SEALs make the best heroes-but Delta Force is up there, too!
Thursday, November 7th, 2019

SEALs and Delta Force Part #2

 

Although my recent heroes have all been SEALs, I also have written with a lot of Delta Force heroes, such as in the Attack Force series. Plus, Mark Halloran, the hero in Jungle Fever, The Phoenix Agency #1, was a member of Delta Force. So here’s some information on how they work together.

Ever since the Osama bin Laden raid, America has gone bonkers for US Navy SEALs and Military Special Operators in general.

Putting 100 thousand troops and countless private support personnel on the ground in any given country — sometimes referred to as “nation building” — is a costly strategy. Putting a boot or two on Osama bin Laden’s door arguably cost more in political currency — Pakistan wasn’t too happy — than actual currency.

Though it was the SEALs who performed that raid in Abbottabad, it’s worth noting there are quite a few more SpecOps units in the US than just SEALs — Green Berets and Marine Snipers, etc. — so we here at Business Insider have made things easy by assembling a comprehensive list of all the SpecOps units we could find.

The United State’s Special Operation Command (SOCOM) counts over 70,000 personnel drawn from elite units in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy. At times it virtually resembles a fifth service of the U.S. military with its own aircraft, boats and support services.

Special operations forces are employed for high-risk missions where use of blunt conventional firepower is constrained by political or tactical factors, and where finesse and discretion are required. That includes ‘direct action’ missions such as hostage rescue and capture or assassination of critical enemy personnel, as well as communicating with and training regional allies, and performing reconnaissance deep inside hostile territory.

Members of special operations undergo extreme tests of physical and mental endurance as part of their training. Culturally, special ops units place greater emphasis on smarts and individual initiative, and eschew being labeled ‘soldiers’, instead calling themselves ‘operators’ or unit-specific titles like Raider, Ranger or SEAL.

U.S. special ops units fall broadly into two categories. Tier 2 and 3 units are usually assigned to service- or region-specific commands, operating only under the auspices of SOCOM when coordinating with other special forces units.

Meanwhile, Tier 1 units, also known as Special Missions Units, are directly commanded by the national-level Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which undertakes critical, classified missions approved at the highest level. For example, JSOC has organized task forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to hunt down senior leaders of Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban.

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SEALS make the best heroes-but don’t count out Delta Force
Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

If you loved PROTECTING AMY and DESPERATE DECEPTION, you have to try FINDING REDEMPTION.

About Delta Force

The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (SFOD-D), commonly referred to as Delta ForceCombat Applications Group (CAG), “The Unit”Army Compartmented Element (ACE), or within JSOC as Task Force Green, is an elite special operations force of the United States Army, under operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command. The unit is tasked with specialized missions primarily involving counter-terrorismhostage rescuedirect action, and special reconnaissance, often against high-value targets. Delta Force and its Navy counterpart, DEVGRU (SEAL Team 6), are the U.S. military’s primary Tier 1 Special Mission Units tasked with performing the most complex, classified, and dangerous missions directed by the National Command Authority.

Though Delta Force is primarily a tier-one counter-terrorist unit, specifically directed to kill or capture high value units (HVU) or dismantle terrorist cells, Delta Force remains extremely flexible and can engage in direct action missions, hostage rescues, and covert missions working directly with the Central Intelligence Agency, as well as high ranking protective services of our senior leaders during visits in war torn countries.  Delta is under operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) though administratively supported by the Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

The U.S. Military launched the beginning of Delta Force as the first officially recognized, full-time counter-terrorism specialized force.

Colonel Charlie Beckwith was a key member in helping create CAG.

He reported his findings to the U.S. Military after serving with the British Special Air Service during the Malayan Emergency.

When he returned home Beckwith acknowledged that the U.S. Armed Forces could serve to benefit from a highly specialized unit.

 

Ethan Caine, the damaged hero of FINDING REDEMPTiON, was a member of Delta Force. His last mission left him in a very dark place. Can he pull himself out of it to run one last mission that only he can do?

SEALs make the best heroes #9
Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

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Eric T. Olson

He was the first Navy SEAL to be appointed to three-star and four-star flag rank, as well as the first naval officer to be USSOCOM’s combatant commander. Admiral Eric Thor Olson was in charge of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) from 2007 to 2011.

Michael A. Monsoor

Michael A. Monsoor is the American hero and a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his ultimate sacrifice in Ramadi, Iraq. Monsoor used his own body to shield his fellow soldiers from a hand grenade thrown by an insurgent in a 2006 combat engagement.

