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U.S. Military Special Operations Forces

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Navy Seals

Members of Basic Underwater Demolition (BUD/S) /Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) Class 244, endure the bitter cold while conducting exercises as part of their BUD/S confidence and personal endurance training at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA.

Official U.S. Navy Photo

Delta

Everybody's heard of "Delta Force." However, most of what you've heard is probably wrong. Almost every aspect of Delta is highly classified, including their training program and organizational structure.

Back in 1977, when hi-jacking aircraft and taking hostages seemed to be the "in thing," an Army Special Forces officer, Colonel Charles Beckwith, returned from a special assignment with the British Special Air Service (SAS), with a unique idea. He sold the idea of a highly-trained military hostage-rescue force, patterned after the SAS, to the head-honchos at the Pentagon, and they approved.

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment, Delta was created. Most military "experts" believe that Delta is organized into three operating squadrons, with several specialized groups (called "troops) assigned to each squadron. Each "troop" is reported to specialize in a main aspect of special operations, such as HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) parachute operations, or scuba operations.

Delta is the most covert of the U.S. Military Special Operations Forces. Delta is sent when there is a tough objective, and we don't want anyone to know that there was U.S. Military involvement. Delta is rumored to have their own fleet of helicopters which are painted in civilian colors and have fake registration numbers. Their special training facility is reported to be the best special operations training facility in the World, including "close-quarters-battle" indoor facility nicknamed the "House of Horrors."

Delta recruits from U.S. Army units World-wide, twice per year. After a very extensive screening process, applicants reportedly attend a two or three week special assessment and selection course. Those who make it through the course, enter the Delta Special Operators Training Course, which is estimated to be about six weeks in duration. Delta Force is primarily comprised of hand-picked volunteers from the 82nd Airborne, Army Special Forces and Army Rangers. Delta is said to be the best in the World at close-quarters combat.

The highly-classified Delta operations facility is reported to be in a remote location on Fort Bragg, NC.

Navy SEALS

Today's SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) teams trace their history to the first group of volunteers selected from the Naval Construction Battalions (SeaBees) in the spring of 1943. These volunteers were organized into special teams called Navy Combat Demolition Units (NCDUs). The units were tasked with reconnoitering and clearing beach obstacles for troops going ashore during amphibious landings, and evolved into Combat Swimmer Reconnaissance Units.

The NCDUs distinguished themselves during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. In 1947, the Navy organized its first underwater offensive strike units. During the Korean Conflict, these Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) took part in the landing at Inchon as well as other missions including demolition raids on bridges and tunnels accessible from the water. They also conducted limited minesweeping operations in harbors and rivers.

During the 1960s, each branch of the armed forces formed its own counterinsurgency force. The Navy utilized UDT personnel to form separate units called SEAL teams. January 1962 marked the commissioning of SEAL Team ONE in the Pacific Fleet and SEAL Team TWO in the Atlantic Fleet. These teams were developed to conduct unconventional warfare, counter-guerilla warfare and clandestine operations in both blue and brown water environments.

In 1983, existing UDTs were re-designated as SEAL teams and/or SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams and the requirement for hydrographic reconnaissance and underwater demolition became SEAL missions.

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