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1st Sfod-Delta Cbrn Assignment Opportunity

Among all the assets delegated to special operations of the U.S. military, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), more commonly known as Delta Force, is undoubtedly covered by the strictest confidence. The 1st SFOD-D is a unit of “black” and the Department of Defense (along with SEAL Team Six, the 24th Special Tactics Squadron and Intelligence Support Activity CIA) is placed directly under the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC ).


The Delta Force owes its existence to the perseverance of Colonel Charles Beckwith, a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he led a program called Project Delta, whose objective was to carry out operations “covert” against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese regular army . Once back at home, in front of the mount of terrorist incidents against U.S. citizens and interests in the world, Beckwith began work on the creation of a structure that can strike without warning and with maximum efficiency, anyone who posed a threat to the safety U.S.. Beckwith has in mind the establishment of a unit of special forces, modeled on the British Special Air Service, with whom he had worked years before in Malaysia. The Colonel then contacts the General Bob Kingston to Fort Bragg, recognizing the potential of the project, submit it to the General Edwin Meyer, Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

The three official identify what would be the mission of the unit and accordingly, the amount of force required. They draw up the Table of Organization and Equipment (TO & E) department, establishing configuration, ranks, weapons, equipment and start-up costs. General Meyer, from its position inside the Pentagon, he began to seek funds for the project and men, clashing with the ostracism of the higher degrees, convinced that the role of department controterrismo it was up to the unit “Blue Light” of the 5th Special Forces Group. On1977 summer, the project was officially presented to the Fort Benning Infantry Conference, earning the approval of those present and being recommended to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, which is the same Meyer. On 21 November 1977, by order of the Department of the Army, the 1st Special Forces Operational born Detachment-Delta, headed by Colonel Charles Beckwith.

He, after selecting a few trusted collaborators, chooses as a base of operations in the former prison of Fort Bragg (North Carolina), starting immediately to select candidates for the program. The requirements to participate in the presets were a minimum age of twenty-two years, four years and two months of active service, minimum grade of Staff Sergeant, having scored a minimum of 100 points in the aptitude test of the U.S. Army, no problem disciplinary applicant and no condemnation to court martial. The men who came out of that first course, were the same people who took part in the rescue attempt of the hostages, prisoners in the embassy in Tehran in 1980, but that first tragic operation was fortunately enough to undermine the confidence of the military in Delta Force . The history of the unit is making excellent parallel to the conflicts that have seen involved the U.S. military over the past three decades.

It was the star of countless operations to the four corners of the globe, the details of most of them, are intended to remain secret for long. Operators like Randall Shugart and Gary Gordon, write heroic pages in the history of the unit, helping to create an aura of legend around the Delta Force, a department whose existence is still today officially denied. It ‘just because of the secrecy that the information on the 1st SFOD-D are scarce and difficult to verify. The purpose of this article, written with the analysis of open sources, therefore, is to provide the reader with an overview of the most comprehensive and reliable information about the selection, structure, operations and the paraphernalia of the men of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta.

Selection and training

Unlike what happens with all other forces special information relevant to the selection process and training for the future operators of the Delta Force, are not openly available. The information reaching us about, in fact, derived from literary works published by former players, most notably Eric Haynes, author of the book “Inside Delta Force” and producer of the hit television series “The Unit”, which is loosely based on the life and undertakings in the secondment of Delta Force. According to published twice a year, representatives of the department, visit the old staff of St Louis (Missouri) to examine the cards sergeants and captains of the Green Berets and Rangers who have distinguished themselves during their service . Candidates thus selected are sent letters, with which the communicant’s interest from the 1st SFOD-D, and we invite them to call a phone number. If the candidate is willing to join this unit, it is asked to destroy the message.

For all those who have responded favorably, promises an interview preliminary and a physical test extremely hard, after which the staff not qualified to cast is sent to obtain the patent paratrooper. Following an intense week of physical training which includes running, swimming and speed ballasted. The idea is to bring all candidates at the same level of fitness and to highlight medical problems before the arrival of the men at Camp Dawson (West Virginia), the Appalachian Mountains. And ‘here that begins the pre-selection, which lasts a month and was modeled after the one used by the SAS. To overcome it will be only a small number of men who will enter the very first stage of selection. It includes a series of gears to be completed within a specified time limit, which is not, however, communicated to the candidates.

