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Special Forces are military units dedicated to small-scale, clandestine, unorthodox, and high-risk operations, often behind enemy lines. Delta is the U.S. Special Forces unit dedicated to counterterrorist activities and hostage rescue operations.

Created as the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment–Delta under the command of Colonel Charles Beckwith in 1977, it was highly controversial with some military leaders who were skeptical about the need for an independent counterterrorist unit. The support of General Edward C. Meyer was critical to Delta's creation and development. Beckwith, who had flown long-range clandestine reconnaissance missions inside South Vietnam with Delta Project, looked back to that experience when naming the unit. Beckwith used another of his earlier experiences: an exchange program with the British Special Air Services (SAS) in the early 1960s. While planning the new force, he closely followed SAS selection procedures, training methodology, and organization. For greatest flexibility, Beckwith chose an ...

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