A US Army soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division crawls as part of training at Fort Bragg, N.C. Delta Force applicants are pushed to the limit, and beyond — and are considered the US military's elite special forces. (Photo by U.S. Army)

“If there is one thing that always sticks in my mind about how Delta Force goes about a mission, it is the utterly businesslike attitude of the men. There is none of that Hollywood crap. No posturing, no sloganeering, no high fives, no posing, no bluster and no bombast. Just a quiet determination to get on with the job.”
― Eric L. Haney

Delta Force.

Two words with cachet that make one wake up and notice.

The US Army’s best commando unit.

Hell, maybe the best ever, I don’t know.

They are often sent to missions with little chance of success, in highly dangerous environments.

Their identities are protected, and, they are expendable. The tip of the spear, as they say.

Beirut, for example.

According to my sources, a special team of Delta Force were sent to neutralize a target … a bad guy. Somebody whose time had come to an end. The Pentagon wanted blood.

The team was walking down a street in Beirut, when a van pulled up. Gunmen forced them into a van, threw hoods over their heads, and drove off.

A Delta Force member recalled trying to remember, in his head, what turns and speeds the minivan made. But in the end, it was pointless.

They were taken to a safe house. Only then did they find out, it was the Russians.

They wanted this guy too, really bad, and they didn’t want Delta Force “f–king things up.”

Held for several hours, and unharmed, they were let go.

This is the life of a Delta Force soldier.

It could have been much worse, of course. But the Russians just needed them out of the way — so that they could take care of business, in the Elvis sense.

One less bad guy.

Put it this way, just how much torture are you willing to undergo to wear the badge of a Delta Force special ops member?

Given that an average of 250 resumes are submitted for every job position in the United States, one would assume quite a lot.

But there’s writing endless resumes — and then there’s running forty miles at night on an uneven forest trail while lugging a fifty-pound rucksack — with more weight added upon achieving each waypoint.

And to even get into the application pool for that particular job, you first have to master the art of willingly jumping out of a perfectly functional airplane, according to a report by Sebastien Roblin at National Interest.

A soldier assigned to Delta Company, 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducts a presence patrol around the U.S. Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Alex Flynn)

Eric Haney described the experience of one of the long-distance hiking in his book Inside Delta Force:

“I had covered just slightly over thirty miles by now, but still had more than twenty to go. It was getting more and more difficult to do speed computations in my head. My hands were tingling from the rucksack straps cutting into my shoulders, pinching the nerves and arteries, and restricting the blood flow to my arms.

I was bent forward against the weight of the rucksack. It felt like I was dragging a train behind me, and my feet hurt all the way up to my knees. I don’t mean they were just sore, I mean they felt like I had been strapped to the rack and someone had beaten the balls of my feet with a bat. I tried to calculate the foot-pounds of energy my feet had absorbed so far today, but I had to give up the effort. I only knew that the accumulated tonnage of all those thousands of steps was immense. And it was only going to get worse.”

Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta — or “Delta Force” — remains cloaked equally in official secrecy and popular legend, Roblin writes. 

 Their motto, “De Oppresso Liber” … “To Free the Oppressed,” is seldom spoken.

Technically an elite counter-terrorism Special Missions Unit, Delta Force has been involved in virtually every major US military action since the 1980s — whether attempting to rescue political prisoners from a fortified prison in Grenada, nabbing Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, hunting Scud missiles behind Iraqi lines, battling Somali warlords, assassinating ISIS leaders, and even assisting Mexican marines in a deadly gun battle that saw the capture of drug kingpin “El Chapo.” 

And one can only speculate about all the missions that remain classified, National Interest reported.

The unit’s existence remains ritually unacknowledged by the US government, despite its organization and aliases (a common one is “Combat Application Group”) being reasonably well-documented in books by former members and its exploits celebrated in movies like Black Hawk Down and television series like The Unit.

Delta Force was founded by Colonel Charles Beckwith, who had served in the 1960s as an exchange officer with the British Special Air Service while it was engaged in a grinding but successful counterinsurgency campaign against Communist guerillas in Malaysia, National Interest reported.

Beckwith was one tough SOB.

During his stint commanding SAS troops in the jungle, he nearly died from a bacterial infection. Then, while commanding Green Berets in Vietnam he was struck by a .50 caliber slug — and survived after being triaged as a lost cause.

These experiences left their impression on the Georgia native, who went on to devise the rigorous “Q-Course” used to train the Green Beret special operations forces of today.

Beckwith was convinced the Army needed an even more elite direct action unit with the mental and physical fortitude to operate independently at length in the field, National Interest reported.

Furthermore, he emphasized that unit should only be composed of experienced officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who had already proven their skills in the field.

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Limon (right) and Sgt. Aaron Hestand, both from White Tank, 2nd Platoon, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, keep watch during a patrol near Combat Outpost Sangar, Zabul province, Afghanistan. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. William Tremblay, U.S. Army.

Today, Beckwith’s vision still informs Delta Force’s selective training regimen. To even qualify for the Delta Operator Training Course (OTC), recruits must possess years of experience, with qualification for parachute operations, a “Secret” security clearance and a clean disciplinary record.

Reportedly, these requirements mean that three-quarters of Delta Force recruits are sourced from the Army’s two other primary Special Operations units: the 75th Ranger Regiment — which often engages in larger-scale operations behind enemy lines — and the Green Berets, who specialize in embedding with, training and leading local forces in foreign countries, National Interest reported.

The six-month OTC itself places heavy emphasis on perfecting marksmanship — especially in hostage-rescue contexts.

Delta units also receive instruction in demolitions, lock-picking, landmines, IEDs and even bomb-making techniques.

They are trained by CIA operatives in espionage techniques from shadowing persons of interest to transmitting intelligence via dead drops and even aggressive “tactical driving” — yes, the kind you thought was reserved for Tom Cruise action movies.

In this light, the unit’s brutal selection and training process is revealed to have a purpose beyond physical fitness — it’s to help identify the kinds of individuals with the physical prowess and motivation to repeatedly undertake dangerous missions which may indeed at times prove to be impossible.