5 Things that Don't Officially Exist

Published on Apr 16, 2021
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Known as the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, Delta Force is one of the most elite and secretive units of the U.S. Army.

Although they are mainly tasked with special missions related to counter-terrorism such as striking or capturing high-value units or dismantling terrorist cells, Delta Force is quite flexible. They are able to work closely with the CIA for reconnaissance missions, rescuing hostages, and gathering intel.

The unit was established on November 19th, 1977, by Colonel Charles Beckwith. He wanted to create a U.S. strike force similar to the British Air Service. With terrorism and the Cold War-era espionage reaching a breaking point, he saw the opportunity to create a special force. The Iran Hostage Crisis of 1980 was also looming over the horizon, so it was the perfect opportunity for assembling the elite team.

A US Army analysis that recognized the need for an organization capable of responding to acts of terrorism said, (QUOTE): β€œThe proposed organization will provide a highly specialized force, rich in rank structure, built upon small teams which contain mature, professionally trained, psychologically prepared individuals capable of making on-the-spot judgments.”

Since its creation, the unit has had a few different names. Originally known as the Special Forces Operational Detachment, it has been renamed the Combat Application Group, as part of the Army Compartmented Elements.

The operators are chosen from the most elite units of all the U.S. Armed Forces branches. Only soldiers with the highest stamina, endurance, and mental resolve are recruited to even train for Delta.

Former Delta operator Paul Howe once said that from an elite class of 120 applicants, only 12 to 14 make it past the selection course.

Some of the operators are chosen from the Special Forces Group, the 75th Ranger Regiment, Marine Force Recon, and even the Navy SEALS.

Although their missions are secret, some have been de-classified by the Government over the decades. Other missions have been published in books written by former Delta Force members.

Their first known engagement was Operation Eagle Claw in Iran in 1980, followed by Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. They also participated in Operation Just Cause during the Panama Invasion to capture President Noriega. There were also many other top-secret missions during the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and others whose nature is unknown for the time being.

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