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Delta Force is the leading basic military counterterrorism unit of the United States acting on foreign soil. The unit was created by Colonel Charles Beckwith in 1977 on the model of the famous British SAS. Members of Delta Force are being used in the rescue of hostages and other counterterrorism operations requiring the highest quality professionals.
The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), referred also as Delta Force, is a U.S. Army unit used for hostage rescue and counterterrorism, as well as direct action and reconnaissance against high-value targets. Dubbed as the primary counter-terrorism and hostage rescue military unit.
Delta Force is one of the most secret units, so its members for secrecy wear distinguishing markings on the combat uniforms. One of the most recognized United States unit for Special Operations is 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne). They are also known as 1st SFOD-D, or shortly Delta Force. They are a U.S. Army component of Joint Special Operations Command. Delta Force was formerly listed as the Combat Applications Group (CAG) by the Department of Defense.
Their primary tasks including counter-terrorism, direct action, and national intervention operations, although it is an extremely versatile group capable of conducting many types of various clandestine missions, including, but not limited to, hostage rescues and raids.
The exact organization and training of Delta Force is also by obvious reasons kept as top secret. In addition to operational squadrons allegedly maintains intelligence unit, known as the “funny platoon”.
Members of Delta Force is based on various information sources, including other special operations forces. Delta Force is usually referred to by the U.S. government as “1st Special Operations Detachment” or “1st Combat Applications Group.” This unit is relatively small (ie American standards), and usually estimated at about 800 members or less, and operates in a small number teams deep behind enemy lines.
Delta Force worked in virtually any major U.S. military operation. The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) often works with – and recruits – operators from Delta Force.
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 used by Delta Force to distinguish between operational and non-operational personnel assigned to the unit. 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 as, 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. The operator is the specific term for operational personnel and has become a colloquial term for almost all special operations forces in the U.S. military, as well as around the world.
Delta Force tasks
- Direct action;
- Strategic research;
- Unconventional fight;
- The fight against terrorism;
- Survey on the battlefield and rescue allies;
- Fulfillment of specific requirements of the U.S. government.
Structure and organization
Delta Force’s structure is described in Sean Naylor’s book “Relentless Strike” where 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)
- G Squadron (Formerly the Operational Support Troop, 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. 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 Master Sergeant (E-8).
Delta Force trains with other foreign units, with the purpose to improve tactics, increase relationships and exchanges with international special operations communities.
- Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA
Operations and clandestine missions
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 extraordinary heroism during 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 combat operations in Afghanistan from 4 October 2001 to 15 March 2002 and Iraq from 19 March 2003 to 13 December 2003.
There are many written books and movies about Delta Force. Besides, the US Navy SEALs they are one of the most famous special operations forces in the US, and worldwide.
|Active:||1977 – present|
|Type:||Military / special operations, CQC|
|Role:||counter-terrorism, direct action, raids, hostage rescue, clandestine missions, special operations|
|Estimated numbers (personnel):||Classifed|