The perhaps most difficult with which to confront, is isolation. The soldiers are forced to work alone and this can be an obstacle for those who are accustomed to act instead of in a group. But that’s exactly what the Delta Force requires its men bonded and working within a team one day and the next lone wolves, perhaps for the execution of an undercover operation. A further element of psychological pressure consists of interviews to which they are subjected candidates. Drug use, attitude towards foreigners, family status, sexual discrimination, are just some of the topics on which applicants are interviewed by a team of psychologists. The barrage of questions seems to have no end and the goal is to delete from the group the violent and unstable. The ideal candidate for the Delta Force, is in fact a man psychologically stable, principled, with a family and possibly religious, because these are the factors that define an individual’s reliable, according to the canons of selection into force. Another critical area for the assessment of candidates is the ability to make decisions in situations of shiny physical and psychological stress extreme.

As a final part dell’esaminazione psychological, candidates are asked to write a sort of small autobiography. In the second week of the pre-selection speed ballasted one another seemingly endless, culminating in a final test of orientation Night 18 km, within a dense wooded area. Overcome this phase, each candidate is assigned a number and a color. The number indicates the individual soldier, the color of his team affiliation. The perfect day starts at around six in the morning, and orders are written on a blackboard in each dormitory. And ‘required to appear in a specific area addestrativa in possession of their individual equipment and a ballast of a given weight. The weights can vary several times a day and those who are wrong to properly load their backpacks, they are severely punished.

During the selection period are served two hot meals a day, but instructors have the right to terminate the service rations, just to observe the reaction of the candidates. In a real mission, it is not infrequently the case in which it is forced to operate totally fasting for several hours. is therefore essential to determining who is able to remain functional, even on an empty stomach. The routine addestrativa can range from eight hours of running, equipped with three rations MRE (Meal Ready to Eat), up to thirty-six hours with only one MRE. The number and color of the candidate are also changed frequently and without notice, in order to force him to stay focused and adapt to situations that can change suddenly, as in the reality of the battlefield. In a totally unexpected, a soldier can be seen with a gun in his hand and an instructor to ask him to be disassembled and reassembled, while the seats are mathematical questions, all in order to measure logic skills under stress. for each candidate is granted a certain number of errors before being sent back to their units belonging (RTU, Returned To Unit). None of them, however, is aware of the margin of tolerance permitted.

Those who fail the selections leaves with a pep talk from the instructors, this in order not to undermine the confidence of the soldiers who will form the excellent elements for the armed forces. The commander of the military unit of origin, will also receive a letter of thanks for providing an excellent candidate for selection. At the end of the first phase, will arrive only 20% of those who have started the selections. The final phase includes a march of forty kilometers in the Appalachians, to be completed in two days. On returning from the test, after a shower and a hot meal, the military are grouped together in the classroom to read some books. They then eighteen hours to write a detailed summary of each book. The aim of the exercise is to assess the ability to reason in terms of sleep deprivation (at this point in the selection, applicants are in fact already awake for forty-eight hours). After handing the test, followed by a series of questions of a personal nature with an interviewer, which is followed by the final test: an interview with the commander of the unit. This, surrounded by his squadron commanders, asking the questions varied: you sacrifice the life of your child for your country? You are in a secret mission in the mountains of Afghanistan and a shepherd discovered you and your unit: would you be able to kill him? The President has ordered you to eliminate a political rival: you obey the order? The idea is to assess how the candidate reacts to pressure from a higher authority. The military is also asked if he ever cheated during shifting, taking, for example, shortcuts. To those who accept the unfairness could be allowed to stay, but to those who lie are shown.

Photos taken in secret and which shows the opposite. At the end of the interview, the decision whether to accept the candidate is put to a vote and in case of a positive vote, the dossier of the candidate is sealed and stored. Once in the unit, the military must complete six months of Operator’s Training Course (OTC), which include covert operations, assaults, close combat, marksmanship and training in conducting different types of media. There are over a thousand hours spent at the shooting range during this phase. Is not neglected either the theoretical part with lectures on the history of terrorist ideology, psychology and theory of combat. Students are also taught how to pick locks and acting undercover.

