Our nation’s military has boasted the best, brightest and most elite fighters around the world, but two groups in particular have made legendary names for themselves in recent years — Delta Force and Navy SEAL Team 6.
Delta Force, officially known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, and SEAL Team 6, officially known as United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, are the most highly trained elite forces in the U.S. military.
While these two groups of badasses have a lot in common — both are special missions units that perform highly classified missions around the world — they also have their differences.
Here’s a list of the five main differences between Delta Force and Navy SEAL Team 6, as explained by a former SEAL operator, Craig Sawyer, as well as an anonymous former Delta operator.
Delta Force primarily selects candidates from within the Army’s Special Forces and infantry units. However, they have also selected candidates from all branches of service, including the National Guard and Coast Guard.
SEAL Team 6, on the other hand, selects candidates exclusively from the Navy’s SEAL team community. If a candidate does not pass the grueling selection process they will still remain part of the elite SEAL teams.
“It’s a matter of can candidates quickly process what they are taught and keep up,” Sawyer said, according to WATM.
Both groups have been highly trained in Close Quarters Combat, hostage rescue, high value target extraction and other specialized operations.
However, SEAL Team 6 operators have additional specialized training in maritime operations because of their background with the Navy.
“Each unit has strengths and weaknesses, neither is better or worse,” the anonymous former Delta operator source told WATM.
Members of Delta Force represent diverse training backgrounds because they have come from various units across multiple military branches. These operators can even be awarded medals from their respective branch of service while serving with the Army unit.
“No matter what your background is, everyone starts from zero so that everyone is on the same page,” the former Delta operator explained.
SEAL Team 6 operators come solely from the SEAL community, where they were immersed within the same culture during their intense, competitive training.
“Candidates have proven themselves within the SEAL teams,” Sawyer said. “It’s a matter of learning new equipment, tactics, and rules of engagement.”
Both units are qualified to execute any specialized mission under the Joint Special Operations Command, but because of the SEALs specialized training in maritime operations, they are more likely to receive those types of missions.
For example, the SEALs were the ones who successfully rescued Capt. Richard Phillips when he was taken hostage in 2009 by Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean.
On the other hand, Delta has been known for its own successful missions, such as finding Saddam Hussein and tracking down Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the insurgent leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
“These are two groups of the most elite operators the military can provide,” Sawyer told WATM.
5. Media Exposure
SEAL Team 6 has received much more exposure in recent years due to government leaks about the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, which ultimately resulted in Hollywood blockbuster “Zero Dark Thirty.”
However, members of both units have been called “quiet professionals” because they are notorious for being massively secretive.
“We are very strict with our quiet professionalism. If someone talks, you will probably be blacklisted,” said the former Delta operator.
These units definitely have their differences, but a few things remain the same for both Delta Force and SEAL Team 6 — they keep America safe, they make America proud, and the enemy undoubtedly shudders at the thought of running into either one.
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