By Buddy Blouin
The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta (1st SFOD-D) is now officially known as Army Compartmented Elements (ACE). But Delta Force goes by many names depending on which circle you find yourself in, including Combat Applications Group (CAG), Task Force Green, or "The Unit." Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin helped bolster the popularity of the group in the 80s and 90s due to their roles starring in The Delta Force movie series, but the operations around the world conducted by this elite group of Soldiers make a real impact in keeping civilians safe from terrorists and other threats. Their exploits and mysterious operations have established them as an elite, desirable group to be a part of for members of the U.S. military.

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What Is Delta Force?

While Delta Force exists, good luck finding much information about the group. This, of course, is by design, seeing as these are the Soldiers that go directly into terrorist cells and dismantle them. The structure of Delta Force was based on Great Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS). It contains the following: A Squadron (Assault), B Squadron (Assault), C Squadron (Assault), D Squadron (Assault), E Squadron (Aviation), G Squadron (Clandestine), and Combat Support Squadron (various support, including medical and intelligence). Delta Force is a force unlike any other. The entire existence of the team revolves around finding and ending the operations of terrorism. This has been the case for decades, and even as warfare continues to evolve, the members of Delta Force remain ready to serve through the harshest conditions.

What Branch Is Delta Force?

The American Delta Force is primarily comprised of Soldiers from the Army. Delta Force has also been known to pull from other branches, including the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard. Most candidates will come from the Army, however, because most Delta Force Soldiers have experience in either infantry, Special Forces, or both.

Delta Force vs. SEALs

Due to their elite fighting form, rigorous qualifications, media representations, and the nature of their operations, there are a lot of comparisons between SEAL Team 6 and Delta Force. There are some similarities between the entities, but there are also many differences between the two. The most obvious difference is that Delta Force uses Soldiers from the Army, whereas SEAL Team is a part of the Navy. Diving further in, SEALs can only be Sailors. You must be a member of the Navy to be a SEAL, but Delta Team pools from many branches. Many U.S. Navy SEALs become a part of Delta Force over time. Both operate very similarly, but where they conduct their operations usually varies. SEALs are used more for missions involving leaving and returning from/to a water source, whereas Delta Force is focused more on land operations. No matter what, if you're an enemy of America and either team rolls up, it’s gonna end badly for you. Both work on many classified missions that are critical for making the world safer.

Counterterrorism Personified

Delta Force was founded in 1977 following a string of terrorist attacks. Technically, the U.S. already had a unit operating for such measures in the 1960s, but this was the first time the Army had a public unit gaining notoriety for such operations. Here are some notable operations conducted by the group:
  • Operation Urgent Fury

    saw Delta Force conducting a prisoner rescue from the Richmond Hill prison.
  • Delta Force was called to action in

    Operation Just Cause

    . Panamanian invasion involved the capture of General Manuel Noriega and required the force to protect the 35,000 Americans living in Panama.
  • Delta Force was deployed and helped bring success during the

    Gulf War

    , which took place in the Middle East.
  • When U.S. helicopters were shot down during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, Delta Force would find themselves in service during

    Operation Gothic Serpent

  • Delta Force was one of the first units operating against the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11. This also includes the

    Battle of Tora Bora

    , a mission held directly to kill or capture Osama bin Laden.
  • Operation Red Dawn

    was held to find and capture Saddam Hussein, a task Delta Force took part in and was able to complete successfully.
  • Delta Force Soldiers helped during

    Operation Juniper Shield

    by evacuating the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, during the 2012 Benghazi attack.
  • The raid in Syria that killed terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, known as

    Operation Kayla Mueller

    , was conducted by Delta Force.
These examples don't account for other operations, such as

Operation Black Swan,

which captured Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, numerous hostage rescues, and operations we may never know about through collaborations with the CIA.

How To Join Delta Force

The SFOD-D currently receives its recruits from all over the Army and heavily recruits from both the Ranger Regiments and Special Forces Groups. You’ll be required to achieve a rank between E4-E8 while serving in the Army, have at least 2.5 years of experience from your enlistment, and have at least 2.5 years of service remaining. Civilians looking to join are out of luck. The nature of Delta Force and its missions requires Soldiers that have ample experience and can handle themselves in some of the most extreme combat situations. You’ll need to qualify by serving and proving yourself in training and on the battlefield. Those who are serious about undertaking this monumental task can learn more from those who are already a part of the Army Rangers or Special Forces. Earning your Delta Force patch isn’t supposed to be easy. These individuals help execute some of the toughest operations around the globe. Delta Force Soldiers show grit and determination, as all service members do, but on a level that is simply a cut above. However, this shouldn’t discourage you or anyone from looking to be a part of the Delta Force. Being a part of Delta Force Special Forces embodies the Army’s goal of making Soldiers into the very best versions of themselves and serving for the greater good no matter what. If you’re looking to hone your skills, the Army uses the West Virginia wilderness to find out who has what it takes to join Delta Force. It may pay off to spend some time in the Mountain State if this career path interests you.

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Image: DVIDS | The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.



Delta Force
Task Force Green
The Unit

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