These aspects are then tested during exercise, during which the military will be “driven” by various government agencies, in a U.S. city. Followed by six weeks of instruction in communications, battlefield medicine techniques and advanced infantry, before the last nine weeks, during which men learn to carry out attacks in enclosed spaces, in pairs and in teams of four. The courses close protection and surveillance are carried out at the Central Intelligence Agency. At the end of this training procedure, the military become operators in all respects. Their preparation has not yet finished, since attending courses throwing techniques HALO / HAHO, detecting and defusing IEDs and sniping Sotic.


The structure is similar to that of Delta Force, SAS, being organized on three operational squadrons (A, B and C), divided into sub-specialized units, respectively, in diving operations, mountain aviolanci and mobility. The minimum operating unit is constituted by four men. It seems that the force be composed of about 2,500 men, selected mainly by Green Berets and Rangers, and that there is a number of female staff, mainly used for undercover operations and surveillance.


In the armory of the Delta Force are present in virtually all weapons systems products in the world, this is to allow each operator to be comfortable, even if you have to find to use weapons seized from the enemy. Among the assault rifles are M4 A1 SOPMOD (Special Operations Peculiar Modification), FN SCAR, M16 A2, Mini-14, Steyr AUG and Stoner SR 25. As regards the machine pistols, in addition to the series MP5 Heckler & Koch in all its variants, we have the presence of MAC 10 and Uzi. The machine guns are M249 SAW, HK-13, M60, M240B, and M2 Browning. Are used for close combat rifles pump Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 Cruiser. The sniper rifles are HK-PSG, M40A1, M24 and Barret M82 A1. The support weapons include grenade launcher M203, M79, 81mm mortars, rocket launcher Carl Gustav, LAW, MK19, M136 and Stinger MANPAD against tank. With regard to the optics, are employed Aimpoint Comp M, M68, M28, AN/PQ2 Target Pointer / Illuminator / Aiming Light (TPIAL). Operators make use of night vision equipment for the AN/PVS-7, viewers tactical ballistic Bolle T800 and gas masks Avon S10. The fleet includes, Land Rover Defender 110 SOV, Hummer, Quad ATV, Harley Davidson Bike Track and light vehicles of attack. Some of these vehicles are armed with MK19 grenade launchers, machine guns and M60 M240B, General Electric mini-gun, 7.62 mm, 20mm cannons and heavy machine guns Browning M2. Regarding mobility, the Delta is of course also use the equipment in use at the rotorcraft 160th SOAR.

Operation notes

1979, Pan American Games, Puerto Rico: the 1st S.FOD-D is deployed in Puerto Rico in the Olympic Games Pan American, as the anti-terrorist cell which also includes elements dell’Hostage Rescue Team of the FBI.

April 24, 1980, Iran, “Operation EAGLE CLAW” shall mean, when the release of American hostages prisoners of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, ends in tragedy when a helicopter RH-53 on takeoff, collided with an airplane C-130 Hercules transport. The flames envelop the two aircraft, killing eight soldiers. 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Al-Delta had been assigned the role of device main assault. The incident is a direct result of the use of a rescue force composed of elements from different weapons and not used to operate according to a standardized procedure.

October 1983, Grenada, “Operation URGENT FURY” Delta Force assaults the prison in Richmond Hill, where they are being held several members of the legitimate government, overthrown by a military coup.

1984: deployment in the Middle East, following the assassination of two U.S. citizens during a hijacking of Kuwaiti Airlines.

November 24, 1985, International Airport Luqa, Malta: Three officers of the unit (including Eric Haynes) are posted with the counterterrorism unit Egyptian Sa ‘AQA as counselors. The Maltese Government ultra socialist Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici prohibits three soldiers to assist the Egyptian commandos, isolating them from the U.S. Embassy and Helicopter Flight Luqa. Fifty hostages will die dell’imperizia Egyptian in conducting the operation.

1985, Cyprus: Cypriot deployment in the territory following the hijacking of an aircraft U.S. airline TWA.

1987, Greece: activation after informing him of disclosure in which an assassination attempt against Colonel James Rowe of the U.S. Army, by agents of the security services in Vietnam.

