Richard Marcinko was born on November 21, 1940 to George Marcinko and Emilie Teresa Pavlik Marcinko at his grandmother’s home in Lansford, Pennsylvania, a small mining town. In his autobiography, he described his mother as “short and Slavic-looking” and his father as dark and gloomy, with a “bad temper”.
All the men in the family, Commander Marcinko wrote, were miners. “They were born, they worked in the mines, they died,” he wrote. “Life was simple and life was hard, and I think some of them may have wanted to pull themselves up on the boots, but most of them were too poor to buy boots.”
He dropped out of high school and joined the Navy in 1958. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1967 with SEAL Team 2, according to the National Navy SEAL Museum, which announced the death on its Facebook page.
He received many awards for his service, including four Bronze Stars, a Silver Star and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, according to the museum. After completing two tours of Vietnam, he was promoted to lieutenant commander and then took over the reins of SEAL Team 2 from 1974 to 1976, the museum said.
Commander Marcinko is survived by his wife, Nancy; four daughters, Brandy Alexander, Tiffany Alexander, Hailey Marcinko and Kathy-Ann Marcinko; two sons, Matthew and Ritchie Marcinko; and several grandchildren. A previous marriage to Kathy Black ended in divorce.
On Sunday night, Admiral McRaven called Commander Marcinko “one of the more colorful characters” in the history of Navy special warfare.
“Although we had some disagreements when I was a junior officer, I have always respected his boldness, his ingenuity and his relentless drive for success,” Admiral McRaven wrote in an email. “I hope he will be remembered for his numerous contributions to the SEAL community.”
Dave Phillips reporting contributed.