1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (Airborne)

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1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne)
- Delta Force -

Delta Force badge

Delta Force badge
Lineup November 21, 1977
Country United States
Armed forces United States Armed Forces
Armed forces United States Army
Type Command unit
Strength secret, ~ 800–1,000
Insinuation U.S. Army Special Operations Command
U.S. Joint Special Operations Command
Location Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Nickname Delta Force
Butcher Operation Eagle Claw

Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Operation Acid Gambit
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Restore Hope
Operation Gothic Serpent
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (Airborne) , also known as 1st SFOD-D (A) or Delta Force , is a special unit of the US Army with the focus on counter-terrorism and hostage rescue . Although the public continues to speak of Delta Force , it was officially called 1st Combat Applications Group (Airborne ) or CAG for short, for a long time in the Pentagon . This designation changed in 2010 to Army Compartmented Element (ACE).


Little is known about the Delta Force as the unit is confidential . As part of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), it reports to the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as one of the ten highest command staffs in the US armed forces . Parts of the unit are in constant combat readiness . Your official job description is vague and includes fast, precise operations with a wide range of skills . The Delta Force is said to be able to act as inconspicuously as no other US unit.

The trained Delta Force -Soldat clothed at least the rank of sergeant (English: NCO - non-commissioned officer ) and is internally unit operator called (German as: "use of force" or "executive"). The term was chosen to distinguish the soldiers participating in operations from the members of the support staff. The term Operative , which was also in question, could not be used, as the CIA's operational officers are already named in this way. The word agent would have created legal trouble.

Comparable units and collaborations

The Delta Force, together with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU, also known under the former name SEAL-Team 6 ), is the only association of the US armed forces primarily focused on the fight against terrorists (especially in aircraft and in urban environment). Her always secret missions also include operations behind enemy lines, intelligence reconnaissance, asymmetrical and unconventional warfare and direct combat missions as well as the targeted killing of individuals.

In their operations, they often work with the Special Activities Division , together, a paramilitary task force of the US intelligence service Central Intelligence Agency .

Resource planning

A special feature is the fact that the operators plan their assignments themselves. Commanders and staff only set the mission goals, whereas tactical planning is the responsibility of the emergency services themselves. This principle of mission tactics was adopted by the British Special Air Service . The intention is to eliminate the so-called “Rambo Syndrome”, that is, to plan missions with unnecessarily high losses, overly complicated or unrealizable missions. This is intended to promote prudence and professionalism and avoid unnecessary efforts to raise the profile.

Operations in Germany

Delta forces were initially also deployed domestically in the absence of suitable US counter-terrorism units, which was then approved by a presidential decree. With the intervention of the US Department of Justice , this practice has been classified as legally questionable under the Posse Comitatus Act , a US law that prohibits the use of the military inside the country. Thereupon, in 1983, the government arranged for the FBI to set up the Hostage Rescue Team (German: " Hostage Rescue Group") , which was trained by Delta Force forces.


According to the Table of Order , the Delta Force consists of three operational squadrons, a support squadron, a telecommunications squadron, its own Army Aviation Platoon and possibly the so-called Funny Platoon . This platoon of soldiers (unique to the Joint Special Operations Command ) is not primarily aimed at combat, but rather for reconnaissance missions. However, its existence, structure and mission are controversial.

The emergency services consist of the A, B and, since 1990, also the C squadron ( Saber Squadrons , German: " Saber Squadrons "), each of which is divided into two groups ( troops ), one attack ( short gunner ) and a sniper (observer) group ( long gunner ) and led by a squadron command group.

A troop consists of at least five four-man teams, each trained in special skills, for example in military freefall as a parachute jump from high altitude, high opening for gliding operations, as a combat swimmer , in mountain combat or after an amphibious landing operation . The squadrons are supported by logistics and training units ( Support Personnel and Selection Cadre and Asymmetric Warfare Group ).

Due to the current secrecy status, which was reinforced in the years after the 9/11 attacks , there are no official figures on the number of staff. Former members estimate them to be no more than 2,500 soldiers, 1,000 to 1,200 of them in the Operational Squadrons . For this reason, it is also not clear what staff numbers the individual operational units and sub-units ( squadrons and troops ) have.