December 1989, Panama, “Operation JUST CAUSE”: deployment to Panama following the U.S. invasion on 20 December 1989. Of the activities carried out by men of the 1st SFOD-D, include the liberation of businessman Kurt Muse during the operation called “ACID GAMBIT.”

1991, Iraq, Operation “DESERT STORM”: the 1st SFOD-D. is activated to ensure the safety of General Norman Schwartzkopf and other prominent individuals in Saudi Arabia. Operations are also conducted, aiming at the identification and destruction of mobile batteries of missiles / air SCUD in the Iraqi desert next to the men of the British SAS.

1993, Mogadishu, Somalia, “Operation GOTHIC SERPENT” deployed as part of Task Force Ranger, in order to capture Mohammed Farrah Aidid or eliminate, the main cause of the humanitarian catastrophe that struck the south of the country. The Delta is entrusted with the task of gathering information and executing raids, supported by Rangers and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) of the U.S. Army. During one of these operations (carried out on 3 and 4 October 1993), the sergeants Randall Shugart and Gary Gordon patrolling alone place of killing of a Black Hawk helicopter, defending the pilot. Shugart and Gordon, surrounded by hundreds of Somali armed and under the influence of khat, are brutally massacred and their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Because of their sacrifice (that saves the lives of Michael Durant, the helicopter pilot shot down), the two players will be awarded the Medal of Honor.

1995, Bosnia: the Delta is activated to perform the capture of Serbian war criminals.

18 December 1996 – 23 April 1997, Lima, Peru: The unit is in Lima to follow closely a hostage inside the residence of the Japanese, by a group of rebel Tupac Amaru. The place turned out to be also present six operators of the Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Wing of the British SAS and the Canadian Joint Task Force 2.

1999, Kosovo, “Operation ALLIED FORCE”: new deployment in the Balkans, where the Delta Force operates in synergy with various groups of European special forces (including Italian), holding also the tasks of Forward Air Controlling for shooting plane.

September 2001 – (in progress), OPERATION “ENDURING FREEDOM”: 13 September 2001, the Delta Force is active in Afghanistan together in operations aimed at identifying the Saudi terrorist Osama Bin Laden, and the destruction of cells Qaedist and training Taliban fighters.

2002, Kuwait: The Delta Force is sent in the Persian Gulf (in preparation operation “IRAQI FREEDOM”), but was almost immediately ridispiegata in Pakistan for counterterrorism operations against members of Al Qaeda.

2002 – 2008, Iraq, “Operation IRAQI FREEDOM”: the 1st SFOD-D. comes into play in the deserts of western Iraq, during the initial phases of the operation “IRAQI FREEDOM”. After the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the operators gave rise to a series of counterinsurgency operations as part of Task Force Black

2004, Afghanistan: new deployment to Afghanistan in support of search and destroy operations against members of Al Qaeda on the border with Pakistan.

6 to 8 July 2005, Gleneagles, Scotland, G8 Summit: security service for the benefit of the President of the United States of ‘America George W. Bush.

This article is about the Special Operations Force. For other uses, see Delta Force (disambiguation).

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), commonly referred to as Delta Force, Combat Applications Group (CAG), "The Unit", Army Compartmented Element (ACE), or within JSOC as Task Force Green,[2] is an elite special mission unit of the United States Army, under operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command. The unit is tasked with specialized missions primarily involving hostage rescue and counter-terrorism, as well as direct action and special reconnaissance against high-value targets. Delta Force and its maritime counterpart, the U.S. Navy's SEAL Team Six (also known as DEVGRU), are the U.S. military's primary counterterrorism units. Delta Force and DEVGRU perform the most complex, classified, and dangerous missions in the U.S. military, as directed by the U.S. National Command Authority.

Most Delta Force operators are primarily selected from the United States Army Special Operations Command's elite Special Forces Groups and the 75th Ranger Regiment, as well as from other special operations units, but regular and reserve units of all the military branches are eligible to apply.[7]


Delta Force was formed after numerous, well-publicized terrorist incidents in the 1970s. These incidents led the U.S. government to develop a full-time counterterrorism unit.

