congressman Scott Taylor tweeted. "After I read his book, 'Rogue Warrior', I decided to test myself, in becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL right after high school. Dick was a hard a**, old school Frogman and definitely a pioneer in special forces."

Jack Carr, an author and former Navy SEAL sniper, recalled on Instagram how he first met Richard Marcinko at a book signing in the 1990s.

"I waited until the very end to introduce myself and give him a bottle of his favorite Bombay Sapphire Gin," Carr wrote. "At that stage of my life there is no one on earth I would have rather met than the 'Shark Man of the Delta.'"

Carr added: "Tonight, I'll be tracking down a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and toasting this legendary Frogman, combat decorated Vietnam veteran, and founder and commander of one of the most elite special operations units the world has ever known."

Another former Navy SEAL, Jonathan Gilliam, tweeted: "God speed warrior. Our nation is stronger because of your legendary service. Hooyah Rogue Warrior!"

Richard Marcinko
Richard Marcinko, the first commanding officer of Navy SEAL Team Six, has died aged 81. He is pictured at Sapphire Pool & Day Club on August 1, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagic