Interview: Rich Norman
Pics: DEVTSIX Silver Team (and as watermarked)
This is an interview I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but didn’t quite have the confidence to just front up and ask straight out.
As luck would have it I was chatting to team leader Ryan @rmdenton about another matter, so I thought I’d ask. I was more than pleasantly surprised when he replied immediately, with a yes.
And this is something you learn very quickly working with DT6 Silver Team. They are fast, highly personable, enthusiastic and go the extra mile – probably like they are in the field; although swap personable for highly aggressive, if you are on the receiving end…
Hey guys! Thanks for coming on the blog!
How did DT6 Silver Team form?
First thing, thanks for having us on the Blog! The entire team reads and follows it, and it’s an honor for us to be featured.
DT6 Silver Team formed about as simply as it gets: we all played airsoft together locally here in Phoenix, Arizona with (funny enough) Ranger kits.
We started getting really interested in DEVGRU stuff and refocused the team. We had the idea to restart a US based team for DEVTSIX, since Red Team and Gold Team had folded at the time.
We sat down and came up with the idea of the team, and then set out to get our kits started and add members.
Later came Jon @Upp3rz_D0wn3z, our most famous member (inside joke), followed by Mike @Mkoncar22, then our real deal 3/75 Ragnar member Austin @sk06_Ragnar, and last but not least, Nick @ZombiePancake.
Ryan had the idea of a creating a team where everyone is a friend, because a lot of airsoft/impression teams fail due to members not getting along.
So, everyone on DT6 Silver Team is a close friend to the other members, and we hang out together outside of our involvement with Airsoft/Impressions stuff.
What’s the story behind your call signs and IG names?
Ahh, that’s a great question, because we get this a lot. Our callsigns have the “SK” in the front, which stands for “Silver Knight” and is based off the Gold Knight callsigns used by Seal Team 6’s Gold Squadron, which are GK01, GK02 and so forth.
So, our callsigns are SK01, SK02, etc., or Silver Knight 1, Silver Knight 2, etc. The numbers correspond with when you were added to the team, so a lower number means you’ve been with the team longer.
As for our IG names, everyone on the team uses whatever IG name they choose – it’s as simple as that.
We don’t see a reason to require our guys to coordinate IG names, and honestly (no offense to anyone) we find that tacky.
How does the team ensure consistency in values and attitudes within the group?
This is very important to us. One of the main things we do is stay in contact with each other all the time…AND I MEAN ALL THE TIME.
We have a Facebook group chat, which on any given day (and literally while I am typing this answer) is blowing up!
We try to continually communicate, whether it’s just shooting the shit, talking about gear, or planning when we are going to get out and play airsoft again.
In the 1-year probationary period all new DT6 teams go under, we received a TON of guidance from DEVTSIX. During this process we constantly sent in kit pics and provided updates to show them our progress, and made sure we were clear on what was expected from us in terms of our team’s goals.
All our members are expected to display a sort of professionalism when we attend events and when we’re on social media. We wouldn’t have the opportunities we do if it wasn’t for our limited sponsors and how much they help us. Shout out to Enola Gay USA and PTS Syndicate!
But yes, when we attend events we want to be an example of how a team should handle themselves – PERIOD.
Our leadership comes from Ryan for the most part, BUT Ryan is about as fair a leader as it gets.
Ryan makes sure the team is heading in the right direction, BUT, he always takes everyone’s thoughts and opinions into consideration and weighs them when making decisions.
If there is ever a very tough decision, the team will all vote to achieve the best outcome, but most of our decisions are laid back and we don’t have a ton of stress here on Silver Team.
Same question, but about loadouts – how are standards defined which ensure quality and consistency?
This is a big part of how we started. There is no team out there that started with just straight 100% real gear, and if they did, then please tell them to send some dollars our way.
Our standards are pretty high to start, since our impression kits are based off DEVGRU’s Red Squadron during the 2011-2012 time period. And yes, we know we are “Silver Team”, but that’s just our name and has nothing to do with our impression kits.
Our team is lenient on Repro Gear vs. Real gear, and what we mean by that is we treat most Repro gear as a placeholder until it can be replaced with the real variant…within reason.
