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The SEALs who assaulted Osama bin Laden's compound were drawn from Naval Special Warfare Development Group's Red Squadron, according to several sources in the special operations community.

DevGru, as the Development Group is usually known, is the Naval Special Warfare Command's "Tier 1" special mission unit, the Navy equivalent of the Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment — Delta, or Delta Force. It includes four line squadrons: Blue, Gold, Red and the recently-formed Silver Squadrons, a recently retired SEAL officer said. In addition, DevGru, sometimes known by its original name of SEAL Team 6, has a strategic reconnaissance element named Black Squadron, which is "a whole different animal," he said.

Red Squadron was picked for the mission because it was ready at DevGru's Dam Neck, Va., headquarters and available for tasking. "It was Red Squadron," the recently retired SEAL officer said. "They were not on alert and they weren't deployed."

Like the other line squadrons, Red Squadron has about 50 operators, "of which they picked about half of them for this thing," he added.