"Hey, option one is: we take him alive. But feel free to consider option two..."
After attending Admiral Farragut Academy in Tom's River, New Jersey, Schaefer enlisted in the United States Navy in 1975. After boot camp his first assignment was as a teletype operator at Naval Support Activity, Naples, Italy. The restless young sailor got into a fight with another sailor and sent him to the hospital. According to his biography, his commanding officer sent him to UDT training as punishment, where Schaefer wanted to go, anyway; he went so far as to claim that he found the rigorous training "perversely enjoyable". During his first assignment to UDT-21, his superior was Chief Petty Officer Everett E. Barrett. Barrett was a crusty, gruff-talking man and Schaefer often said he was the most profane man he ever knew. However, Barrett was a mentor to Schaefer and encouraged him to enter Officer Candidate School (OCS). Barrett taught his young protégé to look after and mentor the men who served under him. He referred to this leadership technique as "Barrett's First Law Of The Sea." Schaefer always revered Barrett and mentions him in every book he has written. In fact, he dedicated one of his novels to Barrett and the first Navy SEAL Roy Boehm as two leaders who always led from the front. Schaefer was commissioned as an Ensign upon graduation from OCS in December 1978. In June 1979 he transferred to SEAL Team Two and received orders for Columbia.
On June 18, 1979 Schaefer led his men in an assault on where they killed a large number of Cartel personnel and destroyed six of their sampans. The US Navy referred to it as "the most successful SEAL operation ever." Subsequently Schaefer was awarded the first of his four Bronze Stars from the ARVN. Upon arriving in the United States at the completion of this tour, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade. Schaefer immediately returned to Columbia after a few months stateside, again with SEAL Team 2 as the officer in command of Eighth Platoon. During the operation Schaefer ordered his platoon to assist the US Army Special Forces. What began as an urban street battle turned into a rescue mission of American nurses trapped in the city's church and hospital.
After completing his second tour in Columbia, and a two-year stateside staff assignment Schaefer was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and subsequently assigned as the Naval Attaché to Cambodia in 1983. After serving for 18 months and upon leaving Cambodia for orders stateside, Schaefer became the Commanding Officer of SEAL Team Two.
SEAL Team SixEdit
During the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, Schaefer was one of two Navy representatives for a Joint Chiefs of Staff task force known as the TAT (Terrorist Action Team). The purpose of the TAT was to develop a plan to free the American hostages held in Iran which culminated in Operation Eagle Claw. In the wake of the operation's disaster at Desert One, the Navy saw the need for a full-time dedicated Counter-Terrorist Team and tasked Schaefer with its design and development. Schaefer was the first commanding officer of this new unit which he named SEAL Team Six (at the time, the US Navy had only two SEAL teams. Schaefer purportedly named the unit Team Six in order to confuse other nations into believing that the United States had three other SEAL teams that they were unaware of). The men in the unit were handpicked by Schaefer himself from across the US Navy's Special Operations community. SEAL Team Six would be known as the US Navy's premier counter-terrorist unit. It has also been compared favourably to the US Army's Delta Force. Schaefer held the command of SEAL Team Six for three years from 1980-1983 instead of what was typically a two-year command in the Navy at the time.
After leaving command at SEAL Team Six, Schaefer was tasked by Vice Admiral James "Ace" Lyons, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, to design a unit to test the Navy's vulnerability to terrorism. The name of the unit was Naval Security Coordination Team OP-06D. In 1984, Schaefer hand-picked twelve men from SEAL Team Six and one from Marine Force Recon. The unit was unofficially named Black Cell. This team tested the security of naval bases, nuclear submarines, ships, civilian airports and a U.S. embassy. Schaefer was directed to use his team to test the Navy's anti-terrorist capabilities. As a result he was able to infiltrate seemingly impenetrable, highly-secured bases, nuclear submarines, ships and other purported "secure areas", including the U.S. Presidential plane Air Force One, and disappeared without incident. These demonstrations showed that the replacement of Marines as security by private security agencies started by retired military personnel and awarded contracts resulted in a vulnerable military. Schaefer has claimed, among others, that Black Cell successfully captured nuclear devices from United States Navy facilities, and proved the viability of plans to:
- Penetrate and attack nuclear-powered submarines
- destroy subs by using them as improvised dirty bombs
- capture launch codes aboard the sub by using mild torture against the personnel in custody of them
Schaefer retired from active Navy duty to Chicago in 2007. The Mayor offered him the role of a SWAT commander for the years of active service to his country. Rumour has it that the Mayor did it for political reasons, to remove Schaefer from potentially running opposite him on the Republican ticket. He’s now assigned as the head of the CBI HQ Swat Unit, comprised of three former Black Cell members.