Key military and government figures had already been briefed on a model for this type of unit in the early 1960s. Charlie Beckwith, a Special Forces (Green Berets) officer and Vietnam veteran, had served as an exchange officer with the British Army's Special Air Service (22 SAS Regiment) during the Malayan Emergency. Upon his return, Beckwith presented a detailed report highlighting the U.S. Army's vulnerability in not having an SAS-type unit. U.S. Army Special Forces in that period focused on unconventional warfare, but Beckwith recognized the need for "not only teachers, but doers."[8] He envisioned highly adaptable and completely autonomous small teams with a broad array of special skills for direct action and counterterrorist missions. He briefed military and government figures, who were resistant to creating a new unit outside of Special Forces or changing existing methods.

Finally, in the mid-70s, as the threat of terrorism grew, the Pentagon and Army senior leadership appointed Beckwith to form the unit.[9] Beckwith estimated that it would take 24 months to get his new unit mission-ready. Beckwith's estimate resulted from a conversation he had earlier with Brigadier John Watts while updating his SAS experience in England in 1976. Watts had made it clear to Beckwith that it would take eighteen months to build a squadron, but advised him to tell the Army leadership that it would take two years, and not to "let anyone talk (him) out of this." To justify why it would take two years to build Delta, Beckwith and his staff drafted what they dubbed the "Robert Redford Paper." In it Delta outlined its necessities and historical precedents for a four-phase selection/assessment process.[10]

Delta Force was then established on 19 November 1977, by Beckwith and Colonel Thomas Henry.[11] In the meantime, Colonel Bob "Black Gloves" Mountel of the 5th Special Forces Group was tasked with creating a unit "to breach the short-term gap" that existed until Delta was ready, dubbed Blue Light.[12] The initial members of the unit were screened from volunteers and put through a specialized selection process in early 1978, involving a series of land navigation problems in mountainous terrain while carrying increasing weight. The purpose was to test candidates' endurance, stamina, willingness to endure and mental resolve. The first training course for operators lasted from April to September 1978. Delta Force was certified as fully mission capable in Fall 1979 right before the Iran hostage crisis.

On 4 November 1979, 53 American diplomats and citizens were taken captive and held in the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran. Delta Force was tasked with to plan and execute Operation Eagle Claw and recover the hostages from the embassy by force on the nights of 24 and 25 April in 1980. The operation was aborted due to problems with helicopter failures. The review commission that examined the failure found 23 problems with the operation, among them unexpected weather encountered by the aircraft, command-and-control problems between the multi-service component commanders, a collision between a helicopter and a ground-refueling tanker aircraft, and mechanical problems that reduced the number of available helicopters from eight to five (one fewer than the minimum desired) before the mission contingent could leave the trans-loading/refueling site.[13]

After the failed operation, the U.S. government realized more changes needed to be made. The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), also known as the "Night Stalkers", was created for special operations requiring aviation support. The Navy's SEAL Team Six, an earlier incarnation of the current Naval Special Warfare Development Group, was created for maritime counterterrorism operations. The Joint Special Operations Command was created for command and control of the various counterterrorism units of the U.S. military.

Organization and structure[edit]

The unit is under the organization of the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) but is controlled by the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Command of 1st SFOD-D is a Colonel's billet. Virtually all information about the unit is highly classified and details about specific missions or operations generally are not available publicly. The unit is headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Delta Force's structure is similar to the British 22 Special Air Service, the unit that inspired Delta's formation. In Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda, Army Times staff writer Sean Naylor describes Delta as having nearly 1,000 soldiers, of which approximately 250 to 300 are trained to conduct direct action and hostage rescue operations. The rest are highly specialized support personnel who are among the very best in their fields.[14]

Sean Naylor further goes into detail of Delta Force's structure in his book "Relentless Strike". He describes a few formations in Delta, primarily the operational sabre squadrons:

  • A Squadron (Assault)
  • B Squadron (Assault)
  • C Squadron (Assault)
  • D Squadron (Assault)
  • E Squadron (Aviation, formerly known as SEASPRAY[15])
  • G Squadron (Formerly the Operational Support Troop,[16] it grew to squadron size and specializes in advanced force operations, reconnaissance and surveillance and is known to employ women)
  • Combat Support Squadron (contains WMD experts, EOD, medical personnel, SIGINT specialists, and other specialists)

