What is Delta Force?
Delta Force was created in the late 1970’s by Army Col. Charles Beckwith. Its official name is The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D) and is one of two units in the United States Armed Forces assigned primarily to combat terrorism. Delta Force’s members are known as"operators" and divided into three squadrons and is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Hostage rescue is considered their specialty. For example, in 1989, during Operation Just Cause in Panama, Delta Force operatives rescued U.S. businessman Kurt Muse from Modelo Prison in Panama City who had been arrested for running a CIA supplied clandestine radio station.
Who are the Members?
Members are very independent warriors who like working in small teams and are very resilient. As Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down, said, "They are professional soldiers who hate the army." While the military acknowledges the existence of special mission units like Delta Force, it does not specify what they are called or their locations, staffing or organizational structure.
Delta members are experts at counterinsurgency, small unit tactics, and various infiltration techniques. They are typically selected for specific traits, whether it is language skills, an ability to shoot someone from a half-mile away or extreme physical endurance. All must undergo an extensive selection and assessment process before joining the unit. But usually they pick them for a lack of showy machismo. It is difficult to be the best in an occupation and yet be sworn to secrecy yet they are required to be extremely low key. Some of them look like super heroes, but most of them tend to be laid-back, slow to anger, not show off in any way. Member’s of the unit dress as a civilians, wear civilian hair and can grow a beard.
They train constantly, are well seasoned and able to withstand conditions such as being able to dig a hole and live in it for a week or being dropped in the middle of a desert and finding their way out. Often, they are older than most soldiers and are some of the most experienced soldiers in the service. It is not uncommon for them to like what they do and think unfavorably about chain of command. They call each other by nicknames and don’t really recognize rank.
What are the Requirements?
The Army has never released an official fact sheet for the force but stated in certain documentation all applicants must meet the following criteria to even be considered for admission.
- In the ranks of E-4 through E-8
- Have at least two and a half years of service time remaining in their enlistment,
- Be 21 years or older
- Score high enough on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test to attend a briefing
Details of the composition, strength, abilities and operations of Delta Force remain a closely guarded secret. But the unit is thought to be equipped with the most advanced weaponry and equipment the U.S. military has to offer. Unofficially, Delta Force is considered one of the U.S. military’s elite special operations units Many of them from Ranger battalions or Special Forces (Green Berets) groups.