Delta Force – Operations History Operation Country Year Outcome Operation Eagle Claw Iran 1980 Tactical and strategic failure with 8 killed in action Operation Urgent Fury Grenada 1983 Decisive victory Operation Acid Gambit Panama 1989 Victory Operation Just Cause Panama 1989 Decisive victory Operation Desert Shield Iraq 1990 Decisive victory Operation Desert Storm Iraq 1991 Decisive victory Operation Restore Hope Somalia 1993 Success Operation Gothic Serpent Somalia 1993 Tactical success, but with 19 killed in action (6 Delta). Strategic failure Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan 2001 Success, but Osama bin Laden was able to escape Operation Anaconda
(subordinate operation to OEF) Afghanistan 2002 Success Operation Iraqi Freedom Iraq 2003 Tactical success Operation Vigilant Resolve Iraq 2004 27 US Marines killed in action, failure of action which later led to Operation Phantom Fury
Delta Force in modern conflicts
Fred Pushies alleges that Delta Force assisted in providing security at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. They supposedly used a mobile command post disguised as a Budweiser delivery truck.
In his book Killing Pablo, Mark Bowden suggests that a Delta Force sniper may have eliminated Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. There is no hard evidence of this though and credit is generally attributed to Colombian security forces.
On August 8, 1993 members of Delta Force were sent in with U.S. Army Rangers and Navy SEALs in the conflict in Mogadishu, Somalia on which the movie Black Hawk Down was based. They were sent in to secure several of Mohammed Farah Aidid’s top lieutenants, as well as a few other targets of high value. The mission was compromised after two UH-60 Blackhawks were shot down by RPGs. This resulted in an ongoing battle and led to the death of five Delta operators (a sixth was killed by mortar fire some days later), six Rangers, five Army aviation crew and two 10th Mountain Division soldiers.
In January 1997, a small Delta advance team and six members of the British SAS were sent to Lima, Peru immediately following the takeover of the Japanese Ambassador’s residence.
Members of Delta Force were also involved in preparing security for the 1999 Seattle WTO Conference, specifically against a chemical weapon attack.
Delta Force was also involved in the offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 .
Though the Mullah was not present, some papers and computer disks were said to have been seized in the raid. Critics later alleged that the second unit was unnecessary, claiming that it was very large and uncoordinated. As a result, they say, the defenders were alerted early and the number of friendly casualties was in fact higher than reported. According to the book Shadow Wars by David Pugliese, Delta operators wanted a quiet insertion method which was denied as command opted for a combined Ranger assault. Taliban fighters apparently ambushed the team when they were extracting and several Delta operators were severely wounded.
One of several operations in which Delta Force operators are thought to have played important roles was the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They allegedly entered Baghdad in advance, undercover, along with SEALs from DEVGRU. Their tasks included guiding air strikes, and building networks of informants while eavesdropping on, and sabotaging, Iraqi communication lines.
Delta Force has formed the core of the special strike unit which has been hunting High Value Target (HVT) individuals like Osama Bin Laden and other key al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership since October 2001, the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. It has been variously designated Task Force 11, Task Force 20, Task Force 121, Task Force 145 and Task Force 6-26.