Within each sabre squadron there are three troops: two assault troops specializing in direct action and a reconnaissance and surveillance, or "recce", troop, for penetrating enemy lines unseen, watching enemy positions, and sniping.[14] Each squadron is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel (O-5) and troops are led by Majors (O-4). Each troop has multiple teams, each one led by a non-commissioned officer, usually a Master Sergeant (E-8) or Sergeant Major (E-9). The rest of these teams are filled out with operators ranging in rank from Sergeant (E-5) to Sergeant First Class (E-7).

Delta trains with other foreign units, with the purpose to improve tactics, increase relationships and exchanges with international special operations communities.


Since the 1990s, the Army has posted recruitment notices for the 1st SFOD-D.[17] The Army, however, has never released an official fact sheet for the elite force. The recruitment notices in Fort Bragg's newspaper, Paraglide, refer to Delta Force by name, and label it "...the U.S. Army's special operations unit organized for the conduct of missions requiring rapid response with surgical application of a wide variety of unique special operations skills...".[18] The notice states that applicants must be male, in the grade of E-4 through E-8, have at least two and a half years of service remaining in their enlistment, be 21 years or older, and score high enough on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery to attend a briefing to be considered for admission. Candidates must be airborne qualified or volunteer for airborne training. Officer candidates need to be O-3 captains or O-4 majors. All candidates must be eligible for a security clearance level of "Secret" and have not been convicted by court-martial or have disciplinary action noted in their official military personnel file under the provisions of Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

On 29 June 2006 during a session of the Committee on Armed Services, General Wayne Downing testified before the U.S. House of Representatives that 70 percent of all Delta operators had served in the 75th Ranger Regiment.[19]

Selection process[edit]

Eric Haney's book Inside Delta Force described the selection course and its inception in detail. Haney wrote that the selection course began with standard tests including push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2-mile (3.2 km) run, an inverted crawl and a 100-meter swim fully dressed. The candidates are then put through a series of land navigation courses to include an 18-mile (29 km) all-night land navigation course while carrying a 40-pound (18 kg) rucksack. The rucksack's weight and the distance of the courses are increased and the time standards to complete the task are shortened with every march. The physical testing ended with a 40-mile (64 km) march with a 45-pound (20 kg) rucksack over rough terrain that had to be completed in an unknown amount of time. Haney wrote that only the senior officer and NCO in charge of selection are allowed to see the set time limits, but all assessment and selection tasks and conditions were set by Delta training cadre.[1][20]

The mental portion of the testing began with numerous psychological exams. The men then went in front of a board of Delta instructors, unit psychologists, and the Delta commander, who each ask the candidate a barrage of questions and then dissect every response and mannerism of the candidate with the purpose of mentally exhausting the candidate. The unit commander then approaches the candidate and tells him if he has been selected. If an individual is selected for Delta, he undergoes an intense 6-month Operator Training Course (OTC), to learn counterterrorism and counterintelligence techniques, in which the individual maintains little contact with friends and family for the duration. Training includes firearm accuracy and various other weapons training.[1]

In an interview, former Delta operator Paul Howe talked about the high attrition rate of the Delta selection course. He said that out of his two classes of 120 applicants each, 12 to 14 completed the selection.[21][22]

The Central Intelligence Agency's highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG), often works with – and recruits – operators from Delta Force.[23]


According to Eric Haney, the unit's Operator Training Course is approximately six months long. While the course is constantly changing, the skills taught broadly include the following:

