“My men and I have decided that our boss, the President of the United States, is as tough as woodpecker lips.”Members of the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force unit represent some of the highest trained, most capable, and focused soldiers in the world. Following a rigorous selection and assessment period designed to weed out all but the most intelligent and determined soldiers, accepted applicants move on to a six-month Operators Training Course (OTC) where their warfighting skills are honed and sharpened
– Lt. Colonel Charles Beckwith, Delta Force Founder
For obvious reasons, most current and former members of Delta Force prefer anonymity, adhering to the concept of being “Quiet Professionals” in the belief that silence equals security. Special Operations soldiers like those in the Delta Force or U.S. Navy SEAL teams did not evolve into top-tier fighters for love of war or glory, rather a deep sense of commitment to God, country, family, and brotherhood.
Some Delta members become known publicly for work they do once leaving the unit, others for the unfortunate reason of making the ultimate sacrifice. This page details the history of some well-known Delta operators. If you know of someone who should be added here, please contact us.
Col. Charles A. Beckwith
Delta Force FounderA former 82nd Airborne Division soldier and Green Beret, Beckwith recognized the need for a U.S. special operations force trained to handle the emerging global terrorism threat of the 1960s and 70s, and founded the Delta Force in 1977. Beckwith’s new unit was modeled on the elite British Special Air Service (SAS), with which he had served in Laos during the Vietnam War.
Colonel Beckwith offered his memoirs in a book titled Delta Force: A Memoir by the Founder of the U.S. Military’s Most Secretive Special-Operations Unit. Beckwith died in June 2013 at his home in Austin, Texas.
Former Delta Operator & AuthorDale Comstock is a former U.S. Army Green Beret and Delta Force Operator. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business and Organizational Security Management and has taught intelligence management and executive protection courses in California. He has also started or sold several companies that specialize in high-risk facility security.
Dale has authored 3 books detailing his experiences as a special operations soldier, and has appeared in several television roles.
Eric L. Haney
Former Delta Operator & AuthorEric Haney is a former Delta Operator and founding member of the unit. He was involved the failed 1980 Eagle Claw operation to rescue American hostages being held in Iran. Eric is the author of Inside Delta Force, a popular book that details the Delta selection process and his time in the unit.
Eric was a consultant for the production of Spartan, a 2004 film starring Val Kilmer. He also co-produced The Unit, a CBS television show that was loosely based on Eric’s book.
Former Delta Operator & MoH RecipientGary Gordon was a Delta Force sniper who was killed in combat on October 3, 1993 during the Battle of Mogadishu. Gary, along with fellow Delta Operator Randy Shughart, is credited with saving the life of crashed helicopter pilot Mike Durant. Both Gordon and Shughart were highlighted in the 2002 film Blackhawk Down.
Gary Gordon was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on May 23, 1994.
Former Delta Operator & MoH RecipientRandy Shughart was a Delta Force sniper who was killed in combat on October 3, 1993 during the Battle of Mogadishu. Randy is credited with saving the life of crashed helicopter pilot Mike Durant. His actions were highlighted in the 2002 film Blackhawk Down.
Randy Shughart was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on May 23, 1994, becoming, along with Gary Gordon, the first recipients of the honor since the Vietnam War.
Former Delta OperatorMike Vining is a highly decorated former Delta Operator and is believed to be a founding member of the unit. He was involved the failed 1980 Eagle Claw operation to rescue American hostages being held in Iran.
Read more about Mike’s service at his page on Together We Served.