When joining the Delta Force, the soldier's personnel file is removed from the Army's personnel archive and officially no longer exists. His master data is only listed in the Department of the Army Security Roster , the security master role of the Department of the Army .


Headquarters of Delta Force, the base is Fort Bragg ( North Carolina ), called The Home of the Airborne and Special Operations . There is also the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center , the academy for unconventional warfare.

The air transport of the Delta Force is mainly provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment , which also uses Fort Bragg as a base, but whose headquarters are in Fort Campbell ( Kentucky ).

One of the main means of transport for the association is the medium-weight transport helicopter MH-47 Chinook , of which a total of 36 of the variants MH-47D and MH-47E are held in Fort Bragg for "Special Operations" missions.

The headquarters of the JSOC is largely located at the nearby Pope Air Force Base , although some are also located in Fort Bragg.

The entire base area in Fort Bragg used by the Delta Force is specially secured and only accessible to non-uniters with special permission. The unit's training ground, called Range 19 , was modernized for $ 80 million in the early 1980s and is also used by the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team for joint exercises.

Recruitment and training

Selection process

The US Army has never published official guidelines for the recruitment of this unit, but experts assume that the fact sheet published in Mountaineer in 1990 refers to the Delta Force. In an edition of the Fort Bragg newspaper Paraglide , this provision is referred to by name as the Delta Force. There the requirements for candidates were a minimum age of 22 years, rank at least sergeant (E-5) and four and a half years of service.

This system was replaced in the early 1990s by an active screening process of the Delta Force personnel officers, who go through the personnel files twice a year for particularly outstanding officers and NCOs. The selected soldiers will then be notified in writing. If they return interest, they can schedule an interview to be held at Fort Bragg. If a candidate proves to be possibly suitable, he goes through an extremely tough fitness test and a selection process ( selection course ) lasting around four weeks .

The selection process at the Delta Force is said to be the most demanding of the US armed forces compared to other special forces. At the end of the recruitment test, a 70-kilometer cross-country orientation march ( Forty Miler ) has to be completed with around 40 kilograms of equipment. The failure rate is around 70 percent - for applicants who are already well above average. From around a thousand applicants, 100 candidates usually pass the recruitment test, of which only five survive the training and are accepted into the unit as operators.

Training and integration

After confirmation by the Commander's Evaluation Board , the applicant then completes a six-month basic training course , the so-called Operator's Training Course (OTC) , in addition to his already existing Special Forces , Ranger or Airborne training .

After the OTC, there is an extended special training that lasts another six months. There, the future Delta Force soldier will be trained in advanced infantry techniques, attack and rescue operations, infiltration and exfiltration, rope techniques and infiltration by helicopter, as well as telecommunications technology and medical services. Afterwards he took part for the first time together with the CIA in real operations in the field of personal protection and criminological investigative work.

Operator with full uniform and M4

If the applicant has completed these training phases, he is from now on referred to as an operator. However, his training is not yet over. In order to be approved for assignments, the newcomer is placed under an active delta squadron for one year as a trial, in which the knowledge and skills acquired so far are deepened and supplemented by further courses and training courses. These include courses in personal protection, guerrilla warfare , covert operations, long-range reconnaissance , driving vehicles and motorcycles of all kinds, medical services with a focus on trauma medicine (a significantly more extensive training compared to a civilian paramedic ), pioneering, intelligence activities, scuba diving with combat swimmer training, maritime operations, Military Freefall , dealing with explosives and weapons. Fighting and survival are also trained in different climate zones. In addition, the operator must learn at least one foreign language that corresponds to the potential area of ​​application of the Delta Force. The courses and courses are individually tailored to each operator, as all candidates have already received extensive and varied training in the ranks of the Green Berets or Ranger and have thus already successfully completed numerous courses.

The last part of the training lasts another year, in which the new "troop" (four-man team) is put together, skills and tactics learned up to now are transferred to the troop and smooth interaction is trained under real operational conditions. The training missions are very hard and physically exhausting, and they cannot be distinguished from real missions. Only live ammunition is used for training, which has resulted in fatal accidents in the past. Exercise and training missions also take place abroad with units of allied armed forces such as the British Special Air Service or the German Special Forces Command (KSK).

The so-called “stand down” period, which lasts another six months, forms the end. Here the operator is prepared for his tasks in the squadron and his troop. The new operator is then approved for operations.