Scott Helvensten

He joined the United States Navy at 17 and became the youngest person to complete Navy SEAL training. Working the private sector, he appeared on a variety of reality TV programs and was a personal trainer for Hollywood celebrities such as Demi Moore (for G.I. Jane). Helvenston was also featured in the reality shows Combat Missions and Man vs. Beast (in the latter, he completed an obstacle course faster than a chimpanzee). He also starred in a reality series called Extreme Expeditions: Model Behavior months before he left for Iraq.

Helvenston was killed in Fallujah, Iraq along with squad members Jerry “Jerko” Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague while working as a security contractor for Blackwater.

Chuck Pfarrer

Charles Patrick “Chuck” Pfarrer, III is a former U.S. Navy SEAL from Biloxi, Mississippi, USA. He became an author, novelist, and screenwriter after he left the Navy. Some of his screenwriting credits include Darkman, Hard TargetRed Planet, and, of course, Navy SEALs.

He spent 8 years in Navy SEALs and ended his service as Assault Element Commander at the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), formerly known as SEAL Team 6.

William H. McRaven

From 2011 to 2014, Navy SEAL William H. McRaven served as Commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), which oversees the Special Operations of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

The most recognizable operation of his career probably was Operation Neptune Spear. He is credited with organizing and overseeing the execution of the operation, the special ops raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011

Marcus Luttrell (my persona favorite: please, please read Lone Survivor and watch the movie.

Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell was the only man to survive from the four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SDV-1 in Operation Red Wing in June 2005. He detailed his harrowing Afghanistan combat experience in best-selling book Lone Survivor. The book was later turned into a hit film with Mark Wahlberg playing Luttrell.

For his actions during Operation Red Wings, he was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart. Marcus Luttrell was a Hospital Corpsman First Class by the end of his eight-year career in the United States Navy.

William Sheperd

William McMichael “Bill” Shepherd is an American former Navy SEAL, aerospace, ocean and mechanical engineer, and NASA astronaut, who served as Commander of Expedition 1, the first crew on the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut William Shepherd qualified to become a Navy SEAL in 1972 after finishing BUD/S, serving on the UDT, two separate SEAL teams, and Special Boat Unit TWENTY.

Rudy Boesch

Survivor contestant Rudy Boesch was one of the very first Navy SEALs. He earned a Bronze Star for his actions in the Vietnam War, during which he participated in 45 combat missions, including raids, ambushes, rescues, and intelligence operations.

During his time in SEAL Team Two and later, his results were set as physical and operational standards for the team.

Chris Kyle (probably the most famous to most of us; if yo have not read American Sniper or seen the move, do so. Please!

Chris Kyle became the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history over four tours in Iraq as a Navy SEAL. Before he was killed in Texas, he co-wrote American Sniper, a bestselling account of his exploits which ultimately led to Hollywood where it served as the basis for the box office powerhouse that starred Bradley Cooper as Kyle in blockbuster American Sniper.

He was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat including one Silver Star Medal, four Bronze Star Medals with “V” devices, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and numerous other unit and personal awards.

On February 2, 2013, Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, 35, were shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Texas. Their killer, Eddie Ray Routh was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

 

Come back tomorrow for another post.

SEALs make the best heroes #8
Monday, November 4th, 2019

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SCUBA

Open-circuit System

An open-circuit system is the typical breathing system, where the diver breathes air from a supply tank and exhales exhaust into the water.

Closed-circuit Oxygen Systems

With this type of system, the diver breaths 100-percent oxygen, and his exhaled breath is recirculated within the apparatus, where it is filtered and turned back into breathable air. This system is useful for working in shallow water.

Oxygen time is reduced as the water gets colder. For diving in extremely cold water, SEALs must wear dry suits and a specially adapted version of the Dragger LarV rebreather — a larger oxygen canister allows the diver to breathe underwater for a longer period of time.

Closed-circuit Mixed Gas System

This system is similar to the closed-circuit oxygen system described above, but the oxygen is mixed with air to maintain a certain “partial pressure of oxygen” (PPO2) level. This increases the depth to which a SEAL can dive and the length of time he can stay there.

 SEAL Jumps

Fast rope
Fast rope
OFFICIAL U.S. NAVY PHOTO

When SEALs arrive from the air, they are often going to extremely difficult-to-reach places. In this case, they may jump from a plane into the ocean with their Zodiac, parachute into the area, or use fast-rope and rappelling techniques.

