Army Compartmented Element (ACE)
Combat Applications Group (CAG)
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta
The unit commonly referred to as "Delta Force" is the U.S. Army's special-operations unit organized for the conduct of missions requiring a rapid response with surgical application of a variety of skills. Delta Force plans and conducts a broad range of special operations across the operational continuum. Delta is organized for the conduct of missions requiring rapid response with surgical applications of a wide variety of unique skills,while maintaining the lowest possible profile of US involvement. Delta Force is one of a number of US military units designated as Special Mission Units (SMU), assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command.
The official designation of the unit has changed numerous times over the course of its existence in order to help maintain the high degree of secrecy surrounding it. Initially designated to as the 1st Special Operations Operational Detachment Delta (1st SFOD-D), there have been subsequent units designated the Combat Applications Group or Combat Applications Group (Airborne) (CAG), and the Army Compartmented Element (ACE), which are generally believed to be the same unit. The 2010 Fort Bragg Telephone Book listed a unit designated as the Army Compartmented Element as part of the US Army Office of Sensitive Activities (AOSA). It is unclear when these changes were made and what the official title of the unit might be. For instance, a message about recruiting for "1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-DELTA (airborne)" was placed in the 16 January 2003 edition of "The Mountaineer," the Fort Carson, Colorado post newspaper. On 10 June 2013, a Presidential Unit Citation was issued to "1st Special Forces Operation Detachment D" for the period between 19 March and 13 December 2003, less a detachment from Squadron D, between 30 March and 9 April 2003. Delta Force is an unofficial title commonly used to refer to the unit.
Delta Force's soldiers are carefully selected and specially trained. Delta conducts worldwide recruitment twice a year prior to its fall and spring assessment-and-selection courses. Assignment to Delta Force involves an extensive prescreening process, successful completion of a 3 to 4 week mentally and physically demanding Assessment and Selection Course, and a 6 month operator Training Course. Upon successful completion of these courses officers are assigned to an operational position within the unit.
The Delta Force was secretly created in October 1977 by US Army Colonel Charles Beckwith in direct response to numerous, well-publicized terrorist incidents that occurred in the 1970s. From its beginnings, Delta Force was heavily influenced by the British Special Air Service. Delta Force was designed as an overseas counter-terrorist unit and specializes in hostage rescue, barricade operations and reconnaissance. Delta Force was comprised of volunteers mainly from the 82nd Airborne, Army Special Forces and the Rangers. Delta Force was one of 2 principal US government units tasked with counter terrorist operations outside the United States (the other being Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team 6).
Delta Force was reportedly organized into 3 operating squadrons (A, B, and C), which were subdivided into small groups known as troops. It was reported that, as with the SAS, each troop specializes in HALO, SCUBA, or other operational skills. Delta also maintained support units which handle selection and training, logistics, finance, and the unit's medical requirements.
Delta units deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 to serve as bodyguards for senior US officers and, later, as part of a massive effort to locate and destroy mobile SCUD launchers in Iraq's northern deserts. In 1993, as part of Task Force Ranger, Delta took part in operations to apprehend warlord Mohamad Farah Aidid in Mogadishu, Somalia. A small advance team was sent to Lima, Peru immediately following the takeover of the Japanese Ambassador's residence in January 1997 along with 6 members of the British SAS.
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