Special features of the training

In addition to the courses and courses already mentioned, the unarmed man-to-man combat is another component of the training. A type of "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" , which is also practiced by other US special forces such as the Green Berets or the Army Rangers, is trained for the military .

During the training, the soldiers go through special training facilities, for example the Shooting House with the nickname House of Horror ("House of Horror"): a spacious building in which all aspects of the Close Quarter Battle , the fighting in buildings, supported by automatic shooting ranges , Trains, buses, tunnels and other confined areas can be trained. In addition, there is a so-called aircraft room for training hostage rescue operations in the event of aircraft hijacking , which consists of a completely replicated cabin section of a large jet.

Focus of training in all areas is the so-called Selective Firing ( "selective shooting"). The expression means instinctive, precise shooting and not shooting in fractions of a second in a confusing situation and in a cramped environment.

In addition, the Delta training center is equipped with a diving tower , several sniper shooting ranges for all distances and counter-sniping ("anti-sniper combat ") as well as a climbing system.

Further fields of training are:

  • Ground staff skills: During their training, Delta operators are instructed in all fields of activity for airport ground staff (aircraft supply and maintenance) so that they can move around the airfield without being noticed in the event of an aircraft being hijacked.
  • Instruction in all types of airliners: In the early years, Delta Air Lines provided the Delta Force with its maintenance machines plus staff (maintenance engineers) for exercises and inspections at Hartsfeld International Airport in Atlanta . There are now also partnerships with other airlines.
  • Driver training ( Dynamic Driving Course ): persecution, flight and intentional carom be on the grounds of Camp Mackall , trained, an outpost of Fort Bragg. In addition, the soldiers are instructed on the entire spectrum of vehicle physics (driving behavior).
  • SERE training ( survival, evasion, resistance and escape training , German: "Survival, evasion, resistance and escape training"): Preparation for captivity, for interrogation situations (in the role of prisoner), training for avoidance capture and escape under realistic conditions.
  • Biofeedback training: In cooperation with psychologists, operators have been taught over the years the ability to deliberately slow their heart rate while sniping in order to pull the trigger between heartbeats. The pounding of the heart can deflect the projectile up to a meter from the target over a long range . In addition, similar to martial arts (such as the Wushu of the Shaolin monks ), the targeted guidance of body heat in certain regions is taught. This enables a shooter / observer team to observe the target for hours with an active mind in a kind of physical "standby mode" in order to then become active in the shortest possible time (for example by intensifying the blood flow to the trigger finger) .
  • Training in operational intelligence work: Here, the entire range of skills ("Tradecraft", German: "Craftsmanship") that an operator must master in action is taught by CIA instructors. These include, among other things, observation , counter- observation , direct conspiratorial contact with informants, but also indirect, non-technical exchange of messages (such as the use of dead mailboxes ) and covert infiltration into enemy operational areas. The focus here is not so much on obtaining information from the intelligence service, but on forwarding information from informants and agents as well as exploring the situation. An operator should be enabled to operate undetected ( under cover ) in enemy territory.

The unit is supported in its training program by experts in the respective fields. Visiting lecturers from other federal agencies such as the CIA , the FBI , the State Department , the U.S. Aviation Administration ( FAA ), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency , the Department Of Energy, and of the United States Marshals Service teach regularly at the Delta Force training center.

An operator also takes part in courses of friendly units during his time in the unit, for example the jungle combat school for the French, the mountain and winter combat training for the Norwegians, the lone fighter course for the armed forces and the arctic training for the Canadians. The operator should benefit from the greatest possible variety of training in order to be prepared for all situations in real use.


Barrett M82A1 ( Light Fifty ) sniper rifle

In principle, the Delta Force can dispose of the entire and most modern range of weapons and equipment available worldwide that is necessary for optimal order fulfillment, regardless of whether they are US weapons or not. It is decoupled from the regular procurement system of the Army. The logistics and financial support provided can be assumed to be almost unlimited. For example, the Remote Battlefield Sensor System was developed only for US special forces.

