Not that Delta Force has not had its share of Hollywood fame — see Chuck Norris, in “Delta Force.” And “Delta Force 2.” But those were fiction, especially the scene in the first film where Mr. Norris, as Maj. Scott McCoy, rides his motorcycle onto a moving jet airliner while simultaneously dispatching a slew of bad guys.
Delta Force members, for their part, still have a reputation for going by the book. They often start out as regular infantry, then move up through the Army’s Ranger units and Special Forces teams before joining Delta. (SEAL Team 6 is more isolated from the rest of the Navy.)
To make the Delta unit, candidates undergo an assessment selection in West Virginia before undertaking the intense Operators Training Course in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Delta’s armory at Fort Bragg is known to be extensive, filled with a bristling array of weaponry for almost every conceivable type of mission. In the winter of 2018, as the United States edged toward striking North Korea over Kim Jong-un’s nuclear program, Delta Force units had already prepared equipment specifically for such a mission, military officials said.
Since 2014, Delta Force has focused primarily on Iraq and Syria. In 2015, the first American killed in combat against the Islamic State was Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, a Delta Force operator, who was killed fighting alongside Kurdish commandos in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province.
Military officials insist that Delta Force’s culture of quiet competence and secrecy will withstand the spotlight of the al-Baghdadi raid. There will be no tell-alls.
“I hope not, at least, not by anyone actually involved,” said Lt. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, the former commander of Special Operations Command Central. “It’s an extraordinary community, but like everyone else in Special Operations, one that must avoid being seduced by its own strengths or accomplishments.