Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six

I’m just wondering, where does that title come from? It is probably explained in the book, which I have not read. I play the computer game version and see no correlation between psuedo navy seals and the term “Rainbow Six.” Any insight to this would be appreciated. thanks.

Rainbow was the name of the ficitional anti-terrorist force, so named because of it’s multi-national nature. Six was John Clark’s assigned number (I’m not sure what the military designation is supposed to stand for, though). Therefore, Clark’s title was Rainbow Six. Maybe someone out there knows the significance of “Six” as applied in the book, as I never did figure that out.

I don’t speak from any military knowledge, but from reading military novels, it seems that the radio call sign for the commander of a unit is that unit’s code name plus “six.” For instance, in a unit known as “Blue Dog,” the commander would be known as “Blue Dog Six.”

Seal Team Six

Its the one and only Navy Seal Unit trained for and used ONLY for counter-terrorism missions and CT training. They work with Delta (Army) and Pararescue (AF) to work out hostage and terrorist situations.

Rainbow is a word meaning “of many colors” alluding to the flags of many nations under which its members work, as they are an international group. 6 alludes to the counter-terrorism unit they are like (SEAL 6).

And to think I never played the game or read the book, to me it was just common knowledge… :slight_smile:

As mentioned, Six is Clark’s identification. When Alistair Stanley is shot during the PIRA Hospital attack though, he(AS) is refered to as Five. So it’s probably related to hierarchy, with 6 being the highest rank.

Don’t bother. It’s not worth your time.

You have any source for this information? From what I have seen and read, all Navy seals go through anti-terroism training, and all units drill for AT - that is the primary purpose of the Navy Seals.


You have eyes and a computer, and working fingers. Enjoy.

I am POSITIVE that on this one you will see that I am correct. All Navy SEAL units are not the same, they each have a certain specialty and are located and trained as such. Kind of like this:
Each unit is better trained for the global proximity to the theatres they work in. Far East vs. Western Europe. Each has its own training additional to the standard, and each one sends its best to join SEAL 6. SEAL 6 is like Navy Seal grad school.

official navy Start page on Seals;

and of course the SEALS themselves can tell you:

For someone who’s into ‘target shooting’, I thought it would appeal to you! :smiley:


I could never eat a mouse raw…their little feet are probably real cold going down. :rolleyes:

I usually enjoy Clancy’s work and I’ve read all his books except a couple from the Op-Center series. For me, Rainbow Six just does not measure up to his usual standards; the characters seemed a bit shallow and the technology a little to much like science fiction. My favorite Clancy story isRed Storm Rising, so maybe that helps explain.

Here’s mud in yer eye,

Sorry Marvin. While I don’t doubt your Seal references, the book in question definitely refers to an individual (John Clark) as ‘Rainbow Six’, and the group as just ‘Rainbow’. Nobody said fiction was necessarily realistic…

NO… I was referring to SEAL team 6 being just anti-terrorist and SHADY dealings. Not the book. Sorry.

I’m 100% with you there! It’s my favourite, and the first one I read.
I too have read all his others, except the opcenter ones. My least favourite was Without Remorse; I found it exceptionally dark and disturbing, at least the first 3/4.

Not to hijack the thread, but who likes Clive Cussler?


I could never eat a mouse raw…their little feet are probably real cold going down. :rolleyes:

According to T. Clancy’s book, “Rainbow” refers to the multi-national nature of the special team, and “Six” is Clark’s command designator.

In the U.S. Army, unit commanders are reffered to by their unti designator, followed by “Six”.

My Company Commander in DS/DS was “Delta-6” or “Dragon-6”, our Battalion Commander was “Black Knight-6”, and our Division Commander was “Pegasus-6”.

Executive Officers are referred to as “Five”; Operations Officers are “Three”, Intelligence Officers are “Two”, Adjutants are “One” and Supply Officers are “Four”.

Depending on the unit type, the Senior NonCom is referred to as either “Seven” or “Nine”, and Maintenence is referred to as “Eight”.

This is still generally as true today as it was in '91, when I got out of the Army.


‘Shroom, if you want to know what the term means, why don’t you read the friggin’ book?

I don’t know why fortune smiles on some and lets the rest go free…


I am also a fan of Tom Clancy’s work. I would again have to agree with the statement that Red Storm rising is his best book. I made the mistake of reading the Jack Ryan series out of order, and that did hurt the experience some. (where the hell did this clark fool come from?) I would say that for the most part it is a very good series.

knuckle-dragging hose mongerer.
SDMB Self-Righteous Clique

Thanks, ExTank, that clears things up considerably.

As for the other Clancy novels, Red Storm Rising was the first one I read, too, and is my favorite out of the three I’ve read (vs. Sum of All Fears and Rainbow Six). I think if you’re willing to suspend disbelief, even Rainbow wasn’t that bad. I guess it just depends upon the individual’s ability to pick out the BS and tolerance when one finds it.

John Terrance Kelly, a.k.a. “Mr. John Clark”, was first introduced in “Cardinal of the Kremlin”, if memory serves; the book right after “Hunt For Red October” in the Ryan Series.

He proved so popular with fans that his role was continuously expanded throughout the next several books until fans demnaded to know more about him.

Mr. Clancy responded with a Clark-only book, “Without Remorse”, which is set towards the end of the Vietnam War, and describes how J.T. Kelly came to involved with the CIA, and what triggered his identity change.

And, BTW, those “sci-fi” elements in “Rainbow Six” were not so fictional as some of you seem to think; cutting edge, certainly, and not in wide circulation (yet).

But they do exist.

And a cutting-edge anti-terror unit like the ficticious “Rainbow” might just be the type of unit (unconventional) to aquire and try such devices (Delta is such a monstrosity that by the time they get into action, both terrorists and hostages will have been several weeks dead from boredom).

The biggest problem with Counter-Terror is that it is almost entirely reactive; the best way to combat terrorism is to try and prevent it (I know it’s a hell of a lot harder to do than it is to say), which falls into the realm of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence.

And most of you know the standard joke about Intelligence, especially Military Intelligence.