In addition, any necessary modifications to material and equipment can be carried out in our own weapons workshop. These changes include the modification and special construction of weapons, the adaptation of equipment and the production of special ammunition . The Delta Force armory contains, for example, the M16 , M4 SOPMOD , but also Soviet infantry weapons such as Kalashnikovs or the newly developed German HK 416 in caliber 5.56 mm (.223) and HK 417 in caliber 7.62 mm as well as other so-called "foreign weapons ". In addition to the German submachine guns MP5 and MP7 in various versions, there are also assault rifles such as the FN SCAR L or the G36 , machine guns such as the M249 SAW , M60 E4 , MK 46 and MK 48 MOD.0, various sniper rifles of the types M14 , M24 SWS and M82A1 as well as shotguns like the SPAS-12 to the arsenal. Depending on the order, these can be supplemented with accessories, for example the M203 add-on grenade launcher for the assault rifle.

Furthermore, anti-tank weapons such as the FGM-172 SRAW and mortars in caliber 81 mm belong to the equipment, which are used against tanks and for battlefield support.

Zodiac inflatable boat
Light Strike Vehicle (LSV) in the background

As part of its mandate, the Delta Force is partially independent of the other armed forces on land as well as on water. For example, the emergency services have converted Defender 110 from Land Rover , so-called Special Operations Vehicles (SOV), converted Humvee , Quad ATV ( All Terrain Vehicle ) and, for desert operations, Light Strike Vehicle (LSV) , also known as the " Desert Buggy". Except for the quad, they are usually armed with a mounted M60 machine gun , 40 mm machine grenade launcher Mk 19 or the heavy Browning M2 HB machine gun.

For maritime use, the Delta Force has inflatable boats of the Zodiac type , small patrol boats and Rigid Raider type assault boats . In such operations, the unit usually works with the US Navy and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) .

The combat suit commonly used in SWAT units today, mostly black, fire-resistant and reinforced with Kevlar , was originally developed for the Delta Force. Scientific studies have concluded that 30 percent of all injuries sustained in combat are caused by the effects of fire and heat.



The Delta Force was formed on November 21, 1977 by Colonel Charles Beckwith after serving as an exchange officer with the British Special Air Service from 1962 to 1963 . Following the example of the SAS, he finally designed the Delta Force. Previously, the Army had already gained initial experience in this area with a small anti-terrorist unit called " Blue Light ". The project was discontinued prior to the creation of the Delta Force. It can be assumed that numerous members of Blue Light switched to the Delta Force.

In 1978 the unit's training staff was instructed by a team of experts from the SAS in the techniques and tactics of the fight against terrorism, thus laying the foundation for the formation of the squadrons. The selection process for the recruits began in the middle of the year and the training process at the beginning of 1979. In the summer of 1979, the Delta Force was ready for action with initially two squadrons.

The name 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta results from the organizational form of the Army Special Forces, from whose personnel the first Delta soldiers were recruited. Their smallest organizational unit is called Detachment Alpha (or A-Team ), the next larger Detachment Bravo and finally Detachment Charlie . It was chosen to administratively and technically integrate the existence of the new unit within the Army structure, but also to camouflage it.

In 1979, the Delta Force, together with the FBI, performed security tasks at the Pan-American Games in Puerto Rico .

Liberation operations and personal protection

Memorial stone on Gunter Air Force Base , Alabama, for the soldiers who fell during Operation Eagle Claw

The unit's first publicly known operation was the failed attempt to rescue the US hostages in Iran in 1980 (see also: Tehran hostage-taking and Operation Eagle Claw ), in which five US Air Force soldiers and three members of the US Marine Corps died.

In 1981 the Delta Force planned a rescue operation for American prisoners of war from the Vietnam War , who, according to the intelligence services, were still being held in secret camps on Laotian territory near the border with Vietnam . The preparations lasted over half a year, during which a complete warehouse was built according to the original (and dismantled every day due to Soviet satellite surveillance). During the exercises, the unit worked for the first time with the newly established 160th SOAR helicopter regiment. However, the operation could not go ahead because the retired Lieutenant Colonel Bo Gritz of the Special Forces announced in a television interview a private rescue operation of these same prisoners of war. This led to their liquidation and the dissolution of the camp. Neither the Vietnamese nor the American governments were interested in publicizing the existence of such camps. Insiders even claim that LtCol Gritz was induced by government circles to announce the operation.