For example, our leader Ryan’s kit is all real gear, except for his AOR1 Ops-Core Maritime helmet shell and his AOR1 NCPC. Those two items, if real, would cost a small fortune, so he has settled on Repro versions for now.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is the fact that our gear gets used. One of the things that bothers us is when we see a person/collector’s “Gucci Gear” just sitting in the closet unused for them to have “happy time” looking it at whenever they want.
We run our gear hard, VERY HARD, because that’s what it’s made for; not just to play dress up in your bathroom…albeit we do that sometimes too 😊.
We use reference pics every single day to get us where we want to be with our gear. If you’re an impression team and you aren’t using ref pics, then you have to ask yourself: are you even an impression team?
Some examples of reference pics which the team likes:
One thing I don’t think a lot of our fans know is that our kits for milsim ops are completely freestyle. One cool thing DT6 allows is for us to have full free reign over the kits we can wear at events.
People tend to forget that the Dev ref pictures you see of an operator’s kit is generally 100% that operator’s preference.
Even though you think it looks cool, it may not perform well for you in a high-pressure situation, so we are allowed full preference on what we wear at milsim events. As a result, most of our members have multiple plate carriers, such as one setup for our time correct photoshoots, and another setup strictly for milsim ops.
So, if you see us at an event and our kits are not 100% 2011-12 DEVGRU accurate, now you know why.
Some DEVGRU fans have (or say they have) access to sensitive pics, materials and/or personnel – info which cannot be shared materially. As such, how is the credibility of their advice gauged by Silver Team?
We def would say this is true! There are some gurus out there that have so much knowledge, and a lot of these guys are on the main DT6 forum, and they help us nerds out a lot.
Here on Silver Team we have had the opportunity to not only meet, but also to train with some former NSW guys, and we remain in contact with them all the time. The intel/pics those guys share with us isn’t common knowledge BUT every now and then they give us something to share publicly for fun, like the pic below which is from our very close friend who was on US Navy Seal Team 4. He sent us this pic for fun with full permission to post it online.
As far as authenticity, we tend to like the intel straight from the actual team guys’ mouths, and then we go from there. Obviously access to DEVGRU operators is tough to obtain, but not unheard of here on Silver Team.
Aside from high quality and consistent loadouts, Silver Team has a strong visual identity on social media. Tell me about it.
We definitely have grown in the last year exponentially, the reason for this is solely on Jon @Upp3rz_D0wn3rz‘s shoulders. Jon runs all of the posts on IG, and Ryan @rmdenton runs our Facebook page. BUT the growth of the team’s presence on social media has been mainly coming from Jon, and since he took over our outreach has been insane.
Most of our images are organic, and we like to post pics of us in game, and we don’t put out a ton of “photoshoot” stuff. We want to be known as the team with cool gear that is out there putting in work with everyone else in the community.
Our pics def have a certain feel to them. I think the reason they blow up on social media is because we have a very high level of attention to detail in our gear, and we try to attend high quality events based at really neat and rare looking AO’s that make the backgrounds always look very solid.
One additional thing I will say is that most of our members stay in shape, because we want to not only look good in gear BUT be able to run circles around other people at these milsim events; so being in good shape helps the gear and kit look more authentic.
Lastly, I think the actual training we’ve done helps our pics look rather legit.
We have spent time together working on clearing rooms and entry tactics, with special help from very special people.
The team has worked and trained with Tacflow, Warfighter Academy, and Noir Training, and the skills we’ve learned from those organizations have been invaluable for us; not only to look the part, but to actually have a leg up at milsim events.
How about the team’s brand management?
We definitely take our name and our brand management seriously here at Silver Team. Our team logo was designed by a former member, which we will get into later, and the design is definitely something we worked on quite a bit.
The design process for the logo went through 4 stages: first was mock up, second was digital, then tweak, and then final tweak.
The design wasn’t that hard to nail down, it was basically dimensions and making sure we weren’t stealing anyone else’s logo/design and not getting accused of stealing a real DEVGRU patch (since we didn’t earn it).
The image itself is actually a combination of a few things: the shield is a direct correlation with the real DEVGRU Silver Squadron patch design, the tomahawks are inspired by the real Silver Squadron patch (but we switched them up a bit, so our design has no feathers), the skull was changed to a Viking skull instead of the eye patch skull seen on the original Silver Squadron patch, and lastly, the sword is the exact same sword seen on all of the DT6 logos, which we did to pay homage to our DEVTSIX teammates around the world.
