1st SFOD – Delta

About the 1st SFOD – Delta


1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) is one of the United States’ four secretive tier-one counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. It was formerly listed as the Combat Applications Group by the Department of Defense but has since been officially re-designated the Army Compartmented Elements (ACE). Delta Force and its Navy counterpart, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, are the United States military’s primary counter-terrorism units. Delta Force’s primary tasks are counter-terrorism, direct action, and national intervention operations, although it is an extremely versatile group capable of conducting many types of covert missions, including, but not limited to, hostage rescues and raids. Virtually all information about the unit is highly classified and details about specific missions or operations are generally not publicly available.


Entry Requirements


Most recruits come from the Special Forces Groups like the 75th Ranger Regiment, but some operators have come from other units of the army.

  • Marksmanship

    • The students shoot stationary targets at close range until they are able to have almost complete accuracy. They will then move on to moving targets.

    • Once shooting skills are perfected, they will move to a shooting house where they will clear rooms of “enemy” targets. At first it will be done by one student, then two at a time, three at a time, and finally four. After the students learn techniques to clear a room, “hostages” are added to the room mixed with the enemies.

  • Demolitions

    • Students learn how to break into many different locks such as cars and safes.

    • Demolition and how to build bombs out of various commonly found materials.

  • Combined skills. The FBI, FAA, and other agencies were used to advise the training of this portion of OTC. Sometimes commercial airliners such as Delta Air Lines would allow Delta to train on their aircraft too.

    • The new Delta operators use both demolition and marksmanship skills at the shoot house and other training facilities to train for hostage and counter-terrorist operations with both assault and sniper troops working together. They practice terrorist or hostage situations in buildings, aircraft, and other settings.

    • All trainees learn how to set sniper positions around a building with hostages in it. They learn the proper ways to set up a TOC and communicate in an organized manner. Although Delta has specialized sniper troops, all members go through this training.

    • The students then go back to the shoot house and the “hostages” are replaced with other students and Delta Force members. It is known that live ammunition has been used in these exercises, to test the students, and build trust between one another.

  • Trade Craft – During the first OTC’s and creation of Delta, CIA personnel were used to teach this portion.

    • Students learn different espionage-related skills such as dead drops, brief encounters, pickups, load and unload signals, danger and safe signals, surveillance and countersurveillance.

  • Executive Protection – During the first OTC’s and creation of Delta, the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and the United States Secret Service would advise Delta in this portion of training.

    • Students take an advanced driving course learning how to use a vehicle or many vehicles as defensive and offensive weapons.

    • They then learn techniques developed by the Secret Service and DSS on how to cover a VIP and diplomatic protection missions.

  • Culmination Exercise

    • A final test that requires the students to apply and dynamically adapt all of the skills that they have learned.