Army Delta Force: What You Should Know

The US Army Delta Force is actually the 1st Special Operational Detachment: Delta (SFOD-D) and is focused primarily on counter-terrorism operations.  When you hear “Delta Force” some images come to mind like highly specialized missions which involve killing high value targets or destroying organized terrorist cells.  However, Delta Force is a highly trained and flexible organization that can execute other missions such as hostage rescue, covert missions with the CIA and even protective services for Senior Level leaders within the US.  Here are a few fun facts about Delta Force and What You Should Know… 

1. Delta Force is relatively young.  Formed in 1977 by COL Charles Beckwith, the original US Army Delta Force was used as a precision strike force along side the British Special Air Service.  While almost every mission executed by Delta Force is classified, there are a few infamous missions that have been de-classified. 

2.  De-classified Missions: In the 1980s, Delta Force made an infamous error while trying to rescue Iranian hostages due to aviation equipment failures.  Operation Eagle Claw became an international headline and embarrassment.  Equally infamous was the Battle of Mogadishu, or “Black Hawk Down”.  However, some missions were equally as famous but much more successful such as: the Grenada Prisoner Rescue, Panama Invasion to capture Noriega and protect US Citizens, Operation Red Dawn (capturing Saddam Hussien) and the Battle of Tora Bora. 

3.  How to Become a Delta: While the majority of Delta Soldiers are recruited from Ranger Regiments and Special Forces Groups, they do actively seek all recruits from across the Army.  Regardless, if you want to become a Delta you should serve in the Army Rangers or SF units first.  There is no Civilian to Delta program…they want to best, brightest, mature and experienced to join their ranks.  

I would highly urge anyone seeking more information about the US Army Delta Force to do so with someone in the SF or within the Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).  Because everything they do is so highly classified and top secret, it is often difficult to extract fact from perception about what they truly do.  Either way, the Army Delta Force is the best of the best and is highly respected by all.  

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “Army Delta Force: What You Should Know”

  1. I truly wish that I had some better insight to our SF forces than what I can read or have seen in movies. Unfortunately, I have never in my career, been afforded the opportunity to work with any of our SF forces. I will always remember my HS calculus teacher, who was a Green Beret in Vietnam and the stories that he would share with a select few of us after class. The saying, “we sleep calmly in our beds at night because there are those who are willing to execute violence in our behalf” is a quote I often associate with the SF forces…

    1. The SF, Rangers and Delta are an elite group of troops. I have the utmost respect for them and the sacrifices they make to defend us. Most Soldiers, especially non-combat arms, never have to do anything even close to what these guys have to do. Being a Logistics guy myself, I can only imagine. When we think we have it bad, we don’t. These guys can go without eating for a period of days, high OPTEMPO, long deployments from home, ultra-high stress environments and many other things that most soldiers could not endure.

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