Tell me about any specialisms within the team.
We, as gear nerds, have a few defined roles on the team that our guys take tons of pride in. The biggest role is RTO, and our member Mike @mkoncar is a self-proclaimed comms nerd, and he LOVES to be in that role at the milsim ops we attend.
The comms gear Mike has is second to none: a dual-comm setup with one 6-pin MBITR, one 10-pin MBITR, a Peltor Comtac III dual-comm headset, a remote access controller for his 6-pin, two Thales short whip antennas, a Satcom antenna array, and various other nerdy comms things.
Nick @zombiepancake is our resident AEG tech. We have seen him fully strip down a Tokyo Marui recoil shock and put it completely back together in minutes before an American Milsim Dam Mission, and it ran like a dream.
Jeff @bbmagnet is our resident HPA tech and our all-around team mom, and we use that second title in the upmost respectful way. He always makes sure we, as a team, are on the same page, and he handles any disputes professionally.
Jon @upp3rz_d0wn3rz is our resident CQB/Assaulter. Just recently, we witnessed Jon go full ham at American Milsim’s Reindeer Games at FT. Hood, where he went on a rampage, destroying two squads of enemies all by himself. It was the thing of legend, working opposite corners of a house as the opfor threw frags at him and couldn’t hit him.
Those are just a few things and specialties we at Silver Team rely on, but together as a team, we all consider ourselves a “Jack of all Trades”, and being versatile in that way helps us adapt to situations much better while in games.
As the only US DEVTSIX chapter, does it feel like you have a special responsibility to represent the home of DEVGRU?
We would 100% say we have a responsibility as Americans to represent DEVGRU to the best of our abilities and to make sure that nobody forgets that the US is home to some of the baddest dudes on the planet (obviously not us – we are glorified nerds 😊).
One thing we are very proud of is to be the team that started up the U.S. chapter of DT6. I think we can now announce, since we don’t think it’s a total secret, that our sister team, Gold Team, has started back up in SoCal. We are so excited to start collaborating with them very soon, so be on the lookout for some very cool stuff this year from Gold Team!
We can say that over the past year and a half we have been treated differently by some of the other foreign DT6 teams.
When we started our team, our gear wasn’t that great, and although we tried to fast track our kits, we kind of got looked down on for not having 100% real gear and/or the completely correct setups.
Since then we have made light years of progress and we have finally started being looked at in a different light.
We bring in a very large crowd from the US for DT6, and we think that helps us as well.
Any advice for people who want to start their own DEVTSIX chapter?
The best advice that we could give someone is have your gear and era squared away before you even think about applying for DT6. The other bit of advice is research, research, research. Making sure you research your kit 100% is so vital in making a kit look good, sure the main components are important, but the finer details are where you kits blossom.
Lastly, we wish we would of known just how strict it was going to be to comply with DT6’s high standards. We know that sounds bad, but it’s actually a good thing because it weeds out a lot of people, and thankfully for us our leader Ryan is a stubborn SOB and he wouldn’t let anything stop us from becoming a chapter of DT6.
Is there anyone who’s been asked to leave Silver Team? What were the circumstances?
Unfortunately, yes, there was one person who we mentioned earlier during our logo discussion. This member designed our logo and did an amazing job on it, BUT he was also very publicly vocal in his opposition of the DT6 leadership and its OG members from foreign teams to their views on kits and why certain details weren’t allowed.
We also felt building a DEVGRU kit wasn’t what his heart was truly set on. So, we split amicably, and this former member to this day is still a friend of ours, so there are no hard feelings.
Lastly, what are the group’s future plans?
This year for us should be great, and we plan on spending the first half of the year acquiring new gear and other things we may need for our milsim ops later in the year.
We want to expand our presence in the community further and we want to work to add one more sponsor for the team. Shout out to Capri-Sun Pacific Cooler, the official drink of DT6 Silver Team 😊.
But seriously, we are always evolving and making sure our kits and gear is up to date. We are trying to hit up more events and also working on possibly hosting an event here in Arizona.