In addition to the training of local military and police units, the special anti-terrorism skills for personal protection were also in demand when securing US dignitaries in endangered areas, whereby they provided guidance to the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department (usually legendary as an employee of the State Department , thus equipped with a fictitious identity and biography).

Power politics

In addition to various missions in Central America ( Honduras , El Salvador and Guatemala ), which were mainly aimed at stabilizing local governments and containing left-wing revolutionary guerrillas supported by Cuba , Delta Force members were also in Beirut for years to secure the US embassy staff used.

The Central America policy of the Reagan government also included the secret military support of right-wing military regimes and the destabilization of the Sandinista government of Nicaragua by supporting the Contras (see also Iran-Contra affair ). The focus here was exclusively on US geopolitical aspects (containment and suppression of Soviet and Cuban spheres of influence). Compliance with human rights and international law were subordinated to the security interests of the USA. Even under US law, many operations by the involved intelligence agencies and the military were illegal (“Reagan's secret wars”). The Delta Force was used to prevent arms smuggling, in direct combat operations and to train local anti-terrorist units, although such forces were apparently also part of the repressive apparatus of the right-wing governments. In his book, Haney describes that a full squadron was flown into Honduras in the mid-1980s to fight a 300-man Guerrilla group of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation trained in Cuba with Honduran special forces - with clear orders not to take prisoners. The mission was carried out as ordered. Haney speaks of a " usual procedure " at the time, as prisoners only caused further negotiations and acts of terrorism and the US government " got along better with martyrs than with living enemies ".

Further missions in the 1980s

The controversial Point Salines Airport in December 1983

In 1983, the Delta Force had its first war effort in the invasion of the Caribbean island state Grenada ( Operation Urgent Fury ). They took the fortress Richmond Hill Prison with an air raid . Delta Force units secured the area, fought enemy firing positions above Point Salines airport and supported its capture by ranger units. They were also involved in the attack on Fort Rupert .

On April 18, 1983, several Delta Force soldiers died in the bomb attack by the Islamic Jihad terrorist group on the US embassy in Beirut. Significantly, Delta Force soldiers stationed there had repeatedly pointed out serious security deficiencies, but neither the responsible Regional Security Officer nor the US ambassador himself were prepared to take the necessary steps. In particular, barriers, bollards and checkpoints were rejected on the grounds that the message should be “ inviting and open like American society itself ”.

In 1984, parts of the Delta Force to secure the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles were exceptionally deployed domestically because the FBI's hostage rescue team was not numerically sufficient to secure such a major event and did not yet have the experience of the Delta Force.

In the mid-1980s, Delta Force forces in Egypt and Sudan (although the US government officially had only diplomatic contact with the local military regime) trained counter-terrorism units . The members of the Egyptian anti-terrorist force were later distributed to the rest of the military, however, because advisers to President Mubarak convinced him that such a unit could pose a threat to the government in the event of an attempted coup.

In 1985, parts of the unit were sent to Italy to intervene in the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro , but this did not happen at the request of the Italian government. After the hijackers had been granted safe conduct from Port Said in an Egyptian Boeing 737 and the aircraft was intercepted by US Air Force jets and forced to land at the Italian air force base in Sigonella in Sicily , the unit was ready to take the hijackers to arrest. The Italian police and the US military faced each other in a stalemate for almost five hours , until the American side gave in and the kidnappers were taken into custody by Carabinieri .

In 1989 the Delta Force took part in the invasion of Panama ( Operation Just Cause ) and imprisoned the Panamanian ruler General Noriega when he voluntarily left his place of refuge, the Apostolic Nunciature . During the fighting, a small team freed CIA employee Kurt Muse from the Cárcel Modelo prison (Operation Acid Gambit ).

In service since 1990

During the deployment phase before the Second Gulf War (Operation Desert Shield ), forces of the Delta Force were in action in Saudi Arabia in 1990 as bodyguards for high-ranking US officers, including the commander-in-chief of the coalition forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf .

During the Gulf War of 1991 (Operation Desert Storm ), Delta Force teams were behind enemy lines in Iraq to detect R-17 rocket launchers and mark them with laser designators so that they could then be destroyed from the air. In February of the same year, a joint operation with the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) against an Iraqi R-17 missile site near Al-Qa'im (code name "Scud Boulevard") in western Iraq became known.

