There are distinct differences between SEAL Team 6 and Delta Force that are worthy of exploration, but in the minds of the American public, only one of these elite war fighting units is the most popular. They draw more headlines, sell more books, and use more hair gel than the rest of the special operations community combined… and you guessed it, it’s the SEALs. Why is that America’s love affair with “operators” lends itself so easily to SEAL worship when Delta, or the Combat Applications Group (CAG), has been running and gunning with the very best of them for more than 40 years?
If you ask me, it’s got a lot to do Hollywood. If your average service member knows very little about the reality of special operations, it stands to reason that your average American knows even less. What people do know about the secretive world of these elite warfighters can be gleaned almost entirely from popular culture and attention-grabbing headlines — and there’s no denying that Navy SEALs have dominated both for decades.
Just like in real life, Delta has been present throughout however, but unlike their headline-grabbing SEAL counterparts, the fictional operators of Delta depicted in movies tend to embody the “silent professional” ethos once so coveted within the spec. ops community — often featured in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it action sequences or referred to through such heavy military vernacular that laymen don’t realize what unit is being discussed at all. From “Sicario” to “The Dark Knight,” Delta‘s appearances in these films tends to be glossed over when compared to their SEAL counterparts.
As a movie nerd, I decided to take it upon myself to address this cultural imbalance on behalf of brave men like George Hand, who would have earned my respect and admiration as a writer if he hadn’t already taken that hill years prior as a Delta operator. George and his ilk may not go after the bright lights of Hollywood in search of proper representation, but a few movies have managed to pull it off, nonetheless. So, without any further ado, here are three times you didn’t realize the badasses you were watching on screen were supposed to be Delta.