  • Marksmanship
    • The trainees shoot without aiming at stationary targets at close range until they gain almost complete accuracy, then progress to moving targets.
    • Once these shooting skills are perfected, trainees move to a shooting house and clear rooms of "enemy" targets – first one only, then two at a time, three, and finally four. When all can demonstrate sufficient skill, "hostages" are added to the mix.
  • Demolitions and Breaching
    • Trainees learn how to pick many different locks, including those on cars and safes.
    • Advanced demolition, and bomb making using common materials.
  • Combined skills. The FBI, FAA, and other agencies were used to advise the training of this portion of OTC.
    • The new Delta operators use demolition and marksmanship at the shoothouse and other training facilities to train for hostage and counterterrorist operations with assault and sniper troops working together. They practice terrorist or hostage situations in buildings, aircraft, and other settings.
    • All trainees learn how to set sniper positions around a building containing hostages. They learn the proper ways to set up a TOC and communicate in an organized manner. Although Delta has specialized sniper troops, all members go through this training.
    • The students then go back to the shoothouse and the "hostages" are replaced with other students and Delta Force members. Live ammunition is known to have been used in these exercises, to test the students, and build trust between one another.
  • Tradecraft. During the first OTCs and creation of Delta, CIA personnel were used to teach this portion.
    • Students learn different espionage-related skills, such as dead drops, brief encounters, pickups, load and unload signals, danger and safe signals, surveillance and counter-surveillance.
  • Executive Protection. During the first OTCs and creation of Delta, the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and the United States Secret Service advised Delta.
    • Students take an advanced driving course learning how to use a vehicle or many vehicles as defensive and offensive weapons.
    • They then learn techniques for VIP and diplomatic protection developed by the Secret Service and DSS.
  • Culmination Exercise
    • A final test requires the students to apply and dynamically adapt all of the skills that they have learned.


The Department of Defense tightly controls information about Delta Force and refuses to comment publicly on the highly secretive unit and its activities; usually unless the unit is part of a major operation or a unit member has been killed. Delta operators are granted an enormous amount of flexibility and autonomy during military operations overseas. To conceal their identities, soldiers rarely wear a uniform and usually wear civilian clothing both on and off duty.[1] When military uniforms are worn, they lack markings, surnames, or branch names.[1] Civilian hair styles and facial hair are allowed to enable the members to blend in and avoid recognition as military personnel.[1][22] Their Navy counterpart DEVGRU is also granted the same amount of autonomy and flexibility.

The term operator[edit]

Inside the United States Special Operations community, an operator is a Delta Force member who has completed selection and has graduated OTC (Operators Training Course). Operator was first used by Delta Force to distinguish between operational and non-operational personnel assigned to the unit.[1] Other special operations forces use specific names for their jobs, such as Army Rangers and Air Force Pararescuemen. The Navy uses the acronym SEAL for both their special warfare teams and their individual members, who are also known Special Operators . In 2006 the Navy created "Special Warfare Operator" (SO) as a rating specific to Naval Special Warfare enlisted personnel, grades E-4 to E-9. (See Navy special warfare ratings). Operator is the specific term for Delta's operational personnel, although in recent years it has become a colloquial term for almost all special operations forces in the U.S. military, as well as around the world.

Operations and clandestine operations[edit]