In 1992 a Delta team (eight soldiers) led by Colonel Boykin (who later became the Delta Force commander) was undercover in Colombia to track down Pablo Escobar as part of foreign policy assistance (fight against drugs) . When the head of the Medellín cartel was located, he was shot by snipers. This operation was officially declared as a deployment of Colombian security forces. However, there are observers who assume that the Delta Force carried out the targeted killing and that the deployment was attributed to Colombian forces for political reasons.

In 1993 there was a domestic operation against the Branch Davidians where they were supposed to have an advisory role.

On October 3, 1993, the C-Squadron was deployed as part of the Task Force Ranger in Somalia to arrest the warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid (Operations Gothic Serpent and Irene ). 18 US soldiers were killed, and two days later a 19th was killed by a Somali mortar. Therefore, 19 fallen soldiers of the task force are often counted in this operation. Among the fallen are several Delta Force soldiers, such as Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt.First Class Randall Shughart .

In 1997, a Delta team was sent to the Peruvian capital Lima to rescue the hostages in the residence of the Japanese ambassador occupied by the Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru together with six soldiers from the British Special Air Service and Peruvian emergency services .

In service since 2000

Destruction of a tunnel complex between the Afghan provinces of Paktika and Paktia . (Operation Enduring Freedom )

In 2001 Delta forces took part in the Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom ) and tried to find out the whereabouts of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other Taliban leaders while the fight was still going on.

In 2002, parts of the Delta Force were combined with Navy SEALs as part of Operation Anaconda to form Task Force 11 to track down Osama bin Laden and dispersed or hiding Taliban in and around Afghanistan. They also operated covertly in neighboring countries that were not directly involved in the war.

Even before the start of the Iraq War in 2003 (Operation Iraqi Freedom ), Delta forces were covertly deployed in the Baghdad area with the task of spying on Iraqi military bases and sabotaging communications facilities.

In April 2004 Delta forces took part in the attempt to retake Fallujah in the Iraqi province of Al-Anbar ( Operation Vigilant Resolve ).

In 2005, a small team from the Delta Force was deployed to personal security during the inauguration of US President George W. Bush , although this task falls under the responsibility of the Secret Service .

Since 2011 deployment against the LRA in South Sudan / Central African Republic to capture Joseph Kony . According to the orders of the US President, the latest mission is the worldwide mission against war criminals. For six months, SOF forces have been deployed against the Ugandan rebel chief Joseph Kony, the LRA. The area of ​​application is the rainforest of Central Africa. The forces have set up Entebbe in Uganda, Nzara in South Sudan, Dungu in the Congo and Djema and Obo in the Central African Republic, not far from the border with South Sudan, as starting points. This area covers an area of ​​400,000 km² - the size of California. The mission is to provide technical support to the respective national armed forces. This shows that the existing equipment is influenced by the local conditions, especially the vegetation, and that the equipment behaves differently than in the desert, for example. The vegetation absorbs signals and noises, a large part of the electronics cannot be used or only to a limited extent. Among other things, this applies to satellite monitoring, which is almost impossible due to the dense canopy of leaves in the jungle areas. Information from residents about the LRA's stay usually only reaches the SOF after days or weeks, as there is no local communication network. In addition, the use is made more difficult by the rainy season, which turns the few dust slopes into mud and makes the region only accessible by air. As a countermeasure, the LRA is said to have split up into small task forces and no longer use traceable means of communication, but rather send Kony commands by means of detectors on foot. The LRA fighters masterfully cover their tracks in the jungle.

In a commando operation from May 15 to 16, 2015, Delta Force soldiers killed a key commander of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization with the battle name Abu Sayyaf Al-Tunisi near the al-Omar oil field near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria . His wife was captured and a Yazidi was freed. US President Barack Obama ordered the military operation with the consent of the Iraqi government.

In a commando operation on October 22, 2015 by 30 Delta Force soldiers, supported by special forces from the Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Region , a total of 70 hostages were held from a prison of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization in Al-Hawijah as part of Operation Inherent Resolve 20 Iraqi armed forces have been freed. Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler and 20 IS fighters were killed.

On October 26, 2019, the Delta Force carried out Operation Kayla Mueller against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , the leader of IS, in Syria.

