US Army Delta Force: The Best Special Forces on Earth?

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You know it as Delta Force, but the operators are called the Combat Applications Group, CAG, D-Boys, Dark Side, Other Side of the Fence, Task Force Green, or just Unit. Officially, it is the first operational U.S. Army Special Forces Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D). It is a Tier 1 Special Operations Group. To maintain secrecy over Army budget documents, the position is often referred to as Army Compartmented Elements (ACE).

What are they doing?

delta strength excels hostage rescue, targeted elimination or arrest of terrorists, close quarters combat, direct action raids, intelligence gathering, irregular warfare and VIP guarding. Elements of Delta Force are continually awaiting orders from their umbrella command – the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). JSOC can deploy Delta anywhere in the world.

A brief history that is unclassified

Although it is impossible to know what types of missions Delta has conducted over the years, it is believed that they have been the mainstay of the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. In October 2019, Delta conducted Operation Kayla Mueller, to remove al-Baghdadi from the battlefield. Al-Baghdadi then detonated an explosive vest and committed suicide during the raid.

Never shy of a firefight, Delta has conducted plenty of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as you would expect. A remarkable statistic was that in 2009 “the casualty rate for Delta command was 20% and 50% of operators who went to Iraq received a Purple Heart”. according to SOFREP.com. Delta also took part in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, which was later portrayed in the book and film Black Hawk Down.

In my opinion, SOFREP.com has the best Delta Force profile, so I’ll depend on that source in the following passages.

How was the unit born?

In the late 1970s, the Army was interested in creating its own special operations group that would conduct more direct action raids against the enemy – something that US Army Special Forces did not. always carried out, as green berets were set up for training and combat. alongside native units during the Vietnam War.

In 1977, the Pentagon assigned Colonel Charlie Beckwith, who had served in special forces and spent time with the British Special Air Serviceto set up a new, more focused unit.

Beckwith spent the next two years setting up Delta Force, which would focus on counter-terrorism and missions that the rest of the special operations units could not easily accomplish. Beckwith and his subordinates created a six-month screening program for volunteers. Training and testing subjects volunteers to challenging, long-range land navigation exercises and other tasks that prepare them physically and mentally.

In 1980, Delta was given a difficult mission: to rescue 53 American hostages held in Tehran. This was known as Operation Eagle Claw, and it failed for several reasons. The main element of the Delta operators did not reach the building holding the hostages. But Delta used lessons learned from Eagle Claw to improve and adapt.

How are they organized?

Delta Force is believed to be organized into several squadrons divided into “troops”. Each squadron has three troops for assault purposes. There is a clandestine intelligence and reconnaissance squadron, and an aviation squadron, as well as combat support units such as signals, medicine and intelligence analysis.

How can you try Delta?

As you can imagine, becoming a Delta operator is a long and difficult process. Selection is open to anyone with the rank of Specialist (E-4) and Captain (E-3). Interns must be 21 years of age or older. Most of the people who go to selection are either in the Ranger Regiment or in the Army Special Forces. Many of these operators have numerous back-to-back deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The selection process is classified and changes as combat requirements evolve. A book – Inside Delta Force – describes intense, long-distance land navigation courses to assess physical attributes. Next, the trainee must go through a complicated mental assessment period that includes psychological interviews and oral performances in front of counsel. About 10% of each class is selected.

If selected, the trainee completes a six-month operator training course. It includes several skill development units ranging from cleaning rooms and close quarters combat to picking locks and improvising explosives. Counter-terrorist missions and hostage rescue operations are repeated. There is even a block of instructions on espionage trades which is probably similar to the training of CIA clandestine officers.

Remember that selection and training are ranked and are constantly changing and evolving based on the needs of Delta and the JSOC.

My experience with Delta is of course limited. I was not a member of the special operations forces during my service in the army, although I was once attached to a special forces battalion as a public affairs specialist. I’ve seen Delta operators practice using all-terrain vehicles at Camp Dawson, West Virginia.

A mountain land navigation course I took, also at Camp Dawson, would have taken place at a Delta Force training ground. I had a friend who was selected and assigned to a Delta squadron who abruptly said to one of my special ops buddies, “I can never talk to you again.” I never heard from or saw this Delta operator again. I hope he is still alive. This is the level of secrecy that Delta develops among its operators.

By all accounts, Delta is a tight-knit community – a brotherhood whose members are always running for the shots and are at Delta to deploy on as many missions as possible. They believe the more shootouts they engage in, the better. We should feel lucky that they are willing to be the tip of the spear and fight battles no one else can.

Now as 1945 Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. EastwoodPhD, is the author of Humans, Machines and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an emerging threat expert and former US Army infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.

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