When parachuting, SEALs use either static-line or free-fall techniques. Free-fall techniques include High Altitude/Low Opening (HALO) jumps and the more difficult High Altitude/High Opening (HAHO) jumps (see Navy SEALs.com: Air Equipment to learn about these types of jumps). High-altitude jumping requires oxygen and special equipment to ensure that the chute opens in the event the jumper blacks out, which is not that uncommon for high-altitude jumps. Goggles can shatter from the cold, and eyes can freeze shut, making the fall even more interesting. A device called an FF2 will automatically activate the jumper’s rip cord if the chute hasn’t opened at a preset altitude.

HAHO jumps, where chutes are deployed just a few seconds after the jump and SEALs form a “stack” to stay together, keep the SEALs in a tight group when they land. This is a difficult maneuver that requires a lot of training as a team. The lowest man in the formation uses a compass and landmarks to steer them to their destination.

Fast-rope and rappelling techniques require helicopters to drop SEALs by way of a rope to their location. Fast roping is a drop technique whereby a 50-to-90-foot (15-to-27-meter) rope is dropped from the helicopter, and SEALs slide down the rope using a Swiss seat harness. To brake, they apply their hands in a towel-wringing motion — using their feet to brake would damage the rope.

Navy SEALs on Land

Once SEALs are on the ground, their equipment, like their clothing, must suit the particular environment. Mountain-climbing gear, snow shoes, land-navigation equipment, and the right vehicles are all critical to their success.

Camouflage netting for desert environments where there is little-to-no natural concealment can keep SEALs from becoming an enemy target. Dust goggles keep them from being blinded by flying sand, and CamelBak water packs allow them to drink while still having use of their hands.

Operations in jungle or wooded areas necessitate machetes to clear dense foliage as well as special netting and hammocks to ward off potentially lethal insect bites.

For all types of environments, SEALs carry a map, a compass and a handheld GPS receiver.

Come back tomorrow for the next installment.

SEALs make the best heroes #7
Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

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SEALs use handguns such as the 9mm SIG Sauer P226 and the MK23 MOD 0 45-caliber offensive handgun with a suppressor and laser-aiming module.

They use rifles such as the carbine automatic M4A1 5.56 mm and the AK-47. They also use shotguns, machine guns (MK43 and M2HB), and the HK MP5 9mm submachine gun series, among others. Add to that list sniper rifles such as the M88 .50 PIP and the M-14 sniper rifle, along with grenade launchers, mortars and AT4 anti-tank rockets, and SEALs can choose a weapon to fit the specific task at hand.

Each vehicle that Navy SEALs use to transport teams and units to their destination has a specific benefit and utility.

One type of vehicle is the SEAL Delivery Vehicle. These are vehicles that operate below the surface of the water to deliver Navy SEALs and their equipment to their mission area. The crew uses underwater breathing apparatus for life support while navigating the submerged SDV to the destination. Remaining completely submerged the entire time, some models of SDVs can deliver several SEALs with their gear to their mission area, remain in the area while they complete the mission, and then return them to their ship.

There are several primary surface watercraft. They include the CRRC, the SOC-R, the 11-meter RHIB, and the MK V.

The MK V Special Operations Craft (SOC) is the most versatile, high-performance combatant craft in the Naval Special Warfare inventory. It is used primarily in medium-range ocean transport of SEAL combat swimmers in environments where the threat is low-to-medium. It is also used for some coastal patrol and maritime interdiction operations, such as destroying an enemy supply line. The MK V can operate from shore facilities or from specially equipped ships.

SEALs leaving an RHIBSEALs leaving an RHIB
SEALs leaving an RHIB
OFFICIAL U.S. NAVY PHOTO

The NSW Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) is an 11-meter, high-speed, high-buoyancy, extreme-weather craft used for moving SEAL tactical elements to and from the ship and beaches. It is large enough to transport an entire SEAL squad.

The Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R) is Naval Special Warfare’s newest surface craft. It is used in river environments and has a top speed of 42 knots. It holds up to 20,500 lbs (9,300 kg) of personnel and cargo and is well-suited to inland waterways. The SOC-R can be transported by U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft and by helicopter.

The Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) is a 15-foot, heavily reinforced, inflatable rubber boat that is useful on many missions. This is the one trainees are carrying overhead during BUD/S training (it’s often called a Zodiac — Zodiac manufactures the CRRC). In deployment, it is used for over-the-horizon transportation and dropping and retrieving lightly armed SEALS on beaches and in rivers.

SEALs in a CRRCSEALs in a CRRC
SEALs in a CRRC
OFFICIAL U.S. NAVY PHOTO

This boat is easy for the SEALS to move around and can even be launched from the air as a rubber duck, which is a CRRC bound on top of a wooden platform with a parachute attached.

Come back tomorrow for the nest installment