Legal issues

According to reports by the American television station NBC in 2004, the Pentagon was investigating the Delta Force after there was evidence of ill-treatment during interrogation in a secret detention center near Baghdad airport.

Having covert operations carried out by the military is legally problematic, among other things, because the military is subject to different rules than the secret service. The CIA is required to report to Congress on its covert activities. Shifting these actions under the command of the National Security Council (NSC) would strengthen the President, to whom the NSC reports, and would make it more difficult or even take away from Parliament's control over covert operations.

The United Nations General Assembly

In conclusion, it can be stated that the Delta Force, similar to the SAS for Great Britain , is an instrument for enforcing the political interests of the US government. National security legislation allows for numerous exceptions that would otherwise be considered wrong under American law.

Well-known members of the Delta Force

  • General Peter J. Schoomaker , 35th Chief of Staff of the US Army and Commander of the Delta Force from 1989 to 1992.
  • Lieutenant General William G. Boykin , Delta Force commander 1992-1995; Commander of the Delta unit in Mogadishu and first commander of the Special Activities Division (CIA) in 1995 ; today Deputy Undersecretary of State for Intelligence at the US Department of Defense .
  • Major General David L. Grange , Deputy Commander of 1st SFOD-D under General Peter Schoomaker during the invasion of Grenada.
  • Colonel Charles Beckwith , founder of the Delta Force and responsible for the list on behalf of US President Jimmy Carter .
  • Major (ret.) Richard J. Meadows ( ret. ), The most decorated former member of the Green Berets . As civil adviser, he played a key role alongside Beckwith in the establishment of the Delta Force and in the undercover reconnaissance of the occupied embassy in Tehran in 1980.
  • Master Sergeant Gary Gordon , KIA ( killed in action ) on October 3, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor . A US warship was named after him.
  • Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart , KIA on October 3, 1993 in Mogadishu and also posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor . A US warship also bears his name.
  • Command Sergeant Major (ret.) Eric Lee Haney (ret.) , Co-founder of the unit and author of a book (see literature) about the Delta Force.
  • Sergeant First Class Paul Curry , instrumental in the targeted killing of Pablo Escobar .
  • Major General Eldon Bargewell , commanding officer from 1995 to 1998.
  • Major General William F. Garrison , in command from 1986 to 1989.
  • Major General Gary L. Harrell , in command from 1998 to 2000.
  • Colonel (ret.) Lee Van Arsdale (ret.) , Former member of the Delta Force staff, provided technical support for the film Black Hawk Down .
  • Larry Vickers , a former Delta Force soldier who moved to the private arms industry after retiring. He brought his experience at Heckler & Koch to the weapon development of the Heckler & Koch HK416 and HK417. He is now offering his experience on the open market as a mercenary for private military service providers and as a security advisor.

Media reception


TV Shows

  • The protagonist of the US TV series 24 , Jack Bauer, is described as a former captain of the Delta Force. Unity also plays a role in the first three episodes of the series.
  • Delta Force is the real-life model of the fictional unit in the CBS television series The Unit , which is based on the book Inside Delta Force by Lee Haney , the former sergeant major of the Delta Force and co-producer of the series.



Computer games


  • Charlie A. Beckwith: Delta Force. Avon Books, New York 2000, ISBN 0-380-80939-7 (with an insight into the founding time of the Delta Force ).
  • Mark Bowden : Blackhawk Down. A Story of Modern War. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York NY 1999, ISBN 0-87113-738-0 .
  • Mark Bowden: Guests Of The Ayatollah. The First Battle In America's War With Militant Islam. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York NY 2006, ISBN 0-87113-925-1 .
  • Mark Bowden: Killing Pablo. The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw. Atlantic Monthly, New York NY 2001. ISBN 0-87113-783-6 (on the manhunt for Pablo Escobar).
  • Mark Bowden: The Desert One Debacle . In: The Atlantic Monthly . Vol. 297, No. 4, May 2006, p. 62.
  • Terry A. Griswold, DM Giangreco: DELTA. America's Elite Counterterrorist Force. Motorbooks International, Osceola WI 1992, ISBN 0-87938-615-0 ( The power series ).
  • Eric L. Haney: Delta Force. In action against terror. A soldier of the American elite unit reports. Goldmann, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-442-15215-1 .
  • Sean Naylor: Not a Good Day to Die. The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda. Berkley Books, New York NY 2005, ISBN 0-425-19609-7 (Operation Anaconda).
  • Fred J. Pushies et al. a .: US Counter-Terrorist Forces. Motorbooks International Publishing, St. Paul, MN 2002, ISBN 0-7603-1363-6 .
  • Linda Robinson: Masters of Chaos. The Secret History of the Special Forces. Public Affairs, New York NY 2004, ISBN 1-58648-249-1
  • Christoph Rojahn: Military anti-terrorist units as an answer to the threat of international terrorism and an instrument of national security policy - the example of America. Utz, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-89675-841-1 ( economics and social sciences ), (also: Munich, Univ., Diss., 2000).
  • Hartmut Schauer: Delta Force. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-613-02958-3 .