Main article: List of operations conducted by Delta Force

The majority of the operations assigned to Delta are classified and may never be known to the public. However, details of some operations have become public knowledge. For service during Operation Urgent Fury, Delta was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. The unit was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for the Modelo Prison Hostage Rescue Mission and the capture of Manuel Noriega in December 1989 during Operation Just Cause in Panama. During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the 1st SFOD-D was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism during combat operations in Afghanistan from 4 October 2001 to 15 March 2002 and Iraq from 19 March 2003 to 13 December 2003.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcdefgHaney, Eric L. (2002). Inside Delta Force. New York: Delacorte Press. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-385-33603-1. 
  2. ^ abNaylor, Sean. Relentless Strike. Chapter 4. 
  3. ^Cawthorne, Nigel, The Mammoth Book of Inside the Elite Forces, Robinson, 2008 ISBN 1845298217ISBN 978-1845298210,p.97
  4. ^SAS joins Kashmir hunt for bin Laden, The Daily Telegraph, 23 February 2002
  5. ^"US-Iraqi rescue operation 'foils IS mass execution'". BBC News. 22 October 2015. 
  6. ^Jack Murphy (2016-01-11). "JSOC's Secretive Delta Force Operators on the Ground for El Chapo Capture". SOFREP News. Retrieved 2016-03-18. 
  7. ^"Special Operations/Delta Force". military.com. Retrieved 3 March 2018. 
  8. ^Beckwith, Charlie (2000) [1983]. Delta Force: The Army's Elite Counterterrorist Unit (Paperback ed.). Avon Books. p. 39. ISBN 0-380-80939-7. 
  9. ^Beckwith 2000
  10. ^Beckwith 2000, pp. 142–43
  11. ^Goolsby, Denise (14 July 2016). "Palm Springs man was Army Delta Force co-creator". The Desert Sun. Palm Springs, Cal. 
  12. ^Beckwith 2000, p. 131
  13. ^Gabriel, Richard A. (1985). Military Incompetence: Why the American Military Doesn't Win. Hill and Wang. pp. 106–16. ISBN 0-374-52137-9.  Overall, the Holloway Commission blamed the ad hoc nature of the task force and an excessive degree of security, both of which intensified command-and-control problems.
  14. ^ abNaylor, Sean (2006). Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda. Berkeley: Berkley Books. ISBN 0-425-19609-7. 
  15. ^Naylor, Sean (2015). Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command. St. Martin's Press. p. 57. 
  16. ^Naylor, Sean (2015). Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command. St. Martin's Press. p. 454. 
  17. ^Mountaineer. SFOD-D seeking new membersArchived 17 January 2004 at the Wayback Machine.. Fort Carson, Colorado: Mountaineer (publication). 16 January 2003.
  18. ^"Fort Bragg's newspaper Paraglide, recruitment notice for Delta Force". Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  19. ^"Assessing U.S. Special Operations Command's Missions and Roles"(PDF). Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  20. ^Beckwith, Charlie A. (1983). Delta Force. San Diego: Harcourt. ISBN 0-15-124657-2. 
  21. ^"Delta Force Tryouts". Retrieved 18 February 2014 – via YouTube. 
  22. ^ abBowden, Mark (1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Berkeley: Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-738-0. 
  23. ^Waller, Douglas (2003-02-03). "The CIA's Secret Army: The CIA's Secret Army". TIME. Retrieved 2015-12-06. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Boykin, William (2011). Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom. FaithWords; Reprint edition. ISBN 0446583227.
  • Bowden, Mark (2001). Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-783-6. About the hunt for Pablo Escobar.
  • Bowden, Mark (2006). Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0-87113-925-1. OCLC 62738726. 
  • Bowden, Mark (May 2006). "The Desert One Debacle". The Atlantic Monthly. 
  • Fury, Dalton (2009). Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander's Account of the Hunt for the World's Most Wanted Man. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-56740-8. OCLC 317455875.
  • Griswold, Terry, and D. M. Giangreco (2002). DELTA: America's Elite Counterterrorist Force. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-87938-615-0. OCLC 25549191.
  • National Geographic documentary: Road to Baghdad.
  • Pushies, Fred J., et al. (2002). U.S. Counter-Terrorist Forces. St. Paul, Minn.: MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7603-1363-6. OCLC 49391516.
  • Schauer, Hartmut (2008). Delta Force. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-02958-3.
  • Smith, Michael (2007). Killer Elite: America's Most Secret Special Operations Team. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-36272-2. About Delta cooperation with the Intelligence Support Activity.

External links[edit]

Fort Bragg


United States Army Reserve Command

First Army
Other units
82nd Airborne Division
1st Brigade
Combat Team
2nd Brigade
Combat Team
3rd Brigade
Combat Team
4th Brigade
Combat Team
18th Fires
Combat Aviation Brigade
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • 1st Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment
  • 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, Company F
  • 3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment
  • 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment
  • 122nd Aviation Support Battalion
82nd Division
Special Troops
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Division Special Troops Battalion
  • Company A (Signal)
  • 82nd Airborne Division Band
  • 82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne School
82nd Sustainment
  • Special Troops Battalion
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • 11th Quartermaster Company
  • 21st Chemical Company
  • 18th Human Resources Company
  • 82nd Signal Company
  • 82nd Financial Management Company
  • 125th Mail Movement Team
264th Support Battalion
(Combat Sustainment)
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • 259th Quartermaster Company
  • 364th Quartermaster Company
  • 600th Quartermaster Company
  • 612th Quartermaster Company
  • 659th Maintenance Company
192nd EOD Battalion
  • 192nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion
Other units
Delta Force, soldiers pictured deep behind Iraqi lines during the 1991 Gulf War

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