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Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit    by Eric Haney order for
Inside Delta Force
by Eric Haney
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2006 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Counterterrorism is their purpose. They are a 'top-secret strike force' of the United States Army. Each is known to family and friends only as a member of the military, and does not exist on paper - the Delta Force is secret (the author affirms that what's in the book is 'just the tip of the iceberg').

The book is in two parts: The Founding of Delta Force, and Preparing the Force: The Training of a Delta Force Operator. Its author, Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney, who retired after twenty years of military service, tells his story as a founding member of these 'anonymous heroes'. Haney is an eight-year veteran of the Delta Force. The group sprang from the mind of Special Forces officer Colonel Charlie Beckwith as an elite group on demand at a moment's notice. Beckwith's idea caught the attention of Generals Bob Kingston and Edwin 'Shy' Meyer, and he outlined on paper what the Force would do. The First Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta was officially brought to life on November 21, 1977, and a search for recruits was initiated.

Proudly, Haney relates his activities as a Ranger jumpmaster, from a C-130 transport plane travelling to a Drop Zone (DZ) in Georgia at 120 mph. Following the jump Haney was introduced to the Delta ops plan at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, reporting to Sergeant Major William 'Country' Grimes. Fort Bragg, described as a drab location, is the 'Home of the Airborne', including the Eighty-second Airborne Division, the Special Forces center and schools, and the First Corps Support Command.

One of over a hundred candidates, Haney was told to 'expect hard work ... no recognition'. Haney takes readers through the selection process, which included heavy physical fitness and psychological testing. Of the forty-miler, Haney writes, 'I slogged down the road into the growing darkness ... My legs were solid aching masses, as heavy as concrete. My arms were completely numb ... My neck ached terribly from fighting the weight of the rucksack ... My eyes pulsed with the pain of utter exhaustion. I was ready to quit.' The last phase was a crucial interview with command unit officers, in which candidates were given hypothetical operational situations, and challenged on how they would handle them.

Haney discusses gunnery, hostage maneuvers, training to shoot 'between heartbeats', so that the direction of the ammo stays true to target, and the Posse Comitatus Act - 'Federal law states that the U.S. Military can't be used within the United States.' To this Haney adds, 'Forget what you see in the movies. Soldiers don't fight on home turf without very, very special orders.' Of unit assignments, the author writes, 'Life would be difficult most of the time, and dangerous almost all the time. And every once in a while, it would be utterly deadly.'

The book closes: 'I would like to leave you with this last thought concerning Delta Force and the war on terror: Maintain courage. Have hope. Be patient, but at the same time be vigilant. And remember, we don't call ourselves the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave for nothing.' Although Inside Delta Force is aimed at young adults, all ages will benefit from this trenchant read.

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