Web links

Commons : 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne)  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Marc Ambinder: Delta Force Gets a Name Change. In: The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, October 12, 2010, archived from the original on February 16, 2013 ; accessed on September 3, 2014 .
  2. Globalsecurity.org: 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (Airborne) DELTA. [13. March 2006]
  3. Eric L. Haney; Delta Force - On Action Against Terror.
  4. TO , comparable to the STAN ("strength and equipment certificate") for the Bundeswehr or OTF ("organization of troops and formations") for the Swiss army
  5. Description of the CH-47 and MH-47 Chinook with technical data and application spectrum at www.globalsecurity.org .
  6. ^ SFOD-D seeking new members. (PDF) Mountaineer, January 16, 2003, archived from the original on June 2, 2010 ; accessed on August 18, 2013 .
  7. ... the Department of Defense's highest priority unit ... Fort Bragg's newspaper Paraglide, recruitment notice for Delta Force. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011 ; Retrieved June 28, 2007 (Eng.).
  8. Accessed July 12, 2009 at hkpro.com
  9. 1979 - Worked with the FBI at the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico as part of an anti-terrorist team set up to anticipate possible terrorist activity at the even at specialoperations.com ( Memento from July 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  10. ^ Mike Blair: Military Unit Responsible at Waco. An elite US Army military unit was responsible for the massacre of 76 Branch Davidians after a 51-day siege by federal officers of their compound at Waco, Tex., In 1993. In: The Spotlight. Archived from the original on March 3, 2000 ; accessed on September 3, 2014 .
  11. John Pike: "Secret support operation (Operation Power Geyser)" ( English ) Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  12. t-online accessed May 1, 2012
  13. US Troops Kill Senior ISIS Commander In Syria. National Public Radio , May 16, 2015, accessed May 16, 2015 .
  14. ^ Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on Hostage Rescue Mission in Iraq. Department of Defense, October 22, 2015, accessed October 25, 2015 .
  15. Kurdish hostages in Iraq freed from the hands of IS. Deutsche Welle , October 22, 2015, accessed on October 25, 2015 .
  16. Baghdad: We were not Informed About Hawija Rescue Operation ( Memento from October 25, 2015 in the web archive archive.today )
  17. Michael Streck: The torture scandal is spreading more and more. In: taz . May 22, 2004, p. 10. (July 4, 2006)
  18. ^ Office of the Chief of Staff of the US Army . army.mil. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  19. DefenseLink News Article: Bush Nominates Retired General for Army Chief of Staff . dod.mil. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved on December 20, 2010.
  20. ^ Army Chief of Staff . Mccoy.army.mil. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  21. ^ 1st Brigade "Bastogne" - Distinguished Members of the Regiment . campbell.army.mil. Archived from the original on January 1, 2004. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  22. Hasenauer, Heike. A Special Kind of Hero ( Memento from January 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). United States Army Publishing Agency: Soldiers . November 1995. Volume 50, No 11.
  23. Globalsecurity.org: T-AKR 295 Shughart - Large, medium-speed, roll-on / roll-off ships [LMSR] . [13. March 2006]
  24. Delta Force founder: Bush may have started World War III . The Raw Story. March 24, 2006. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  25. ^ Shape Biographies: Major General Gary L. Harrell. Nato.int, June 7, 2006, archived from the original on June 4, 2011 ; Retrieved December 20, 2010 (eng.).

This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on July 6, 2006 .