During the 1970’s the United States became the favorite whipping boy for any terrorist group that was worthy of bearing the name. They had realized that American interests throughout the world could be struck at with little or no retaliation. At this point in the century America had sickened of warfare in Vietnam and was both unwilling and unable to strike back at the pests of terrorism. Our government did little more than apply Band-Aids to wounds while ignoring the infection. All we really did was to keep terrorism away from our own shores. Little real work was accomplished because the political leadership lacked the will to tackle the problem, and their lack of willpower stemmed from the knowledge that the American people would not support any effort they made.
For many years the Special Forces officer Colonel Charlie Beckwith (Chargin’ Charlie) had seen the need in the U.S army for a small, highly skilled, compact, and extremely versatile unit that was capable of undertaking the unusual “special” missions that were becoming more and more common around the globe. Such a unit would be a surgical instrument that could be deployed at a moments notice to execute those tasks that were outside of the realm of normal military capability. He had been trying to rally support for the formation of just such a unit for many years, but his ideas were falling on deaf ears. The reasoning for this is that, as a general rule, armies don’t like change. For most Generals there is no reason to support the organization of a new unit that may or may not work, could decrease his budget and sap the very best soldiers away from his command. Eventually, Colonel Beckwith’s loud and persistent calls for a national counterterrorism force found the ears of two innovative thinking Generals: General Bob Kingston and General Edwin “Shy” Meyer. General Kingston was stationed at Fort Brag, North Carolina and saw the potential that the kind of force Colonel Beckwith was pushing had. General Meyer was serving as the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff at the time and was on his way to having a shot at becoming the Chief. As soon as Colonel Beckwith pitched his idea of a counterterrorism force to General Meyer he knew he had an ally in his struggle. General Meyer saw that the need was evident, but also realized that constructing the force from scratch was going to be a daunting task. First, they had to construct a Table of Organization and Equipment (also known as a TO&E) which would outline the unit’s rank structure, configuration, and equipment and arms. This allowed them to predict a budget for annual and start-up costs. Once they had completed their TO&E, General Meyer used his position in the pentagon to see if there was enough lose money and men for the new unit. Eventually General Meyer was able to find enough men that were dispensable from “paper” units that manpower would not be a problem. He also uncovered a large sum of untapped money that he could make available for use in the new unit. Next, they sought out powerful and influential Generals who had the ability to stop the new organization from being formed and asked them about their feelings on the possibility of this new unit. After much convincing, the powerful Generals gave their nod of approval when realized that this new unit would not intrude on their turf, or siphon money from their budgets. At the Fort Benning Infantry Conference in the summer of 1977, the formal proposal for a national counterterrorism force was presented. The proposal was approved and it was recommended to the Chief of Staff of the Army that the organization be formed immediately. By this time, General Meyer was the Chief of staff of the Army. With the prodding of General Meyer, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta was given official life on 21 November 1977 by order of Headquarters, Department of the Army. Beckwith was of course chosen to command the new unit and went...
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